'DARE' to know supports for students with disability
This year 4,027 students applied for the DARE access route to college for a variety of reasons. That is quite a jump, up 22pc in fact, on last year, as awareness of the scheme and more familiarity with the eligibility criteria spreads.
DARE assists students who may not reach their full potential at Leaving Certificate, as a result of a disability, and allows for entry on reduced points.
However, not every applicant who qualifies for DARE will consider themselves to have a disability. For instance, a student with Type 1 Diabetes may be eligible, although that student may not be aware of that.
Also, not every student who applies is successful in their application or uses this route to gain entry.
Most colleges ensure that all successful DARE applicants are contacted by the disabilities office, with a view to offering the appropriate assistance.
It is important for all students to understand that they do not need to have been deemed eligible for DARE to receive disability support at third-level.
For example, many students with dyslexia do not qualify, as they have worked hard and improved their literacy to a level that means they do not qualify.
However, if the student has a psychological report confirming a diagnosis of dyslexia they will be able to receive dyslexia support, such as spelling and grammar waivers, or longer access to library materials.
Hopefully, any student who has any learning difficulty, on going illness, mental health issue or any other type of disability will have already indicated this on their CAO form.
However a student who has not done, or who was not successful with a DARE applciation, can still access support at any time by contacting the student support or disability office at their college.
Students should meet with the such staff early in first year to explore what may be on offer. While under no obligation to accept these supports, it is helpful to know what is available.