You’ve secured a place at an assessment day with VSO in London. Now it’s time to prepare. We’re all under the impression that these events are designed to trick us into saying the wrong thing – to make us fail – but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
When I found out I was invited to an assessment day at VSO, I had no idea what to expect. I was spending endless amounts of time researching what the day would be like – but had little luck. If you’re in a similar boat to me and like to have an idea of what goes down, I’ll be covering everything you need to know in this blog post.
Travel & Accommodation
If you’ve researched VSO, you’ll already know that they’re based in London. This is where the assessment day takes place too. So remember that you’ll need to travel there to take part!
For me, this was a challenge in itself as I’ve never traveled anywhere alone before. I boarded the LNER at Central Station in Newcastle to Kings Cross in London, which took just over four hours.
When I arrived, I got the underground to Vauxhall and then the overground to Kingston. If you’re not familiar with London, there are plenty of TfL staff around who can help you.
VSO had booked me into a Travelodge hotel the night before, which is five minutes away from Kingston station. If you are booked here too, be cautious that there are two Travelodge hotels in the area! Make sure you head to the right one. I was super tired and went to the other by mistake!
Along with your travel and accommodation details, you’ll be given times for the assessment day. I was asked to meet at the VSO office for 8:45am, but I treated this as a job interview so decided to arrive a little bit early. I would definitely recommend this.
Not only does this show that you’re punctual, but other volunteers have probably done the same. In my case, they did. Because of this, I got to speak with other candidates before the day began which was really nice and was kind of an ice-breaker!
The assessment day didn’t start until 9:00am as we were waiting for other people to arrive. Some people didn’t show up, which must have been super frustrating for the VSO team. Despite this, we used the time well as all candidates were given a few documents to read through in preparation for the tasks ahead!
If you can no longer make the assessment day, please let VSO know in advance! 👏🏻
VSO Assessment Day Itinerary
Each VSO assessment day could be different, and I can only speak from my experiences on the day. Thinking back, it wasn’t scary at all and was pretty much what you would expect from any other assessment day.
What went down:
✅ Handed in required documents
✅ Team building activities
✅ Lunch (provided)
✅ Fundraising presentation
✅ Group interview with scenario-based questions
✅ Super-duper important form filling
✅ One on one interview
The assessment day ended at 2:00pm, which definitely gave me enough time to head back to Kings Cross. I expected to hear back in a few weeks, but I was accepted the next day which was a bonus. This got me even more excited for my next adventure and got the ball rolling much quicker!
I must also mention that the VSO assessment day was run by the NICEST people. Not only was it carried out by their staff, but also past volunteers and more experienced people who have done some remarkable humanitarian work.
You’ll even get the chance to speak with their medical team too, which can be a massive help as I know health can be a huge worry. You might even meet David, who is on this season of the Great British Bake Off!
Definitely a new claim to fame… 🎂🤣
Hopefully if you’ve applied for ICS with VSO, you’re going in for the right reasons. Remember, the only way to make a difference is to challenge yourself to change the world!
To keep up to date with my volunteering experiences, including more advice articles like this and in-country stories, keep checking my blog!
If you have any further questions about the assessment day with VSO or ICS itself, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!
You can donate to VSO through my JustGiving page below.