You know you’re a great catch for any school, but how can you let schools know? Putting together a killer college resume is an important step to making all the hard work you’ve done in and out of the classroom pay off when being considered by college admissions officers. And just like you, your college resume is a living thing, able to be changed and updated at a moment’s notice. Having a strong resume doesn’t just give schools a clear picture of what makes you you, but will also help you find new roads to potential scholarships based on your interests and experience.
Instead of putting off creating your resume until you’re under the gun of filling out your college applications, take some time to start chronicling the things that make you shine now and update it each semester. Here are 5 tips to help make your resume stand out.
Even before you start high school, you can rack up experience that will reflect well on your resume. The activities done in the summer before 9th grade count as high school (summer is considered part of 9th grade). Make sure that your summer activities correspond to the appropriate upcoming year.
List everything and edit later
High school (and later college) is a time where students explore different options and frequently change their interest. This will most likely happen (or already has happened) to you. Don’t give in to the temptation to change your resume to reflect your interests of the moment, but instead let it reflect the wide variety of your experiences. Not only does it show schools that you have a diverse background, but also that you are inquisitive, open to trying new things and expanding your view of the world.
Extracurricular activities aren’t just for school
Outside of the classroom activities doesn’t just mean sports, clubs or programs connected with your school. The things that make you unique can be as diverse as playing in band with friends, starting your own community service group or doing work with your church. The more a college sees that you are working outside of your school and engaging with the world around you, the more they will see you as an ideal candidate
Take pride in your achievements
No one likes a braggart, but a resume is not the place to be humble. You don’t have to be winning State Championship trophies, though, to list your accolades on your resume. Make sure to point out any achievement from dean’s list, honor roll or team MVP to Eagle Scout, high honors or first chair. Even awards like “most improved,” “most inspirational” or regional qualifier will stand out because it shows that even though you weren’t a “champion” you still worked hard and excelled. Don’t have many (or any) items in this category? Don’t worry. Just make sure you have items to list in other sections.
Hobbies and interests can be just as important as work
Colleges know that students can learn a lot from working in either paid or unpaid jobs during school and/or over summer vacation. Getting real world experience putting the skills learned in school is invaluable. But don’t be afraid to also include the things about you that make you unique, especially if they don’t fit into other categories. Like to help rebuild classic cars? Add it! Never miss a cooking show and have a knack for making a mean souffle? Let them know. Sometimes you may be using your interest in volunteer situations without even knowing it. So consider the things that you love doing as things colleges will love about you, too.
Keeping your resume up to date each semester is a great way to not let any of your experiences slip through the cracks. Over time, your resume grow and give you the opportunity to whittle it down, removing some things and letting the things that are the most important stand tall.