Preparing your Child for Third Level

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So, your child has completed the Leaving Certificate.

It is time to start preparing your child for third-level education.

Whether this means moving away from home for the first time or staying at home, they’ll start a new chapter of their life. We’ve already covered some heavy-hitting topics in our money advice blogs, like grants and bursaries and what to do in 5th/6th year. This blog discusses practical tips to help you and your child prepare for third-level. 

Managing Results and CAO Offers 

This is the first time your child/children will be experiencing this waiting. It could be life-changing, and it’s essential to help manage their expectations and anxious nerves during this time.  

Your child is likely to feel apprehensive in one way or another. Gently let them know that no matter what happens, this is a new chapter in their lives and that you support them in their decisions. 

Though you may want to celebrate this occasion with friends and family, as preparation for yourself, ensure that you are aware that your child may not feel the same way and may even opt out of Results Night if they don’t get the results they wanted. Keep it low profile so your child doesn’t feel pressured to put on a brave face. Likewise, remind them that even if they get what they want, their friends might not have and might be upset. 

Did they have varying options on their CAO form? Have you discussed all of them? Some options may see your child moving away from home for the first time or maybe staying home. Just a reminder of the dates – Results day (25th August) and CAO Round One (30th August @ 2:00 pm). For preparation, note these dates in your calendar.

Getting Prepared for September

Time will fly once the results and offers are in. Many families and students will be looking to find accommodation, accept offers and prepare to start the course. We have a few tips to help prepare for this busy time: 

Mind Your Mental Health

It is important to note that the pressure your child has been experiencing for the past two years has built up for this moment. Now, your child may or may not have received the results they wanted. The stress they are feeling is intense. Starting third-level education, there are many things to get use to, such as being around a whole new group of people, new lecturers, maybe different accommodations in some cases and a different workload. This can cause your child to feel anxious. This is entirely normal. It is essential to sit down with your child and discuss these stresses and how to manage them.

Here are some sources for understanding and dealing with mental stress:

  • Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental support 24 hours a day
  • Jigsaw is a national centre for youth mental health.
  • Turn2Me are a community of fully qualified and accredited mental health professionals that work online to provide a safe and confidential space for you to gain support.

Preparing your child for third-level education is also stressful and emotional for the parent. With the stress of helping your child transition to college, there is also a lot of pressure for the parent. Their child is growing up. This can be scary, but take these times and try to embrace these moments. These tips are here to reduce stress for you and your child.

Have a tip?

Have you got a tip that you’d like to share? Perhaps you have a question that we haven’t covered here? We’d love to hear from you, so follow us on social media, share your ideas or send us your questions. 

Contact Us

You can contact your local office here, call the MABS Helpline on 0818 07 2000, Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 8 pm. 


Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. The details of each case can be unique. As a result, the outcome can be different to what has been described in this blog.

Note: We welcome references to and use of the content in this blog. However, please reference MABS and link said content if you choose to do so.