Most colleges do NOT require a resume but we recommend you build one because it will help you fill out the application faster and smarter. If you put together a resume, it will help you to:
- Focus and organize your story, and all that you will write in your application or essay;
- Fill your application where you need to list activities;
- If you go for an interview, you can present it before the interview;
- Some colleges allow you to present it as supplemental information;
- You can offer it to the people who will write you a recommendation letter.
You may need to do several drafts. The following is an example of the kinds of assignments Mentorship Program participants work on during MP workshops.
Here you go. Don’t forget to underline the CORE FOUR.
We suggest you start with putting down all information in the following categories:
- Name and contact information
- Extracurricular activities, hobbies, work experience
- Honors, awards and other recognitions
- Any other information relevant to your story
Name and Contact Information: Indicate your full name, post mail, telephone and email address.
Education: List your high school or schools since 9th grade. What kind of diploma will you get and when? Here you can add some additional information to build on your story. Such as:
- Test scores
- Favorite subjects
As you work on your academic credentials think about:
- Special programs or advanced classes
- Academic honors or awards
- Special projects
- Special research
- Stories, papers, poetry or anything that has been published in a student newspaper, online poetry
You don’t have to tell your life story, but be mindful of what could add to your overall image. If you say you want to study math or sciences, and you have taken science classes. You don’t have to list your French class. If your scores are not great, don’t list them but instead note your great accomplishments.
Extracurricular Activities, Hobbies and Work Experience: List all the things you do outside the classroom:
- Student government
- Theater, art
- Model UN or similar competitive programs
- Music, bands, choir
- Camps, travel
- Faith and religious activities
- Internships or part time jobs
Don’t forget to include information only if it adds to your story. For example, if you want to study international relations include information about foreign language classes, foreign travel or encounter with a foreign officials. You don’t need to include information on playing in a music band.
Honors, Awards, and Other Recognitions
List your honors and all recognitions you may have as a way to show your impact, the results of your work. Give a short explanation how you were chosen or why the award was significant. You may have to explain what the organization, or award or club, or program.
You may want to include any other information that is relevant to your story. There may be something that is not part of academics, activities, interests and work experience. This can be languages, or citizenship, or you were part of a show, or you lived in a different place earlier in your childhood.
During the second draft of your resume you will add detail that will distinguish you from the other candidates.
If your thing is music that distinguishes you, you can add: “Studied classical piano for 6 years, appeared at more than 10 concerts. Most recent piece: “……..” by Schubert
Or if your thing is math, you can say: “Pursued my passion for math, founded math club in 11 grade with 7 members.” Or “ Tutored math student and helped raise her grade from ______ to _______.”
Or “Reinvigorated the ___ Club at my school by finding a new sponsor, organizing quarterly weekend projects, and actively recruiting new members at the fall club fair. *(quoted)
The authors Alison Cooper Chisolm and Anna Ivey in their book How to Prepare a Standout College Application suggest the following vocabulary words for these categories:
Passion: favorite, interest, like, pursue, dedicate, devote, committed, seek
Talent: skill, ability, aptitude, expertise, forte, …
Initiative: started, founded, lead, designed, persuaded
Impact: help, assist, benefit, changed, transform, learn, taught, enhanced
Your final draft is when you organize the information so that it stands strong and tells a story. This is about organizing your information and putting it into shape. It is wise for your resume conveys a big theme. The science theme, the music theme, the volunteer theme, the organizer theme.
You always have to start with name/personal information and education but then you can include:
Scientific Related Activities (if you are into science)
Leadership (if you have had some leadership role at school)
Sports (if that is a strong suit)
Personal (you may be a collector of something)
Writing (if you are blogger, or a writer)
Community Service (if you have volunteered or worked somewhere)
Religious Activities (if you are serious member of a temple, church, mosque)
Speech and Debate Activities (Model United Nations)
Now you are ready for the final draft of your resume. All you have to do is make it look professional by using conventional formatting. There is nothing creative about it, and don’t try to be creative here. You can refer to examples and templates of resume online. Make sure you use one font, 11-point or 12-point size, consistent formatting, etc.