By Coach Chelsea

Do you have the “it” factor that colleges are looking for? It is important to stand out in the college admissions process, and a great way to show colleges what makes you different from the rest is by highlighting your accomplishments in an academic resume. It is the perfect time to brag about yourself!

Your resume should always include your name, city, state, email address, and phone number. Make sure this information is accurate in case the school tries to reach out to you. You should also make sure that your voicemail message, if customized, and email address are professional. Colleges are using the information that you provide to assess your character, so maintaining professionalism in this area is key for making a good first impression.

Next is the “Education” section. Along with the name of your high school(s) and expected graduation date, include your (reputable) GPA, class rank, and any challenging courses you’re taking or have taken, like AP, IB, Honors, or Dual Enrollment. While it is important to list these courses, try to be moderate with the amount you list so as not to inundate the reader with too much information. If you’re having trouble narrowing them down, just list your most current or most relevant courses.

Following the Education section is usually the “Honors/Awards” section. Now is definitely not the time to be modest; let them shine bright! List all of the awards and merits that you are most proud of. Even awards as simple as “Perfect Attendance” are worth listing and would show colleges your determination and commitment. Other examples include Honor Roll or a National Honor Society nomination. Colleges will appreciate these awards, even if you have forgotten all about them!

Colleges also appreciate your involvement at school and in your community. These activities should be included in the “Extracurricular” section of your resume. If you have been involved in several activities, list a few of your most current or most important activities to maintain brevity. List any clubs, organizations, and community service activities you participate in. Provide a brief description of each activity to give colleges an idea of your role, focusing on any leadership positions. If you are not that involved in school or community activities, talk to your guidance counselor about what clubs or volunteer work might interest you.

The “Employment” section shows colleges that you are responsible and capable of multitasking. Having a part-time job in high school also gives you professional experience and soft skills essential for interacting in everyday life. These skills will be useful to have in college as well, so be sure to list a description of your job tasks. If you have not worked while in high school, no worries. Colleges are assessing your resume as a whole and not solely on your work experience.

Lastly, list any skills that you have to highlight your key attributes. Include any technical skills, even if they seem basic, like understanding the Microsoft Office Suite programs. Also, listing skills that pertain directly to your major is not a bad idea. Colleges love to see that students are equipped with skills necessary for success in their academic programs.

A college resume serves to provide colleges with a brief synopsis of how wonderful a student you are and why they should accept you. They don’t need a book, just a good understanding of how you might contribute to their campus. Be concise but informative to ensure colleges will have a clear picture of the type of student you are. Remember, clients are welcome to contact a CAA Coach for additional assistance.