Nice to Meet You – Chelsea Avard



Each week, we interview someone from around Adelaide who might be helpful during your time as an international student. This week’s guest:

Dr Chelsea Avard
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Program Coordinator

Let’s start with an easy one: what is the PASS program?
PASS are student-led study sessions that run in connection with courses that have a high perception of difficulty. Students who are really successful in these courses can then go on the next year to run PASS sessions for the new cohort of students.

So if you’re really successful in a course, you’ll be contacted to be a PASS leader the next year?
There are two different ways – you can either just apply to be a PASS leader, or students who are successful in some courses (if you get a D or an HD) will get an email from me inviting them to apply.

Does being a PASS leader count for the Adelaide Graduate Award?
Every hour you do for PASS counts for the Adelaide Graduate Award, including the training you do.

The philosophy behind PASS is for peer-led study sessions – how are these more effective than just studying on your own?
It’s effective because you’re getting help from students who have direct experience with a particular course. To run PASS sessions, it’s not a matter of just being successful generally, but being successful in that specific course. So PASS leaders have experience with what the lecturers, the tutorials, and the exams are like.


“You work with other students, work through problems together, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet other people in the class, and make friends”


To what extend can a PASS leader help with an assignment or an essay? Can they literally show you the essay that they wrote?
That’s an interesting question. They could show you their essay in a session and talk it through. But PASS leaders don’t help students individually with individual assignments. If you need help with a specific assignment, you’re better to go to the Writing Centre. PASS leaders are in direct communication with course coordinators, so they have not only experience with the assignments, but also an understanding of lecturers’ expectations.

PASS sessions teach you about ‘what’ and ‘how’ to study. I like to think of it like the students who are running the PASS sessions are modelling good ‘studentship’.

We spoke about how leaders are selected for PASS sessions, but how for the people who want to go along to learn? Do you just rock up? Do you sign up?
You don’t need to sign up. It’s all free. You can come to every session across the semester; you can turn up in week 5, or week 12, even if you’ve never been before.

So it’s never too late.
No. You just come to the PASS session, and bring materials from your class along.

What sort of feedback do you hear from students and course coordinators?
It’s very positive in terms of feedback from the PASS sessions. A lot of students think it’s going to be very formal, like a tutorial. But then they come along and realise that it’s actually you working with other students, working through problems together, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet other people in the class, and make friends.

And it’s not just for international or domestic students.
No, it’s for everyone. And not just if you’re struggling – it’s also for if you’re already doing well, but you’d like to do really, really well.

So there’s no reason not to go.
No reason!

See the list of PASS sessions on the PASS website. There’s still time to head to the next one!

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