The wait ends tomorrow for around 59,000 students who are due to receive their Leaving Certificate results.
The grades have been finalised by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) in recent days and will be given out at schools and other centres in the morning.
Those awaiting results include over 2,800 who were entered for the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA), an alternative to the traditional academic-oriented exams.
Among over 56,595 who were due to sit the main Leaving Certificate exams in June were around 15,000 who also completed Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP). It mixes academic studies with self-directed learning, enterprise, work and community.
For most of those who get results tomorrow, the focus will soon switch to the race for college places, as the results are fed to the Central Applications Office (CAO) and college admissions officers for the allocation of third-level offers.
They are due to be issued next Monday at 6am, when around 50,000 people will likely be offered a chance to study on one of their chosen courses. The CAO has seen another increase in applicant numbers of nearly 1,700, or over 2% more than last year, to nearly 81,000.
A close eye will be kept again this year on the grades obtained by students taking higher level Leaving Certificate maths. Their numbers have risen dramatically in recent years since bonus CAO points have been allocated to those who pass it.
While the increased proportions taking the honours papers have been welcomed — up from just 16% in 2011 to 27% over the last two years — the numbers who did so this year will not be known until tomorrow. Around 35% who were down to sit maths papers were entered for higher level, but several thousand opted instead for the ordinary level papers on exam day.
Despite the positive impact on higher level participation rates, the SEC’s chief examiner for Leaving Certificate maths cautioned earlier this year that some students may be making the wrong choice.
While CAO points will be the focus for most of those getting results, almost 10,000 of them did not apply for third-level courses. Results obtained in the LCA can not be used towards third-level entry, and a total of 47,654 who applied to the CAO are doing so on the basis of 2016 Leaving Cert grades.
The option of Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, mostly run by colleges of further education under education and training board (ETB) management is one of the main alternatives. In many cases, these qualifications make students eligible to seek entry to third-level degree programmes.
There has also been a renewed focus and emphasis on apprenticeships, with a range of new in-work training programmes being rolled out from this year under the supervision of an Apprenticeship Council which selected a number of proposals to widen the kind of work sectors to which young people can gain entry.
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