Why choose a PLC?

There are many reasons why students choose to complete a PLC course. We have listed out nine important considerations for you below.


CAO Points

Some learners may not have gained sufficient CAO points to obtain the course they wanted to study at college or university. Learners can improve on the number of points they scored for their Leaving Certificate through the PLC. Students who successfully completed a Leaving Certificate Applied would not have had access to the CAO system but can do so through a PLC course. Students who successfully achieve eight distinctions can obtain 390 CAO points under the new CAO points system introduced in 2017. A full explanation of how this works can be accessed here:



College Places

Holders of ANY QQI Level 5 award can progress onto over 700 Level 6/7 courses at Institutes of Technology.  Most of the major Irish universities also recognise the qualification for entry requirement purposes. In addition to an increased number of CAO points some colleges reserve places specifically for QQI Level 5 students in certain courses related to the college course. A fuller explanation of the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) can be obtained here or you may wish to talk to our Career Guidance teacher Mr Rory White

(e: rorywhite@donegaletb.ie ).


Recognised Qualification

Our  Level 5 PLC courses are all approved by the QQI and are subject to strict Quality Assurance controls by both the QQI and Donegal ETB. QQI Level 5 courses and qualifications are recognised both nationally and internationally and form part of a continuum of education that is described in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)


NFQ Wheel


Gap Year

Some students may not feel quite ready to progress to college or university. Many students will defer the college place for a year to complete the PLC course. They may not be completely sure of what course they would like to do or what future career path they might like to follow. For others they may feel they are too young. Completing a PLC gives the students the time and space to consider such questions carefully. They have the time to investigate courses more thoroughly and/or to complete a career investigation.


Taster year

Some students who have already secured a college or university course may be reluctant to commit to a full three or four years if they are uncertain about this being the right choice for them. A PLC course in that area of study can provide a useful taster of what the area of study would be like and students can then make a more informed choice whether to proceed in this area of study at college. Many students do take a new direction during this year.


Key Study and Work Skills

Our PLC courses equip students with key, practical and transferable skills that are extremely useful both at college and in working life. Students gain confidence in making presentations in public, become proficient in word processing and typing skills and acquire specific skills relating to their future course of study or career path.


Drop out rates at college / university

Significant numbers of students drop out of courses in college and university each year for a variety of reasons including choosing the wrong course, struggling  to adjust to college life, struggling with coursework, uncertainty over career aspirations and so forth. Completing a PLC course reduces the likelihood of dropout for students as many of these issues are resolved during the course of the year by building capacity, developing key skills, researching careers and courses of interest and developing independence in a more gradual and organic manner.


Work Experience

Each PLC course in the school incorporates a Work Experience module which gives students direct experience of the type of work related to their course of study and related to their future career aspirations. This taster of the world of work and the insight gained into this career area gives greater focus to the student’s learning and empowers them to make important decisions about course and career choice.


Finance and the SUSI Grant

Many families may struggle financially with the considerable cost of sending a student to college. The costs associated with PLC courses are very reasonable. The government charges €200 (students with medical cards are exempt). The school charges €100 to cover all administrative and organisational costs). Students who are eligible for the SUSI grant at college or university are also eligible for the same grant for the PLC. This will not affect your entitlement to the grant on going to college if you progress to a QQI Level 6, 7 or 8 course on the National Framework (NFQ).