Divyangana Sharma

2021-22 Premier’s Award winner, International Student of the Year

Treat your application like an assignment, and work on it bit by bit

I treated my application as one of my assignments… I used to come back to it, so I used to give it a little bit of my day... and I used to draft it and I sent it to my mentor for her to review it. Otherwise I would’ve gotten lazy with it, I would’ve prioritised other things over it… it was really good to put that kind of pressure on [myself].

Don’t sell yourself short - everything you’ve achieved, no matter how small, is worth mentioning

We often think our smallest achievements are not worth mentioning, but you’d be surprised how that small thing that you’ve done has had a bigger impact on a community, on your family and your friends, at your uni or institution... so don’t be afraid to use those small achievements and hype them up.

Ritika Saxena

2021-2022 International Student of the Year – Research, Commendation: Premier’s Award – International Student of the Year

Keep a list of everything you’ve done and select the ones that best fit your application

Keep a tab of things you think might be useful in applications. Put down a list of places you volunteered for, things you accomplished, awards you’ve won, certificates you’ve won, part time work you’ve done where you were recognized for being a great manager on the floor, or when someone gave you a really nice compliment and every time they come back to the restaurant they always want to sit with you. Those things show that you're going above and beyond the average person in that space and why you’re important and why you’re valued. Based on what award you’re going for, [you can] copy paste relevant experiences and tailor them to the application.

Find a person/mentor who will advocate for you, no matter what 

[It's important to find] people who will- in an unwavering manner- sponsor and support you, who will think it’s their biggest joy in the world to be able to say, ‘Yes, I know this person, they’re really great, I think you should give them this award.

Put that application in (even last minute!) regardless of what you think might be the outcome 

Put that application in. I almost didn’t apply last year... [but] I put it in on the last day before the due date…  I think we have to start shifting our metric of success from an award to the fact that you’re submitting an application. While an award and recognition [are] great for its own purpose, when we tie ourselves to it, it really discounts the process of preparing an application [and] the type of training it offers for you and changing the way you think about life. If we change the way we think about applications, they start feeling a little bit less overwhelming.

Minh Duc Nguyen

2021-22 International Student of the Year – Regional

Treat it like a job application

You can treat it like [a] job application… You need to have a clear idea in mind, a structure [of] what the panel’s looking for. You need to really focus on things that you have done in the last few years and try to highlight and showcase your achievements and your contributions and highlight and showcase your leadership… and by that point you need to understand what the panel’s looking for. They're looking for someone that went above and beyond... [a student] helping out … other students and other people living in the same community.

Have someone else read your application

After you draft [your application] you should give the application to someone who has experience and they can give you feedback. [I] undersell myself and am really humble, [but] that’s not always a good way because you need to sell [yourself] … and get yourself out there and make people understand your story and understand your journey.

Organise your references

[Your application has] all the evidence and all the things you’ve done, so make sure you’ve got the reference [of] someone who knows you well.