HEAR applicants

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

HEAR was established by a number of Higher Education Institutions based on clear evidence that socio-economic disadvantage has a negative impact on educational achievement at school and progression to higher education.

School leavers who provide satisfactory evidence relating to their socio-economic circumstances and meet the Irish Leaving Certificate matriculation/minimum entry and subject requirements are eligible to compete for a quota of places allocated to applicants on a reduced points basis in National College of Ireland.  As the minimum entry and subject requirements may be different for each course, applicants should check this prospectus for the requirements of each preference listed on your CAO form.

NCI applies a points reduction of 50 points* for HEAR applicants across all full-time programmes. Students must meet all minimum entry requirements for the programme they have applied to as well as meeting the reduced minimum points requirement.

*This applies to applications for courses starting in September 2020.

Who should apply to HEAR?

HEAR is for school leavers (under 23 years old as of 1st January of the year of application for study), who have completed an Irish Leaving Certificate. Mature and FETAC students have different admission routes.

How to apply to HEAR

  • Apply online to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February
  • No later than 17:15 on 1st March, you must indicate in your CAO application that you wish to apply for the HEAR scheme and you must fully and correctly complete all elements the HEAR form (the HEAR form is a part of your CAO application).
  • Submit relevant evidence in support of your application to arrive at CAO no later than 17:15 on 15th March

HEAR applications can only be made online at www.cao.ie.

More information on HEAR is available from your school Guidance Counsellor or NCI’s Student Support Office. Information can also be found on: www.accesscollege.iewww.cao.ie.

Condition of a HEAR offer

Students who receive a HEAR offer must attend an orientation programme before the first semester.

Students who accept places in National College of Ireland through HEAR are offered a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third-level.