Imagine a scenario where you have 10 different participations/achievements in one extracurricular activity and you want all of those represented in your activity list of common app. How would you do it?
You can’t. The little space commonapp provides (150 characters max) isn’t enough for applicants with diverse interests and participations. So what’s the solution? Well you can obviously use the additional information section for this purpose, but there’s a better way. And it is none other than creating a resume, especially for college admissions.
The way a resume highlights one’s important skills and responsibilities can earn you a spot over another applicant with the same stats. The details, thus, matter. You need to show the admission officer that you were actually dedicated to whatever your participation was.
I attribute my resume for many of my positive decisions. I had been involved in a lot of programming related ECAs and wanted to present each of those to the AOs. So as I created my resume, I found out that my skills are better represented there than the activity list or additional information section. Many of the colleges (e.g. Vanderbilt, Grinnell, NYU, Haverford, etc.) allow students to embed resumes directly through commonapp and some colleges allow it through their portal once you submit your commonapp. Now for those unis, I submitted my resume and I can bet it was looked into.
In addition, resumes are supportive for many college interviews. It gets awkward when you and your interviewer don’t find anything common to talk about. That is why many interviewers ask for resumes to send in advance. So it might come handy if you build one in advance.
So, to summarize, here’s why resumes might come in handy:
- As a part of college application to highlight your diverse awards and responsibilities.
- For some scholarship applications that require a resume.
- To send it to a college interviewer prior to the interview.
- Sending resumes to professors for meetings or opportunities.
- To apply for internships or jobs as a highschool student.
- For review of your admissions profile by a fellow mentor or mates.
Building a resume demands a lot of patience and revisions. So if you don’t have one ready when needed, you won’t be able to rush and make a good one in a hurry. So, building a resume for admissions doesn’t hurt if not elevate your application to the AOs.
Important points to keep in mind while creating a resume for admissions
- The words should be succinct, with only the details that really matter. No bullshitting.
- Use active voice rather than passive voice.
- Mention the quantity. Numbers show a lot. Write like “helped 30 highschool school students with calculus” rather than “helped highschool students with math”.
- Don’t exaggerate. It can backfire.
- Write specific responsibilities like “researched, wrote, and presented laboratory findings of water quality using samples from Hovey Pond in Chelsea, Massachusetts.” as opposed to “tasted water samples”
- Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.
- Use an email address that looks professional (don't be like firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Don't use photos. Attaching a photo might give someone unnecessary prejudices
- Have a couple of people look at your resume before you send it out.
Resume Formatting Tips
- Use bullet points to outline your responsibilities so that your resume looks cleaner.
- Use a consistent style throughout the resume, fonts, size, colors.
- Write down your most recent experiences at the top and educational experience somewhere below that.
- The resume should not be more than 3 pages long.
Here’s what a good admissions resume should look like ⇒
I built my resume using the free resume builder tool VisualCV
VisualCV: Online CV Builder & Professional Resume Maker
"Love this app - I wish I would have found it sooner! I love the export to pdf feature! Also, I love the skills section of my resume! Thanks to the team at Visual CV for a beautiful and easy to use app! :) Cheers! You're all kill'in it!"
That’s it. You're here means you're doing great. Good luck with your application. Don’t forget to send me thankkiuus once you ace the admissions game. ☕