Three things course tutors wished you knew about the PASS Office

Bavisha Thavarajah

As a first-generation university student who entered Ted Rogers School of Management at the beginning of the pandemic, navigating university life and academics was extremely difficult. Entering uncharted territory where I did not know many people and being told, “You’re on your own in university,” was extremely nerve-wracking.  

But this is far, far from the truth. Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) offers many resources and services. One major service offered at TRSM is Program Advising and Student Success, commonly known as PASS. 

In my first year, I was unaware of PASS and the support they provided and missed out on a lot that I wish I had used back then. Now that I know of PASS, this has been one of my go-to services, and I even worked there as a peer tutor!  So, let me share a little about the PASS department and my experiences so you feel more confident in your first year. 

Program Advising 

Program Advising, also known as Student Advising, is the one-stop for questions related to courses and curriculum, declaring majors, minors, GPAs, finding ways to get involved on campus and accessing helpful resources. Program Advising has one-on-one appointments and drop-in appointments with advisors who know the ins and outs of your program and are ready to listen. 

In my first year, I had an extreme ambition of double majoring, double minoring, being in the Co-op program and being in the Top 200 Program. When I met with my advisor, as much I knew my idea was insane, she did not discourage me but walked me through my potential options and highlighted the positives and negatives of wanting to do all this. She ensured that I could manage my workload while still having a social life or breathing room, and my life wasn’t consumed by my classes. Safe to say, her talk with me really helped, and now I’m only doing one major and one minor, and I can be a part of a student group, be a part of the Co-op program, and the Top 200 program. 

Sometimes, all I needed was my advisor to tell me that I was on the right track and did not mess anything up, and she was able to give me that reassurance. The advisors are always there as a listening ear and can refer you to other resources on campus, depending on what you’re looking for. Sometimes, all you need in life is some reassurance and to know that someone is in your corner and the student advisors are in your corner helping you every step of the way. 

Student Success

Student Success, as it says in the name, is to help the students succeed in their academic journey with various course help, learning strategies help, writing support, and tip sheets. 

Student Success runs tutoring, Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) study groups, and Compass Workshops, all hosted by upper-year students. These upper-year students have taken the courses and have been in your shoes. 

The tutors and PAL leaders are able to help you with course-specific content and provide you with a chance to practice course content in a low-pressure environment. You can ask questions on content and practice the material in the sessions without the fear of being judged and graded. Compass workshops are hosted by Peer Coaches, and they provide you with key skills and tools that will help you succeed in university with topics such as time management, decoding a lecture, test-taking skills, note-taking and many more. 

I had the privilege of being a course tutor from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022, where I worked with small groups of students for ACC 100 and QMS 110. I was able to answer questions by breaking down problems and providing templates and step-by-step instructions, which helped students tackle the course material better. In addition, there are a wide range of course tip sheets that can be utilized, so hearing about them helped the students. A lot of the time, students just needed someone to see how they do the problem and reassure them that they are on the right track, and it was great to give them that reassurance and play a part in their learning journey. 

One-on-one help

On top of tutoring and workshops, one-on-one help is available with the learning strategist to help you with general learning skills and study strategies. This is a great way to learn tips and tricks you can apply throughout your university journey.

Writing supports are also available one-on-one. You can bring your essay at any stage, and the Writing Strategist will help you with editing, creating citations and provide feedback on your writing. You can bring your academic papers, scholarship applications and more. I used this service a lot for my lower liberal papers as I did not like writing essays and did not feel like a strong writer. 

As you can tell, many supports are available in the PASS department. First-year can be overwhelming, but remember you are not alone at any time. There are a plethora of supports and resources and people ready to help. Take advantage of the PASS department and help lay the foundation of your university journey.