Long wait for students is over as A-level results are revealed
For thousands of young people across Northern Ireland the anxious wait is over as the A-level results are released today.
The results will help students determine if they've got the grades needed for their chosen career path.
Last year boys performed better than females in attaining A* grades at A-level in Northern Ireland by 0.4% for the first time since the grade was introduced in 2010.
According to the A-level league table for 2017-18, the top-performing grammar school was St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena, with the best-performing non-grammar St Brigid's College in Londonderry.
Speaking ahead of the results being published, UUP MLA and former teacher Rosemary Barton said today will be daunting for lots of young people and their families as a long summer of waiting draws to an end.
"I expect our young people will continue to do us proud and that once again schools in Northern Ireland will be among some of the best performers right across the UK," she said.
The UUP's education spokesperson, whose teaching career spanned 30 years, also acknowledged that many people will not receive the results they want.
"I urge them all to remain positive and to remember that there are many other options to succeed in life, rather than just getting the required grades for university," Ms Barton added.
"Not only do we have a brilliant network of further education colleges, we also have a large range of local companies offering apprenticeships which are very often an opening into reliable and rewarding careers."
Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan also offered best wishes to those waiting to learn their fate as she assured disappointed pupils and parents that "there are always options".
"While these results may seem all-important now, they are not defining and there are always other pathways available," she added.
Controlled Schools' Support Council CEO Barry Mulholland acknowledged all the hard work of teaching staff despite increasing financial challenges as he warned "there is nothing more important" than education.
As many young adults begin to prepare for university life, the Department for the Economy (DfE) is promoting the benefits of staying at home to study at one of NI's Further Education colleges..
"Many will choose university, but for others, the attraction of a university-equivalent course at their local Further Education College has never been more appealing," a DfE spokesperson said.
The department also listed alternatives to university courses, such as to complete higher education courses such as foundation degrees, higher level apprenticeships (HLA), higher national diplomas (HND) and higher national certificates (HNC).
Parentline NI is offering free and confidential advice, support and guidance to parents between 9am to 9pm today via its helpline on 0808 8020 400 or online at www.ci-ni.org.uk