Award-winning advice

Award-winning advice

September 30, 2016


If you have received a major admission award at Queen’s you are a high achiever, capable of balancing your academics, and your extra-curricular interests. However, to succeed at the university level you will more than likely need to reach out to others for support and guidance. And that’s OK.

At the annual major admission awards reception on Wednesday, hosted by Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), two upper-year students spoke about their experiences and offered some advice to other recipients at an earlier stage of their academic journey.

Cole Smith, a fourth-year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) student from Salt Spring Island, BC, said that award-winning students can feel intense pressure due to the expectations that are placed on them, largely by themselves. In his own case he found the support he needed through another Chernoff Family Award recipient.

“I think being able to have those connections with someone who is sharing that experience can really break down a lot of the barriers that you put up personally and the seemingly-insurmountable pressure that you carry on your back,” he says. “So being able to rely on others in times of need or being able to talk to each other and knowing you have their support and you all understand where you are coming from, is really crucial.”

In her fourth year of an Honours Science degree majoring in Life Sciences, Abby Arnott says she gained a lot by going out of her “comfort zone” and exploring the opportunities offered through the many clubs and extra-curricular activities at Queen’s and in the Kingston community. The Kingsville, Ont., native found her outlet by joining an a cappella group and a theatre group.

“It’s amazing to meet people on your floor or in your classes but it really does open you up to the broader context that is present in Kingston,” she says, adding that she would not have met most of her closest friends if she had not ventured beyond her residence and classes. “Being able to meet students from different years comes with real value as well. Finding an upper year you can talk to when you’re feeling stressed or you’re not sure where you’re going next, having someone who has been through the same classes as you is really beneficial.”

Currently, there are 245 entering and in-course major admission awards recipients at Queen’s from across the country, and representing all undergraduate faculties.

The selection process at Queen’s is rigorous, with more than 200 faculty, including members of the Retirees Association at Queen’s, volunteering to evaluate the nearly 1,200 submissions.

“It was an immense pleasure to host the major admission awards and to have so many outstanding students and faculty members come together to celebrate intellectual curiosity, community engagement and Queen’s pride,” Provost Bacon says. “I was so impressed by Abby and Cole and I am confident that our new awardees will follow their example and represent us outstandingly over their time at Queen’s and beyond.”

 The awards are generously supported by numerous donors, many of whom want to give back because they received some form of support, recognition and encouragement when they were students. 

The major admission awards application is now open for prospective students applying to Queen's for the 2017-18 academic year. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1, 2016. Visit the Student Awards website for further information about Queen’s Admission Awards.