Leaving & Junior Cert Students – What next?

May 12, 2020

Following on from the most recent Government announcements re Covid 19, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty in the country surrounding the Leaving Certificate examinations for 2020.

To help clarify some of the related issues, we decided to put to put together a brief summary of how we think the remainder of the academic year will unfold for our Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate students. Although there are still quite a few missing details, we think this is how the year will unfold for those students making Career Choices and CAO College Applications this year.

Depending on the success or other of the public health measures that are currently being implemented we would expect that Leaving Cert. students will be returning to their schools for 2 weeks prior to them sitting their exams. While there no firm dates for this return, it is hoped that this return to school may happen in late May or Early June. This is to get the students “exam ready” in their respective schools (while continuing to observe Social Distancing).

It is now projected that the Leaving Cert examinations will take place in late July/Early August.

Following this projected timeframe we would expect that the CAO Change of Mind facility will now be extended into mid to late August. This is based on the fact that normally students can change their minds regarding college preferences up to 2 weeks after the completion of the Leaving Certificate Exams (normal date July 1st).

We would expect that CAO Offers would be made around 5-6 weeks after completion of the Leaving Certificate, so the offers should be available around Mid-September. All things being equal then we would hope that colleges would be ready to accept 1st Year Students either Week 1 or Week 2 in October 2020.



What does this mean?

Students will be sitting their Leaving Certificate Exams this summer in late July or Early August  

Normal CAO College application and selection procedures will apply.

Students will still have to compete for college places on a Competitive Points Basis.

CAO Offers should be made around Mid-September.

Successful students can expect to start college in Early October of this year.

These students will need Accommodation as per normal and parents should commence organising accommodation as soon as is practical.

Failure to accept the above schedule is unfortunately burying one’s head in the sand.


Due to the uncertainty surrounding this year’s Leaving Certificate we would not be surprised if there was a greater take up on places for PLC Courses next September. A word of caution here as back in 2009/10 with unemployment levels at their highest, there was a huge uptake on PLC Courses, with many unemployed adults deciding to retrain and upskill. If you are considering taking a PLC Course next September, and possibly deferring your college place until next year, then we advise that you start the Application Process for PLC Courses as soon as possible.

Junior Certificate Students : As announced on Friday 10th April, this year’s Junior Certificate exams will now take place in early September. These exams are expected to be a modified version of the normal Junior Certificate.

Students will be either in Transition Year (TY) or 5th Year while sitting their Junior Certificate. For 5th Year students it is expected that they will have already selected the Senior Cycle Subjects by then (if they haven’t already done so). If your son/daughter has not selected their Subjects for the Leaving Certificate we strongly recommend that they have a Career Guidance Assessment over the summer months. By doing so they will have the best possible preparation for choosing the right subjects on their return to school in September, when there will be minimum time to do so.

How can Griffin Career Consultancy help?

We are committed to helping students and their families through this difficult and confusing time. We are hoping to return to our normal assessment schedules in May (as always taking the best and most up to date Public Health Advice available at that time). We will continue to work right throughout the summer thus ensuring that all our clients will have access to our services right up to and including the new closing date for the CAO Change of Mind facility. We are offering our excellent Subject Selection career guidance assessments right throughout the summer period also. As we are already heavily booked for career guidance assessments we advise that you register your interest for such assessments as soon as is practical for you to do so.


Finally, how things change.

Back in February Ireland was looking like it needed up to 20,000 Apprentices to help build the 100,000 new homes that were needed to solve the extensive housing problem in the country. These priorities have indeed changed drastically since then, and I’m sure this has impacted on many people’s career decisions (both young and old).

Obviously staying safe and well are our top priorities at this moment in time, but our heart goes out to all those that continue to struggle with homelessness and high rents. We hope and pray that as a country we can overcome the massive challenge that is being presented to us right now and that we can get back to building a just and equitable society for everyone before too long.

*In Partnership with Whitney Career Guidance