Secondary Schools | Access

The Outreach team offers a range of initiatives to 24 schools  linked to DCU and other community groups. Most of the schools supported by the outreach programme are DEIS schools (Delivering Equality of Opportunity to Schools).

Our U & University programme aims to raise awareness of higher education opportunities through interactive activities on campus such as:

  • Campus tours
  • Multi-sport activities
  • Maths quizzes
  • Introductory workshops on life in college.
Campus tour with students

Campus Tour

Activities usually include interactive and fun activities such as sports blizzes, quizzes, campus tours and workshops which take place on campus.

Some of our activities & talks can also take place online, including:

  • Motivational talks 
  • Virtual campus tour & Q&A


All our activities are supported by DCU Access Ambassadors whose experiences are invaluable for their younger peers.

Students on laptop

Students take part in coding

DCU TY is a skills based programme specifically aimed at Transition Year students, aged 15 to 16 years old. The programme has been designed to increase student engagement in education and raise motivation and career aspirations and broaden students' world view.



The programme centers on curriculum which is largely technology based. It consists of 4 Modules which are delivered in schools by teachers who receive training and support by DCU.

20 hours of curriculum on Multimedia & Social Innovation

The Multimedia module enables the students to become digital creators. It empowers them by giving them a voice to create awareness and drive change in their communities through the development of a video. This module develops important 21st Century Skills, such as collaboration, problem solving and becoming a self directed learner.

20 hours of curriculum on Smart Skills

Smart Skills focuses on Coding and App design. Students learn how to design, code and test Android apps and develop necessary skills for successful software development. Critical skills developed through this module include project management, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills.




U First is a two-year outreach programme which aims to prepare students from our linked schools to be college-ready and not just college aware.

UFirst students

U First students

Each year, our U First programme supports about 120 students through monthly workshops, shadowing, mentoring and academic support, aimed at building their capacity and confidence to access third level education.

U First Students and Access Ambassador

U First Students 

U First students participate in monthly workshops on our Glasnevin campus on the following topics:

  • Applying for college
  • Getting organised
  • Study skills
  • Career preparation
Shadowing registration

Shadowing registration

U First students are matched with another DCU Access student based on the subject they are interested in studying in College. On shadowing day, they spend the day together attending lectures , having lunch and living the student life for one day!

In March 2022, 39 students participated in our shadowing day on our Glasnevin and St. Patrick’s campuses.

Access Ambassador talking to students at the DCU Open Day

DCU Open Day 

In their second year, U First students can opt for mentoring sessions with an ambassador who can then address any questions about the HEAR/DARE application process, CAO points and share their own experience transitioning to DCU.

On campus team photo with students

On campus team photo

With the support of private donors and in partnership with the O’Reilly library, the Access service offered both online and on campus tuition to Leaving Certificate students in 2021-22. in total, 41 students from our linked schools benefited from this academic support.

School resources


Organisational skills

  1. Manage your workload - goal setting
  2. Organise your study space
  3. Time management - planners
  4. Beat procrastination


Study skills

  1. Taking notes
  2. Effective reading
  3. Group work
  4. Communication & Presentation skills


Exam preparation

  1. Exam myths
  2. Revision techniques
  3. Exam practice
  4. Finding your learning styles
  5. Series of revision webinars - collaboration with the Post-Primary Teacher programme


Coping skills

  1. Motivation
  2. Dealing with Stress and Pressure
  3. Self-care
  4. Mindfulness

Learning Skills Online


  • Introduction - study tips & techniques


12 steps to improve your study habits

13 Study Tips: The Science of Better Learning -

Teach yourself to study

Classroom skills

Powerful concentration leads to great results


  • Organisational skills
    • Manage your workload - goal setting

Setting Goals (How to

Setting goals (Irish Times)

  • Organise your study space

Preparing to Study: A Good Study Place

  • Time management - planners

The key to being a successful student

Managing Your Study Time

Assignment Planner

Make use of wasted time -

Schedule your time -


  • Beat procrastination

Controlling Procrastination

  • Preparing to study

 - How to Study (with Pictures)


- The latest and greatest study tips from How-To-Study

The Ten Study Habits of Successful Students

Find systems to store information -


  • Study skills
    • Taking notes

Notetaking Tips

Rewriting Class Notes

Taking Notes in Class

Using Abbreviations To Write Notes Quickly

Listen and take good notes -


  • Effective reading

Becoming a Flexible Reader

KWL Chart

Effective reading skills

SQ3R: A Reading Strategy:

Not everything needs to be read -


  • Writing

Venn Diagram

Essay Template

Paragraph Structure

Assignment writing -

Critical writing -


  • Remembering

Using Acronymic Sentences to Remember Information

Using Acronyms to Remember Information

Loci Strategy

Using Pegwords to Remember Information

Tips for Remembering

Learning and memory techniques

Using Flash Cards to Remember Information


  • Critical thinking

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking -

Kialo Edu - The tool to teach critical thinking and rational debate


  • Improving concentration

Improving Concentration


  • Group work

Study Groups

Creating your team

Team rules exercise


  • Communication skills

Effective communication

Farmers Communication Exercise

Students guide to effective group work

  • Presentation skills

Presentations Resources (University of Bedfordshire)

Presentations -

Delivering a bad presentation -

Delivering a good presentation -

Workshop details: Try it - Giving a presentation -


  • Exam preparation
    • Exam myths
    • Revision techniques

Studying for an Essay Test

  • Exam practice

The DETER Strategy for Taking Tests

Writing an Essay Test Answer

  • Finding your learning styles

Auditory Learner

Your Preferred Learning Style

Activating Your Eight Multiple Intelligences

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner

Visual Learner

Thinking Styles

  • Exam preparation

Indispensable resource:

Series of revision webinars - collaboration with the Post-Primary Teacher programme

Basic Science Vocabulary


  • Coping skills
    • Motivation

Motivating Yourself to Study

Self-motivation: the missing ingredient?

What stops us from studying?


  • Dealing with Stress and Pressure

Reducing Test Anxiety

Dealing with stress: panic is the enemy

The study/life balance

Health, resilience and well-being

  • Mindfulness


  • Subjects and points

Subject choice

Advice for sixth years

FAQs: The points system

When the choosing gets tough

Ten deep breaths, seven good choices, one clear direction


  • Learning technology

There are many apps and extensions for Google Chrome that can help with studying and writing. DCU can recommend the following tools, which you can search on google to add to your chrome browser:

  1. Grammarly: An advanced spelling and grammar check
  2. Blocksite: A web blocker to beat procrastination
  3. Diigo: A quick and simple web researching tool
  4. Simple Pomodoro: A timer to help get you working
  5. Quizlet: An aid to help create amazing flashcards

You can also access free software that reads text aloud from the screen called Claroread and free mind-mapping software called Mindjet Mindmanager from the DCU Assistive Technology website.


See also Digital help with your homework?

List of educational websites and apps -see word document


  • Other useful resources

Careers and Education News

Effective Study: A Resource for Guidance Counsellors

Seven tips for parents

Exam Times: Study Guide

Spunout - Find out more about education, studying and exams - Education

Study in Europe -

World access to HE -




Top tips for studying from home -


Students scientists

Students as scientists

In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, we have further developed collaboration and partnership within DCU and with other education stakeholders and community organisations to jointly address equity of access to third level education in North Dublin.


  • Internally, we work closely with the Educational Trust, DCU research centres, SS&D and 

various faculties to extend existing supports in DCU to students from our link schools. 


  • Externally, our collaboration with local area partnerships enable us to offer information sessions outside of schools settings to parents and students on CAO, HEAR & DARE and Teaching as a Career.

In 2020-21, thanks to the support from the Educational Trust, we were able to secure funding to expand on our projects and develop new ones.


JumpAGrade Collaboration


In 2020-21, we have continued to support students who enrolled in our online tuition programme delivered by Jumpagrade and supported by the Dublin Diocese for the 2nd consecutive year. A few students explain what they found most beneficial about the programme:

“I applied to Jumpagrade to improve my grades in maths as it has never been my strongest subject. From the tips I learned from the wellbeing videos and the on demand maths classes I have noticed a rise in my grades in maths and an improvement on my overall wellbeing.” (Lara, 6th year U First student, April’21)


AI in my Life Collaboration with ADAPT Research Center


The ‘AI in My Life’ project will engage 500 Dublin teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds in an interactive workshop series encouraging them to reflect on their experiences in a world shaped by artificial intelligence, personal data processing and digital transformation.

Through the workshops, students will be empowered to evaluate the ethical and privacy implications of AI in their lives, to protect their digital privacy and to activate STEM career and university awareness. AI in My Life  extends the ‘DCU TY’ programme for innovative educational opportunities for Transition Year students from underrepresented communities in higher education.