Should I apply for the York Award?

It’s Autumn term and if you’re a second year, you will have already seen emails in your inboxes about York Award applications. As everyone starts planning and thinking about their future after graduation, applying for the York Award is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd! It’s a certificate that shows that you’ve gone beyond your studies and have taken a proactive approach to university life to help with your personal and professional development by getting involved in societies, volunteering, sports, internships and much more. 

Still unsure about applying? Hear from a current and past applicant: 

Why I’m applying for the York Award – Mi Chelle, 2nd year 

At the end of first year, I took part in one of the York Strengths Development Days. Though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I ended up enjoying the day immensely. We were all put into groups with an observer and were asked to do all sorts of tasks, from brainstorming ideas, to making a video, to playing problem-solving games. Through all the group tasks and reflection and feedback sessions, I was able to think better about what strengths I had and what strengths I was still developing: Digital Connector, Resilient Achiever etc. The Development Day also encouraged me to think about these strengths in relation to what I’ve done so far, from taking part in societies, to volunteering with YUSU projects and in my department, to doing some casual work. Having done this, applying for the York Award seemed like the logical next step. 

Since coming to York, I’ve managed to try out and get involved in lots of different things, things which have helped bulk up my CV and contribute to my personal development. The York Award will give me the opportunity to reflect on all these experiences and consolidate everything I’ve done so far. 

As someone in their penultimate year of their degree, who will be going into their third and final year next year, the thought of job applications and interviews and my future after graduation is daunting, overwhelming and endlessly anxiety-inducing. I always found it difficult to recall my previous experiences and bring up examples during job interviews, always using a not-so-great example or not reflecting on it well enough to the interviewer. Aside from being a useful addition to my CV, I believe that the York Award will help me quell my worries and enable me to be able to reflect and recall my experiences better during interviews and future job applications, thereby improving my performance. 

What I gained from the York Award – Srish Jain, postgraduate student

Completing my York Award journey has not only been an accomplishment to add to my CV, but has also helped me realise my strengths and taught me how to effectively reflect on my experiences.

I was a part of the pilot programme for York Strengths and benefited from it immensely as it gave me the opportunity to work on several tasks- individually and in a group, to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I took a lot back from the day and it made me confident in applying for the York Award. Writing my application for the Award was perhaps the first time I had to pen down my experiences at university. I definitely struggled with it as I was not used to reflecting back on and collating any kind of activities or work experience. However, completing the application helped me take stock of what I had achieved so far at uni and the contribution I made along the way. It made me more confident and comfortable with applications and interviews for jobs and internships. As a result, I secured a marketing internship at Spark* through my own initiative. 

I then went on to complete the York Leaders programme during which I completed and thoroughly enjoyed an intense 3-day course which challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. I also got the fantastic opportunity to assess York Award applications as part of the programme. This experience proved extremely beneficial for me as I could now gauge at applications from a recruiter’s perspective. Finally, I went on to apply for and receive the York Award Gold, which was a great culmination of my achievements during my undergrad at York. I was much more confident whilst writing my application and was able to reflect back on my journey in greater detail without any difficulties.

York Award has helped me stand out from the rest of the crowd and evaluate my personal and professional development at uni. I would recommend everyone to apply for it, even if you’re unsure, as it’s good practice for future job applications!

Applications for York Award 2019/20 are now OPEN. The deadline for applications is Friday 1 November (Week 5 Autumn Term). If you have any York Award questions please email: