Third-level student leaders say Leaving Cert results date is still not early enough

Following the announcement by Education Minster Norma Foley of the August 25 results date, colleges are confirming their start dates for first years. Photo: Gareth Chaney.

Katherine Donnelly

Third-level student leaders say the Leaving Cert results date of August 25 is still not early enough.

Meanwhile, colleges have started to confirm entry dates for incoming first years in September.

Although a week earlier than last year and two weeks earlier than in 2020, the exam results are more than a week behind the traditional mid-August date.

The Leaving Cert starts on June 7 and, the last time this happened, in 2017, results were released on Wednesday, August 16.

"We need to get back to pre-pandemic Leaving Cert. results timeline,” said Clodagh McGivern, vice-president for academic affairs of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) vice-president.

Ms McGivern said that while USI welcomed the announcement that results would be released a week earlier than last year, it was only a step in the right direction.

“We have been in touch with student representatives across the country – everyone is more or less in agreement that the results still just aren't early enough,” she said.

"The Leaving Cert already places huge stress and pressure on students and can have a significant impact on their mental health. The long wait for results, and the short turnaround to the new academic year, just creates more stress for them.”

Securing accommodation had become almost impossible for many students and the late release of results “just makes it even harder for first years”.

“A longer lead in time to the academic year would give students more security and time to plan and budget for the year ahead. Students have just one more week than last year to sort out where they're going to live. It’s not enough,” she said.

Meanwhile, following the announcement by Education Minster Norma Foley of the August 25 results date, colleges are confirming their start dates for first years.

The results will be followed CAO Round 1 offers on Wednesday August 30 and Round 2 offers on Monday September 11.

Timetables for a new academic year are finalised in the previous spring and were drawn up in 2023 without knowing when Leaving Cert results would be released. College registrars have been reviewing the situation in recent days, but little or no change from draft arrangements was expected.

At Maynooth University, orientation for first years will start on Monday September 18, a week before continuing students return, giving them time to acclimatise to the campus before it gets too busy.

Having orientation ahead of the general return also means that continuing students are available for mentoring activities with first years before their own lectures start.

At Trinity College Dublin, orientation for freshers will also start on September 18, with tuition beginning on September 25. Continuing students will return to lectures on September 11.

At UCD, there will be orientation for first years on September 13, 14 and 15, with tuition starting on Monday, September 18. Following last week’s announcement that Leaving Cert results would issue on August 25, a week earlier than last year, the UCD Academic Council brought forward previously agreed start dates.

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