Leaving Cert results received…but what’s next for agricultural academic hopefuls?

There was much excitement along with nerves for some 60,000 students who received the results of their Leaving Certificate yesterday (Monday, September 7).

Now, the focus for many has shifted towards looking at future study and careers.

Friday (September 11) will be the next big day for academic hopefuls around the country as Round One CAO offers will be available online from 2:00pm. There are a total of 78,168 applicants awaiting admission to third-level colleges through the CAO process.


On Friday, CAO applicants will receive an email notification and a text message (if they have selected this option).

Separate emails/texts will issue in respect of Level 8 and Level 7/6 courses, with Level 8 notifications issuing first.

This year, there will be no paper offer notices for any of the offer rounds. The acceptance date for Round One offers is no later than Wednesday (September 16) at 3:00pm. Offers may be accepted online only.

Round Two offers will be available on the CAO website from 10:00am on Wednesday (September 23). The reply date for these offers is no later than Friday (September 25) at 12:00pm.

Agriculture courses in 2019

This year, the average marks across all subjects and at all levels in the Leaving Cert have increased on average by 4.4% on last year. It is likely that this may lead to a CAO points increase for some courses.

AgriLand found earlier in the summer that the interest in third-level agriculture-related courses had dropped in 2020 compared to 2019.

One of the most significant differences this year is the 5% decrease in applicants opting for a Level 8 agricultural course as their first preference. There were 24 less applicants in 2020, bringing the figure down from 471 in 2019 to 447 in 2020.

There was a decrease of 2% in applicants mentioning an agricultural course further down their list, with this year’s number standing at 2,344 compared to 2,395 last year.

There was also less interest in Level 7/6 agricultural courses, with a 3% decrease in first preferences and a 5% decrease in total mentions.

However, the numbers for Level 8 veterinary courses are more positive, seeing an increase of 78 applicants putting a veterinary course on the top of their list, bringing last year’s figure from 886 to 946 this year, an increase of 9%.

CAO points for some Level 8 agriculture-related courses for 2019 were:
  • Athlone Institute of Technology: Bioveterinary Science (310);
  • University College Cork: Agricultural Science (473);
  • University College Dublin: Agricultural Science (425);
  • University College Dublin: Dairy Business (398);
  • University College Dublin: Veterinary Medicine (567);
  • Institute of Technology Tralee: Agricultural Science (331);
  • Institute of Technology Tralee: Veterinary Bioscience (326);
  • Waterford Institute of Technology: Agricultural Science (378).

Students urged to consider apprenticeships

The option of undertaking an apprenticeship opportunity has been highlighted recently by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Simon Harris.

The government has reported that there is already a strong interest shown in the new Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme.

According to Minister Varadkar, around 6,500 employers are already running apprenticeship programmes.

The July Stimulus initiative established the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, which provides a grant of €3,000 per apprentice over two years, for employers who register apprentices before the end of the year. It is being recommended as an option for both school leavers and learners of all ages.

In the three weeks since the scheme went live, applications have been received from employers representing 310 individual apprentices.

Minister Simon Harris said: “As Leaving Cert results are issued and the focus inevitably turns to CAO offers over the coming weeks, it is important for students to remember that there are many routes to a chosen career and I would encourage students to look at all the options available to them, including apprenticeships.”

How was the Leaving Cert different this year?

Leaving Cert students received their results through the calculated grades process due to the disruption to the usual examination process by Covid-19.

The overall number of students due to sit the examinations in 2020 was 60,419.

Of those, 57,569 students followed the Leaving Cert (Established) Programme, of which 13,470 followed the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme.

A further 2,850 candidates followed the Leaving Cert Applied Programme.

Students received results for the first time yesterday in the new subjects of computer science and physical education.