The average dropout rate across 22 third-level Irish colleges this year was around 18% – that’s almost one in five! (Sunday Times, Sept 09) Of those who do finish, 58% of students attain a first or 2:1, but what about the other 42%? Surely this suggests that students choose courses that don’t suit them, or have a lack of awareness of their goals and priorities? In my experience coaching sixth year students who are worried about making their CAO choices, I’ve found that they often fear they will fail the courses they are considering, and how that would disappoint their parents. Their perception of parental expectations, as well as financial constraints and economic uncertainty, feeds their fear of making the “wrong” choice. And while career guidance is available, there usually isn’t time to allow the student to talk through their concerns, so coaching can help them clarify what they really want from their life, and overcome their fears, by listening objectively and asking the right questions. However, it can take some people a long time to realize that they knew what they really wanted at 18 – one career coaching client who, “in the last recession”, was offered a place on an English degree, instead studied computer science, because it was grant-aided. Now at 40, having been through redundancy, he plans to return to his first love and study journalism. The bottom line for all of us is, if you can find something you really love to do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life!
Sunday Times statistics reference: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/sunday_times_university_guide/article6840197.ece