Information Sheet for Leaving Cert Students over summer 2021

Dear Leaving Certificate student, this document outlines a checklist of ‘tips’ for the class of 2021 as you prepare to end your post-primary education and transition to the next stage of your lives.

Contact with your Guidance CounsellorContact your Guidance Counsellor if you have any questions or issues at the current time.   Guidance Counsellor is available until the end of May to support Leaving Cert students with any Guidance related issues (social, personal, educational, and career). However, the Guidance Counsellor will not be able to discuss SEC accredited grades with students.      The Guidance Counsellor will conduct a webinar in early August for Leaving Cert students and their parents ahead of Leaving Cert results day. This webinar will detail information on Results Day, how to access your results and next steps.   The Guidance Counsellor will also be available upon return to school in late August.   The school website may also be a source of information for you over the coming weeks and months.    
WellbeingBe aware: A big transition, such as leaving post-primary school for the next stage in the journey, can be exciting. But it can also cause feelings of sadness or worry.   The transition from post-primary education to the next step is significant. Even in a ‘normal’ year, this transition will have its challenges. Asking for help and information where you need it will help you transition towards the next step of your journey.   The following definition of wellbeing has been provided by the Department of Education and Skills (2018): ‘Wellbeing is present when a person realises their potential, is resilient in dealing with the normal stresses of life, takes care of their physical wellbeing and has a sense of purpose, connection and belonging to a wider community.’   If you are feeling unwell or anxious, talking to a responsible and trusted adult can be helpful. Agencies that are also available if you need extra support are available in the link: gov.ie – Wellbeing information and resources   University College Cork have developed Nurturing Bright Futures Course which is an online 6 module course to equip you with the information you need as you prepare to transition into third level education. Course can be found at the following link: https://ucc.instructure.com/courses/32168
SEC Accredited GradesTeachers will use a range of available evidence to support their judgement-making in estimating the marks to award. These estimated marks will be subject to an in-school alignment process and a national standardisation process.   Teachers may draw on assessment activities undertaken over the two years of study, including those undertaken during periods of emergency remote learning in the current school year 2020/21. Teachers may also provide assessments up to 14th May, which will be considered proportionately with other forms of evidence of your Leaving Certificate programme. For more information, click on the link:   A Guide to State Examinations and Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021  
Leaving Certificate ExaminationThe Leaving Certificate Examination will begin on Wednesday 9th June, subject to health advice. Be sure to note the dates and times for each of your exams from the relevant official timetable below. You should arrive at least 30 minutes before each examination. It is a good idea to have a printout of your timetable pinned up at home.   Leaving Certificate Timetable Leaving Certificate Applied Timetable   Further adjustments, which aim to lessen the load of your written examination papers were made in recognition of the disruption to your learning caused by extended school closures in 2021. For more information, click on the link:   Further adjustments to the written examinations, Leaving Certificate, 2021
CAO ProcessMake sure your CAO is in good order! This will help you have several options in August. For your CAO to be in good order, you should be careful to:   Make sure your courses are in order of preference.Make sure that you meet the minimum entry requirements for your chosen courses.Make sure you have good ‘backups’ in place   The CAO online Change of Mind facility is now available (Free)   A Statement of Application Record will be sent to all applicants before the end of May (Contact CAO if you do not receive it)   It is VITALLY important that your CAO application is complete and that your courses are inserted in order of preference. This cannot be changed after 1st July at 5:15 pm. Remember, you can still introduce new courses onto your CAO lists until 1st July 2021 (except restricted application courses).    
Decision making in AugustDecision-making in August (date TBC) is best done when:

Both the SEC accredited grades and your examination grade (if taken), and the CAO offer are availableDiscussed with a trusted and well-informed adult   You will receive the results of both SEC Accredited Grades and examinations (if you choose to sit examinations) at the same time. You will be credited with the better of the two results.   A short time following the issue of results, you will have access to more detailed information about both sets of results. You will be able to see the estimated marks submitted by your school and the SEC Accredited Grades following the standardisation process. If you took the certificate examinations, you will be able to see the marks awarded in the written examination, and the marks awarded in any components.   This information will help your decision to appeal a result in a subject In any given year, a set of Leaving Certificate results is not guaranteed to grant access to a CAO course. Often, on results day, students can react to their leaving certificate grades, e.g. ‘’oh no, I do not have enough points for my course… what am I going to do?’’ or ‘’brilliant, I have ten points more than I need for my course. I am getting my first choice.’’ These statements are not true for students… there is no way of telling if your grades will translate into the correct number of CAO points for your course.   For students in the examples above, the commentary shows these students misunderstand how the CAO system works.   Points change every year, and we NEVER know what the points for your chosen CAO course will be. It is important to remember that decisions should be made when both the Leaving Certificate grades and the CAO offers are in hand.   In addition, when you get your grades and your CAO offer, it will be important for you to discuss your options with a well-informed adult in August. Sometimes very well-meaning individuals are quick to offer advice without fully understanding the systems that are in place.   If things do not work out exactly as you expected, you will have choices and options. Your school Guidance Counsellor will be able to help if you are unsure.

Appeal ProcessIf you are not happy with one or more of your results from the SEC Accredited Grades and/or the Leaving Certificate Examination, you can choose to appeal.
The appeals process for SEC Accredited Grades is clearly explained at:   https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/83b9c-a-guide-to-state-examinations-and-accredited-grades-for-leaving-certificate-2021-ensuring-objectivity-and-fairness/   The appeals process for the written examinations will be published later.  
HEAR / DARE You will be notified by email of the outcome of your HEAR /DARE application by the end of June. If you do not receive any correspondence by 1st July, contact a member of the HEAR/DARE teams.   If you are eligible, you can compete for one of the reduced points places on offer in the universities and colleges taking part in the HEAR/ DARE schemes. All HEAR /DARE course offers are made by the CAO. For further information, please see:   www.accesscollege.ie  
SUSI (Application for Grants)If you think you may qualify for a grant, you can apply through SUSI at the website below.

Applications received before the priority closing dates will be prioritised for assessment by SUSI. The priority closing dates are Thursday 10th June 2021 for grant renewal applications & Thursday 8th July 2021 for new grant applications.   www.susi.ie This website also has a FAQ section for Covid19 related queries: Covid related questions and student grant funding  
PLCKeep an eye out on all relevant websites for information about PLC Applications and Offers.   For the most up to date information, check with the relevant college website or: www.fetchcourses.ie/
Apprenticeships  The system of apprenticeships remains in place, and it is expected that there will be opportunities for application, as in previous years.   For the most up-to-date information, please see:   www.apprenticeship.ie  
Applying for a job  Get your CV and cover letter into good shape. It may also be useful to ‘brush up’ on your interview skills.   To put your ‘best foot forward’ in applying for jobs, it is important to be well prepared.   Draft and re-draft your CV and cover letter before finalising the document. Ask a trusted family member / knowledgeable adult to read over the documents.   When applying for jobs, it is important to make a good impression. For more information, please see: https://www.ncge.ie/sites/default/files/20190826%20WSG-Applying-Jobs-Student-Resource-Sheet-EN.pdf  
Communication with University / College / Institution Each university/college/institution has a website. Keep up to date with all updates and check the website regularly. Virtual tours and other online opportunities for interested students to avail of at the current time. You can also contact the university/college/institution as required.  
Applications to UCAS https://www.ucas.com/   Applications to Europe https://www.eunicas.ie/   Applications to USACheck websites regularly for the most up to date information.   The colleges and universities will be making decisions about methods of delivery in the coming months. A blended learning approach with class contact time and some remote learning may be possible for next year. This situation is evolving, and information will become available in due course.  
Applications for Medicine in Ireland – HPAT results.This year the HPAT results will be returned to students in late June – see below.


It is important to be wise about your CAO and not make any reactive changes due to the HPAT result you receive. It is advisable, irrespective of your HPAT result, to complete your CAO (i) in order of preference, (ii) with good ‘backups.’ Ideally, it would be best if you had your CAO in order before receiving your HPAT results.  
Future Guidance CounsellingGuidance Counsellors / Career Services and Supports are available to you once you leave the post-primary system. For example, third level colleges and universities will have a service available. Guidance is also provided in the FET sector through various services such as adult education services and training centres.   Locally in Loughrea the Galway and Roscommon Enterprise and Training Board offer the following Career Guidance Service. The service is available to anyone considering education and training. You must also be over 16 years of age and out of formal education.  This is a free and confidential service. Contact details are as follows:       Pauline Dillon
Guidance Information Officer
087 055 2292
guidance@gretb.ie     Tadhg Crowley
Adult Guidance Counsellor / Co-ordinator
087 281 8506

Timeline of some important dates for 6th year students:

Remember: more important dates might become available.
Check with official websites for more information


  • Get in touch with your Guidance Counsellor to finalise all aspects of your plan and your back up plan.
  • Complete the ‘Taking Stock’ survey to let your Guidance Counsellor know what your Guidance needs are at the current time.
  • Reflect on how you are feeling at the current time. What can you do to look after your wellbeing?
  • Check all appropriate/official websites for updates on a regular basis. 
  • From the week commencing 10 May, CAO will begin emailing all applicants who applied by 1 February.  This email is referred to as the Statement of Application Record, and it replaces the traditional postal document applicants would normally receive this month. You must read the Statement of Application Record email and follow the instructions carefully.


  • Leaving Certificate Examinations: 9th June – 29th June
  • HPAT Ireland will be in touch with students. 
  • 29th June 2021 HEAR and DARE applicants will be notified of the outcome of their Hear/DARE application.
  • Check all appropriate/ official websites for updates on a regular basis.
  • Other: Work on developing my CV and send to Guidance Counsellor for review.


  • Change of mind closes on 1st July at 5:15 pm.
  • You will be notified by email of the outcome of your HEAR /DARE application by the end of June. If you do not receive any correspondence by 1st July, contact a member of the HEAR/DARE teams.
  • Grant applications received before the priority closing dates will be prioritised for assessment by SUSI. The priority closing dates are Thursday 10th June 2021 for grant renewal applications & Thursday 8th July 2021 for new grant applications.
  • Check all appropriate/ official websites for updates on a regular basis.


  • School Guidance Counsellor will hold an information webinar early August ahead of Results Day.
  • Results of both SEC Accredited Grades and examinations (if you choose to sit examinations) will be issued at the same time. You will be credited with the better of the two results.
  • Remember: It is advisable to have BOTH your results AND your CAO offer before making choices on what to do next, as outlined above.
  • It may be helpful to speak to a well-informed adult before making any final decisions.
  • Schools reopen, and Guidance Counsellors will be available