My daughter hasn’t a clue what she wants to do after school

Ask Brian: Students can access a variety of websites to explore options

My daughter is in transition year and seems to have lost all motivation and focus on schoolwork. She has no idea what subjects she should select for her Leaving Cert, quite apart from what she might aim to do after she leaves school. Have you any advice on how we could motivate her?

Your daughter is not unusual for her age. The transition year programme is very much aimed at personal development and the lack of focus on Leaving Cert subjects or career aspirations should not give rise to concern at this early stage .

You will probably find that your school’s guidance counsellor has scheduled aptitude tests and an interest inventory into their transition year programme after Christmas.

These online tests give you, your daughter, her teachers and guidance counsellor a very clear picture of her aptitudes and interests to facilitate her subject choices in the current year and, following a further series of tests midway through her two-year Leaving Cert programme, help guide her in her third-level and other options.


Your daughter can access a variety of websites to explore her options. has a free and accessible "career self-assessment" section which helps students identify the kind of careers which match their interests, and also what courses are available. also has a similar "interest assessment" section. Another service widely used in hundreds of Irish schools is

It specialises in aptitude and interest tests to assist students make relevant choices throughout their second-level journey. If your daughter’s school does not offer these tests they can be undertaken independently under parental supervision and completed online from home. The results can then be printed and shown to the student’s guidance counsellor at their next one-to-one meeting in school.

For a student in transition year, two of the products listed are useful, "my aptitude" and "eirquest", which produces an interest profile based on dozens of questions. Midway through the Leaving Cert programme, the "my uni choices" section is useful in identifying suitable college courses in Ireland, the UK, Europe and beyond.

All these websites contain a variety of high-quality information to support the research which students need to undertake if they are to make informed career-related decisions. They are just the ones I am familiar with – there are other highly reputable tools used by other guidance counsellors.

I am certain that as this academic year progresses, your daughter’s school will advise you as to how they will support her in making the key choices which will take her on to the final stage of her second-level journey. In the meantime, I hope – Covid-19 permitting – she gets a chance to enjoy the freedom which transition year offers.

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