Pros and cons of transition year

At the end of his 4th year at school, Brian weights up the benefits of TY

Written by Brian Manning


As I arrive at the end of my fourth year I secondary school, the time has come where I am looking back and asking myself ‘was I right to choose to do an extra year in school?’. The fact of the matter is, it comes down to each person individually. Personally I feel my TY experience was not what it could have been, due to a few different things, but I also know people in my class that have loved it. The moral of the story is that TY is not for everyone, so it is important to weigh up the pros and cons and see would you be suited to it before jumping into an extra year in school.

Pros of Transition Year

Opportunity to mature

TY can really give students the time, space and environment to mature and grow, which can be really helpful for the following two years where maturity is definitely essential to success

Work experience

This is an extremely valuable part of TY as it shows young people the reality of the working world. It also can really help a student decide what they want, or do not want to do in college and adult life.

Different opportunities

Many opportunities may present themselves in TY that may not have arisen had you gone straight to fifth year. For example in my school we had a musical and a ski-trip and I can safely say these were the two highlights of the year.

Get to know new people

It sound like a bit of a cliché that you hear from teachers all the time, but TY really does help you expand your circle of friend through working with them on projects, staying in a room with them on overnight trips and being mixed into new classes with them.


You get the opportunity to go on many fun trips in TY such as adventure centres and perhaps abroad if your school facilitates this. Also if you take part in Gaisce you will go on a 25km walk which sound daunting but is thoroughly enjoyable.

Project work

A lot of the work in Transition year is project based. Teachers are not hounding you every class to hand up work, it all gets handed up in one at the end. This is very good preparation for college and the adult working life.

Cons of Transition Year

Extra year in school

If you are the kind of person who really just hates school and can’t wait to get out into the real world, then you won’t want to willingly choose to spend another year in the place you’re dying to get out of. If you know for sure what you want to when you leave school, why hang around? The flip side of this is you may be very young graduating.

Get lazy

In TY you receive little to no homework every night and rarely get tests in class. There are no monthly tests, Christmas or summer exams. The opposite can be said for fifth year. Teachers will pile on the homework and a student coming from TY will really be thrown in the deep end. Some people can handle this and are refreshed and ready to hit the books but some people may be overwhelmed by it all and not be able to cope, whereas people who skip TY will be used to the workload from the Junior Cert.

Forget things

You know when you go back to school after the summer holidays and it feels like everything has just slowly leaked out over the course of the three months? Try that after a year of not doing particularly exerting classwork, no homework, no study and exams.

So to conclude, there are many pro’s and con’s of doing Transition year. Overall I feel it all comes down to each individual person and how they are suited to it, and how the school runs the programme. If you do choose to do TY, the advice I would give is to get involved in everything that comes your way and don’t let yourself fall behind on work (it will come back to bite you). In the end it will be what you make of it.

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