DARE temporarily change application process to help students

by Dublin Gazette
0 comment

In recognition of the current difficulties faced by school staff and applicants due to school closures, DARE have announced temporary changes to their 2021 application process.

DARE is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school leavers whose disabilities have had an impact on their second level education.

To ensure that supporting documentation will reach the CAO in time for the March 15 deadline, schools will now be able to electronically sign off on a students’ supporting documentation.

In addition to this, students applying with Specific Learning Difficulties can now use literacy or numeracy attainment test scores which are up to three years older than those that were originally sought (from 2016 instead of 2019).

The extended closure of schools means it has become more difficult for applicants to link with staff required to sign and stamp documents as part of a complete DARE application.

By allowing electronic signatures on supporting documentation where physical signatures are not possible, it will now be easier for schools to complete their parts of the process in advance of the March 15 deadline.

Applicants with Specific Learning Difficulties make up one-third of all applicants to DARE year on year. Most of these applications include updated literacy or numeracy attainment test scores that had been conducted in school.

The temporary change to the scheme being introduced this year, as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, now means that tests will only have to have taken place on or after 1 February 2016 instead of 1 February 2019.

Commenting on these temporary changes, Colm Downes, Access Programme Manager at the Irish Universities Association said: “We find ourselves in a situation where the timeframe leading to our application deadlines is coinciding with school closures. 

“DARE recognises the increased stress on applicants and their families and the pressure that teachers and other school staff are under to support student applications whilst working from home. We have taken these steps to make applying to DARE more accessible during the pandemic.

“It is critically important to maintain deadline dates for assessment of applications to be processed in a timely manner for CAO Offers to be made in mid-August.”

Last year DARE received over 5600 applications. In 2020 over 3000 students with disabilities accepted a place in Higher Education through DARE.

Related Articles