Editor's Viewpoint: Poor A-level results not end of the world
Today thousands of students will learn if all their hard work paid off as they receive their A-level results. For many there will be undiluted joy, and others will have to reconsider their options.
But whatever the results, all must realise that today need not determine how the rest of their lives will turn out. For large numbers, the grades they achieve will be the necessary stepping stones they require to enter third-level education and perhaps enter one of the professions such as medicine, teaching, accountancy or law.
Others will choose more general third-level courses which may give them an edge when applying for jobs on leaving university.
However, there are many people who question if going to university is the best option in today's world. There was a time when it was almost a rite of passage for A-level students, but huge fees have made three or four years at university a challenge for many, leaving them saddled with thousands of pounds of debt when graduating.
Some employers also question if university prepares graduates sufficiently for the world of work. This is a complaint often voiced in areas like technology.
Of course university offers more than just further education. It is also a chance for young people to discover their own abilities when staying away from home and, for those who move to universities in Britain, it is also an opportunity to broaden their horizons.
Many who see a new way of life decide never to return to Northern Ireland.
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However, due to the costs associated with university, including accommodation, a significant number will decide that home is the best value option.
Going into traditional vocations like electrician, plumber, tiler or builder was often dismissed by those with an academic bent, but as anyone who has ever hired a tradesman will know, these can be very lucrative careers.
Even in hard times there is always work for a dedicated and skilful tradesman.
That could be an option for some students today if they fail to get the grades they want.
Of course they can always resit the examinations and hope to improve their results.
Whatever their results today, they should consider all their options and seek advice on what is the best way forward.
That will involve talking to careers teachers and also their parents. Remember they have something irreplaceable - experience.