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PASS - a pass to university and career success

08 Sep 2014

Ivan Li

Ivan Li, Bachelor of Commerce
/ Bachelor of Laws

PASS is an acronym for Peer-Assisted Study Sessions which are facilitated by students for fellow students keen to improve their university performance. While they may sound like remedial classes for struggling undergraduates, these sessions really are quite the opposite.

PASS is a unique program developed in the United States over 40 years ago which is now available around the world to students who understand the life defining opportunities on offer, and are therefore keen to maximise the benefits of a university education.

"PASS is a model that approaches learning and teaching in a very different way," explains Project Coordinator, Jessica Morr. "PASS sessions are facilitated by student leaders and are focused on increasing understanding and on deeper learning."

The program at the University of Sydney is managed by the Business School's Business Education unit, and currently supports 19 Business School units of study and 6 Law School units. More than 1,600 students participate in the highly popular program delivered by nearly 60 student facilitators.

"PASS doesn't replace traditional tutorials or tutors," said Jessica. "The sessions are highly interactive with facilitators encouraging open discussion, helping students to engage with course content and providing timely feedback."

"In a nutshell, PASS offers an opportunity to learn how to learn," she adds.

The dedication of program facilitators at universities across Australia is recognised each year via a series of awards for outstanding PASS leadership. The University of Sydney has won at least one award in each of the past seven years.

Sydney's Ivan Li, a fourth year Bachelor of Law/Commerce student, this year took out the Outstanding Senior Leader/Mentor Award.

Ivan describes PASS as a "rewarding experience" which helps both the participants and the facilitators to "grow as professionals and as people".

"PASS has the ability to enhance students' learning experience by providing an informal discussion based forum for them to share perspectives and learn from each other," Ivan concludes. "It is all about deep learning and appreciating the bigger picture of what is being learnt."