DARE 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:


Disability Access Route to Education

A key strategic issue for the university sector is the flexible provision of courses in response to an increasingly diverse range of students. If you are a student with a disability and you may not be able to meet the points for the course of your choice due to the impact of your disability, then the supplementary admission route – the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) – is for you. Students who are eligible for DARE include those fall into one or more of the following disability groups:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
  • Blind/ Vision Impaired
  • Deaf/ Hearing Impaired
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) – Dyspraxia
  • Mental Health Condition
  • Neurological Condition (including Brain Injury and Epilepsy)
  • Physical Disability
  • Significant Ongoing Illness
  • Speech and Language Communication Disorder
  • Specific Learning Difficulty (including Dyslexia and Dyscalculia)

You can also apply to the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) if you think this applies to you. You can get more information about applying to DARE by clicking here.
Details of post-admission supports for DARE entrants can be found on the Disability Office website of each of the participating institutions. The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that participate in DARE are:

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.