Students entering Trinity through alternative access routes are less likely to drop out than those coming through the traditional CAO route, new research has shown.
After entering the college through the Trinity Access Programme (TAP), 96% of young adult students graduate with an undergraduate degree, while 93% of students entering through the traditional route graduate.
Mature students entering through TAP are less likely to graduate than students entering through the traditional CAO route, however. Of the 93% of mature students who complete the TAP course and progress to an undergraduate degree, 90% graduate.
The new data was announced at the European Education Summit in Brussels, where Provost Patrick Prendergast gave a speech on making education more accessible. He noted that the TAP allow students from diverse backgrounds to enter higher education, but also to help them to “stay the course”.
According to The Irish Times, Prendergast stated: “If universities don’t pay attention to both these requirements, then we are failing in our societal imperative to expand opportunities to higher education…It’s not just society at large that loses out from this failure; the individual university is also affected.”
“If you’re only bringing in, and retaining, students from certain communities, regions and schools, then there will be conformity on campus – conformity of social background and conformity of thought.”
TAP is the largest alternative entry route that College offers, although there are others. In 2014, Trinity introduced an alternate admissions route for some courses, such as Law, which measure students’ performances compared to other students in their school. The first of these students will graduate this year.
The provost recognised the success of the TAP and referenced former Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) president Lynn Ruane, who entered Trinity via the scheme. Trinity has subsequently partnered with Oxford University who are currently piloting the programme.
The aim of the TAP programme is to recognise students whose performance are not being measured through the traditional examination process. Trinity has shared the results with the Central Applications Office (CAO), in the hope of influencing a new admissions system.