HEAR Application Process

HEAR | Access

What is HEAR?

HEAR is a college and university admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible students compete for a quota of reduced points places in the colleges that run HEAR. Students who get a college or university place through HEAR also get a range of personal, academic and social supports while they are studying at third level.

HEAR is for school leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2023 who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR applicants must meet a range of financial, social and cultural inidicators to be considered for a reduced points place and extra college support.


Applicants must: 

  • Meet DCU’s minimum entry (matriculation) requirements: Grade H5 in two higher level subjects and Grade O6 in four ordinary or higher level subjects including Maths and English or Irish.
  • Meet any specific entry requirements of the course you are applying for.
  • Achieve a minimum of 300 points in the Leaving Certificate.


The reduction in points for HEAR in DCU can vary significantly every year. The number of points a particular course is reduced by is dependent on a number of factors:

  • The overall number of places on the course.
  • The number of reduced points HEAR places on the course.
  • The number of HEAR eligible applicants competing for these reduced points places.

Being eligible for HEAR does not guarantee you a reduced points place.


  • DCU allocate up to 10% of first year places on ALL courses at reduced points entry to students entering through the HEAR/Access DCU routes. Please refer to the DCU Prospectus for a list of courses and number of places per course.
  • Offers are made to candidates achieving the highest points nearest the course cut-off, i.e. 1 point from cut-off reducing down until the quota is filled. We will not offer below 300 points.
  • Students who achieve on or above the points are deemed to be merit candidates and automatically receive a DCU HEAR offer - this does not affect the quota for reduced points places.

Research has identified that students with disabilities from disadvantaged backgrounds face considerable challenges in terms of their chances of progressing to higher education in Ireland. In order to increase the numbers of students facing the 'double disadvantage' of poverty and disability, DARE and HEAR colleges have agreed to prioritise applicants for both DARE and HEAR when allocating reduced points places. Applicants eligible for both schemes can only be prioritised where they have met all the admissions criteria for consideration.

Students wishing to apply to HEAR should do so online through the CAO website by 5:00PM on 1st February 2023. Please note the Instructional video below is for 2022 applications, an updated version will be added soon .

For further information on the HEAR application process, please see HEAR application timeline - https://accesscollege.ie/hear/making-an-application/application-timelin…

The DCU Access Service will be in contact with you by email (using your CAO email address) after you receive your CAO offer with details of your compulsory HEAR orientation.


To find out more information about the HEAR scheme please visit the HEAR website or contact colette.keogh@dcu.ie on 087 1804415 or juliana.carvalho@dcu.ie on 087 1778081.