Is the DofE Award Worth it? | Including Pros and Cons

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The DofE award is an opportunity offered to students across schools all over the country! It pushes students out of their comfort zone, allowing them to do new experiences they have never done before. Young people can volunteer, learn new skills, engage in physical activities and get back to nature. It is a tough award to complete – there’s no denying it! Therefore, many individuals wonder whether the DofE award is really worth it.

Whether the DofE award is worth it or not depends on each individual. It can provide many useful experiences that can help individuals reach their full potentials. However, if you are someone who really doesn’t like the outdoors and would find it difficult to complete the award due to other commitments, it may not be worth it for you.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the writer’s own opinions and experiences. Therefore, the views expressed in this article may not align with your own. It may be best to conduct your own research about the DofE award.

If you want to discover whether the DofE award is worth it for you personally and what the cons and benefits really are when completing it, check out the rest of this article!

What are the pros of doing the DofE award?

Completing the DofE award leads to individuals developing a range of positive characteristics which can help them grow as people. For example, this article from the official DofE website explains how students can build self-belief and confidence, a sense of identity and will develop problem solving skills!

You could also improve your team working skills and form new friendships! Therefore, the main pro of completing the DofE award is that it pushes individuals to try new things and step outside of their comfort zones.

This can lead to individuals becoming very well-rounded and possessing skills that will help them stand out compared to others who didn’t complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

Another major pro is that when you do complete all your DofE sections, your award will be presented to you at one of the palaces in the UK for the Gold DofE award! This award presentation takes place in Buckingham Palace in London, Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland or the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland according to this article from the DofE website.

Therefore, if you are a fan of the royals and want to be given an award in a real-life palace, completing the Gold DofE award may be a good idea.

What are the cons of doing the DofE award?

One of the main cons of doing the DofE award is the price! The amount of money you pay to take part depends on who organises your DofE award.

According to this article from the DofE website, the participation fees are actually quite low. For example, the Bronze DofE and Silver DofE participation fee is £25.50 and the Gold DofE participation fee is £32.50.

However, if you do the DofE award through an organisation or school, the costs may be higher. For example, I was charged £50 to do the Bronze DofE award, £100 to do Silver DofE and £350 to do Gold DofE!

You also have to take into account additional costs, such as the kit you are expected to buy for your expeditions. If you want to have more of an idea about what DofE kit you will need, check out this page from the DofE website.

If you do the Gold DofE award, you will also need to pay for your residential trip! If you want to discover some ideas for your residential trip, check out this article from Think Student.

Another con of the DofE award is how much time it takes. You may only have to do an hour of each section each week for a set amount of time, however these soon add up!

You also have to take transport into account when travelling to your volunteering posts, so doing the DofE award can actually end up being quite time consuming!

I also wouldn’t recommend doing the DofE award if you really don’t deal well with the outdoors and a lack of washing! After all, you most likely won’t be able to shower for the duration of your expedition and will be exposed to all types of different weather.

Why is the DofE award seen as impressive?

The DofE award is seen as impressive because the individuals who do it develop a range of skills important for the real world. It also shows that that they are ambitious and ready to push themselves out of their comfort zones!

It was originally created to bridge the gap between students leaving school at 15 years old and starting to join the workforce at 18 years old. It then allowed young people to develop responsibility, teamwork skills and contribute to their communities during this time, whilst also reconnecting with nature!

You can discover more about the DofE award’s history and different people’s thoughts on their experiences if you check out this article from the National Geographic. It is seen as impressive because of the amount of dedication it takes to complete the awards, regardless of what level you do.

Therefore, if you are not a fan of walking for hours in nature and don’t love the idea of dedicating an immense amount of time to volunteering and developing new skills, completing the DofE may not be the best idea for you! However, this is why completing the DofE award is so impressive, as it is so challenging!

Do employers and universities appreciate the DofE award?

You may have heard your teachers bang on about the DofE award, as they say that universities love students who have completed it. It is true that putting that you have completed the DofE award on your personal statement can look impressive.

According to this article from the DofE website, completing the DofE award scheme can help you develop ‘soft skills’ and this is what universities really look out for in applicants!

This is also true for your CV, as future employers appreciate applicants who have completed the DofE awards. After all, it shows that you have developed a range of skills.

For example, completing the DofE award shows that you have commitment skills, self-discipline and independence. Check out this article from the Blacks website to find out more about who values the DofE award.

The Gold DofE award is the most valued by employers out of all the awards, as it requires the most dedication. If you do want to mention it in your CV or personal statement, you need to explain how experiencing the Gold DofE award helped you develop as an individual to really make yourself stand out!

However, it must be noted that completing the DofE award is not the be all and end all. You won’t get hired by an employer or offered a place on a university course just because you completed the DofE award!

Some employers may value other experiences more than the DofE award, such as work experience opportunities you may have completed or past jobs. Therefore, if you absolutely hate the idea of the DofE award but are doing it just because you think it will look good, perhaps consider doing something else, such as finding quality work experience opportunities.

Are all levels of the DofE award worth doing?

There are three different levels of the DofE award. These are known as Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Gold DofE award is seen as the hardest level because it lasts the longest duration and requires more dedication, with a longer expedition!

Consequently, if you are trying to impress universities or employers, the Gold DofE award will probably do this, depending on the type of company or university course. However, the Silver and especially Bronze levels of the DofE award are definitely not seen as impressive as Gold.

This is because so many students across the UK complete the Bronze DofE award, whereas not many individuals complete the Gold DofE award! If you want to discover the annual amount of DofE participants for all the different DofE levels in 2024, check out this document from the official DofE website.

As a result, completing the Bronze or Silver DofE awards probably won’t impress employers or universities as much if you just do these levels. However, if you want to volunteer and experience a sense of adventure for a manageable amount of time, it could be worth completing them!

After all, you will still be developing useful skills for the workplace. If you want to find out more about the differences between the DofE levels and their different timescales, check out this article from the DofE website.

If you want, you can go straight to the Gold level of DofE, if you feel this will be more beneficial. However, just be aware that the timescales for each section are longer in this case. More information about this is available on the DofE website here.

Should you do the DofE award?

Whether you should do the DofE award depends on a number of different factors. If you are doing it just to boost your personal statement, you probably shouldn’t consider doing the award.

After all, doing the DofE award wasn’t designed as a tool to make students look better! It was made to help students give back to their communities and be given the opportunity to be at one with nature – with a little adventure of course!

If you really don’t like being with nature and camping, the DofE award probably isn’t for you either. The Bronze DofE level does only last one night, so you could use this as a taster for the DofE award. However, even at this level, you have to be committed for at least three months.

If you already have a very hectic lifestyle and don’t have any time for even more extracurricular activities, the DofE may not be worth the stress if you try to complete it! Therefore, whether you should do the DofE award or not depends on whether it will be worth it individually to you.

Personally, I believe that the DofE award was worth it for me because I was fully pushed out of my comfort zone, allowing me to discover my capabilities and potential. However, I know that many other participants really struggled completing the awards and even dropped out!

Therefore, it is best to have a real think about whether you want to complete them or not. You can discover an honest review from a past participant of the DofE awards if you read this article from the DofE hero website for some more insights.

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