I first found out about HEAR when a staff member from UCD Access Office visited my school in 6th year. Before then, I had never heard about the HEAR programme. I decided to apply to HEAR initially based on the financial support offered and the security of the possibility of a reduced points place on the course I wanted. I did not need the reduced points place, as I gained enough points in my Leaving Cert, but it was a comfort knowing it might have been an option.
I never had to make the decision to go to university; it was always a plan for as long as I can remember.
It’s great getting the financial supports, but that is not even the most important part. For me, the most important part was the support from the Maynooth Access Programme. No matter what the problem is, the staff are able to help or, at the very least, point me in the right direction. One of the best benefits of HEAR is the orientation programme. Before starting university, first year HEAR students are invited to spend a few days on campus learning everything they need to know about university and, most importantly, making friends. I met almost all of my friends in college through the HEAR Orientation both as a student and as a Leader.
There is no reason not to apply for HEAR. The supports students receive are amazing and, even if you don’t get enough points for the course you want to do, there is still a good chance of getting offered it through the HEAR reduced points entry route. Once you accept a place at university, the supports you receive are for the duration of your degree. In Maynooth University, this includes financial supports, an Academic Advisor in every Department and general supports if you are struggling academically. You can also drop in to have a chat with the Access Advisor if you have personal worries. Going to university for me has meant that I feel more secure about my future and that I will get a good job. I know I wouldn’t feel this way if I had not gone to university. Applying for HEAR opened this door for me and it can do the same for you.
My plan for the future is to enter postgraduate study to become a teacher.