When it’s time to write your college resume, you must list your experiences in a very specific way. The resume is – in essence – an overall snapshot of what you have accomplished during your high school career. The idea is to quickly showcase your activities to make your application stand out from the others and represent who you are in a concise format. A student resume is different from a professional resume. At SCC, we help students craft their resume because the resume is a vital part of every college application. Here are some tips on how to create the resume – what to include, what to leave out, and how to best present yourself to the college admissions office.
What Activities to Include on a Resume
These are the items that should be included on a college application resume, where applicable:
Honors and accomplishments, including academics, sports, music, drama
Activities outside of your academic curriculum
Community service, work or internships
Leadership activities, clubs
Athletics, in school or outside of school
Hobbies and interests
Special Accomplishments (such as being 1st clarinet chair or selected as MVP or Chess Team Captain)
How to List Your Activities
You want to have categories for different sets of activities, such as athletics, volunteer/community service, extracurricular activities, summer programs, work/internship experience, to name a few. Within each category, list your activities in the order of importance, which can be defined as the amount of time spent in each activity along with how many years and how recent the activity occurred. With each activity, be sure to list what school year you participated in each activity. Include the average hours/week and weeks/year that you participated.bFor example 4 hours per week, 20 weeks per year. For special accomplishments, note the year in which you received the honor or accomplishment.
How to Write About Each Activity
Keep it concise. The reader has probably a minute, at most, to read or skim your resume.
There may be a maximum word count. For example, the Common App gives you 150 characters, including spaces, to describe your activity.
Be clear. Every word counts and should mean something, as well as be understandable to the reader, who may not be familiar with this activity.
Combine activities if they are one time events, meaning if you have several volunteer activities you did just one time. Examples could include a community clean up for six hours on one day, and a senior center holiday sing-a-long one time for two hours. Consider adding them as bulleted items, under the title “Various Community Service Activities.”
What NOT to Include On Your Resume
These are the items and activities that SHOULD NOT be included on a college application resume:
GPA since colleges will receive transcripts from your high school
Classes that are on your transcript, such as orchestra or band (Note: If you have a specific accomplishment in that class then you can include that in your honors and awards section, such as “selected as first chair clarinetist, grade 10”
Activities from 8th grade or earlier. A college resume should focus on your freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year only. Note and exception: If you participated in an activity starting in 6th grade and continued through high school then on your resume you can list as the description “Participated since 6th grade”.
Best College Application Resume Tip: Start Making Your Resume Now!
Drafting your resume before applications are due is a great way for you to prepare for the application process. Actually, you should catalog all of your activities starting in 9th grade! That way, when it comes time to write about your activities for the resume, and ultimately in your applications, you have it all in one place and can easily do so. Remember, your resume does not need to be very long; it should never overstate nor exaggerate. It should represent who you are and what you have accomplished and participated in.
A well-written student resume shows a prospective college more about the real you, who you are and what you enjoy. Just be your best self. And get started on your college application resume today!