What a year, what an end and what a class group! As Leaving Certs you have weathered the storm created by COVID-19 with a collective strength of character that has earned you the respect of your teachers, parents and so many others besides.


For so many of you the disappointment of not being able to celebrate the traditional milestones in your final year in secondary school still lingers; that’s completely understandable. You have been exceptionally patient considering that your results are being issued almost four weeks later than every other year, but thankfully the wait is almost over.

Tomorrow (Monday) at 9am, the results of your Calculated Grades will be available online via your Student Portal on https://lc2020.education.gov.ie/. As this is a big milestone in your life in a year that has denied you many more of them it would be a good idea to have someone with you when you get them to share in the experience of it with you. You will need your exam number, student portal password and PPS number to access the results. Your points will not be listed on the certificate that you get so you will need to calculate them yourself. It’s a good idea to download the Points Calculator App from Careers Portal to your phone beforehand. It is very simple to use and does the calculating for you. You then have another wait for CAO Round 1 offers which will be available online at 2pm on Friday, September 11. You won’t know the points for 2020 until the Round 1 offers are issued. On Monday (September 14), the estimated mark given by the school will be available online via the Student Portal. Students will be able to appeal results from September 14-17, and details of the process will be published on the Student Portal. Available Places will also open on September 14 on www.cao.ie. You will have up to Wednesday September 16 at 3pm to accept your Round 1 offer online. Second round offers will be made on September 23 for acceptance by September 25. For the most up-to-date information on dates and details always check www.cao.ie and https://lc2020.education.gov.ie/.


Students who are disappointed with their results will have the opportunity to sit the written Leaving Certificate Exams in November. You may choose to sit some or all of the exams and you will be able to use the highest grade that you receive from either the exam or the calculated grade to apply to CAO for entry to college in 2021/2022. The exams are due to begin on Monday, November 16 on evenings and weekends, subject to public health guidelines at that time. Details such as timetables, registration and procedures will be issued closer to the time. Schools have been asked to ensure that Guidance Counsellors are available to students on the day of the results so if you have questions contact your school by phone or email. The National Parents’ Council Post-Primary in conjunction with the IGC will provide a Freephone helpline on 1800 265 165 on September 7 and 8 from 11am to 8pm, on September 9 and 10 from 11am to 2pm, September 11 from 12pm-8pm and September 12 from 11am to 5pm.


Leaving Cert Results day is always a day filled with lots of different emotions for students and no doubt they will be amplified even more because of the year that you have had. So take time to process your feelings about the results, try not to compare yourself to others and enjoy this for the event that it is – a milestone in your life. That said, it is a well-worn cliché at this stage but never so important to remember you that you are not defined by your Leaving Cert results. They are a mark in the sand, an end of one part of your journey. What lies ahead is a very exciting next stage, one which if you make the right choice for yourself will allow you to flourish far beyond COVID-19. Congratulations to the class of 2020 – I am in awe of how you have coped with the impact of a global pandemic in your Leaving Cert year – Maith sibh! It may not feel like it but you are stronger, more capable and more resilient as a result. The best is yet to come!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and PRO of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie.