Saturday, September 29, 2007

Resumes For College Applications - Tips

When helping your child apply to college, how do you highlight aspects of your high school senior's academic and extra-curricular activities to help him or her stand out from the pack of thousands of students applying early decision or regular decision? Here are two suggestions to SUPPLEMENT the college application: (1) Add a Resume; or (2) Add an Activities List.
The College Application Resume:
The Common Application and numerous individual college and university applications permit a student to attach a resume. The resume should include the following:
  • The student's name, address, telephone number, email address, and social security number at the top, used as a heading on the first page - AND the student's name and social security number (and whatever other information is required by the university) on every other page.
  • High School Information such as the name of the High School, GPA, class standing where applicable, honors courses, AP courses.
  • SAT Scores. If your SAT scores are stellar, add them. They are not a must.
  • Honors and Awards. Depending upon the number of honors and awards, you may want to group them together or separately but do list all of them with the receipt dates and grades (i.e. National Merit Scholar, 2006, 11th grade). Some of the honors or awards will require a short description.
  • Activities. The order of the activities will differ for each student. Some will have stellar athletic accomplishments and Athletics should be listed next. Others will have impressive Leadership or Student Government activities. Participation in Student Clubs, Performing Arts, and other activities should be included as well.
  • Community Service should be a separate category. Many of these activities will have a short description of the work involved.
  • Work Experience. If your child has worked during the summer or otherwise, that work also may be included.

For the Resume and the Activities List:

  1. To the right of each activity you should add, at a minimum, the grades in which the activity occurred and the number of hours per week and weeks per year that your child participated in each activity (take your cues from the college application itself).
  2. Let the information requested in the college application guide you.

The College Application Activities List:

In some instances, particularly in connection with college applications that suggest you may attach a list to expound on your activities. You may decide that all you need is to augment your activities. Your activities list contains much of the same information and in the same or a similar format as a resume. Below are some similarities and differences:

  • Name and Document Title. Your child's name, social security number and other contact information should be the same as if you were submitting a resume. IN ADDITION, after the contact information on the first page, you should place a title, the name of which will depend upon the application requirements. Each subsequent page should have that information at the top with the page number. For example: a student applying to Duke University a couple of years ago attached an Activities List and this is how she titled it:

Attachment to Duke University Admissions Application C. Activities

  • As a general rule, List Each Activity In Order of Importance to Your Child. Make the format reader friendly. For example, the categories of activities should have a title in bold and underlined.
  • The activities listed should expand upon the list on the application and it may include activities such as sports, performing arts, community service, and work experience.

Disclaimer: These suggestions are not intended to supplant your own judgment, specific directions from the university, or the instructions given to you by the school's college counselor. Use the college counselor as your primary resource. Make sure you have thoroughly studied the admissions and other relevant information posted on the website of each university to which your child will send an application. The information the school wants you to know may be invaluable to you and your child in the application process.

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