How do students with disabilities apply to college?
All students wishing to apply for college places in Ireland apply through theCentral Applications Office (CAO). All students must complete the CAO application form.
Although there is no obligation to do so, a person with a disability or specific learning difficulty is strongly encouraged to indicate this by selecting the box after this question: Do you have a 'Disability / Specific Learning Difficulty' on the online CAO application form.
Why do colleges encourage students to disclose their disability at application stage?
Disclosure of a disability or specific learning difficulty is designed to enable Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to prepare, in advance; the necessary changes that they may need to make to ensure full access to education.
If a student requires particular support or arrangements in college (e.g. examination support or Assistive Technology support), it is important that HEIs know about their disability or specific learning difficulty in advance of admission to college.
Importantly, disclosure of disability means that the impact of disability may be taken into consideration as part the college application process. Students who indicate that they have a disability on their CAO application may be eligible for supplementary admissions schemes operated in a number of higher education institutions nationwide. Colleges which operate supplementary admissions recognize that due to the impact of a student’s disability they may have been put at an educational disadvantage in secondary school. The most widely known supplementary admission scheme is called DARE - Disability Access Route to Education.
Applying to college through DARE or other supplementary entry schemes may allow the student to enter a course below the standard CAO points requirement.
Disclosure of a disability or specific learning difficulty will not adversely affect a person’s application or legal rights in any way.
Higher Education Institutions participating in DARE
Additional colleges operating supplementary admissions schemes:
All the colleges listed above apply the same closing dates as DARE except those marked with an asterisk*. Contact these institutions directly for information.
How does as a student with a disability apply to a supplementary admissions scheme?
Select the box on the CAO Form in answer to the question "Do you have a 'Disability / Specific Learning Difficulty' on the online CAO application form by the 1st of February."
Applicants will then be directed to a separate online application form called a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) for completion. Completion of this form allows students with disabilities or specific learning difficulties to be considered for supplementary admissions schemes for example DARE - Disability Access Route to Education. The CAO will circulate the CIF and supporting documents to the colleges of the applicant’s choice.
IMPORTANT!!! The non-completion and non-return of the Supplementary Information Form will exclude students from any non-standard entry routes available in a number of HEIs.
What is the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) made up of?
The Supplementary Information Form consists of 4 parts:
- Personal Statement (Section A - Must be returned by 1st March 2013)
- Indicate you wish to be considered for Supplementary Admissions (by 1st March 2013)
- Second Level Academic Reference (Section B - Must be returned by 1st April 2013)
- Evidence of Disability Form (Section C -Must be returned by 1st April 2013)
Late applications will not be accepted.
For more information, go to the Access College website (DARE section) or checkout the downloadssection of the CAO website: www.cao.ie
What happens next?
Each college will have a set of criteria that they use to enable them to assess non-standard applications. In many cases, the criteria will address the:
- Overall academic achievement to date, as shown by the Leaving Certificate results.
- Academic achievement in key subject areas, as shown by the Leaving Certificate results and any other academic qualifications.
- Impact of the disability on academic achievement to date, as shown in the personal statement, the consultant’s report and the letter from the school principal and key teachers.
- Potential of the applicant to successfully participate in the programme chosen, as shown in the applicant’s personal statement, the consultant’s report and the letter from the principal and key teachers.
Applicants who are offered places as a result of having been considered via the DARE admission procedure are normally notified through the first or second round of CAO offers.
The student will still be considered for DARE and other supplementary admissions schemes if they use the change of mind form or make a late application. However, the student must still submit the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) and supporting documentation by the dates specified.
How many college places are available through supplementary admissions?
The number of ex-quota places for students on grounds of disability varies from one college to another.
Applicants who apply for college via a supplementary admissions scheme e.g. Dare, must meet the subject and minimum entry requirements for their chosen course.
Where can I find out more information?
Central Applications Office
Qualifax (The National Courses Database)
Tel: 059 9146436
Fax: 059 - 9146437
Access College Website:
www.accesscollege.ie (DARE section)