Preparation makes perfect: EPTS Award-winner explains his success

For U0 and U1 engineering students, the transition to university-level education can be a steep and painful learning curve. As a field of study, engineering has a particularly structured and technical approach to its programs, with a number of prerequisites. All of this can translate into high levels of stress. Enter the Engineering Peer Tutoring Service (EPTS), which for over 40 years has been giving new students the opportunity to learn from people who know perfectly well what they are going through – their peers. The service attracted 237 unique students in the Winter semester of 2016, who attended a combined total of 1,114 study sessions.

Selected for their high academic standing, Peer Tutors help their colleagues understand the material. But among these peers, Max (Shuhong) Shen stood out for his careful preparation and dedication to helping others. He was awarded the EPTS Teaching Excellence Award for his work in 2016-17. A U3 student in the Materials Engineering Co-op Program, Max went above and beyond, by keeping track of assignments and making sure he was prepared for each session. His sessions proved to be extremely popular with often standing-room-only crowds filling the room, which is all the more surprising considering that Materials Engineering is the smallest Department in the Faculty.

“Max did an amazing job as a peer tutor, and the students loved working with him,” said Garret Holt, student manager of the EPTS. “He was always on top of the material and also flexible with his schedule, which was really appreciated. He was the clear choice for this year’s award,” he added.

According to Max, the EPTS program is more than just tutoring. “It is not just a service where you get answers to your questions,” he said. “You will get to know an academically excellent upper student who is going to help you in many ways. And you can meet peers who are struggling just like you and together, you can help each other through the course and eventually the program,” he added.  Thanks to participants like Max, entry-level students can breathe a sigh of relief, in knowing they won’t have to face their studies on their own.

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