The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)

What is DARE?

DARE is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who, as a result of having a disability, have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.

Who can apply to DARE?

DARE is for school leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2017 with a disability, who have been educationally impacted as a result of that disability. Applicants to DARE can present with an Irish Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and/ or other EU qualifications. Mature students and students applying on the basis of Further Education and Training (FET) results have different admission routes. You can get further information on these routes from college and university websites.

What are the benefits of DARE?

If you apply to DARE and meet the application criteria (that is, are deemed eligible for DARE) you may be offered a place even if you do not have enough Leaving Certificate points for your preferred course. Each participating college and university has a reserved number of places to offer eligible DARE applicants at lower or reduced Leaving Cert points.

DARE Application Timeline

From November 2016

CAO applications open from 4 November 2016 at 12 noon:

  1. Review the DARE Handbook with your parent(s)/guardian(s).
  2. Make a CAO application at www.cao.ie
  3. Fill in the online Supplementary Information Form (SIF) at www.cao.ie
  4. Complete your Educational Impact Statement with your school.
  5. Gather your Evidence of Disability documentation.

By 1 February 2017

By 1 March 2017

Apply to CAO by 17:15

  1. You must indicate your wish to be considered for DARE by ticking 'Yes' to Question 1 on www.cao.ie
  2. You must complete Section A (Question 1-5) of the Supplementary Information Form
By 1 April 2017

You must return the completed, signed AND stamped

  1. Educational Impact Statement (Section B)
  2. Evidence of Disability (Section C) or other Evidence of Disability to the CAO, Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway by 17:15.

Make sure your documents are clear and can be easily read.  Put your name and CAO number on all documents.

Faxed/emailed documents are not accepted.

April - June 2017

Late June 2017

Assessment of DARE applications.

You will be notified of the outcome of your DARE application by the end of June.

End June/Early July 2017

Late July 2017

DARE Recheck.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the recheck application.

August 2017
Leaving Certificate Exam Results.
Eligible DARE applicants compete for reduced points places.
CAO Offers to eligible DARE applicants.
Course offers are made and should be accepted though the CAO
Late August/September 2017 Attend Orientation and register with Disability Support Services.

Meeting DARE'S Educational Impact Criteria

You and your school must complete the Educational Impact Statement.

In order to meet DARE’s educational impact criteria, applicants must meet the correct combination of two of the following indicators of educational impact:

1. Intervention and Supports
  • Have you received additional support in school due to the impact of your disability? OR
  • Have you been granted exam accommodations for the Leaving Certificate?
2. Attendance and Disruption
  • Have you missed a significant number of school days due to your disability? OR
  • Have you missed a significant number of classes or been unable to complete full school days? This may be due to, for example, personal care needs, appointments for learning support, fatigue or your disability/condition means that you take breaks from classes.
3. School Experience and Well-being
  • Has your potential to participate in extra-curricular activity been constrained as a result of your disability/condition? OR
  • Have you, at any stage during your time in second level, required and received support due to the emotional impact of your disability/condition? OR
  • Does it take a considerable amount of time for you to complete school work/study due to the impact of your condition? OR is the time you have to dedicate to school work/study limited due to managing your disability condition?
4. Learning and Exam Results
  • If onset (or deterioration) or your disability/condition occured while you were attending secondary school, has this impacted on your exam results? OR
  • Has your disability caused you to experience additional challenges compared with your classmates in completing homework, studying for exams, participating in class or in accessing the curriculum? OR
  • Do you attend a supported or specialised school e.g. school for the deaf?
5. Other Educational Impact
  • Is there another educational impact related to your disability that has not been covered under any of the previous sections above?
 6. Specific Learning Difficulty Attainment Scor
  • Do you have two literacy or two numeracy scores attainment scores at or below the 10th percentile from testing carried out after 1 February 2015?

Applicants with a Specific Learning Difficulty must meet Indicator 6 plus one other indicator to meet the DARE Educational Impact criteria.

All other applicants must meet any combination of two indicators from indicators 1 to 5 to meet the DARE Educational Impact criteria.

Meeting DARE's Evidence of Disability Criteria

Please see the Guide to Providing Evidence of Your Disability below to view what documentation you are required to submit. Detailed information on the evidence of disability criteria which is used to assess your evidence of disability documentation is available on www.accesscollege.ie/dare. If your type of disability does not appear in the list below, please go to the Providing Evidence of Your Disability section on www.accesscollege.ie/dare or contact a member of the DARE Team for guidance.

Type of Disability Appropriate Documentation Type of professional Required age
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Evidence of Disability Form 2017
OR
Existing report.
Consultant Psychiatrist
OR
Psychologist
OR
Neurologist
OR
Paediatrician
Must be less than three years old i.e. dated after 1 February 2014
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger's Syndrome).
Evidence of Disability Form 2017
OR
Existing report.
Consultant Psychiatrist
OR
Psychologist
OR
Neurologist
OR
Paediatrician
No age limit.
Blind/Vision Impaired.
Evidence of Disability Form 2017
OR
Existing report.
Ophthalmologist
OR
Ophthalmic Surgeon
No age limit.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing: Students may apply under ONE of the following categories:

(A)  Applicants who have an audiogram

(B)  Applicants who attend a School for the Deaf

(C) Applicants with Cochlear Implant.

(A) Applicants who have an audiogram: Audiogram

(B) Applicants who attend a School for the Deaf: Letter confirming attendance from Principal of School for the Deaf OR Evidence of Disability Form 2017

(C) Applicants with a Cochlear Implant: Existing report confirming cochlear implant OR Evidence of Disability Form 2017 (DARE does not accept reports from high street retailers).

(A) Applicants who have an audiogram: Diagnostic/Clinical Audiologist registered with the Irish Academy of Audiologists (IAA) or HSE Audiologist.

(B) School for the Deaf: Principal of School for the Deaf

(C) Applicants with a Cochlear Implant: Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant OR Cochlear Implant Programme Co-ordinator.

No age limit.

Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)-Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia.

Full psycho educational report
AND
Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Existing report.

Full psycho educational report from: Psychologist AND

Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Existing report from: Occupational Therapist OR Neurologist OR Physiotherapist

No age limit on either document.

Mental Health condition.

Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Existing report.

Consultant Psychiatrist on specialist register.

Must be less than three years old i.e. dated after 1 February 2014.

Neurological Condition (incl. Epilepsy and Brain Injury).

Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Existing report.

Neurologist OR Other relevant consultant.

No age limit.

Physical Disability

Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Existing report.

Orthopaedic Consultant OR Other relevant Consultant appropriate to the disability/condition.

No age limit.

Significant Ongoing Illness.

Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Exising report.

Relevant Consultant/appropriate to the disability/condition.

Must be less than three years old i.e. dated after 1 February 2014.

Speech and Language Communciation Disorder.

Evidence of Disability Form 2017 OR Existing report.

Speech and Language Therapist.

No age limit.

Specific Learning Difficulty (incl. Dyslexia & Dryscalculia)

Psychological Assessment Report.

Psychologist.

No age limit*

*Applicants with a specific learning difficulty must provide literacy and numeracy attainment scores from tests carried out on or after 1 February 2015 as part of the DARE educational impact criteria. These can be from school based testing or from a psychologist.

The outcome of your application i.e. if you are eligible or ineligible for DARE, is established by seeing whether or not you meet DARE’s eligibility criteria. To find out more about the DARE criteria which applies to your disability see www.accesscollege.ie/dare.

Where can I find out more information on DARE?

DARE organises Application Advice Clinics each year.  Application Advice Clinics provide an opportunity for you and/or your parent(s)/guardian(s) to drop in to meet with a member of the DARE team to discuss your application.  The clinics will take place in a number of venues nationwide on Saturday 21 January 2017.

Details on venues and times are available on www.accesscollege.ie

You can also contact the CAO Helpdesk with questions on completing a DARE application.  The simplest way to contact the CAO is by clicking on the 'Contact Us' button on www.cao.ie  Alternatively, you can call the helpdesk at 091-509800. 

Dare will only discuss details of your application with you or your parent(s)/guardian(s).

All participating colleges have a staff member who can advise you on how to apply to DARE.  If you wish to speak to someone about your DARE application, contact any member of the DARE team.  Their contact details are provided here:

Click here for DARE contact details

Click here for a list of participating colleges



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