A conventional diploma issued to graduates who successfully completed their studies includes information on the holder’s specialization and completed academic mobility programs, as well as a list of the studied disciplines, optional courses, and their academic performance. But what about activities that typically fall outside the curriculum, such as social projects, events, competitions, or volunteering? 

To bring light to students’ extracurricular achievements, ITMO University is introducing a new official certificate ITMO Diploma. The initiative is implemented as part of the university’s strategic project Highly Personalized Value-Based Education within ITMO's 2030 Development Strategy. 

“Students often ask us about how they can add extra information into their diplomas. They want all their achievements, such as projects, internships, and optional courses, to have an official proof. But, unfortunately, that’s not allowed because graduation diplomas are strictly structured and focus exclusively on academic performance. Because of that, a huge part of what our students do doesn't get a mention anywhere, even though these activities expand their competencies, too. With this in mind, we started to think about a new type of diploma that could put a spotlight on our students’ achievements in all spheres,” explains Elena Sycheva, the head of ITMO’s Office of Academic Records.

Elena Sycheva. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

Elena Sycheva. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

The diploma currently contains the following information:

  • acquired degrees at ITMO (if any);
  • additional education (advanced training courses and academic mobility programs);
  • awards (grants and stipends);
  • social activity (participation in events, their scale and the student’s responsibility).

It's worth noting that the ITMO Diploma includes key competencies, as well as digital, business, and soft skills that will help ITMO graduates stand out among other candidates. As noted by Elena Sycheva, the new document will sum up and officially confirm their holder's experience and help them find a job.

“While traditional diplomas are all about taken courses and grades, the ITMO Diploma reveals the person behind that document. There can’t be two identical diplomas because each of our graduates are unique, just as their achievements are,” notes Elena Sycheva.

On July 2, this year’s best 40 graduates of Bachelor’s and Master’s programs will receive ITMO Diplomas at the graduation ceremony ITMO.LiVE 2022. By the year 2027, the university plans to grant such diplomas to all graduates

Here is what ITMO students think about the initiative. 

Anna Khodyreva

a graduate of a Bachelor’s program at the Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations

Anna Khodyreva. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

Anna Khodyreva. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

The idea is quite intriguing. I think it’s a great initiative since I know that most employers don’t pay much attention to standard diplomas because they contain a good deal of fancy words and numbers but it’s unclear what they actually mean in practice. 

And here the new diploma comes to rescue. Now, yesterday’s students can offer their future bosses a proof of both their academic and non-academic performance. And I hope that this initiative will eventually take root helping graduates to get a job.

What makes it different – and matters most to me – is that the new certificate lists students’ social activities. During my university years, I’ve participated in a great deal of events that encompassed different areas and scales. For example, I was one of the organizers of ITMO.Megabattle and ITMO.FUTURE 3.0, a chief organizer of the Programmer's Day, and a commision chair at the ITMO.STUDENTS election – all this gave me a tremendous experience in terms of management and team management. I believe that if an employer will see that I was doing a tech major and actively involved in cultural and creative events, they will appreciate my scope of interests. 

Yet now I’m going to take a year off before pursuing my Master’s. I have a Bachelor’s degree in the management of technological innovations but I’d like to try myself in IT project management. That’s why I’m currently working as a project manager in additional education. 

Kristina Sharaeva

a graduate of a Master’s program at the Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems

Kristina Sharaeva. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

Kristina Sharaeva. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

When I first saw the new diploma, I loved it because it brought together everything I did during my studies and it made me proud. In fact, I think it’s great that the university came up with this idea and collected all of our achievements in one document. This is an excellent way to see what we can and know because we’re sometimes so caught up in different projects and events that we forget to think about what they meant to us. It also can give some food for thought. By looking at it, students may want to change their future plans or see their career path from a brand-new perspective. 

In my view, the certificate will be an important part of any CV because employers take an interest in both the candidate’s hard and soft skills and it will show them how good they are at both. How active were you in your field and others? Did you make conscious choices? With this certificate, they will be able to learn about your journey. 

I actively ran events during my student life. I had over 167 events within six years. My most frequent ones were the school of volunteers and coordinators and networking events among student clubs. Apart from that, I organized training for volunteers and coordinators, as well as environmental lessons for school students. I also worked on a project on the automatization of student clubs, so to say, I transferred all paper documents into an online database. As a programmer and a lecturer, I need to demonstrate that I can not only code and create but also communicate my values to the world. 

After graduation, I’m going to complete a data engineering course from Quantori and continue to deepen my expertise in this field. I’ll also keep teaching at ITMO’s Information Technologies and Programming Faculty and will try to develop a system to automate the submission process of lab projects.

Elizabeth Khoroshilova

a graduate of a Bachelor’s program at the Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems

Elizabeth Khoroshilova. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

Elizabeth Khoroshilova. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

The initiative will be indeed helpful. Before that, I didn’t even realize how much I managed to accomplish at the university. I thought that I had a certain path but the diploma showed that it was really diverse. 

Kristina and Anna said that the certificate will help graduates land a job but it will also be a huge help for all those who plan to apply for Master’s programs via the Portfolio Contest. After all, I can now submit not only my letter of motivation or essay but also the new diploma. In the future, I can use some competencies from the certificate in my CV or even offer it to a prospective employer. 

Krisitina and I are both part of the ITMO.Mentors program and assist lecturers at the university. This way, we not only enhance our competencies but also gain the so-needed teaching experience. I was the head of ITMO’s adapter club for over two years. This job implies loads of management and educational tasks because each year we had classes for first-year students. Thanks to this, I got a job at the Staff Support Office. After I receive my degree, I will continue to work here.