The graduation ceremony of 38 students who studied in the Trinity Access Programme (TAP) Foundation Course for Higher Education for 2016/17 took place in Trinity today.
The graduates had been studying in either the sciences, social science or the arts faculties full time throughout the year, and were taught by Trinity tutors in Goldsmith Hall. Following their graduation, all 38 students will be able to start degree courses across the three faculties listed above this September.
Trinity Access Programme, which these graduates undertook, offers an alternative route to third level education for young adults and mature students whose social, economic and cultural experiences prevented them from going to college through the Central Applications Office (CAO).
These students come from communities in the Greater Dublin Area, such as Finglas, Ballymun and Tallagh, as people from these areas are underrepresented in higher education institutions compared to other areas. Many mature students who study the course are early school leavers, and TAP offers these students a route back into the education system.
Most TAP graduates go on to study a degree course in Trinity. Since the young adult course began in 1997, 90% of students studying the course progressed on to studying a degree course in Trinity College, while 84% of graduates who studied in the mature students TAP course then pursued a degree in Trinity.
Regarding the graduation of these 38 students, the Director of TAP, Cliona Hannon, praised the graduates, stating: “The TAP Foundation Course students have been the pioneers of educational change in Trinity College Dublin for nearly two decades. They have consistently defied the odds and changed people’s perceptions and expectations by performing well above average academically […] As students and as individuals, they are exemplars for us, and for others.”
In a press statement, a number of this year’s TAP Foundation Course graduates praised the course and outlined their plans for the future. For example, Mansur Alam, who grew up in a refugee camp in Bangladesh before moving to Ireland in 2009, hopes to begin a degree in Health Sciences next year, while Shane O’Connell from Dublin will start an internship in Grant Thorton this summer, in a scheme directly linked to TAP.