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College Adventures: The College Application Resume…don’t let it be a bore!
I see and read many, many resumes for student college applications. Most of them I save for bedtime because as I read them I fall asleep. That is NOT what you want the college application readers to do when they read your resume! So how to make it a bit more interesting?
In case you are unaware of it, all college applicants need to have a resume. This resume should detail your life, accomplishments, awards, interests, community service, clubs, etc etc from ninth grade forward. Although most colleges and universities require you to fill out this information on the application form, I always recommend that you send in a separate resume (and keep it to two pages, please!). The resume should highlight what you have been doing throughout your high school career. Most high schools even help their students with a resume…and with putting application readers to sleep. I advise you to be a bit more personal than a garden variety resume (no offense to high schools, of course). Not all students are the same, and not all students have the same interests. In the college application process you want to stand out, not blend in. Make the resume your own, and let it highlight you and your assets. If you do not have academic awards then do not have a section on the resume for academic awards! I had a student at Pearce High School who had done no community service, and we all know that resumes are big on community service hours these days. Instead of a list of impressive community service projects he wrote a paragraph about his regret that he had no experience with community service and that he hoped to rectify this lack in college. He then went on to discuss areas of community service he was interested in. (There was no heading for academic awards on his resume, either!) I do have to say that he had a very interesting resume, and he was accepted to almost every school he applied to.
There are many different types of resumes, and artistic students will need to do two resumes. Students interested in theater, music, art, and other fine arts programs will need a creative work resume as well. Those resumes need to be detailed and often include all performances, competitions, lessons and venues. Portfolios, auditions, and interviews are usually required for these types of programs as well.
One last piece of resume advice: talk about your interests and/or hobbies, especially if they are unusual. Colleges LOVE to list unusual or atypical interests or facts about their incoming class. Are you an amateur magician? Do you love to bird watch? Are you a champion duck caller? Do you build motors or ride motorcycles? Scuba diver? Rock climber? Alligator wrestler? Put it on your resume under the heading “INTERESTS/HOBBIES”. One never knows what will catch the attention of the admission committee!