What Looks Good On A College Application 7 Key Elements
In addition to key personality traits, such as ambition, passion, genuine interest, and academic curiosity, what looks really good on a college application?
In general, a great application will have most or all of the following elements:
- A high GPA and a rigorous curriculum
- Strong test scores
- A specific, honest, and well-written personal statement
- A unique extracurricular interest or passion
- Volunteering experience with measurable impact
- Compelling letters of recommendation written on your behalf
- Work experience, particularly jobs related to your academic or professional interests
It’s OK if you don’t have every single quality listed above, but if you do, your chances of getting accepted to the college of your dreams will go way up!
Now then, let’s take a look at each of these qualities in more detail.
Keep It Brief And Easy To Read
Your resume should be concise. Since you probably havent accumulated a significant amount of experience as a teenager, you should keep it to one page . At the same time, avoid using teensy font and ultra-slim margins to cram everything into a single page the resume should be easy to scan and read. Remember: be selective to ensure you have enough room.
Part of making your resume readable means formatting it such that its presentable. Use space to your advantages, along with a clear system for organizing the information the traditional format is chronological, but you may choose to use an alternative format instead. Use headings, too, and make sure your formatting is consistent throughout.
Choose A Suitable College Application Resume Format
Firstly, verify the personal profile required. Some colleges ask the applicants to submit a college application CV instead of a resume.
If you are applying to such colleges, you are expected to write an article that is lengthier than a college application resume while providing a detailed list of comprehensive past experiences. On the other hand, several resume formats for college admission have been adopted worldwide in recent years.
Choosing appropriate layout when structuring a college admission resume according to your situation may work since different forms highlight different aspects of an applicant.
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Use These Additional Sections
If youve followed all our tips till now, congrats – youre around 90% into creating a top-notch college application resume.
Now, lets talk about how you can take that to 100%!
In addition to the conventional resume sections weve covered till now, you can include the following to help you stand out in a sea of other applicants:
- Awards. Here, you can list any awards won in competitions .
- Volunteer experience. Did you clean up your town, or maybe you volunteered at an animal rescue center as a high school student? Any kind of volunteering can help your college application resume because it shows youre a responsible community member. If its somehow related to your field or future major, thats a big plus.
- Projects. Be them individual , or school-related , projects can show that youre passionate and creative.
- Sports. Poet Juvenal said a healthy mind in a healthy body. This means that physical exercise is an important part of mental and psychological well-being . Do you excel at specific sports? Include them in your resume!.
- Languages. Being fluent in a foreign language is another plus for a prospective college student. Make sure to show it in your college application resume.
How To Write A High School Resume For College Applications
Think resumes are only for job seekers? Think again. High school student resumes give colleges a snapshot of your accomplishments, extracurriculars, hobbies, and work history. They can also be a useful tool for prepping for a college interview or to give to the teachers who are writing your letters of recommendation.
Not sure how to get started? Follow our tips for crafting a standout resume for college and scholarship applications.
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Use Active And Specific Language
Use the active voice when cataloging your achievements. You should also be offering clear evidence. If you can, use numbers and facts to support your experiences.
For example, rather than saying, Started tutoring business, you might instead write, Built a tutoring business by recruiting 15 student tutors and initiating a social media campaign targeting students in need of STEM support personally worked with 25 students, who improved their GPAs by an average of X points.
College Application Resume Guide And Template
Put one more item on your to-do list, high school seniors. Its time to prepare a college application resume.
Not the kind of resume youll need when you look for your first post-college job or a brag sheet youve put together for someone writing a letter of recommendation, but a resume designed for a high school senior.
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Include A Diverse Mix Of Skills
- Work ethic
- Flexibility and adaptability
These are just a few of the skills that most college students pick up through their studies.
Take it a step further by listing any specific technical skills youve picked up through a class , skills youve learned through independent study , or skills youve exercised through extracurricular activities .
Additionally, emphasizing your soft skills is a great way to improve your resume if you have minimal work experience. Thats because soft skills are valuable for nearly any job, and are difficult to teach.
Order Your Contact Information The Right Way
As we already mentioned, your college application resume should start with your contact information.
These are your contact information section must-haves:
And heres what this looks like in practice:
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Colleges That Do Not Accept Resumes
Some schools fully recognize that you are, in many cases, not even yet a legal adult, let alone one whose career accomplishments would necessitate a resume. The University of Virginia explicitly states: We do not accept resumes, research abstracts, or writing portfolios. In 2018, Duke University adopted a similar ban on resume submission for undergraduate hopefuls. Yale is a smidgen less concrete, warning that, Generally speaking, applicants should not submit additional résumés, except in the case of professional employment experience in the performing arts. The New Haven gatekeepers go on to elaborate that they have zero interest in hearing about more than your ten most recent/important activities already included elsewhere in the application. Tufts University is another elite institution that is a full-fledged member of Team No-Resume, stating that we are not able to accept a supplemental resume of activities. Before you submit a single resume with one of your applications, carefully read the admissions homepages of all of your prospective schools to make sure that they dont have a comparably discouraging language.
Choosing The Best Resume Format For College Admissions
For a job hunt resume, we recommend the standard reverse chronological order format most of the time, but your college admissions resume is likely to veer from that format. Unless you are returning to school after participating in the workforce for some years, you should choose a resume that focuses on your skills and academic achievements so far.
You may also consider a hybrid resume format, which begins with a skills or experience section before moving on to the employment history.
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How To Get Started With Your Resume For Your College Applications
What Should My College Admissions Resume Include
A successful resume for college admissions should include the following sectionsif applicable to your situation.
1. Contact Information
Youll want to include your full name as it appears on your high school transcript, SATs, etc. This will minimize any confusion, especially if you have a common first and last name. You also need to include your current home address, phone number, and email address.
Its recommended to include your birthday on your resume for college, but you dont need to actually write out your age. Again, this will help ensure they know exactly which applicant you are.
For this section, you only need to include your high school education and any college you may have attended for a dual-enrollment or summer program for credit. Its also a good idea to include your GPA if its higher than 3.0. If you were homeschooled and dont have a GPA, thats okay. Just leave that part out.
4. Consider Adding a Resume Objective for College Admissions
Whats your goal with sending a college admissions resume? Are you looking to stand out as a candidate for an honors program, competitive course of study, or scholarship? Are you just using the resume to boost your general application? If you have a specific goal, you may want to consider adding an objective section to your resume. This is just a brief summary of what you want to get out of attending the school.
5. Activities Outside of the Classroom
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Tips For Transfer Students:
As a transfer student, you are in a unique position. If you have completed an associates degree, it is perfectly acceptable to list only the institution from which you graduated in your education section. If you have not yet graduated with an associates degree, or are transferring before you will graduate, you should include both your current institution and your high school. If you studied abroad, that should be listed as well.
If you are transferring into a specific program , consider listing any completed coursework relevant to your prospective degree. You can then continue to add to this section as you progress through college and use a similar version of the same résumé when applying for early career opportunities. You may choose to list an objective as well, but it is not necessary. If you dont have enough room for your other activities, skip it.
For reference, here is a sample college résumé. This blog evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of two college students résumés and offers advice on how to make them stronger. Depending on how far along you are in school and how many activities you participate in, you may want to model your résumé off of either Student Caffés college or high school example.
Employment History Example: Show Off Your Soft Skills
If you worked in the summer or after school, this is the place to list those jobs. Colleges want to know that you are responsible and know how to manage your time. Your part-time work shows them you have those attributes, so even if you think the job was menial or if you worked only one day a week, include it.
If you do not have any work experience, be sure to focus on your academic experiences and accomplishments.
Here’s our resume sample content that showcases high school academic and extracurricular experiences.
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How Important Is The Resume For College
Well, it depends.
In general, most colleges have a dedicated space on their application system called the Activities List where you will be able to list out all of the things youve been involved in outside of school. That section is your BEST place to share those details. Dont skip it.
However, some colleges offer the option of submitting a separate, more traditional style resume.
If you feel like youve totally communicated all of the important details in your Activities List, you may not need to submit a separate resume. In fact, for many colleges, you may not even have the opportunity to upload a traditional PDF resume.
But if given that option, should you do it?
Some colleges strongly recommend that you submit a resume along with your application While others forbid it So be sure to check with individual colleges to see what they prefer.
However, keeping a professional resume on hand will serve you in a few other ways. How?
Serves as a foundation for the Common App Activities List .
Gives teachers and counselors a framework for their letters of recommendation.
Provides you with a list of ready-made talking points for an admissions interview.
May inspire your Common App essay.
Is a requirement for many scholarships or internship and employment opportunities .
Finally, its like having your own business card. Theres a professional cool factor when youve got a slick resume to slap on someones desk.
Now, lets make one.
Dont Rehash Your Activities Section
Again, dont use this space to regurgitate information youve presented elsewhere on your application. Instead, it should be a space to share unique facets of yourself that dont fit into other places.
For example, perhaps theres a specific job you held that you couldnt properly describe in the activities section. You can use this space to elaborate on the responsibilities you held. Or, as mentioned in the previous section, you can describe specific projects youve completed related to your interests. This is especially helpful for more self-driven pursuits, like independent writing.
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Resume Summary Example: Youre More Than Your Gpa
You will write your college admissions essay with an eye toward illuminating what makes you an excellent candidate for your chosen university, but your resume summary gives you another chance at it. Its likely there was something you wanted to say in that essay that did not fit in 500 words. You have 3-4 lines at the top of your resume, so say it here!
Try not to repeat information you offer elsewhere and remember that your goal is to answer the question: How will you contribute to the student body and academic environment at our university.
See the resume example text below for summary ideas.
Motivated and passionate student with the intention of gaining admission into your renowned University. Hardworking and driven, with goals of flourishing in your respected Liberal Arts program. Bringing forth a strong academic background with a steady GPA above 3.5, and a decorated Softball career resulting in a 2017 Championship for our school. Committed to working hard and serving my school, peers, and community.
College Application Resume Template
Making a resume from scratch can take what feels like agesespecially if its your first time doing it.
Youve got to tweak the formatting.
You make a change at MS Word and the layout falls apart in front of your eyes. Or you end up using a bland and outdated template.
Well, you dont have to worry about any of these things with Nóvóresumes free resume templates.
With 8 free templates to choose from – college application resume included – you dont have to worry about anything other than inputting your information.
Let our resume builder do the rest!
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How Should You Describe Each Activity And Accomplishment
UT’s preferred formatting involves listing grade level, hours per week/weeks per year, and position titles . For example:
Captain of the Canton High School basketball team 4 hrs/wk – 20 wks/yr 11, 12
Formatting it this way will also make it easier when it’s time for the student to describe their activities on the ApplyTexas activities section, since it requests this same information.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. The point of the expanded resume is to list as much information as possible about the activity. Below the basic information, students will include a bullet listusing active verbsthat expands on the activity with information that the reader couldn’t glean from the title.
The most important thing to remember: go beyond the obvious.
For example, if a student is describing their involvement on the basketball team, the reader will know that they attended practices and games, but nothing else goes without saying. Even if the students lists themselves as captain, the expanded resume is the place to say they were elected captain by their peers. And remember some accomplishments expand beyond the activity itself. For example, maybe the student was the only basketball player to work with the booster club on a special fundraising project.
An activity note:
Captain of the XYZ soccer team 5hrs/wk 11, 12
An EXPANDED statement:
Captain of the XYZ soccer team 5 hrs/wk 11, 12
-Arrive early and work with coach to get practices started
-Mentor new team members
College Admissions Resume Templates
Not sure how to get started in creating your college admissions resume? Use our free and premium Templates to craft an outstanding resume for college admissions. We have also provided a sample resume section herein to serve as an example of writing and formatting your achievements and accomplishments. Download our free templates today and use them to condense your achievements into an easy-to-read format.
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