What’s the best way to make sure that college admissions officers know about all of your accomplishments? Compose a resume. That way, you don’t have to worry about fitting in the important details of your activities and achievements on the limited space allocated on most college applications.
The best time to first compose a resume is early in your high school years. Then you will have time to fill in the gaps that become evident when you put your life story in writing. Resume categories typically include: Education (listing your G.P.A., SAT scores, A.P. courses, and other academic accomplishments such as summer courses taken on college campuses), Athletic accolades, Volunteer activities, Work experience, Extracurricular involvement, and, hopefully, details of a “passion project” where you are engaged in an activity that demonstrates a talent or interest not common among your peers which will ultimately help you stand out to college admission officers.
Not every student needs to feature every category on a resume. Athletes, musicians, and others involved in a time-consuming activity may not have the opportunity to take on a paid job. Students with afterschool family or work responsibilities may not have the liberty of being engaged in extracurricular activities. But all students should be able to account for how they spend their out-of-school hours – hopefully developing a passion or talent that colleges will want them to bring to their campus.
While a great asset when submitting college applications, a resume serves many more purposes. It’s a great tool to have prepared when the opportunity arises to apply for an internship, scholarship, part-time job, or membership in a prestigious organization, such as the National Honor Society. It’s also a black-and-white reminder of what you have accomplished, and what you still need to focus on. For example, all colleges expect students to have engaged in some form of volunteer work. They want students, for their campus, who recognize the needs of others in their surrounding community and are willing to become involved to try to make the world a better place. So, if the “volunteer activities” column on your resume is currently blank, it’s time to engage your talents in a meaningful endeavor.
A resume is actually a lifelong document that you will certainly add to and alter as the years go by and your goals and ambitions change. But having one on hand, and updating it when needed, will prove invaluable more often than you can imagine.
Susan Alaimo is the founder of SAT Smart. For the past 25 years, SAT Smart’s Ivy League educated tutors have prepared students for the PSAT, SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, AP courses, and all high school subjects. Visit www.SATsmart.com or call 908-369-5362.