What is Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)?

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is an initiative in Ireland designed to support students with disabilities in gaining access to higher education. DARE is a college and university admissions scheme that offers an alternative admissions route for eligible students who have experienced additional educational challenges due to a disability.

What is Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)?

To be eligible for DARE, students must meet specific criteria related to their disability and the impact it has had on their education. Eligible disabilities may include physical disabilities, specific learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia), mental health conditions, and significant ongoing illnesses.

  • DARE takes into consideration the educational impact of a student’s disability. Applicants are required to provide evidence of the impact of their disability on their education, including information from educational psychologists, medical professionals, or other relevant experts.
  • The DARE admissions process operates alongside the standard Central Applications Office (CAO) application system in Ireland. Students applying to participating colleges and universities can indicate their eligibility for DARE on their CAO application form.
  • DARE provides eligible students with a reduced points entry to college. The reduction in points recognizes the additional challenges that students with disabilities may face and aims to provide them with a fair opportunity to access higher education.
  • In addition to reduced points entry, DARE also offers a range of educational supports to students throughout their college journey. These supports may include assistive technology, note-taking assistance, additional exam accommodations, and access to disability support services on campus.
  • DARE is a collaborative initiative involving a network of higher education institutions in Ireland. Participating colleges and universities work together to implement the scheme and ensure that students with disabilities receive the necessary support to succeed in their academic pursuits.
  • DARE emphasizes the importance of maintaining confidentiality throughout the application and admissions process. Information related to a student’s disability is treated with sensitivity, and only relevant personnel involved in the admissions decision have access to this information.
  • The DARE scheme undergoes regular review and development to ensure its effectiveness and responsiveness to the evolving needs of students with disabilities. Feedback from applicants and participating institutions contributes to the continuous improvement of the program.

DARE reflects Ireland’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities in higher education. It aims to break down barriers and provide a supportive pathway for students with disabilities to pursue their academic goals. Students considering applying through DARE should carefully review the eligibility criteria, gather the necessary documentation, and seek guidance from relevant educational professionals.

You can learn more here


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Steven Galvin

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