Third Level

Entry to Third-Level Education

Standard Entry
When you are filling in your CAO, be sure to tick the relevant box on the form which asks if you have a disability. This will ensure you are registered with your college’s Disability Office so that you can be sure to get all the adequate supports needed in college such as an interpreter, note-taker, extra time, proof-reader etc… If this box is not ticked, you can still register with the Disability Office when you start college, but there may be a delay in getting the appropriate supports needed.

How Do I Apply?
On your CAO form, tick the relevant box which asks if you have a disability/specific learning difficulty. You can fill in the CAO form online

Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)
This is a non-standard entry route which allows students with disabilities or specific learning difficulties to gain access to the limited places available at certain colleges and universities on a reduced points basis.

How Do I Apply?
You MUST tick the disability/specific learning difficulty box on your CAO form, and you will then be taken to an online form called ‘Supplementary Application Form’ where you will have to fill in a number of parts:

  • Personal Statement (Section A)
  • Supplementary Admissions Route (Box must be ticked)
  • Second Level Academic Reference (Section B)
  • Evidence of Disability Form (Section C)

You can read more information by going to the DARE website.


Supports in Third-Level

There is a wide range of supports available to you in third level and it varies from each institution. Supports such as;

  • An ISL/English interpreter during lectures to relay information
  • Notetaker to take notes of the important points of what is being said during lectures
  • Speedtext  is a full transcript of what is being said in lectures
  • Induction Loop System in the lecture halls
  • Examination Accommodations such as extra time, separate rooms, spelling and grammar waiver etc.

The Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) have provided a comprehensive list of the types of supports common in third-level.  You can access this here.

How Do I Apply?
To avail of these supports, you must register with your Access Officer or Disability Officer in your college/university. If you already done so in your CAO application form, then this is not necessary and you will be contacted by the Disability Office upon your entry into college.

You can also go along to the DS3 (Deaf Support in Third Level) summer school where you can prepare and learn all the information you need before going to college.

Check out their website –