The Leaving Cert results and first round college offers are out. Monday’s first round of offers reflected the rise in demand for courses that carry real career prospects.
Consequently the points needed for business, science, engineering and computing have all risen.
The preference for students now is clearly for courses which can deliver jobs and careers in a few years time.
There is demand in the jobs market, afterall, for graduates in these fields, and the increase in points is in line with this trend.
Further evidence is provided in the demand for courses in the related areas of food and agriculture.
Ag science , for instance, saw a ten per cent jump in first preference applications this year. The trend is similar for courses in dairy, forestry and equine science.
Even demand for business courses seems to have turned the corner, after the slump following the 2008 economic crash. Demand for business courses is up this year and the points are following this demand too.
The class of 2013 now face a few critical weeks as they make choices which will have a huge bearing on the rest of their lives and careers.
To say it is an anxious time for all concerned is an understatement and probably a disservice to what is a rite of passage through the rigours of the Leaving Cert.
As challenging as this time is for many, it can also be a very optimistic time for young students as they embark on the next phase of their lives, academic and otherwise.
And as Dr Eddie Murphy points out in his column this week a sense of perspective is often needed, and no person is defined solely by their results or by their route, or otherwise, on the academic path.
Much debate has been expended on the merits and shortcomings of the Leaving Cert model.
The rote learning which it engenders has been criticised for its limitations in preparing students for the broader world of study and work.
Yet, for all its weaknesses, the Leaving Cert model is one that has worked, and has many advantages.
Reform and review of the system should, of course, be ongoing, as they should be a third level.
Funding and access to third level are also very real issues, that continually need to be addressed.
The class of 2013 are now at the coalface of the education system in this country.
They deserve the best of luck in their choices and in their future studies and careers.