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Applying for higher education supports

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Getting into college is a challenge for many students, one which is all the more difficult for anyone who has had their second level education impacted by illness, disability or learning difficulties.

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The Disability Access Route to Education scheme (DARE) seeks to level the playing field for such students by providing pre and post entry supports when applying to participating Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) through the Central Applications Office (CAO) and is open to school leavers who meet the eligibility criteria and are under the age of 23 as of January 1, 2022. To be deemed eligible for DARE students need to meet the Educational Impact Criteria and the Evidence of Disability Criteria.

As part of pre-entry supports the DARE scheme offers reduced points places to eligible students under the following categories - Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD and ADHD), Blind/Vision Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, DCD – Dyspraxia, Mental Health Condition, Neurological Condition, Speech & Language Communications Disorder, Significant Ongoing Illness, Physical Disability, Specific Learning Difficulty. To find out more information on the eligibility criteria under each category, see www.accesscollege.ie. The reduction in points for DARE places can vary each year and applicants must still meet the minimum subject specific requirements for their chosen courses.

Deadlines and Application Process

The first step is to apply to the CAO via www.cao.ie, which is now open, by February 1, 2022. Once this is done, DARE applicants have until March 1 to indicate that they wish to be considered for the scheme and to complete Section A of the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) which includes a short personal statement about the impact of the illness, disability or learning difficulty on their education. By March 15, Sections B and C must be completed, signed, stamped and returned to CAO by post. Faxed or emailed documents will not be accepted. This supporting documentation is used to establish whether or not an applicant meets the eligibility criteria for DARE and it is used by the colleges and universities to determine the kinds of supports that might be needed on entry to college. Section B, the Educational Impact Statement (EIS) must be completed by the school, indicating how the illness, disability or learning difficulty has impacted on the second level experience of the applicant. Section C looks for the provision of Evidence of Disability Documentation from the appropriate professional and can be provided in a number of ways – an existing report from the appropriate professional or a completed Evidence of Disability Form 2022 which can be downloaded from www.cao.ie or www.accesscollege.ie. In addition, some evidence may be required to have been completed in a particular timeframe. All deadlines are strict and non-negotiable so it is important to start applications well in advance of the final dates, to avoid unnecessary stress.

Benefits

As well as reduced points, there are lots of other supports offered to students who qualify for DARE and may include some of the following: orientation programmes, learning support, assistive technology, library support, exam accommodations, educational support worker and academic tuition. The provision of such supports seeks to level the playing pitch for entry to and access through higher education by widening opportunities for students who have a significant challenge in terms of their participation, experience and learning in secondary school.

Information events on DARE take place in various HEIs throughout the year, so check out college websites and social media for details. On Saturday January 8, 2022 a series of information sessions will take place in HEIs nationally for applicants and parents. For further details on information events and on the DARE scheme itself, as well as contact details for DARE support staff in the various colleges, see www.accesscollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie

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Two Mile School “Says Yes to Japanese”

The pupils and staff of Two Mile Community National School were delighted to welcome Mr Norio Maruyama,  the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland on Tuesday. The Ambassador was at the school […]

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The pupils and staff of Two Mile Community National School were delighted to welcome Mr Norio Maruyama,  the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland on Tuesday.

The Ambassador was at the school to promote the teaching of the Japanese language and culture through the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ programme.

“The pupils in Two Mile were very interested to listen to stories about Japan and to learn about the links between our two countries,” said school principal Catherine Barry.
“As a multi-denominational school, we are very open to different languages and cultures and we look forward to working with the Japanese embassy from next September.”
Two Mile Community National School is the only multi-denominational school in the Killarney school district.

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 Photographer Anastasiia goes Out and About for Killarney Advertiser.

The Killarney Advertiser is pleased to announce that Anastasiia Garbera has joined the team. Anastasiia is a photographer from Ukraine. She has been living in Killarney for nearly two years […]

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The Killarney Advertiser is pleased to announce that Anastasiia Garbera has joined the team.

Anastasiia is a photographer from Ukraine. She has been living in Killarney for nearly two years and is trying to establish a freelance photography business.
“I love my job. I’ve been shooting for 11 years. I adore photography and connect my life with it. The best thing for me is to show girls and families, brides how beautiful they are. I think it’s my main mission.No need to be a model. We are all beautiful and special. You just need to build more self-confidence. And be sure, I will help you with it.”
Keep an eye out for Anastasiia as she goes Out and About for The Killarney Advertiser.
If you are organising an event and need a photographer email info@killarneyadvertiser.ie for more details.

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