How to score yourself a University Prize

It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but our University allows you the opportunity to be the recipient of a multitude of awards. So what are these sneaky student prizes? We spoke to Bec Stone from the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy to get the inside scoop.

A lot of the academic awards are based on either your WAM or GPA. Wondering WTH is a WAM or GPA? Let us enlighten you. WAM stands for Weighted Average Mark and is calculated by using the average of all your relevant grades. In contrast, the more widely known Grade Point Average (GPA) is the averages of the types of grades you receive (Pass, Credit, Distinction etc). As a titbit, WAM is what is used to determine your eligibility in Honours!

College Commendation List

The College Commendation List is an award available to University of Newcastle students across all degrees. In order to get on the highly esteemed list, you need to complete a minimum of 40 units, and depending on the College, achieve either a minimum GPA or WAM.

This commendation will be listed on your academic record, Official Transcript and Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS) when you graduate. So, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your academic prowess!

University Medals

Graduation is already a momentous occasion, so why not top it off with some bling around your neck? If you’re a high achieving undergraduate student and about to graduate with near stellar grades, you may be awarded a prestigious University Medal. To be eligible for these medals, you’ll need an overall WAM of 85 or greater, as well as completing a minimum of fifty percent of your program at Uni Newcastle. College/School Prizes & Awards

Within every faculty and their associated schools, there are a plethora of awards or prizes you can receive. Now, unfortunately, these prizes aren’t usually publicised, so they’re a bit of a secret until someone you know (or maybe yourself!) receives it. Most prizes are based on achieving excellence in particular courses. According to Rebecca, your best course of action is speaking to your Course Coordinator to find out which prizes are available for your course.

Bachelor of Communication/Laws student, Lauren Fremantle, was blown away when she received the 2NURFM Radio Journalism prize as she hadn’t heard much about university prizes previously.

“I had heard about a fellow newsroom student winning the prize, however, I didn’t know it was a recurring scholarship, and it came as a pleasant surprise when I was awarded,” she said.

“The criteria for the 2NURFM Radio Journalism prize had both a practical and theoretical focus. The recipient must have undertaken work in a functional newsroom and displayed skills in writing and broadcasting radio news. The prize was also selected based on performance in the Radio Journalism course – a core in the Communication degree”.

While usually there is a monetary amount awarded to a winning student, having a prize on your academic transcript is invaluable.

“Depending on the prize, and the donor of the prize, you may also be offered networking opportunities,” Rebecca explained.

Student Engagement Awards

The University rewards more than just academic excellence, so if you’re involved with volunteering at the University, now’s the time to perk up those ears (and eyes) as this one’s for you. Formerly known as the Campus Life Awards, the Student Engagement Awards acknowledge students who actively make a difference in the University community and improve their fellow students experience at uni. These include the Campus Life Award, Volunteer of the Year, Student Entrepreneur of the Year, Club of the Year, Global Citizen of the Year, Cadet/Intern of the Year and the WIL Achievement of the Year. Nominations are generally judged on criteria such as leadership skills and the ability to provide support to their peers.

NUSA Queer Convenor, Ollie Cook, was awarded the Campus Life Award in 2018 for making an outstanding commitment to student experience at University.

“It was pretty surreal winning the award, but also pretty amazing. In no way did I ever think that being the NUSA Queer Convenor would ever end in this, but it was nice to be recognised formally.”

If you’re thinking, “this sounds like me”, next time the Student Engagement Awards roll around (they’re an annual thing), make sure to get one of your friends to nominate you! You just might win!

These awards and prizes are no means exhaustive, so don’t forget to contact your course coordinator and keep an eye out for any nominations that come your way.

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