Timeline for Admissions

As the current academic year comes to a close – this week sees the final Exam Board at Maynooth University – thoughts turn with some apprehension to the start of the next.

The Leaving Certificate Examinations are taking place now and will finish on 28th June, more-or-less in line with pre-pandemic times, but the results will come out later. Normally these would be released in mid-August, so the university admissions process run by CAO would start then, giving a whole month before the start of teaching term at third-level institutions.

Last year, however, the results were not released until 3rd September 2021, which made it impossible for new students to start their courses at the scheduled time. At Maynooth, for example, first-years started a week later than returning students and missed the usual orientation week. More importantly for the students, there was a last-minute scramble for accommodation that made it impossible for many students to live anywhere near campus.

Until recently I was assuming that this year would be at least as bad as last. Although the examinations have returned to the traditional format this year, the Leaving Certificate results will be delayed again, for two (connected) reasons. One is that the Minister for Education decided that this year’s results would not be lower than last year so some scaling may be necessary and the other is that it is anticipated that more students will make use of the later alternative sittings provided for those unable to take the regular sitting owing to, e.g. ill health. These are connected because if a large number of students avail of the second setting then the scaling business will have to wait until their marks have been processed.

We know that the results will be late, but we don’t know how late they will be which is a major headache. Autumn Term in Maynooth is scheduled to start on 19th September, for returning students, but at the moment we don’t know when first years will start.

Today however there is an indication that results will probably be released in ‘late August’. If that turns out to be the case then the start of next academic year will probably turn out to be no less chaotic than this year was from at least from the point of view of teaching. I’d be relieved at any outcome that is not worse than last year. It’s even possible that teaching in Maynooth can start on 19th September for all students, though I don’t think I would bet on it. Things will be even be trickier at other institutions whose teaching term starts earlier in September.

That still leaves the problem of student accommodation, though. Here I don’t think the timeline for admissions will help much in averting an entirely predictable crisis. Once we know the dates we will make the best plans we can for teaching, but for accommodation there doesn’t seem to be any plan at all.

One Response to “Timeline for Admissions”

  1. […] on from Monday’s post about uncertainty relating to the start of next academic year, it has now been announced that this […]

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