What is PAL?

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is a system of academic student support increasingly used in higher education across the UK and worldwide. It is based on the principle that learning processes can be facilitated by the interaction between senior and junior students. The senior student shares skills and knowledge that will help the junior student work through common problems thus developing study skills, academic involvement and confidence.

Who is PAL for?

PAL is especially useful to first-year students who need extra help to adjust to higher education, build academic satisfaction and enhance learning skills. Successful second and third-year students are often better equipped than lecturers to help first-year students become skilled and confident in their studies.

Whether you participate in WIN IT Skills or the WIN PAL Sessions, you will be guided through by a PAL Leader: a trained and competent student who will provide support.

While a PAL Leader is not a lecturer and is not there to attend lectures for you, take notes or do your homework, they will help you to settle into university life, and make the most of your study time.

PAL sessions are confidential and run independently. The PAL leaders will not pass on any private information to your tutors without your permission.

What are IT Skills sessions like?

IT Skills sessions are designed to make sure you have enough knowledge to complete your assessments.

PAL Leaders give practical help with software that is required on your course. The sessions are supported by students who have been trained by the University’s IT Training Team and are particularly useful if you want to enhance your IT skills for University and employment.

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View and book WIN IT Skills sessions.

What are PAL Sessions like?

PAL Sessions are currently being run for first-year students of the BA in Commercial Music.

PAL Sessions take place in a friendly and informal environment that facilitates an easy exchange between you and your PAL Leader.

You can use your time:

  • to get to know more about university life
  • improve study skills
  • deepen your understanding of your course subject by using course materials or other contents you, your PAL group and your leader might find useful

Extensive research and statistical analysis have indicated that those students who consistently attend PAL Sessions throughout their first year get higher marks and achieve better academic results overall.

PAL Sessions are free and you can attend as many as you like and as often as you like.

Who are the PAL Leaders?

PAL Leaders are second or third-year students, sometimes also postgraduates, who are qualified to assist first-year students.

There isn’t an identikit for the perfect Leader. Usually they are students who have an interest in people and possess great communication and interpersonal skills, and who are reliable and committed.

Whether they are Leaders in the IT Skills scheme or PAL Sessions, they will receive tailored training that will prepare them to fulfil their role in the best possible way.

The IT Skills Leaders and PAL leaders are not lecturers. They are fellow students who can help you develop your skills.

PAL Leaders are expected to operate confidentially and professionally.

Why volunteer as a PAL Leader?

Supporting other students can be personally rewarding and enhance your CV.

The benefits of being a PAL Leader are:

  • Receive tailored training that focuses on enhancing personal and professional skills.
  • Improve your confidence as a student.
  • Gain valuable experience that will enhance your employability levels and your CV.
  • Receive a Certificate of Achievement and be considered for a ‘Westminster Distinctiveness Award’
  • Have your volunteering recorded on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)
  • Claim travel expenses associated with the role

If you are interested in becoming a PAL Leader please email: [email protected].