Some students are surprised when at the end of the application they have completed, that the college they are applying recommends a resume or activity list to be downloaded. This is especially confusing when they apparently have already listed these items earlier in the Common App. I often field a panicked student who at the 11th hour, realize, they do not have an activity list/resume to download into the application.
Creating a resume/activity list is one of the first actions I have my students do. This one page snapshot can be so useful for so many as they start their college journey. First, it gives counselors a great picture of who their student is, what they have been involved in and what their interests are. Second, from the very first time students start visiting colleges, they should be bringing their resume with them. Every admissions officer will be impressed with a well dressed student who hands them a complete resume, showcasing what they have been doing throughout their high school career. Every chance students get to connect with their admissions officer, they should take advantage of. The other reason having an already prepared activities list is to be prepared for those colleges that require or suggest a downloaded one at the end of their application. Believe me, the last thing students want to do is to create a resume after spending hours filling out an application.
The goal of an activities resume is to highlight your strengths and inform colleges about your accomplishments and special talents. This is your opportunity to showcase your talents!
To get started, make a list of all of your activities. This should include work experience, sports achievements, summer activities, academic achievements and/or awards, volunteer experiences and community service. Once you have made your list, arrange the activities into categories. These can include Awards and Achievements, Work Experience, Volunteer Experience, Interest and Passions etc. Once you have everything in categories, now put the list in order of importance or significance. That order will be different for each student. Make sure you clearly state when you did the activities and put them in order within the category. Also, include your role within each organization/activity. Don’t forget to be clear about each activity/organization, especially those unique ones that may need a longer description.
There is no right way to creating these resumes, however, it isn’t the time to be creative and cute. This should be a concise, easy to read document that a college can look at and get a good sense of who you are and what you have accomplished. This document should only be one page to make it easier for the admissions officers.
For those younger students (grades 9, 10 and 11) I suggest you keep a running list of activities you have participated in throughout your high school career, including after school activities, those activities outside of school, volunteer experiences, and work experiences. If you have achieved any accolades or awards, make sure you include those. It is easy to forget things when trying to think back four years. Keep adding to this list as you go, this will make your resume writing so much easier and most likely, more complete.