“I had heard transition year is a doss, but you do more practical work, like projects. You are a lot more tired than in Junior Cycle because you are doing so much. You don’t realise it until you look back.”
Former Transition Year Student.
Transition year (TY) is a unique one year programme that links Junior and Senior Cycle together. It is now completed by the majority of students who finish secondary school in Ireland, with 75% of schools offering it. Each school is given the flexibility to design their own TY programme within a broad set of parameters. Some schools view it as an additional academic year of senior cycle; but most schools design it to allow students express themselves and develop and explore new talents. Approximately 74% of students do TY.
Will Transition Year benefit me?
The question that all 3rd year students and parents struggle with at this time of year is: ‘Will TY be beneficial to me?’ I feel there are a number of factors determining the success of Transition year for a given student. These include how well the school structures it, the enthusiasm the student has for the programme and how much they buy into it, and the level of variety in the programme, to name but a few.
There is no doubt that if a student does immerse themselves in TY, they can benefit greatly both from a social and developmental point of view. As is evident from the quote above from this former TY, students are engaged in a range of different activities compared to the more academic Junior Cycle. As a teacher, it is easy to spot the 6th year students who have completed TY, as opposed to those who went straight into 5th year. Aside from the obvious fact that students look a year older, they are much more confident in themselves and are a few more steps down the road to maturity than their counterparts. In my experience, this is especially pertinent to boys.
My Top Forty benefits of doing Transition Year
Listed below are my top forty benefits (in no particular order) that a student may gain by opting for TY. Hopefully it will allow you to make an informed decision if you are a parent or a 3rd year in the process of deciding to opt for it or not. 1st and 2nd Years can also have a read of these to get them thinking about their options post Junior Cycle.
- It is an opportunity to mature especially if you are younger than your classmates
- You get a taste of working in everyday jobs in Industry and services
- You are given more licence to show and develop your individual personality
- Your confidence around meeting and dealing with people will improve greatly
- You may get to experience a trip to another country
- You may get to sample activities you wouldn’t normally e.g. sports, music, or drama
- You will be involved in outdoor experiences beneficial to fitness and mental health
- The friends you make in TY often turn into lasting relationships
- You will be allowed time to reflect and think about possible future careers
- You will get an opportunity to research courses and third level options
- You will get more of an opportunity to work in a team during activities
- You will feel part of a group, which may have not been the case at Junior Cycle
- Having an Identity (being a TY) will increase and enhance your personal self-worth
- You will learn to think more independently and listen to instructions better
- You may discover new talents and skills through engagement in new activities
- It should inspire you to take on more responsibility in Senior Cycle
- It will give you time to select the subjects that suit you for Senior Cycle
- You will get an opportunity to express yourself more with an expanded curriculum
- You may get an option to sample new subjects. e.g. Home Ec or Woodwork etc
- You may get a chance to visit places of cultural significance e.g. Museums or Gallery’s
- You may get opportunities to accomplish certs. e.g. Gaisce, Driving, ICT or First Aid
- You will learn research skills and how to approach employers for work experience
- You will get a chance to create, enhance and develop the quality of your CV
- You may get to experience debating, which will help your public speaking confidence
- You may be lucky enough that your school is involved in a TY exchange programme
- There won’t be as much academic pressure on you during this year
- You will have more time to join school groups e.g. student council, sports council etc
- You will be more mature and a year older heading into senior cycle
- More experiential learning during the year will mean more hands on and more fun
- You may attend workshops or talks e.g. Drugs, Alcohol or Community groups
- You may do a career matching or aptitude test to discover potential career paths
- Students may be involved in setting up mini companies (great for teamwork)
- Teachers will be more open to exploring what you are personally Interested in
- Students may get opportunities to enter local enterprise competitions
- You will still work on academic subjects and can continue to develop your knowledge
- You can investigate what type of learner you are (useful going into Senior Cycle)
- You will leave TY with a whole new set of skills and experiences to kick start your CV
- At the end of TY, you will be more mature and ready to make better future decisions
- TY’s often tell me that it was their most enjoyable and rewarding year in Secondary
- The fun, the bonding, the laughs, and the treasured relationships.
If this is the route you are heading in September 2023, good luck with Transition Year. Joe
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