Leaving Cert student almost lost place at London university due to results delay

Government should have considered ramifications for students aiming to study abroad, says Conor Walsh

Conor Walsh: ‘The Government had obviously looked at Irish universities but hadn’t thought about people who wanted to go further afield’

Conor Walsh: ‘The Government had obviously looked at Irish universities but hadn’t thought about people who wanted to go further afield’

 

A student who received eight H1 grades in his Leaving Certificate has said that a decision not to publish the results until September 3rd nearly lost him his place at the prestigious King’s College in London.

Conor Walsh, who did his Leaving Cert at Maynooth Community College in Co Kildare, was offered a place in the college prior to his exams, pending his meeting the required academic credentials.

However, the night before the Irish paper one written exam, the UK college informed Mr Walsh that they could not guarantee him a place. This arose because he was set to miss the university cut-off deadline given that the results were moved to September as opposed to mid-August.

The 18-year-old from Newtown said that the postponement of the results date brought added stress during the exams.

“It was a great opportunity [to be offered a place at King’s] and of course I wanted to take it. Then, unfortunately, the Government announced that they were moving the results to later in the year.

“King’s College said that they weren’t going to accept that and they needed the results at an earlier date. It was disheartening and soul-destroying.

“It was difficult to motivate myself because I was working towards a particular goal. It was challenging. I was kind of like ‘oh God do I have to go in and do the exam tomorrow after this?’ But I just kept going and tried to set it aside.”

Overseas

When the Leaving Cert ended Mr Walsh got in touch via email with Minister for Education Norma Foley. He also contacted local TDs expressing his dismay at the change in the Leaving Cert results date. He outlined the impact it was having on students whose aim it was to study overseas.

He said that many English courses commence their term on September 1st – two days before the Leaving Cert results were due out.

Fortunately, King’s College got in touch and told Mr Walsh that they had reconsidered and would give him a place once he met their academic requirements on results day. Thankfully, he received the highest grade in all eight of the written exams he sat.

Mr Walsh emphasises that King’s College did everything they could to accommodate him. 

Mr Walsh said that he had a back-up plan with the CAO. However, in his heart he was set on London and had started looking for accommodation.

He has wanted to be a barrister since a “fantastic” transition year, when he did work experience at a local law firm.

Mr Walsh, who is looking forward to his studies, said the Government should have considered the ramifications of the postponed results date on students who had plans outside of the CAO.

“The world of law in England is bigger than here and I think there might be more doors open over there. And obviously it is a fantastic university.

“I can’t wait to get back to some sense of normality. Getting to meet new people and going out and having fun because obviously we have missed out on that during the last year and a half.

“The regular results date is usually fine to get admission in to college in the UK. They [the Government] had obviously looked at Irish universities but hadn’t thought about people who wanted to go further afield. It was something that should have been considered.”