The Leaving Cert results are out – what happens next?

Not achieving the hoped-for results does not spell disaster – you have options

Parents should show their anxious teenage children that, no matter what the results, they have your support. Photograph: iStock

Some two months after finishing their exams, tens of thousands of students will have made the journey this morning to their secondary school to receive their long-awaited Leaving Cert results.

Experience shows that collecting exam results can be the most exhilarating but also the most terrifying experience of a young person's life. Dr Colman Noctor, a child and adolescent psychotherapist at St Patrick's Mental Health Services, says the Leaving Certificate is "the single most stressful period of life that the majority of Irish teenagers will encounter".

It is important to be cognisant of their concerns, he says.

“They understand the far-reaching consequences of these results, and therefore their reaction is not over-the-top, it is real,” he says.


“As a parent, the temptation is to positively future predict, make presumptions that all will be okay, or that ‘it’s in the lap of the Gods now’.”

This, he says, may not be the most helpful approach. Instead, Dr Noctor advises parents to offer an authentic reaction by showing that no matter what the results, they have your support.

For those safe in the knowledge their Leaving Cert results have already met or exceeded their expectations, the next few days will be a time to relax. For others, it might mean a more anxious wait to see if the points will drop for their preferred course when Monday’s CAO offer materialises.

Others, who may not have done as well as they had hoped, might now start to look at other options. However, not achieving the hoped-for results does not spell disaster as there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Plan B

It is important to have a Plan B, and happily, there are up to 30,000 places available in Further Education Colleges throughout the country. The Irish Times will publish a special guide to these QQI-validated courses in a special Smart Choices supplement on August 23rd. It is worth remembering that many of these courses offer an alternative route to attaining that degree.

By the time you read this, the SEC will already be in the process of transmitting the Leaving Cert results of all candidates electronically to the Central Applications Office ahead of Monday’s round one offer.

Over the course of the next week we will provide coverage online, in mobile and in print, covering the results and the upcoming CAO first round offers.

The Irish Times helpdesk will operate at from 9am until 5.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett will be on hand to answer questions about the results and any questions students or their parents might have about the college applications.

The service will also be available 9am-1pm on Friday.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.