Does My Child Need a Resume?

The short answer is yes. Colleges want to know what your child does beyond the classroom. Since the transcript tells them what the grades are -- what happens in the classroom -- the next question is “how else do they spend their time.”

Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application -- the two primary ways students apply to college online -- have dedicated places for students to list their extracurricular activities. While this is the preferred and required place for students to list their athletics, arts, community service, religious or summer activities, many colleges also offer the opportunity to upload a Word or PDF resume. I suggest that your child do this even though their activities are listed on the dedicated Activity Sheet. Is it ok that these are repetitive? Yes. Colleges give students the opportunity to include this resume as a way to elaborate about their activities and include any that may not have fit within the allotted 10 spaces on the Common App Activity Sheet or 8 on the Coalition. 

What activities are usually on a resume? Beyond arts, athletics, jobs, internships or academic clubs, here are 3 activities that help make a resume shine. 

Foreign language
Practicing a foreign language is great for high school students. At this point in their academic careers, they should have already been exposed to one or two new languages. They should be working with a tutor, taking an additional class, or spending sufficient time on a language app or training program. Remember the goal is not a basic understanding but a good path towards fluency. 

Community service/Civic engagement
A caring student who has the maturity and compassion to help someone else or support an amazing cause always looks outstanding on a college resume. Consider having your student consistently enroll to volunteer at soup kitchens, hospitals, museums, children’s organizations, and other useful organizations. 

Student council 
The student council is not fancy or a super popular move for your college-bound teen. There are no bells and whistles but do not take the opportunity to join the student council nonchalantly. Participating in the student council gives your student a chance to brag about being an effective decision-maker. Many student council organizations decide important things in schools and initiate new programs and opportunities to engage with the student body. Encourage your child not to miss having the opportunity to flaunt their creativity and ability to lead. 

There is no cookie-cutter strategy for your child’s academic and extracurricular success. But there is a method to what appeals to college admissions officers and directors throughout the country. From community college to Ivy League, having a  student, who is aware of their talents, and has proven leadership skills is always a pleasant sight for both admissions and in the real world!

If you have a child who is a rising senior and needs help with their resume, essay and application, we have what you need! Check out our College Application Action Plan to learn more!



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