We understand that navigating the application process and adjusting to life at university can be particularly challenging for care experienced students and want to support you and ensure your time at university is as stress free and successful as possible.

The University of Galway defines ‘care experienced’ as any individual who has lived in alternative care (i.e., not under parental care) for any amount of time before the age of 18.

Being care experienced means you will have spent time with foster carers, in residential care, in special care, or you were adopted. It can also mean you lived with relatives or friends in a formal or informal arrangement because you were unable to live with your parents; this is called kinship care. 

What Can We Offer You?

University of Galway offers a wide range of wellbeing, academic and financial support for students who come to study here. 

We have a named contact at the University (Betty Attwood) for young people who are care experienced so that you have a single point of contact to help you with any questions or queries both before you get here and during your studies. 

Betty, and the Access Centre Team, can offer one-to-one support throughout the various stages of applying and studying at University of Galway:

Application stage – We can support you to navigate through the various stages of applying to University of Galway, including looking at alternative entry routes and financial aid options. 

During your studies at University of Galway – We can support you to thrive in your studies and make the most of your experience at the University.

  • Advocacy - Personalised support such as 1-to-1 check-ins, assistance navigating issues with fees, registration, advice on the process for getting Tusla Aftercare Payment documentation signed, as well as help liaising with course coordinators, lectures, and connecting with various university supports when issues arise.
  • Information on Financial Supports -  Information about financial support and alternative pathways to university such as applying for HEAR, DARE, the 1916 Bursary, the Financial Aid Fund, Tusla’s Aftercare Bursary, and SUSI, as applicable. Form filling assistance is also available.
  • Campus supports: We can link you into services and supports available at University of Galway that best suit your needs.

‘Here are some examples of the types of situations where I can offer support:’

  • A student might find it difficult to stay on top of their coursework. Some students who find it stressful to stay on top of their course work like to have a quick regular accountability check-in during which we work together to set goals for the coming week. When a student has fallen behind, I may reach out to the lecturers on the student’s behalf or show the student how to correctly email lecturers.
  • Other students may benefit from a quick session to develop of workplan based on their timetable and workload for the coming semester. During this session, I am happy to show students how to strategically approach each of their modules, particularly by building up good note-taking skills and learning how to access past exam papers. 
  • Another student might have failed their year and felt too anxious to tell anyone. They could even be struggling to pay repeat year fees and register for classes without financial supports like SUSI or the Aftercare.
  • I am happy to meet with these students, liaise with registration and fees, and make sure all financial support options have been explored (liaise with the Financial Aid Fund and TUSLA when applicable and make sure they are aware of any bursaries or scholarships that become available).
  • A student experiencing a bereavement or illness might struggle to engage in university life while grieving their loss/recovering. This may result in them finding it difficult to attend classes or feeling overwhelmed because they are behind on their coursework. They also might feel guilty about this.
  • I regularly meet with students to help them figure out which coursework is outstanding and help them create a realistic work plan to catch up. I can also help advise on how to contact their lecturers to explain their situation and request extensions. Most lecturers will be understanding and accommodating if students reach out to them.
  • Some students will drop in to me to learn about what opportunities may be available for them to strategically develop their employment opportunities during their time in university. We can discuss university supports for placements, career development, volunteering, and the ways to build experience and community, such as getting involved in clubs and societies in a leadership capacity.

Contact Us

Please email betty.attwood@universityofgalway.ie or call 086 074 7943 if you or your supporters have any questions.


Helpful Links