HEAR and other Access routes

Widening participation has been a priority for colleges and universities in recent years. Recruiting students from all walks of life who demonstrate the ability, motivation and potential to succeed at third level will, over time, draw outstanding talent from a broad pool of applicants. This will make sure that our colleges and universities remain diverse, vibrant places in which to study and become more representative of the society which they serve.

As a means of widening participation in third level, participating colleges have developed a range of initiatives, including the following supplementary admission routes:


Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)

Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a college and university admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. HEAR has been set up by a number of colleges and universities, as evidence shows that socio-economic disadvantage can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college. As well as receiving a reduced points place, HEAR students may also receive a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. Each college and university will decide what supports it can offer depending on its policies, practices and the resources available to it.

You can also apply to the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) if you think this applies to you. You can get more information about applying to HEAR by clicking here.

Details of post-admission supports for HEAR entrants can be found on the Access Office website of each of the participating colleges. Click on any of the links below to find out more information about how applicants to HEAR are considered by each of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that participate in HEAR:

Mature Students

Universities and colleges actively encourage applications from mature candidates. Mature students are those aged 23 years or older on 1 January in the year of entry.
Mature students have a wealth of knowledge and experience with which they make a valuable contribution to college life and to society. Many colleges and universities embrace the ethos of lifelong learning and are committed to the objective of widening participation. In order to increase participation of adult learners, they continually work towards wider entry routes for mature students.

Each college and university provides a range of supports, from advice on computers and technology to learning and study skills, health services, child care and financial aid. For more information about admission routes for mature students, contact the Access Office of your chosen college or university.