What does it take to succeed at university? Just ask a student!

Well, sometimes I’m just blown away by the reflective thoughts that my leaders have when they’re filling out their session reports.

This one received today is a classic example:

A: This last week has shown me (like most last-sessions-of-semester tend to do) how the students change over the course of semester. I know I can’t take credit for it, and it’s probably not completely due to the educational aspects of university either, but all of my students have changed over the course of the semester; they have all grown. I was going to write how amazing it is that self-directed education can empower young people, even in the short time span of a single semester (and I still think this is true), but instead I’ll write that this amazing empowering and transformational effect is due to the university experience in general. That said, I do think that it is a testament to the type of students that U:PASS attracts – be they academically bright, dedicated, challenged or disadvantaged – that they are the ones who embrace, overcome and achieve growth through the challenges of the first year university experience, seemingly without fail. It seems that the students who are prepared to help themselves are the ones who persevere and prosper in the face of adversity, no matter its context or content.

The impact of U:PASS on the student leader (he just turned 22!) is clear. The impact on the first year students is also clear. This is the reason I don’t want MOOC’s to take over higher education. This is the reason I want students to continue to have face to face learning experiences at university. It matters. It changes them, forever. It helps them grow up.


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About Georgina Barratt-See

Georgina manages the UTS U:PASS (UTS Peer Assisted Study Success) program, which assists students in 50 first and second year subjects with study sessions run by trained student facilitators. Georgina has 14 years experience in the Higher Education sector with interests in student leadership, mentoring, first year experience, teaching and learning.

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