Charlotte Swale gained a first class degree for her criminology and law course this year. After a suggestion from a friend she submitted her coursework to the Undergraduate Awards, an international student competition. Her paper received a highly commended in the social science category meaning that it is ranked in the top 10% of all undergraduate academic work globally.
Originally from the small town of Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, Charlotte previously attended a different, very large university but did not enjoy the experience. She chose to leave that university and come to UoC because it offered the exact course she wanted to study, and had the benefit of being much smaller and closer to home.
After completing her course earlier this year she was told about the Undergraduate Awards by a friend from Durham University. “He knew I had been achieving high marks in my coursework and encouraged me to enter” says Charlotte.
The Undergraduate Awards was founded in 2008 and is an international competition that recognises and shares leading academic work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.
All entries have to be undergraduate coursework from the penultimate or final year which had achieved a 1st class mark (70 or above). Students submit to one of 25 categories depending on their degree subject, and can submit up to 3 pieces of work. Charlotte submitted two entries; one in the law category and one in the social science: sociology and social policy category.
In each category, the entries judged to be in the top 10% of submissions are highly commended, and these entries are then shortlisted in the regional and global finals.
In September Charlotte was notified that her social science entry was highly commended and she had become a European and global finalist “I was absolutely speechless when I found out I had been shortlisted.” States Charlotte. “I never expected to be chosen, and it took several days for it to fully sink in that my work was in the top 10% of all Undergraduate work globally. It was also very satisfying to get international recognition for my hard work.”
As a highly commended entrant, she receives a certificate of recognition, and her work published in The Undergraduate Library, an online academic journal. Charlotte will also gains access to the Undergraduate Awards Alumni Network. This provides opportunities to communicate with students and academics from around the world.
Now working as a historic properties steward for English Heritage at Carlisle Castle the awards have also encouraged Charlotte to pursue postgraduate study and have boosted her confidence in her academic work. She adds “It has always been my ambition to complete a PhD, and being shortlisted has confirmed that I have the ability to produce high quality academic work.”
“I was immensely proud to be flying the flag for UoC in the Undergraduate Awards” Charlotte explains. “There were nearly 7000 entries this year from institutions across the globe, and to see the University of Cumbria listed alongside the likes of Stanford, Yale and Brown was incredibly satisfying.”
She adds “I would strongly encourage any current student who is regularly achieving 1st class marks to consider submitting to the Undergraduate Awards. The process is fairly simple, and the rewards are potentially huge. My advice would be to try and create coursework which is original and means something to you. I feel that by getting involved in the Undergraduate Awards, students can help build UoC's international reputation as a respected academic institution.”