Leaving Cert students must wait until September 3rd to get results

Some third-level institutions to delay enrolment of first years due to later results date

Leaving Cert students will have to wait until early September before receiving their results and CAO offers.

Minister for Education Norma Foley has confirmed that students will be able to access their results online on Friday, September 3rd, about three weeks later than normal.

It is likely that CAO round one offers for college applicants will follow shortly afterwards in the week beginning Monday, September 6th.

The later results date this year will force many third-level colleges to delay the admission of first-year students by a least a fortnight.


Higher education sources say colleges will reopen as scheduled for other students .

Ucas, which oversees applications to UK colleges, said it will move its deadline for accepting offers from Irish students until September 7th to accommodate the new results date.


Leaving Cert students this year have the option to avail of accredited grades based on teachers’ estimates, sitting the written exams, or both, in any subject.

Students will be automatically credited with the higher of the two grades in their final results.

The vast majority of this year’s 60,000 Leaving Cert students have chosen to avail of accredited grades and sit at least one written exam. Some 99 per cent have opted for accredited grades, while 91 per cent plan to sit an exam.

The written exams begin on Wednesday, June 9th and and will run until the end of the month.

Ms Foley confirmed students will receive their results directly on thecandidate self-service portal, where they registered their options for exams or accredited grades, or both.

“The usual helplines and supports will be in place for students on results day and beyond. I will be in contact with schools asking them to ensure that guidance support is available to students at this time,” she said.

“I would like to take this opportunity once again to stress how important it is that students taking the examinations continue to follow the public health advice and limit their contacts as the examinations approach and during the examination period.”

Sinn Féin’s education spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire criticised the delay in providing students with their results.

“ This is crucial time lost, where students could have time to make an informed decision on whether they want to accept their third level offer,” he said.

Labour education spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called on Ms Foley to move the date back to mid-August.

“This will create more anxiety for students who have already endured a roller-coaster year,” he said.

“The written exams are taking place at the usual time, and the accredited grades system is already in place, so I am at a loss as to why the results date will be in September.


A number of higher education institutions are planning to delay the planned enrolment of first-year students in light of the later Leaving Cert results date.

The academic year gets under way on September 6th in NUI Galway and University of Limerick, and on September 13th in Trinity College Dublin, UCD, UCC and TU Dublin, among others.

Higher education sources say it is likely that enrolment will delayed until September 20th or later in many of these institutions.

They say additional time will be needed for students to develop a new schedule for CAO offers.

DCU, which was due to begin an orientation week for first years on September 13th and teaching on September 20th, said it is also working on a new schedule for new students.

It said campus accommodation move-in dates will reflect any changes to enrolment for first years.

Maynooth University – which had been planning to enrol first years from September 20th – is likely to be unaffected by the new results date.

A spokeswoman for Ucas, meanwhile, said it has moved its “advisory conditions deadline” to September 7th in order to give students more time to meet their offers.

“Any student that has a question about their specific application should contact their chosen university,” she said.

Eunicas, which organises admissions to many European universities, said it was working with them to ensure Irish students can start their programmes as normal.

Guy Flouch, head of Eunicas, said it was likely that Dutch universities will be able to accept late results. However, he said confirmation was not yet available from the Dutch ministry of education.


Public health experts, meanwhile, have cautioned students and their families that they have entered a crucial phase where the threat of Covid-19 could disrupt candidates’ plans to sit exams.

Any student who is a close contact of a positive case is required to restrict their movements for at least 10 days.

Separately, education analysts expect that students’ grades and CAO points will be higher this year when the results are released in early September.

This is on the basis that teachers’ estimated grades last year were significantly higher than historical results in the written exams.

Some analysts believe grade inflation could rise even higher this year due to the fact that students will have more choice and time in their written exams, and will automatically be credited with their best result.

Grade inflation

Last year, grade inflation resulted in CAO points rising to a new high, while this year a record 84,000 students have applied for college places in the coming academic year.

This is due to demographic factors as well as additional mature students seeking to retrain and increased interest from overseas applicants sparked by Brexit.

Government sources say they hope the addition of about 4,000 extra third-level places this year will absorb pressure linked to growing demand and grade inflation.

Details of where the additional places will go are still being worked out, but senior sources want to target them in areas of demand such as health, law, business, science, the environment and journalism.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent