Getting Organised for the Year Ahead

Set Your Goals:

List your
major goals:

more important

less important

long term

medium term

short term

. Determine how you spend your time:

Column I:
list the amount of time you spend in weekly activities in hours.

Column II:
multiply your recurring daily activities by five (weekdays) or seven (weekly) to estimate the number of hours you engage in these recurring activities in a week.

Class time

Study Time

Employment/Internship

Volunteer Activities

Exercise

Regularly scheduled functions

(clubs, church, etc.)

Socializing with friends

Chores and Errands

Other

______

______

______

______

______

______

______

______

______

______

Commuting/Travel time (multiplied by 5=)

Meal preparation/eating (multiplied by 7=)

Personal care (multiplied by 7=)

Sleep (multiplied by 7=)

______

______

______

______

Total A:

______

Total B:

______

Total A + B = Total C: ______ hours

There are 168 hours in a week. Subtract Total C from 168 = _____ Uncommitted hours (168 - total C)

Evaluate Your Time Management:

  • How much time have you set aside to meet your goals (above)?
  • Does your time allocation reflect the priority of your goals?
  • Can your uncommitted hours be reallocated to meet your priorities?

Make your Semester Schedule:

  • Calendar or Wallchart:
  • Project weekly schedule onto your Study Timetable
  • Actual weekly schedule
  • Modify and detail the Projected Weekly Schedule

Daily schedule or "To Do List"

  • Complete the night before or the first thing each morning.
  • Check off items you have done to give yourself a sense of completion

Benefits of Following a Schedule:

  • Written plans make responsibilities seem more manageable and less overwhelming
  • Scheduled tasks are more likely to be completed

Your Choice: Courses & The Central Applications Office (CAO)

Learning Objectives:

To make sure you know exactly what course (courses) you want, and know what order you want to rank them in, before filling in the CAO form.

Which course and where?

Choose a course that you feel you would like. There are now huge possibilities through the Post Leaving Cert system of further education as well as CAO, Apprenticeships, the Guards and many other routes through the English system(UCAS).

Don't choose a course or path because someone said you should, or because it will get you a job. It should be something you feel you really want, and would enjoy doing for the next 2 - 4 years. If you fill in every available degree and certificate/diploma course choice "just in case", you risk being offered something you (a) do not like, (b) know nothing about.

The consequences of taking a course that you know little about could be that you hate the course, because it doesn't suit you / it's boring / it's not at all what you thought it would be. You then become unhappy and/or you drop out of college. Apart from feeling bad that you've let yourself and others down, you could also lose your entitlement to free fees and your grant (Higher Education Grant) if applicable.

So, when making your choice, think through all the possibilities:.

  • What course do you really want?
  • What order will you put your other course choices in? (see order of preference below)
  • Do you want to live away from home, especially if the course you want is not offered locally?
  • How will you (or your parents) finance the cost of the course?
  • Are you entitled to a grant (the Higher Education Grant, available through the local County Council if your parents' combined income is within a certain limit)?
  • Anything else that you might need to consider?
  • Will you get the points? (be realistic, but do not undersell yourself).

CAO Deadline

Have your decision made before the CAO deadline (February 1st). If you leave it until the last minute, you might have other things on your mind such as exams (written and oral/aural), project work (if applicable) and so on. You may well make mistakes, or be influenced by others, and put down choices you really have no interest in. Do not put too much emphasis on points when filling up your CAO - it should be based on what you really want to do.

Change of Mind form in July

If you do make a mistake on the CAO form, all is not lost. Remember that the CAO has a "change of mind" option towards the end of June, when you can revise your choices.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SATISFIED WITH THE ORDER OF PREFERENCE, ie the courses are in the order you would like, with number 1 being the one you want most.

Score High: Work the Points System

A pass Leaving Certificate can mean 5 subjects at D3 level = 25 points.

Not so difficult to achieve, is it? A person could get a Pass Leaving Certificate by going to school regularly, paying attention in class, and being actively involved in learning. So if you find school subjects difficult, don't worry. If you make an effort, and pay attention in class, you will succeed. Keep up to date with your homework. Complete all homework as it is set. Include some revision throughout the year, and you can gain your Leaving Certificate with at least a pass in five subjects.

A.Q.A.

This means "All Qualified Applicants". It may not seem important to you now, but it will be when you apply for a job or apprenticeship. Your prospective employer will more than likely expect that you have reached a Leaving Certificate standard of education, but she or he may not be so interested in the actual grades. Moreover, a Leaving Certificate opens up other possibilities for you, for example Post Leaving Certificate and FETAC 1 and 2 courses. These FETAC courses are now increasingly accepted as an alternative entrance route to 3rd level.

Grades and the points system

Grades, however, do matter if you are aiming for a 3rd level course. For each course there are three things to consider:

  • Entry Requirements - Each college and university will have basic entry requirements before you will be considered as an eligible applicant, for example for NUIG you need 2 higher level subjects including Irish and a Continental Language.
  • Course Requirements - These are decided by the faculty you will be applying to, for example if you are applying for a Science course you will need at least one science in your Leaving Cert. subjects.
  • Points- If you fulfill the other requirements then the Central Applications office will decide who gets offered a place by counting up the points you earned from your grades in the Leaving, and offering the highest scorers of the list for each course first. Thus the points we see in the paper and those of the last person to be offered a place and so can be misleading if relied on as a guide for the following year.

Generally, for entry to a 3rd level institution, you will need up to six Leaving Certificate subjects and a specific number of points, from 150 to 600+ (Architecture and some Fine Arts courses for example, give you additional credits for your portfolio). See below the chart of points needed for courses at different 3rd level institutions, (academic year 2009, subject to change*).

COURSE

INSTITUTION

POINTS*

Arts

NUI Galway

355

Commerce

NUI Galway

360

Veterinary

University College Dublin

555

Construction Management

GMIT

300

Electronics

University of Limerick

320

Science

NUI Galway

325

General Nursing

Athlone Institute of Technology

395

Computing with software development

Tralee Institute of Technology

200

Hotel & Catering

GMIT

255

It is important not to aim too low or opt for the minimum points for any one course. The demand for any place can vary from one year to another, and the required points will reflect this variance. In the same way, do not opt for a course because it has low points for entry, but which would not suit or interest you.

Calculate Wisely: Points for the Course of Your Choice

  • Check out the points required for the course(s) you want.
  • Allow for changes next year. Add 20 extra to total points required.
  • Divide the new total by 6. This is the minimum score you must aim for in each subject in order to qualify. But as all subjects differ, so will your marks, so aim to get much higher points than you need in your best / easier subjects. These can be offset against your weaker subjects, in case your grades are down.
  • Check the points you are aiming for against the marks you achieved in your last in-house / mock examinations.
  • Note the differences, and mark clearly where you need to improve your grades.

Teach your Children how to deal with Peer Pressure

It seems as though no matter how well we teach our children about forming relationships with children who are positive role models, it always seems that one or two children who are not so positive seep into our child’s life. As parents we can minimize the effects of bad peer pressure by being the role model our children respect and hope to make proud.

Developing a close relationship with your child is your first best step to diminishing the chances of your child being pulled into negative peer pressure. Children who are close with their parents will open up more about negative children in their school or friendship groups and will feel more comfortable about talking to them about the types of peer pressure him and his friends are feeling. This includes planning regular family activities, such as family game night or weekly outings. This is a time a parent can have fun, leave stress at the office and enjoy their children as a close friend. Make the most out of these nights and step away from the parenting role, to enjoy life with your child.

Explain the main point of peer pressure to your child; anything that they are asked to do which makes them feel uncomfortable is peer pressure. When they feel like they will be laughed at or looked at different from their peers and feel pressured into something they are not willing to do.

Encourage your child to seek out friendships with others who are also not comfortable doing what some of the other children are doing. Encourage them to find friends who will support your child and will be positive role models for each other. There will be plenty of other children who wouldn’t dare give into peer pressure, as you hope your child will not.

Main points to address:

  • Develop a close relationship with your child.
  • Help them understand what peer pressure is and how to avoid it.
  • Plan regular family activities.
  • Encourage your child to form friendships with positive role models.

Other useful tips for parents:

  • Don’t judge your child’s friends.
  • Get to know all your child’s friends and their parents.
  • Teach your child to be assertive.
  • Encourage your child to have a wide variety of friends.
  • Provide discipline and structure.
  • Seek guidance from other parents.
  • Know the troubled children in your child’s age group (through other parents or teachers).
  • If you feel your child has given into peer pressure obtain professional help.

In retrospect there is something called positive peer pressure, for example when a bully follows a child who is friendly and stops bullying others. Encourage your child to be apart of the movement that inspires and transforms positive attitudes and positive living.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Fun and Facts For your kids:

A survival guide to secondary school

A survival guide to secondary school

Remember that you are not the only person who is starting secondary school and that nearly every student starting, is feeling just like you. Here are some tips to help you in the move from primary to secondary school:

  • Be yourself and don’t show off - there is no need to try to impress other students
  • Treat all students the way that you would like to be treated.
  • Try to make friend with a variety of people.
  • Remember that all of the other new students have similar feelings about starting a new school – whether they show it or not.
  • Try and make some contact with older students that you know in the school
  • Remember teachers are there to help you. Make contact with those you feel comfortable with and share your worries, concerns and strengths with them.
  • Do find out and get involved in extra-curricular activities.
  • Get a good balance between work and play and enjoy your new school.

Health and Safety

Healthy Eating

If you want to look and feel your best, think about having a balanced, nutritious diet based on fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. Snacking and grazing on crisps and chocolate bars is great but if that's all your system is getting, it'll be running on heavily leaded two-star!

Take a look at the list of nutritious foods below. These are divided into the different food groups. You should mix n' match items from each group to make your diet as balanced as possible.

BREADS:

Bread roll; Pita Bread; Bap or Bagel; Scone; Fruit Brack; Sliced Bread; Soda Bread; Pasta salad; Rice salad; Cream Crackers; Crisp bread.

MEAT/FISH:

Breast of chicken/turkey; Slices of cooked meat, e.g. beef, ham, lamb; Frankfurter sausages; Salami; Portion of tuna or salmon.

FRUIT:

Fresh fruit: Apple, banana, satsuma, pear, plum, kiwi, strawberries, slice of melon, nectarine, peach, small bunch of seedless grapes. Dried Fruit: raisins, prunes, apricots.

Juice: Carton of unsweetened juice.

VEGETABLES:

Sandwiches: Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, coleslaw, sweet corn.

On the side: Sticks of raw vegetables: carrots, peppers, broccoli, cucumber; Cherry tomatoes; Potato salad; Vegetable soup.

MILK/CHEESE:

Fromage frais; Yoghurt; Cheese - triangles, sticks or slices; Yoghurt drink; Small carton of milk.

TREATS:

Muffins; Cereal bars; Rice crispie buns; Slice of cake/fruit brack; Popcorn.


Heavy School Bags

When starting secondary school you will be working from several different textbooks, and will have to carry several note books / folders around with you. Although this may seem exciting, you should realise that these books are heavy and when you are walking to, from and around school you may be doing damage to your back with all this extra weight.

A survey conducted by the National Back Pain Association in Britain suggests that 80 per cent of school children surveyed carry badly designed bags or are wearing them incorrectly, proving that the correct design of school bag is important. There are three common school bag designs, namely the rucksack, shoulder strap bag and the sports bag. The rucksack design is the most efficient when it is worn correctly on the back and not over one shoulder. It is important that the straps are a good fit.

Schools are encouraged to make efforts to alleviate the problem of heavy school bags. Actions such as the provision of lockers, the co-ordination of timetabling and of homework can help. Pupils should also be reminded that it is not necessary to bring all books for all subjects every day and they should be encouraged to plan their requirements for each day.

When carrying a schoolbag you should remember to:

  1. Strap both handles of the bag on your shoulders if possible.
  2. Stand and walk with a straight back.
  3. If your back is not straight, your school bag is too heavy and you could be doing damage to your back.
  4. Take care when removing your school bag from your back.
  5. Don’t stand for long periods with your school bag on your back.

Adult back pain and spinal disorders can stem from childhood activities including carrying a heavily overloaded school bag for 12 years or more of schooling, so it is important to carry your schoolbag correctly.

Safety on the Road

Going to and coming from school can be a dangerous venture and accidents do happen. Everyone wants you to stay safe so stay alert –even when you are having fun with your friends. You need to remember the rules of the road at all times. Always remember to be safe on the road.

  • Look left-right-left before crossing streets or roads.
  • Cross only at designated crossings.
  • Never dart out into traffic.

Your school will outline further how to behave on the road.

If you travel to school on a bus you should remember the rules of the bus:

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic.
  • Never get out of your seat while the bus is moving.
  • Do not speak to the driver while the bus is moving.
  • Don’t throw things or shout across the bus.
  • Get off the bus in a safe manner and do not run.

You school will outline further rules and conduct on buses.

It is critical that you know how to behave on the road, for your safety and the safety of others.

Guidance