The PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) Peer Mentoring Project is an existing project, which has been running at Ulster for the last five years.

This year the School of Psychology who lead on the PASS model have identified the opportunity of enhancing the PASS model by partnering with The Writing Pad and Student Support to bring together the most useful elements of PASS, The Writing Pad and Less Stress More Success. This will allow the student lead PASS mentoring process to integrate writing skills and stress management skills into the training of 26 peer mentors in the 2016/17 academic year.

These peer mentors will then support over 150 first year students and pass on the skills they have been trained in. The outcomes of this project will be evaluated and if successful it is envisaged this model of peer mentoring could be rolled out throughout the University.

Who will benefit and how?

  • First, second and third-year students will benefit from the project.
  • Evidence suggests it will enhance student confidence and experience, reduce stress and assist students in preparing written work during their first year at university.
  • Mentors who deliver the PASS programme will enhance their employability, by taking on this role as well as learning new skills in writing and stress management.
  • PASS, a teaching initiative derived from the American model of Supplemental Instruction (SI), is an internationally recognised form of peer mentoring that provides opportunities for students to interact with their peers in collaborative study groups within the context of their discipline.
  • Research evidence is accumulating to suggest that the scheme is not only of benefit in raising grades for first year students and reducing student drop-out, but can engender enthusiasm for the discipline, provide an additional mechanism for communication and feedback between teaching staff and students, increase group cohesiveness, enhance employability and more generally enhance the quality of the student learning experience.

What problem will it help to solve?

  • It will assist with the University attrition rates as well as reducing stress and difficulty settling in for first-year students. It will also assist students in developing their academic writing skills.