Amanda Pocklington

Peer Support

Student engagement

Name Amanda Pocklington
Position Education Advisor
Division Academic Services

Engaging students through Peer Support

Peer Support presents the opportunity for students across all years to engage with their subject discipline and their college. Drawing upon their own experiences in their first year, peer mentors are able to provide students in the lower years with guidance and useful information to support their engagement with university life and academic study. The programme provides both the peer mentors and mentees an additional opportunity to engage with their course material in new ways, as well as engaging with one another, allowing them to develop a wide range of skills and enhance their achievement.

As Amanda explains: “Peer support is… students helping other students; with either academic work, or the transition into university and progressing through university. It’s to help them either… understand concepts that are presented to them in lectures or within their topic area, or just to help them be more at home with coming to university… It’s quite a broad spectrum".

Developing employability skills

Students who volunteer as Peer Leaders can use their experience to contribute towards the Exeter Award, providing an excellent opportunity for the mentors to enhance their CV. The skills developed by the Peer Leaders innately link back to employability, and the students' development of these skills, from time management and to the planning and delivery of sessions, has a great impact on the success of the scheme.

As Amanda illustrates: “… if you’ve got the right types of leaders, who are committed and enthusiastic, it makes such a huge difference to the programme and to the success of those programmes and to how much the students get out of it… it is the same with staff, if you go into a lecture and have a really enthusiastic academic giving a lecture, then you get enthusiasm from the students… and it’s the same process with peer leaders”.

Aim 1: Talented, Active, Engaged Students

To increase levels of student engagement with their academic studies

What students say:

"It's very casual, we're kind of on the same level, so I guess they'd be less worried about asking us than maybe a seminar leader, in front of all their peers as well, which is quite difficult sometimes. "
"It's very informal so... [mentees] feel they can ask questions... more easily in a smaller group than they can in a 200 seat lecture theatre... if it was more formal... I don't know if they'd get so much out of it."
"It does add a personal touch to university... you can be swallowed up by it and you feel like you don't know anybody... whereas as your buddy... is keeping in touch with you, so it's a bit nicer."

Peer Support

“[Peer Support] gives them greater encouragement to be more engaged with their topic...”

Employability skills

“Employers are very interested in [Peer Support]...”