"Predicted Grades" and European Applications
Written in News & Updates on Saturday, 13 March 2021 16:58


Predicted Grades and European Applications

Unsurprisingly, the requirement for ‘predicted grades’ by some European universities, as part of their application process, is causing consternation in staff rooms across Ireland. This has become particularly relevant as ‘calculated grades’ (assessed grades) raise their head again, as a live issue in the assessment of Leaving Certificate 2021.

Firstly, lets get our lexicon straight. Apart from teachers supporting the applications of three or four thousand students applying for UK universities, through UCAS, we don’t do predicted grades in Ireland. In our current situation concerning the Leaving Certificate, schools are offering calculated grades or assessed grades, but not predicted grades: we are not predicting grades for August 2021, we are calculating them, as an alternative to grades from written tests. Our calculated/assessed grades will run in parallel to the written exams. Ironically, the predicted grades used in the UK process are, in fact, predictions of calculated grades!! So, we ask those in the media, and elsewhere, to stop using the term ‘predicted grades’, in a Leaving Certificate context, when they are in fact referring to calculated grades.

In most cases, in EU systems, universities don’t offer places on their degree programmes, based on grades (with a few exceptions, which we will look at below), so grade predictions are meaningless to most admissions staff there. It might suit student recruiters/brand ambassadors, in some of these countries, to refer to ‘predicted grades’, which might reassure students from countries where grades are relevant and who are needlessly concerned about the perceptions of the strength of programmes that don’t select based on grades, but admissions staff don’t find them useful.

So, where are ‘predicted grades’ being required in EU universities? Firstly, and importantly, there are some countries (e.g. Spain and Denmark) where selection for many programmes is based on grades, or GPA (Grade Point Average). Because our Leaving Certificate results (and those in UK) are so late compared to rest of Europe, they have in the past used our predicted grades to place our students in selection rankings. Secondly, there are some programmes where grades can be one of several selection criteria. For example, in the Netherlands, where some 10% (only) of programmes have a selection procedure and they include your academic record as one of their three or four selection criteria. (The other 90% only need to know that you are registered for the Leaving Cert. and yourperformance in recent school exams). Thirdly, some (a few only) of the Health Sciences programmes in Central Europe will grant admission based on grades in science subjects.

EUNICAS is determined to ensure that our students don’t miss out on coveted places in European universities because our schools are unable to provide predicted grades. So, what are the solutions?

Firstly, Guidance Counsellors should check, when students come to them looking for "predicted grades" that this is what is actually required. As referred to above, the term can be used with a wide range of meanings! Secondly, where possible, EUNICAS is working on solutions with universities, as below:

Wherever a university (e.g. U. Amsterdam, Hague UAS) has required “predicted grades”, and EUNICAS has brought to their attention the problems some schools are having providing these, admissions staff have confirmed that there is alernative documentation that they will accept. (contact EUNICAS if you would like this clarified)

Particularly in Med and Vet schools, some programmes (not all, e.g. Warsaw ULS don’t look for predicted grades) ask for “predicted grades”. Again, in many instances, this is marketing/image-led, in that selection for most of these programmes is based only on performance in entrance tests and/or interviews. In most cases, admissions at these universities (or the ubiquitous recruitment agents) have accepted alternative documentation. In some cases (e.g. MU Wroclaw), where selection is based on grades or “predicted grades”, arrangement can be reached, usually based on conditional offers.

This has been one area where agreement has been difficult. In Spain, where the number of Irish applicants has been increasing, students need to have their results validated as equal to the Spanish high school qualifications. Where no final results are available, this validation has been done based on “predicted grades”. There is currently no indication that authorities will change this position. In the case of private universities, particularly the Dentistry schools (e,g, UCV Valencia. U Murcia), unsurprisingly, greater flexibility is being shown.

Some progrmmes - e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, Architecture - select based on entrance tests (but not Leaving Cert grades) and, in that these tests are often in September and students only have to produce Leaving Cert results at enrolment (in any event Academic Years usually start mid-October), predicted grades are not an issue.

As referred to in an earlier article, Danish universities are much less prepared this year to extend the July deadline for receiving Leaving Cert results, particularly where the programmes applied for have selecton procedures based on GPA. Predicted Grades were rarely requested in the past, and will be requested even more rarely, going forward.

Feel free to contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for clarification of any issues related to this.