The Leaving Cert (LC) results were out last week and by now students should know the points criteria for the courses they have applied for. But what if you didn’t get enough points for the course you really wanted?

The first bit of advice is: do not panic. It doesn’t mean your academic dreams are over. We’ve asked LC guidance counsellor Helen Dillon, owner of Your Path Coaching, what your options are.

“The first thing; when you see you didn’t get your first preference place on the CAO is don’t panic. Yes, you’re going to be disappointed – there’s no getting away from that – but it’s not the end of the world. Your life is not ruined,” says Helen.

Well, that’s good to know. So, what can students do now? Helen has given us the some advice.

1 You can get your exam results checked. If you feel you were marked unfairly, ask for a recheck. Also, just wait and see what offer you get from the CAO – you might not get your first choice, but you may well get your second. Hold off until the offers come in and then start going from there.

2 If you missed out on a place, start looking for post-Leaving Cert courses (PLC). There may be a PLC which will feed directly into the course you originally wanted. Do a bit of research around that. It’s like a back-door entry, but you’ll need to get good results on these courses to land one of the places reserved for PLC applicants next year or the year after.

3 After first-round offers have been completed, the second-round offers will then be coming in. Maybe you didn’t get your first choice in the first round, but you might get it offered in the second round. If colleges didn’t fill all the places in the first round they come in the second round offers. At around the time of the second round offers, the CAO will start posting open courses which are already unsubscribed. There may be a course there you haven’t thought about and can apply for if you meet the minimum requirements.

4 If none of the college options are suitable or available to you, consider going off to work for a year. There is great value in a year’s work experience – particularly in something like the hospitality sector. You can gain some important life skills and reapply with a different perspective next year.

5 As a final option, you can always repeat the LC. You can either go back to school, attend a grind school or many of the colleges have repeat LC courses you can enrol in.