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How to Write a College Resume: Basic Guide

how to write a college resume
When the time finally arrives to submit your applications to the colleges and universities of your choice, you will have to do some work. In many cases, colleges and universities will require that you submit more than just your application. The admissions officers want to see a quality resume along with letters of recommendation, scholarship applications, and more.

So, you also need a resume that is going to highlight your goals and achievements. If you have already started your college resume and it looks more like a grocery list, you may want to consider the following tips to ensure that you have the best college resume for submission.

Getting Started

Before you start writing anything down, you need to take a bit of time to brainstorm. Brainstorming allows you to jot down everything that you have accomplished both academically and otherwise during your years in high school. You can set up and appointment to talk to your high school counselor. They will have access to your academic records and may remind you of some crucial achievements you had forgotten about. It is also great to enlist the help of your parents during the brainstorming process. Most proud parents will be able to rattle off all of the great things you have done throughout your life.

Once you have done your brainstorming, organize your accomplishments so that you can list them on your resume. List the awards you have earned, list the clubs where you have displayed your ability to be a leader, include your special abilities or hobbies, and do not forget to include any volunteer work or community service that you do.

You want to paint a picture of yourself that displays how you take the initiative in your school and in your community. Demonstrate your passion and your determination to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. For example if you learned sign language so that you can be an interpreter for people who cannot hear, share that information. If you help the homeless by working at a soup kitchen or by collecting donations of clothing and food items, share this as well.

Determine What to Highlight on Your Resume

If you have an extensive list of accomplishments, activities, and the like you do not want to include everything on your resume. You need a resume that is not overly cluttered but gives a solid view of you as a person, as well as the areas of your life, both in and out of the classroom for which you excel the most.

  • Leadership roles. List the most important leadership roles you have held, omit the minor ones.
  • Honors and Achievements. It is not necessary to include a 10th place ribbon you received for something minor, only include the top rewards from your academic career.
  • Extracurricular Achievements. Include sports related honors or other achievements that do not involve academics.
  • Work experience. Listing work experience is essential if you work extensively and it can demonstrate your ability as a team leader and/or team player.
  • Special Talents. Mention any special skills, talents, or abilities you may have that do not have a specific category on the college application.
  • Life circumstances. If you had special circumstances in your life that prevented you from doing more community service or have more involvement in school activities, such as working part time, share that information.

Format Your Resume

When you do your resume you want to make it visually appealing and easy for the admissions officers to read. Ensure that you include all of your pertinent information on the resume. Place at the top of your resume your full name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, as well as the name of your high school.

As mentioned previously, you should organize all of your accomplishments. List them as follows:

  • List all entries from the most recent to the oldest.
  • List entries by level of importance with the most important first.
  • List entries based on time commitment, entries requiring the most time are to be listed first.
  • List the leadership roles you held. If you were a secretary for one club and a president for another, list the role of president first.
  • Organize all of your entries by academic, work experience, hobbies, sports, community services, awards and honors.

When creating your resume, be sure to be organized, provide the highlights of your academic and non-academic achievements, and do not forget to proofread prior to submitting to avoid errors.