Resumes for College Applications

As a high school student, you might view writing your resume for your college applications to be a foreign concept. Understanding how to write a resume and what to include in it may be difficult when you haven’t had much work experience. While resumes written by adults are geared toward getting jobs, your college application resume is designed to help you to gain admission by highlighting your achievements in such a way that you stand out among a sea of applicants. Although some colleges view resumes as unnecessary because they have asked for the information elsewhere in their applications, for some students with unique work or extracurricular experience, submitting resumes helps them tell their full story. The professionals at Going Ivy understand what it takes to gain admission to the Ivy League and other elite schools, and we can help you to polish your resume until it lets you shine through.

Approaching Resume Writing with Expert Knowledge

Your resume is a snapshot of your accomplishments both inside and outside of school. We sometimes meet students who have no idea where to even begin when they are faced with writing their resumes. As graduates of some of the most exclusive colleges and universities in the nation, including Harvard, we understand how important your resume is and what it should contain. There are several things that we believe that you should do in order to craft the best resume for your college application.

Building Your Resume

Your resume should be concise, not exceeding more than one page. Because of its brevity, it should be packed with information that highlights everything that is important. This is not a place to wax poetic in a prose-heavy document. Instead, your accomplishments and activities should be clear and listed in sections with headings so that the admissions counselors can scan it quickly. It is important that you understand that admissions counselors review thousands of applications and resumes each year, so making yours easy to scan and to read quickly is vital.

Start Early

If you can, start building your resume when you are in ninth grade. While this may seem premature, your resume should ideally include information about what you have done throughout your high school years, including your freshman year. During your freshman year, you should note the extracurricular activities and any awards or honors that you receive. This document should be a living one that you continue to add to throughout the next few years. When you start early and amass a lot of information, it’s much easier to cut away the extraneous parts later than it is to try to build a completely new resume from scratch during the throes of your stressful college application process.

Formatting is Important

Your resume should follow a good format. You should have section headings with your contact information and name at the top. The sections should include your academics, extracurriculars, honors and awards, volunteer and community service activities and any job experience that you might have had. Resist the urge to use gimmicks or be too creative when formatting and organizing your resume. You do not want to stand out for the wrong reasons.

Section Information

Under each section, you’ll want to list your dates of participation along with the leadership roles that you have held. When you are considering how to shape your resume at the beginning of high school, you shouldn’t believe that longer resumes or resume-padding is the key to gaining admission. Ivy League admissions officers are much more interested in students who have engaged in the activities about which they are passionate as opposed to students who have participated in many different activities and try to do everything. This means that it is important for you to choose activities and clubs that are in your individual areas of interest. For instance, if you love math and want to possibly go into a STEM-related field in college and in your career, being the president of your school’s math club and winning math competitions will be more impressive to college admissions counselors than serving as your student council’s treasurer. Likewise, the length of your engagement is important, so actively participating in a few activities for all four years of high school is something admissions officers will notice.

Review Sample Resumes

You can learn a lot about what to do and what not to do by reading sample high school resumes. When you do, think about what stands out about each one as well as what works and doesn’t. Take the perspective of an admissions counselor who is working as a first reader. Former Cornell admissions officer Nelson Ureña explains that many schools assign applications to first readers who then spend about 15 minutes scanning through the applicant’s packet and then assigning an initial recommendation before the file and the first reader’s recommendation are passed to a second reader. With everything included in your college application, think critically and ask whether what you are reading would pass enough muster to satisfy a first reader who is literally inundated with hundreds or thousands of application files to review.

Revise, Revise and Revise Some More

When you meet with your educational consultant at Going Ivy, you should expect to revise your resume several times. This is important so that you make certain that your finished product is something that entices your first reader to delve more fully into the rest of your application file with interest. Your resume should highlight all that is best about you and your accomplishments. It is also vitally important that it does not contain grammar or spelling errors, requiring careful proofreading.

Contact Going Ivy

The professional team at Going Ivy is dedicated to helping you to reach your personal potential. We understand how to write resumes that help our students stand out, and we have helped some of our students to gain admission to some of the most selective colleges in the U.S. Contact us today to learn more about writing your resume and our other college prep and application services.

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