In a lot of schools, Transition Year or Fourth Year is optional. Deciding whether to spend an extra year in school is a huge ask when you’re still trying to study for your junior cert, and you’re really not sure what you want for yourself. To try and make the decision a little bit easier, we’ve put together a pros and cons list to help you make up your mind whether Transition Year is for you.
The Pros of Transition Year
It’s a break away from the books
Since you started in secondary school, it’s been busy classes, homework and studying non-stop. In most schools, Transition Year is a break away from the constant studying. You get to try out new subjects you mightn’t have taken for the Junior Cert, such as a different language, music, or even woodwork. Other opportunities your school might offer could be a school musical, volunteering, and heading off on trips around your area, which is a welcome break away from all the studying of first to third year.
It’s a chance to get work experience
In most Transition Year programmes, there’ll be an element of work experience. Whether this be one day a week or week long blocks, you’ll more than likely get the chance to try out a career at one stage during TY. Trying your hand at different jobs is really important, and it might even inspire you to pick a certain career after school. Or, if you’ve had a specific job in mind for years, this could be your chance to see if it really is for you or not. Work experience also looks great on your CV, as it’s added experience for when you’re looking for a summer job.
It leaves time for other passions
Having little to no homework and studying after school and at weekends means you now have extra time for things other than school. Being able to go training in the evenings, or to rehearsals and having no study to come home to is a treat in itself. You’ll also have time to try out new things. Maybe you’ve always wanted to join a soccer team, or learn how to crochet, but your evenings have been full of Irish essays and maths equations for the last three years. Transition Year gives you a lot more freedom than other years in school to work on yourself and find what you really enjoy.
The Cons of Transition Year
It isn’t cheap
Unfortunately, Transition Year isn’t cheap. Because of so many extracurricular activities, classes and trips, TY is a lot more expensive than other years in secondary school. Some schools ask for fees to be paid up front at the start of the school year, while others look for it continuously throughout the year. If this is something you might be worried about, it’s a good idea to talk to both your parents and your school to see which option best suits you and your family.
It isn’t for everyone
Transition Year definitely isn’t for everyone. Not only is it an extra year in school, but the lack of routine and normal classes doesn’t suit some people. Sometimes as a student you might prefer having your regular classes and your study routine – and that’s absolutely fine. TY is a lot of coming and going from school, which mightn’t be for you.
When I was in Transition Year, we were constantly told “You only get out of it what you put into it”, meaning if you don’t try your hand at lots of different things, you’ll come out of the year thinking it was a little bit of a waste. If you’re the kind of person who’s okay with doing your own thing and not really into dipping your finger into different pots, maybe Transition Year isn’t for you.
You’ll be a year younger leaving school
If you choose to go straight into 5th year after your Junior Cert, it means you’ll be a year younger leaving secondary school. Most people turn 18 during 6th year, meaning you might be turning 17. If that suits you, of course there’s no problem with it. But if you’re thinking of heading away to college after secondary school, remember you’ll be a little bit younger than everyone else. Of course this isn’t a major issue, but it’s definitely something to have in the back of your mind when deciding if Transition Year is for you.