Crafting a Student Résumé for College Applications

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Donut or bagel? Sunrise or sunset? iOS or android? Horror film or comedy? Cats or dogs? Call or text? Spotify or apple music? Free coffee or free Wi-Fi? Beach or mountains? 

Personally, I enjoy donuts and coffee on the beach at sunrise, I choose films with humor, never horror, and I’ve never been a fan of texts. And, no question: dogs, please. Playing This or That is a great way to get to know someone, or get to know someone better. It is also a fun way to exercise your partiality and reveal a bit about who you are as a person. This is a sketch, and a very low stress game that demonstrates preferred choices. Collectively speaking, your unique set of favorites will give others a clue into who you are as a distinct individual. 

We can all see that our choices shape our world and that sharing information about ourselves has become a feature of life for people of all ages. Personal websites, Instagram accounts, Snap Chat, LinkedIn profiles, Zee Mee accounts for college apps – they all call for bits of information or “story boards” about our lives. These multi-media platforms can produce really impressive portraits, but what about conveying straightforward, practical information by, say, writing a résumé? 

The résumé, a practical and informative document, is alive and well and has, in fact, become a useful tool for high school students. A high school résumé allows students to share information about themselves quickly and efficiently. Think of the college interview or the college fair. A résumé is a good way to deliver background info to a college representative, complete with contact information, honors, awards, academic highlights, and extracurricular interests. Another important consideration is that, by constructing a résumé, students think carefully about their activities and accomplishments, and consider the most significant experiences of their high school experience. Reflection and self-knowledge, along with research, is the backbone of the college search process. 

Please dismiss any feelings of inadequacy. A student résumé need NOT include a historical account of paid positions, dramatic experiences, or life-altering adventures. The résumé is a document that reveals a series of facts related to a student’s education, experience, abilities, and interests. Again, it is about the choices one makes that allow others to understand our life’s journey. It creates a spark for initiating conversations with folks such as the potential internship supervisor, a part-time employer, or a college admissions representative. 

A great way to start shaping a résumé is to create an activities list. Write down all of your activities from freshmen year forward, and include education, extracurricular activities, work or internship experiences, in addition to any special interests or skills you might have, such as computer skills or foreign language proficiency. Begin formatting your document with your contact information and include both your cell number and an email address appropriate for admissions reps. Include a category called EDUCATION and add the name of your high school, year of expected graduation, GPA (if 3.0 or higher), AP or IB classes, and academic awards or recognitions. Add a few more sections: perhaps ACTIVITIES or EXTRACURRICULAR INTERESTS or ART or ATHLETICS. Lacrosse or soccer? Tech crew or the school newspaper? Quiz Bowl or Key Club? Robotics or Crew? Or all of the above?! Your format headings will be shaped by your life and the activities that you have chosen. 

Remember that your résumé will serve as a list of facts that have contributed to your unique position as a person, so tailor your résumé to represent your distinctive self –and then share your information generously with others.