Written by Oliver Davies
You’ve hopefully seen or heard something about the York Award on campus this term, but you might still be wondering exactly what it is, what the application is like, and why you should do it. If so, then read on – I’m here to show you exactly what the process involves, and why it’s such a great opportunity for second year students to help you stand out from the crowd!
What is it?
Open to second years, the York Award is a certificate awarded to you as an individual which officially shows that you’ve been proactive throughout your time so far at York. It shows that you have gone above and beyond your academic studies to enhance your own personal and professional development. Its a really useful addition to your CV which will catch the eye of any potential employers. Its also a great conversation topic in interviews when employers ask you to talk about your top strengths and how you developed yourself at university in anticipation of entering the world of work.
So, what exactly does the application involve?
There are three basic sections which are easy to navigate and help you reflect on your time at York.
The first section asks you to reflect on your top Strengths (you might remember these from your York Strengths development day in first year, things like problem solving, authentic communication, pioneering thinking among others) and explain how you have used and developed these Strengths throughout your time so far at York. You can use any examples from your time here – so if you’ve been part of a society, got involved in volunteering, had a part-time job or got involved with your college activities, write it down! As long as its helped you develop your strengths, then its a great example!
The second section asks you to reflect on other activities that have helped you develop personally, helped contribute to the university as a whole, as well as demonstrating employer engagement. Again, any example is great. There are no set top answers and it is great to use unique examples personal to you.
The final section asks you to lay down an action plan, and explain how you will be developing yourself, your Strengths and your employability further over the remainder of your time at York. Think creatively in this section, but keep it achievable and something you really will hopefully be able to do.
Your answers to these questions only have to be a couple of hundred words long, so don’t worry about having to write tens of thousands of words, there are no essays here!
Why do it?
From personal experience, I can truly say that completing the York Award is a great thing to do and a fantastic asset to have on your CV when applying for jobs, volunteering or anything really! It’s a great chance to reflect on your first year at York and give an overview of everything you’ve done.
In my application, I wrote about how I took part in the York Strengths programme, volunteered in an @Work project with the Jorvik Centre, got involved with college sport (Derwent ‘til I die) and worked on the Policy Review Group for YUSU. Everyone has different experiences, but these are just some examples from my time which might spark your imagination!
The York Award has also really helped me in applications and interviews since I completed it as well. I’ve been able to talk about it in my interview for an incredible International Study Centre to the University of Cape Town in South Africa. It also helped in my application to become a Careers and Placements Brand Ambassador, and is (fingers crossed…) going to contribute to me getting a grad job at the end of this year!
If it can help me, then it can help you. It is a really fantastic opportunity. A springboard for going on to do York Award Gold and the York Leaders scheme. A way for you to reflect on your first year, and an excellent way to show employers that you stand out from the crowd. Also, it is vital if you want to apply for the York Futures Scholarship (worth up to 2100 pounds), which can help you access further opportunities to give you a head start in the job market, you need to successfully apply for the York award.
Time is running out – applications are closing Monday Week 4 (15/09), so get involved and apply now!