To earn the Imperial Award, students must submit a short reflective statement to a panel of assessors, who will decide if it meets the Award criteria.

The statement must make a claim arguing that the student's experiences have led to their transformation into a person who has the Imperial Award attributes. The key to the Award is the student’s own ability to see the transformative impact of their own experiences.

Students can attempt one, two or three streams at any time. Statements are not seen collectively by the assessors; each stream has a separate group of assessors. Students should attempt one stream, and recieve feedback on their statement from the assesors, before attempting additional streams. Gaining feedback on their first attempt can benefit subsequent attempts.

Click on the headings below to find out about each stage of the award.

Stages of the Imperial Award

Student registration

To participate, students register online using the Imperial Award system. When they do so, they must tell us their Personal Tutor’s name. After they have registered an email is sent to the Personal Tutor to let them know their student has signed up, the email will contain information about how to access the Imperial Award system. There is no risk from signing up, only if a student is successful will Registry be informed. The Imperial Award system is developed by Imperial College Union.

We invite students to a student briefing session run by the Imperial Award team however they will expect that their Personal Tutor will have some knowledge of the Award.

Document activities and experiences

Registration gives your tutee access to a private online portfolio. Using a simple online form, they can add entries for all of their activities (e.g. being a student representative) and list the experiences gained from each activity. For example, being a student rep would be an activity which would lead to experiences of attending formal department meetings; consulting with other students about problems; and working on Campaigns with the student union.

For more information on what activities and experiences to encourage your tutees to record, see page 6 of Student Guidance pack (PDF).

Map and evidence

Using their online portfolio, students can decide which of their experiences are likely to demonstrate that they are developing the Award attributes. Their online portfolio allows them to select attributes to link to their experiences. This linking of attributes to experiences is what we mean by 'mapping'.

Their portfolio of activities, experiences and attributes automatically updates in a matrix for the student, called My Imperial Award. We have designed a page to make it easy for Personal Tutors to see this overview for all their registered tutees. You can see an example of what this 'matrix' looks like on page 9 of the Student Guidance pack (PDF).

When one of your students has registered for the Award you can view this matrix by logging in to the Imperial Award system.


Reflecting requires your tutees to understand not only what they do well but also to be critical of themselves; it is a continuous analytical cycle enabling their proactive transformation, into someone who possesses the Imperial Award attributes.

The pilot scheme showed that this is alien to most students, so we have created a short Reflection and Reflective Writing guide (PDF) that students should use; you may also wish to refer to this guide when giving feedback and advice.

Write and submit a short reflective statement

Personal Tutors do not assess their tutee’s statement, nor do they verify nor sign-off. But Personal Tutors can be invaluable at giving feedback on drafts.

To achieve each Imperial Award stream, students need to produce a written reflective statement of no more than 4,000 characters per stream (about one page of A4) demonstrating how they meet the Imperial Award criteria in relation to each of the four attributes within that stream. We tend to advise that students start with a single stream, to try their hand at reflective writing.

Students are encouraged to use their portfolio and the Reflection and Reflective Writing guide (PDF) before they start drafting their statements.

Assessment by Award assessors

Once your student has written their short reflective statement for a particular stream, they submit it online via the Imperial Award system. The assessors will then determine whether the statement has met the Award criteria. You can see the assessment criteria on page 13 of the Student Guidance pack (PDF). 

Personal Tutors do not have a role in the assesment process, but can volunteer to join the College-level Imperial Award assesor pool.

The assessors are a mix of academic and non-academic staff. They can decide that a student has Met, Not Met or Partially Met the criteria. Written feedback from the assesor panel is given to the students; they may wish to discuss this feedback with you.


As a Personal Tutor, your role includes giving feedback and advice on personal development to all of your tutees, whether they are registered for the Award or not.

A student participating in the Imperial Award can recieve feedback in multiple ways:

  • During Imperial College Union workshops
    • Introduction to the Imperial Award
    • Reflective writing
  • From their peers
  • From the Assessors
  • From you, their Personal tutor


Your tutee’s graduation transcript will note any successes on the Award (but will not mention any unsuccessful attempts). Even if the full three streams are not completed, your tutee will receive recognition for any streams completed.

Your first year students may register for the Award but cannot submit until their second year.

Your final year students should complete and submit all of their Award statements by March to ensure time to complete all of the processes if they need to resubmit any statements.

The Award is earned, not won. All of your tutees could attempt at least one stream.