University Awards 2020: how to write an entry that stands out

You may have a great project, but if you don’t sell it well, it runs the risk of being overlooked. Here’s how to stand out among hundreds

You’re probably wondering what it takes to write an entry that leaps to the top of the judges’ pile. What exactly will the judges be looking for?

Well, the truth is, we want to see examples of work that goes beyond the mundane - something that demonstrates imagination, careful research, courage and stamina. And we want evidence to show that your project changed the lives of those who were affected by it. Bear in mind that the easier your entry is for the judges to understand, the better its chance of winning.

Keep your language conversational and specific. Avoid abstract nouns and unsubstantiated claims – “we mounted the best campaign of its kind in a challenging environment” is simply a waste of the word count. What did you actually do?

Back up your claims with statistics wherever possible.

Show us what change looks like – if, for example, you think your project made a difference to the lives of students, tell us what they were doing before and what they are doing now.

Get a colleague who wasn’t involved in the project to read through your application. Do they understand what this project is about and why it’s important?

Avoid cliches, jargon and academic language. Keep descriptions brief and focused.

Don’t give us unnecessary context about how the sector has changed over the past 10 years – you are talking to experts who already know this!

If you are entering the buildings that inspire category, make sure you include a photograph with your entry.

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