How to Write a College Resume

Three Methods:The PurposeThe FormatThe Content

Education is a critical factor in the pursuit of a great career, and the competition to get into good colleges is fierce. To gain an edge over other high school students, it is a good idea to include a resume with your application, giving admissions officers a solid summary of who you are and what you've accomplished. Follow this guide to help your resume stand out from the rest.

Method 1
The Purpose

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    Set yourself apart. College admissions offices sift through thousands of applications. A well-written resume will immediately set you apart from the admissions that don’t have one. Take the time to make sure that your resume is as finely crafted as possible.
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    Advertise yourself. A resume allows you to highlight everything that makes you the ideal admissions candidate. It is more straightforward than an admissions essay, and gives the admissions officer a quick rundown of who you are.
    • Most admissions applications lack the space to enter all the details of your accomplishments and activities. A resume will help fill the gaps.
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    Open new opportunities. A well-written resume can lead to scholarships and internships. It can make a study-abroad program more attainable. Writing college resumes also gives you experience writing resumes for the career world.

Method 2
The Format

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    Start with your name. Your name, address, email, phone number(s), high school name, date of birth, and date of submission should be centered at the top of the resume. Make sure that all of the information is current.
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    Consider an objective. While not necessary for all resumes, consider writing a short paragraph about what you’d like to achieve out of school. This can be especially useful if you are targeting a specific scholarship, major, or program.
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    Set an order. Your college resume should always start with Education first. You will also want to include Extracurricular Activities, Leadership, Volunteer Work, Sports, Employment, and Internships. List them in the order based on strength, with the strongest first after Education. You can also adjust the order depending on where you are applying to.
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    Highlight your most recent entries. In each section, start with your most recent accomplishment, and work backwards. Do not list any activities from middle school and instead focus on showcasing your high school accomplishments.
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    Set your margins and font. Your margins should be set to 1” on all sides. Line-spacing should be wide enough to allow for easy readability, but not so wide as to spread your content out too much.
    • Font choice will have little impact on your resume, as long as you keep it professional. While a fancy or funny font may seem like it is speaking to your personality, it will cause admissions officers to dismiss it. Stick to business fonts such as Helvetica, Times New Roman, Calibri, etc.

Method 3
The Content

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    Be concise. When writing about your achievements and activities, avoid going into details about unimportant aspects. Keep your descriptions to-the-point; this will make them more powerful to the reader. Ideally, a resume shouldn’t be more than a page or two long. Any longer and the reader will begin to gloss over the content.
    • Bad example: “I was on the Student Council, and attended the meetings every week. We had a lot of good debates in these meetings. Most of the debates were about how the school should be run.”
    • Good example: “Elected to Student Council, led the council in many debates about school policy.”
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    Don’t be modest. While you should never lie, or even embellish, on a resume you should draw attention to your accomplishments. You aren’t trying to get your fellow students admitted, so focus on what you have done.
    • Bad example: “Took Student Council notes.”
    • Good example: “Managed all Student Council documents and meeting minutes.”
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    Use powerful verbs and action words. When you write your descriptions, begin each point with an action word that will make it pop out to admissions officers. This will help keep your descriptions concise and impactful. Never use “I” in a resume.
    • Bad example: “In charge of several committees, including the Homecoming and Prom committee.”
    • Good example: “Chaired the Homecoming and Prom committees.”
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    Showcase your grades. If you received good grades in high school, be absolutely sure to draw attention to them. Include a GPA score if over 3.0, and list your class rank or percentile if you have access to it. Good SAT or ACT scores as well as any honors programs should be listed as well.
    • If you have space, you can list some of the AP and college-level course you have taken.
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    Focus on leadership. If you have a lot of extracurricular activities to list, then space on the resume can become an issue. When listing your extracurricular activities, pay special attention to anything that you took a leadership role in. This could be a section leader in the marching band, a team captain, volunteer coordinator, new student orientation, and much more.
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    Show that you care. A strong volunteer section on your resume will help show that you care and take the initiative to help others. Try to have at least two or three volunteer entries to help you stand out.
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    Highlight special skills. Throughout your academic career, you may have become fluent in a foreign language or mastered one or more computer software programs. These are things admissions officers look for and should be included on your college resume.
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    Proofread your resume. Before printing and sending out your resume to colleges with your applications, have your resume proofread by at least two other people. Try to have a guidance counselor take a look at it to see if they have any recommendations. A resume should never be sent out with grammatical errors or misinformation.


  • Be prepared to write more than one resume. Each resume should be written specifically for the college to which you are sending it.

Article Info

Categories: Resume Preparation