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The STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Award is a co-curricular initiative available to students at both the Aberdeen and Qatar campuses. It allows you to assess, enhance and gain recognition for the skills you develop through approved roles such as Society/Sports Club Committee Member or Careers Service Ambassador. The Award is delivered by the Careers and Employability Service with input from a wide range of employers.

Why take part?

Taking part in the STAR Award will allow you to:

  • Assess your level of confidence in your skills and identify skills which you would like to improve.
  • Develop your skills through your role, participation in STAR workshops and by networking with employers.
  • Reflect on how participation in the STAR Award contributes to your skills development.
  • Learn how to articulate your skills, and how they can be applied to future roles at university and beyond.

As the STAR Award is structured around five employability-based Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, you can be sure that your learning is directly applicable to your personal development and your future career.


The Graduate Attributes explored through the Award are:

  • An ability to communicate for different purposes and in different contexts
  • An ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • A diverse set of transferable and generic skills
  • A capacity for self-reflection, self-discovery and personal development
  • An awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses

Achievement of the STAR Award is recorded on your Enhanced Transcript, which you can share with employers or postgraduate recruiters when you finish your studies.

What's involved?

To be eligible to take part in the STAR Award, you must hold one of the over fifty recognised roles. Roles are categorised based on their level of responsibility as Bronze, Silver and Gold.


To achieve a STAR Award, you need to:

  • Apply by the deadline. There are two intakes in September and January. You can take part in either the first or second half session, or across the whole academic year, depending on the role you hold. If your role only extends over one semester (for example, class representative), you must take part in the half session during which you hold your role.
  • Attend at least three Employability Skills Workshops in November and December/February and March.
  • Complete a reflective written submission which varies by STAR Award level (Gold, Silver or Bronze).

How to apply

Applications for the first half session will open during Welcome Week in September 2020.


Further Information

For further information about the STAR Award, have a look at our FAQs below. If you still have questions, please email star@abdn.ac.uk.


Can I take part if I'm based at the Qatar campus?

Yes, the STAR Award is now also availalbe on the Qatar campus. If you have any queries, please email studentcareers@afg-aberdeen.edu.qa.

How will the workshops be delivered?

All workshops will be delivered online during session 2020/21. There will be a mixture of live workshops and online self-study workshops. It is anticipated that each will last 1 to 2 hours.

What's new in the STAR Award this year?

Based on student and employer feedback, we have made a few changes to the STAR Award this year:

  • We will be trialling some sessions on the Foresterhill campus to make it easier for students based there to attend three workshops.
  • For roles which only extend over one semester (such as class rep), you will need to complete your STAR Award in that semester. This means attending all three workshops and completing your assessment by the first deadline in December, if you sign up in semester one.
  • If you are planning to complete the STAR Award over two semesters, you must attend at least one workshop in the first semester. This will show us that you are working on developing your skills and achieving your Award.

Previous changes to the STAR Award are all listed in the following FAQs.

Do I need to hold a recognised role to apply for the STAR Award?

Yes. You need to be in your role by the time you apply. If you do not currently hold a recognised role, consider becoming involved in relevant activities and applying for the STAR Award in the next semester. Some roles might also still be available, for example, Class Rep or Careers Service Ambassador.

I already have a STAR Award. Can I take part again?

Yes, however, you can only apply at a higher level than the STAR Award you have already achieved, i.e. Silver (if you have a Bronze Award) or Gold (if you have a Silver or Bronze Award).

I hold more than one recognised role. Can I achieve a STAR Award for both?

No. You can only sign up for the STAR Award based on one role in each academic year. If your roles are at different levels, we recommend choosing the higher Award.

I have applied to be a Class Rep but have not had official confirmation. Can I apply?

Yes. We understand that the timings can be tight for Class Reps. Please make sure that you apply by the STAR Award deadline. If you are unsuccessful in your Class Rep application, please let us know as soon as possible.

Can I take part in the STAR Award and the Leadership Academy in the same half session?

As both programmes require you to attend three workshops and complete final asessments at a similar time, we recommend that you participate in one of these programmes at a time. As both run in both half sessions, you could still complete the Leadership Academy and achieve a STAR Award in one academic year, provided you carry out a role recognised by the STAR Award.

If I apply, am I guaranteed a place on the STAR Award?

No. We assess all applications and reserve the right to select applicants based on the quality of their submission, so make sure you complete the assessed part of the application to a good standard.

Can I achieve a STAR Award for my past voluntary experience?

No. We are unable to accredit past voluntary experiences. Please visit the AUSA Saltire Awards website for more information about how you might be able to achieve certification for any past volunteering roles.

If there are two intakes, can I take part in the STAR Award twice in one academic year?

No. You can only take part in the STAR Award once in each academic year.

Do I need to attend workshops at a particular time?

Yes and no. You can choose whatever workshops fit best with your skills development goals and interests, however, you must attend at least one workshop in the first semester if you join the STAR Award in September, even if you are planning to complete the programme over the whole year. This will demonstrate to us that you are committed to completing the Award.

Can I attend more than three workshops?

Yes. You must attend a minimum of three workshops but, where spaces are availble, you will be able to sign up for more if you wish.

I signed up for a workshop and can’t now attend. What should I do?

You should cancel your place as soon as possible and certainly no later than 9am on the day of the workshop. Many of our workshops have waiting lists. If you do not cancel, you prevent another student from attending. Make sure you are able to attend another workshop, however, so you fulfil the requirements of the STAR Award.

By when do I need to complete my STAR Assessment?

There are two assessment deadlines, towards the end of each half session. For roles which extend over one semester only (for example, class representative), you must submit your assessment in that semester. If your role extends over the whole year, then you have a choice of deadline: if you have attended three workshops and have been active in your role, you can choose to submit your assessment by the first deadline but you can also opt to wait and submit at the end of the second semester.

I have put a lot of effort into my role. Can I achieve a higher level STAR Award?

No. STAR Awards are linked to the recognised role you hold, however, you are welcome to take part again next year at a higher level if you are still a student and hold a role at a higher level.

Is the level of STAR Award I can achieve linked to the number of hours I spend on my activity?

No. The Award level is not based on the number of hours you spend on your role activities but rather the breadth and depth of skills development within the role. This is assessed by a Steering Group when a new role is approved for the STAR Award. You can check the level of all approved roles here.

What happens if I am unsuccessful in my STAR Assessment?

You will be given one chance to revise your assessment and resubmit by a specified deadline. We will also offer online appointments to support students in revising their assessment and achieving their STAR Award.