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 2020 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 Certificate points.

DARE Application Timeline

From November 2019

CAO applications open from 5 November 2019 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 2020

Apply to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February.

By 1 March 2020

  1. You must indicate your wish to be considered for DARE by ticking 'Yes' to Question 1 of the Supplementary Information Form on www.cao.ie by 17:15 on 1 March.
  2. You must complete Section A (Question 1-5) of the Supplementary Information Form on www.cao.ie
By 15 March 2020

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 2020

Late June 2020

Assessment of DARE applications.

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

End June/Early July 2020

DARE Review and Appeals Application.

Early August 2020

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the Review and Appeals application.

August 2020
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 2020 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 occurred 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 Scores
  • Do you have two literacy or two numeracy scores at or below the 10th percentile from testing carried out on or after 1 February 2018?

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. 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 or contact a member of the DARE Team for guidance.

Type of Disability Appropriate Documentation Type of professional Required age of report
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.
Consultant Psychiatrist
OR Psychologist
OR Neurologist
OR Paediatrician
Must be less than three years old i.e. dated after 1 February 2017
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger's Syndrome).
Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.
Consultant Psychiatrist
OR Psychologist
OR Neurologist
OR Paediatrician
No age limit.
Blind/Vision Impaired.
Evidence of Disability Form 2020
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 2020
 
(C) Applicants with a Cochlear Implant: Existing report confirming cochlear implant
OR
Evidence of Disability Form 2020 (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 Coordinator.

No age limit.

Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)-Dyspraxia.

Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.

Occupational Therapist OR Neurologist OR Physiotherapist OR Paediatrician.

No age limit on either document.

Mental Health condition.

Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.

Consultant Psychiatrist on specialist register.

Must be less than three years old i.e. dated after 1 February 2017.

Neurological Condition (incl. Epilepsy and Brain Injury).

Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.

Neurologist OR Other relevant consultant.

No age limit.

Physical Disability

Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.

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

No age limit.

Significant Ongoing Illness.

Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.

Relevant Consultant/Specialist appropriate to the disability/condition.

Must be less than three years old i.e. dated after 1 February 2017.

Speech and Language Communication Disorder.

Evidence of Disability Form 2020
OR
Existing report.

Speech and Language Therapist.

No age limit.

Specific Learning Difficulty* (incl. Dyslexia & Dyscalculia)

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 2018 as part of the DARE educational impact criteria. These can be from school based testing or from a psychologist.

General Practitioner (GP) Verification

If you have an existing diagnosis but have difficulty accessing the appropriate professional to get confirmation of the existing diagnosis or an updated report, you may ask your general practitioner (GP) to complete the Section C Evidence of Disability form.  Your GP may do this if they have a clear diagnosis on file from the appropriate professional listed above and this was received within the given timeframe if a time limit applies.  A copy of the document in which your diagnosis is confirmed must be included in your application when using this GP verification.  Your GP does not need to give you copies of your entire file - a single document which confirms your diagnosis and is within the time limit (if one applies) is sufficient.

Once you have provided Evidence of Disability documentation and Educational Impact Statement your application will be assessed and the outcome of your application determined.

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 Information Days each year.  Application Information Days 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 11 January 2020.

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 091-509 800. 

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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