SOME students find it harder than others to achieve their potential in the Leaving Certificate, and the points they will require for their preferred course, either because they have a disability or because they come from a socio-economically disadvantaged background.
There are two schemes in place -- HEAR and DARE -- that help school-leavers overcome any such disadvantage in relation to college entry, to the benefit of growing numbers of CAO applicants each year.
The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) offers places at reduced points to school-leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and last year there were over 10,000 applicants.
Meanwhile, there were over 3,300 applications for the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme, which offers places at reduced points to school-leavers.
While the CAO/HEAR/ DARE application deadline is February 1, the deadline for completion of the HEAR and DARE sections of the online CAO application form is March 1.
A number of supporting documents are required from HEAR and DARE applicants, and these documents must be received by CAO by April 1 at 5.15pm or the application will not be considered.
The CAO advises students that the compilation of supporting documents can take between eight and 10 weeks, or in some instances even longer.
For a full list of supporting document requirements and more information about how to complete the application process, students should visit www.accesscollege.ie
Advice clinics for both HEAR and DARE will take place all over the country in January.
Parents and applicants are invited to drop in. There will be general information available as well as the opportunity to ask about individual applications.
There are helpful short film guides to applying for both the HEAR and DARE programmes available on accesscollege.ie.
Hear and Dare advice clinics open
HEAR and DARE application advice clinics will be open on Saturday, January 11, from 10am-2pm at the following venues:
- Cork: UCC, De Vere Hall, Student Centre.
- Dublin: DIT, Aungier St, Courtyard Cafe.
- Donegal: Jackson's Hotel, Ballybofey.
- Galway: NUIG Galway, Arts Millennium Building.
- Kildare: NUI Maynooth, Phoenix Building, North Campus.
- Kilkenny: NUI Maynooth Kilkenny Campus, College Road, Collier Room.
- Limerick: University of Limerick, Kemmy Business School.
- Monaghan: Glencarn Hotel, Castleblaney.
- Westmeath: Athlone Institute of Technology, Coffee Dock Main Building, Dublin Road, Athlone.
Additional advice clinics will also take place in:
- Waterford: Woodlands Hotel, Dunmore Road, January 13 (7-9pm).
- Sligo: The Glasshouse Hotel, Swan Point, January 14 (6.30-8.30 pm).
- Kerry: Carlton Hotel, Dan Spring Road, Tralee, January 16 (7-9pm).
- Wexford: Ferrycarrig Hotel, January 16 (3-8pm).