As students complete their applications to schools during College Application Month, a major step toward standing out from the crowd of applicants at your preferred college is a strong resume. You know you’re a great catch for any school, but how can you let schools know? A killer college resume can show admission officers all the hard work you’ve done in and out of the classroom over the years. And just like you, a 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.
It’s always best to start your resume ahead of time as keeping track of your activities over the years will make it easier to have your list of activities at your fingertips come senior year. But for those starting their resumes under the gun, don’t fear. Keep these tips in mind to help your resume stand out:
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 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, for accolades to make the cut 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.