December 9, 2014, by Giselle Kennedy

Finding the time for your future: How to do the Nottingham Advantage Award with a busy schedule

Did you know that fitting the Nottingham Advantage Award in with your studies is much easier than it sounds? The amount of time that you need to spend on an Award module can sound daunting, but actually most of our modules are spaced out over a semester or even a year. We interviewed Shareen Akhtar, a veterinary student with a busy timetable, to find out how she balanced the Award with her studies.

Which modules did you do?

The three modules I chose to complete were the Students’ Union Volunteering Module, the Student Ambassador Scheme and the Part-time jobs, Vacation jobs and Volunteering.

Why did you decide to take the modules and how did you manage to balance them with your academic studies?

A big factor in deciding which modules to take was the time obligation. My vet course is very intense so I had to take in to account how much spare time I would have to spend on Award modules. I was pleasantly surprised to find amongst the amazing range of module options that there were many that fit perfectly with my busy timetable. The modules I chose all had a couple of training sessions and assessments and a final presentation. The assignments consisted of action plans, reflective logs and mind maps, and I found them fun to do. There was plenty of time before the submission deadline and this took the pressure off completing the Award alongside my full-time course.

What skills did you learn?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my modules and gained some brilliant feedback on my CV, presentation skills and written work which I can now adapt and learn from. I’ve improved my communication and organisational skills and genuinely feel I have developed as a person by having to think critically and reflect on what I have learnt and how I can improve. I would recommend this Award to all students without reservation – it is a fantastic thing to do!

What do you want to tell others about the module/your experiences?

The Nottingham Advantage Award is a golden opportunity for anyone that wants to stand out when they graduate. It is a real chance for you to shine in your own way. If I had more time I would have loved to explored some of the different modules like language learning. There is a plethora of modules to choose from and ample support and guidance to complete each award to a high standard. They are completed over two years and so is a nice time frame to do them.

How do you think it has made you more employable?

Yes I do. The fact I have completed this Award will demonstrate that I have gone above and beyond what was expected of me at University. By completing it, I have shown I can multitask and organise my time to complete not only my course and the Award, but also the roles I had during the modules. The Award has helped me to improve my communication, leadership and management skills, all of which are vital key skills for any job.

We hope that Shareen’s experience has helped to reassure you that you can take part in the Nottingham Advantage Award, even if you have a busy schedule. If you would like to join over 3000 students and get involved, then you can browse our spring term modules on Workspace. Our step-by-step guide explains how to apply for module, but if you have any questions, you can contact us directly at

Posted in Case StudiesNewsStudent Experience