The College Applicant Resume
What Does a College Applicant Need to Include in Their Resume?
If you think resumes are only for job applications, it’s time to think again. A resume is an ideal medium to clearly and concisely present what you’ve accomplished throughout your high school career. Consequently, many students choose to include a resume when applying to college or when requesting letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors.
Creating and maintaining a resume is an excellent college prep task, but applicants may be unclear about what they should include in this important document. Keep reading for our top tips for creating a resume that will help you stand out during the college admissions process.
Spotlight Extracurricular Activities
Your resume is an ideal format for highlighting what you love to do outside of the classroom. Whether you’re the captain of the volleyball team or an editor on the school newspaper, take time to outline what you’re doing to pursue the fields that you are most passionate about. If you’ve taken on a leadership role in one of your extracurricular activities or reached a high level of performance, make sure this is clearly indicated in your resume. Prioritize pursuits that you have been involved in throughout high school and consider omitting any activities that you only temporarily participated in. For example, a prospective applicant who was only on the debate team for a semester might want to leave this off of their resume.
Don’t Forget About Volunteer Work
If you’ve participated in community service throughout your high school career, ensure your resume reflects this. List the organization that you’ve been involved with, the role that you play, and the skills and competencies that you have learned throughout your service. Much like extracurricular activities, it’s often best for an applicant to leave off any volunteer projects that were very short-term and instead focus on longer commitments that reflect their dedication.
Save Space for Jobs and Independent Projects
Many high school students spend their summers working, interning, or participating in independent projects. If this sounds like you, make sure you list these summer pursuits in your resume. For part-time jobs and internships, include the title of your position, your core responsibilities, and what you have learned from performing these roles. Students who have taken the lead and finished their own independent projects may wish to use their resumes to briefly outline the work they did and the impact it had on their communities.
Include Awards and Accolades
Resume writing isn’t the time to be humble about your achievements. If you’ve been presented with an award for your academic performance or earned a title due to your athletic prowess, these accolades should be included in your resume. In addition to listing out these achievements, consider including a brief explanation of the award you received, which will give the admissions officers who review your application a little more context.
Prioritize the Present
When it comes to resume writing, sometimes less is more. While it may tempting to include every activity you’ve ever participated in, it’s often advantageous to keep your resume streamlined and concise. Focus on what you have achieved during your high school career and consider omitting any mentions of extracurriculars and accolades you have earned prior to 9th grade. Instead of worrying about how long your resume will be, prioritize the quality of what you are writing and the experiences you list.
While writing your first resume can feel a little overwhelming, it’s an excellent opportunity for students to prepare for the college application process. If you are getting ready to apply and searching for expert guidance, our team of admissions counselors can guide you throughout the process.