Creating a Solid College Resume: 5 Tips to Prove Your Worth

ExampleAs part of your admissions packet, most universities expect you to submit a high school resume. In addition to your essays, this is your chance to really sell yourself. Think of yourself as a box of cereal sitting on the shelf in the grocery store isle. There are literally hundreds of options but only one is going to be chosen. You have to reach out and wow the admissions committees with all you have to offer – show that you have the yogurt, nuts, and berries!

Here are a few suggestions to help whip your resume into shape.

1. Use strong verbs to describe your roles. Action words help bring the roles you have played to life and vividly illustrate your responsibilities.

Student Council, Vice-President
Created a school wide initiative to prevent bullying
Led meetings which included nearly 100 students
Edited school newspaper

2. Be specific about your accomplishments. If you are vague about your roles or accomplishments, the admissions committees won’t get a sense of your true worth. By being very specific in your bullet points, you will let your audience know exactly how awesome you are.

• Fundraised for Habitat for Humanity
• Led fundraising initiative, which raised $8,000. Role included managing a team of 10 students, procuring donations, and liaising between national and local groups.

3. Give weight to the experiences that matter most. To highlight your strengths, expand on the roles you played in your key extracurricular activities.

Model United Nations, Treasurer (2011-2012)
• Collected, maintained and balanced all membership dues and organization funds
• Coordinated out of-state trip for 8 members included logistics like travel arrangements
and scheduling
• Awarded “Officer of the Year” for overall leadership and overseeing fundraising efforts
which raised $1065.
Rangers Softball Team, Left Outfielder (2010-2012)
French Club, Member (2009-2010)

4. Be consistent. Proper formatting is a resume must! Paying attention to resume details is not an option, so if you don’t have an eye for the small stuff, work with a parent or teach to revise your resume. For example, make sure each bullet point always starts with a verb in the same tense.

Angels Dance Team, Secretary
• Led officer meetings
• Writes team monthly newsletter    < Bullet starts with a verb but is inconsistent w/ tense
• “Best in Show” award winner         < Bullet starts with a noun not a verb like the others

Angels Dance Team, Secretary
• Led officer meetings
• Wrote team monthly newsletter
• Awarded “Best in Show” title

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Make sure the organization name, position title, and involvement dates are always formatted the same way.

• Theater Club – President: 2011-Present
• First Baptist Church Choir, Lead Singer (2008-Present)
• Student Council – Member (2008-2009)

Organization, Title (start date-end date)

• Theater Club, President (2011-Present)
• First Baptist Church Choir, Lead Singer (2008-Present)
• Student Council, Member (2008-2009)

5. Get Outside Help. Sometimes it’s hard to separate yourself from your own accomplishments. If you’ve so much information on your resume that you could publish it as a book, you probably need to pare it down a bit. Being one of those fortunate people who have too many valuable experiences, leadership positions, and awards, is not a bad place to be, but the admissions boards want to quickly identify what you bring to the table. Work with someone who knows you well to help you recognize the most important things in your resume and cut back on the less important details.

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