Coming to college for the first time can be both an exciting and a worrying prospect. There are new people to meet, new friends to make, and the opportunity to study in depth a subject you enjoy. At the same time, you’ll probably be wondering whether you’ll be able to keep up with your studies, write assignments to an appropriate standard, organise your time effectively, and have the confidence to present your ideas in front of other people.

  • Background to PASS
  • Benefits of PASS
  • Information about becoming a PASS Leader

PASS is designed to help first year students cope better with all these aspects of life at third level. It encourages first year students to support each other and learn cooperatively under the guidance of trained PASS Leaders from the second year of your programme. If PASS is available on your course it will appear on your timetable, first year students will meet with their PASS Leader during induction and at their weekly PASS sessions. First year students can go on to become PASS leaders when they enter second year and can gain academic credits from the Institute.

PASS is intended to help first year students

  • adjust quickly to third level;
  • acquire a clear view of course direction and expectations;
  • develop their independent learning and study skills to meet the requirements of higher education;
  • enhance their understanding of the subject matter of their programme through collaborative group discussion;
  • prepare better for assessed work and examinations;
  • increase cohesion of the student group;
  • increase confidence.


  • teaching by students.
  • targeted at weak or problem students – all participants should benefit.
  • a means of reducing lecturer-student contact class time.
  • an environment for social chatting.

Background to PASS

PASS has been running at AIT since 2009. It is based on the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) programme developed by Bournemouth University (BU) in the UK. BU has had its PAL project in place since 2001, with the aim of:

  • reducing attrition on historically difficult courses,
  • improving student grades on these course, and
  • increasing graduation rates.

Both PASS/PAL have evolved from Supplemental Instruction (SI) programme developed at the University of Missouri Kansas City in 1973 (to address attrition rates).

PASS initially commenced as a collaborative project between GMIT and AIT. AIT extended the project for a number of years with funding from the dormant accounts initiative. The
programme now resides within the Student Resource Centre (as an Access initiative).

For further information contact:

The PASS Programme Team

Tel: +353 (0)90 644 2571


Benefits of PASS

PASS offers benefits to students and staff at all levels – to the school, the programme, first year students and PASS Leaders.

Benefits for First Year Students

Peer Assisted Student Support is intended to provide a safe, friendly and supportive environment to help first year students:

  • adjust quickly to the demands of third level education
  • acquire a clear view of course direction and expectations
  • develop their independent learning and study skills to meet the
  • requirements of higher education
  • enhance their understanding of the subject matter of their programme through collaborative group discussion
  • prepare better for assessed work and examinations
  • feel more at home among their peers
  • increase their confidence

Benefits for PASS Leaders

By becoming a PASS Leader, you can:

  • development of their personal and professional skills such as leadership, team working, organising, time management, listening, interpersonal communication, facilitation and presentation skills;
  • increased confidence;
  • provides valuable experience to enhance their CVs;
  • provide an opportunity to gain credits or accreditation for their activities.

Benefits to Lecturers

As a lecturer, you will see a number of benefits from Peer Assisted Student Support, including:

  • A reduction in the number of minor requests and queries from first year students, as PASS Leaders can act as a first point of contact for ‘specific information/queries’ on settling into college life.
  • Helps students to become better prepared for their lectures or/and tutorials.
  • Helps students to better manage their workload and keep up with course work and assignments distributed by the lecturer during the term.
  • Help students learn more effectively in a peer based group.
  • Leaders give regular feedback to the ‘PASS Programme Co-ordinator’ which feeds back to their school management and lecturers.

Benefits to Faculty

Faculties and Departments that introduce Peer Assisted Student Support to programmes can expect to reap the following benefits:

  • PASS creates links between classes across the programme, which can help develop a more cohesive culture in your school/department.
  • The level of student involvement in – and ownership of – learning is increased.
  • Support can be targeted at the specific areas of a programme(s) that students find particularly challenging with an aim to improve student understanding.
  • PASS Leaders provide additional feedback for the Programme Boards.
  • Valuable additional student support which can be used to present the School or Department positively during institutional audits, subject reviews or marketing initiatives.
  • In the student PASS Leaders, the programme gains committed students who can help promote the course and even meet with internal or external reviewers.

Information about becoming a PASS Leader

Students from second year can apply to become PASS leaders until 1st May.

The application process is now fully online; to apply to become a PASS Leader read the information below and click on the link at the bottom of the page.

We are looking for PASS Leaders who will:

  • Plan and manage one PASS session a week – 8 weeks in total.
  • Encourage students in their group to learn by sharing ideas and supporting each other.
  • Facilitate small group discussions and feedback.
  • Keep in touch with their group between PASS sessions via email, Moodle or Facebook.
  • Be enthusiastic, supportive, approachable, and who are able to pass on advice based upon their own experience of first year.
  • Attend two days of mandatory training in August/September.
  • Complete a piece of reflective work (about 1,000 words).

PASS Leader Benefits

Gain 5 ECTS credits for your role.

Develop personal and professional skills: leadership and team working; organisation and time management; listening skills and interpersonal communication; facilitation and presentation skills.

Increased confidence in speaking.

Provides valuable experience to enhance your CVs.

PASS Application Process

NOTE: All communication will be to your AIT email address. It is every students’ responsibility to check their college email for notices or communication.