Write an Effective Resume for College Applications

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of college application form being filled in using a laptop.

How to Write an Effective Resume for College Applications

What is a college admissions resume? More and more, colleges are looking for quality applications from qualified candidates. Students usually need to submit a resume when applying for a school, and colleges have strict requirements and guidelines for resumes. These vary from institution to institution, but most universities require that applicants include their resumes. Because of this, it is crucial to know how to write a high school resume. First, you need to remember the three main objectives of a resume:

  • Capturing attention by providing interesting information about you.
  • Distinguishing yourself from other candidates in order to set yourself apart as an applicant with compelling qualifications.
  • Highlighting your achievements.

The objective of a college admissions resume is to demonstrate that you are dynamic, have leadership qualities, and possess an interest in various careers.

This article will provide you with basic guidelines for how to write a high school resume.

What is a college admissions resume?

This resume is used by high school students and college applicants to help them get into college. This kind of resume aims to highlight your achievements, strengths, and make the reader want to learn more about you. A college admissions resume is different from a traditional resume in that it does not include a work history. Instead, it focuses more on your achievements and activities.

A woman sitting while holding a paper with a confused look.

The key to an effective college admissions resume is to highlight your achievements. You want to make sure that your accomplishments are at a high level. When looking for information, the reader should be able to tell that you are a talented student or athlete by what you have achieved on any type of athletic or academic team.

How Important Is a High School College Admissions Resume?

Most colleges want to see that you have a variety of experience that shows your leadership ability and drive. They want to know how you can fit into the college environment, so it is important to show them what you have done in terms of activities outside the classroom. For example, many colleges have honor societies for students who have achieved a certain GPA. This is a great place to include academic awards on a resume.

A college admissions resume is not just one that you would fill out for any old job. Instead, you want to make sure that your resume is specifically tailored to each college or university that you are applying to. You do not want to send the same resume to every school. Instead, you want to make sure that you highlight your experiences and that it gives a brief overview of your background. You also want to make sure that all of the information is organized clearly and concisely so that it is easy for the admissions officer to read.

In addition, a college admissions resume should be no longer than one page. It should have a personal statement or cover letter that shows the reader why you are interested in attending their school.

Not all schools will ask for a college admissions resume, so it is important to keep in mind that this is not a form that you are required to complete. However, it does show the reader what you have accomplished in high school, which may help them decide whether or not they want to interview you.

What to Include in a College Admissions Resume

Learning how to write a high school resume for college is a complex and sometimes difficult process. There is no one right way to write a college admissions resume, but there are steps you can take to make sure that your application stands out.

When writing a resume for college, you want to make sure that you include:

Profile Information

The first thing you need to do is write yourself a name. This is important because your name will be the first thing a reader sees. Make sure to write your full name and contact information. Your email should clarify what type of application you are working on, so the reader can make sure they have your correct information.

Academic Accomplishments

This should include your GPA, class rank, and any standardized test scores. Highlight any awards, honors, or scholarships that you may have received in the past. Your academic transcript is not required, but it is a good idea to include it because it can show the admissions officer your grades and help them see how well you performed in high school. If you are looking for scholarships or need recommendations, this information is important for those too.

Students working on a project.

Work and/or Volunteer Experience

This section is important because it shows that you have experience working with people and are a good team player. It will show the admissions board that you are able to handle responsibility and interact with people outside of your home or classroom.

When putting together your resume, make sure to focus on aspects of employment that can help improve your chances of getting into college. For example, working in an environment where there are many different ethnicities or religions shows that you are tolerant of other people and can work well as a team.

Extracurricular Activities

The key to a college admissions resume is being able to convey what you have done in your spare time. Don’t forget to include activities that show that you are a leader or have leadership qualities. Remember, college admissions officers want to know whether or not you will be able to thrive in college. They want to know if you will be able to balance studies and activities, or if you will need some kind of help from the school.

Activities can include school or extracurricular clubs, sports and activities, musical or artistic talent, community service, performing arts, and more.

classical musicians zoomed in picture

Extracurriculars are important for many reasons. First of all, they need to show that you are athletic, academic, and involved in the community. You want to make sure that the list of activities is diverse enough that it will help you stand out.

Your resume can be a good reflection of what you have done in the past, and it can be used to speak highly of you. However, it is not a replacement for your personal statement because this will help convince the admissions board that you are a good fit for their program. In addition to your extracurriculars, your college application will also include recommendations from teachers and others who know you.

Honors and Awards

High school students often want to include information about awards, scholarships, or competitions that they have received. Honors and awards are important because they show leadership traits and academic achievements. However, admissions officers do not always look at this section of your college application, so giving them a brief summary of the awards you have won is fine.

Include all of your honors and awards, even if you think they are insignificant.


You want to include at least three people who will write you a college recommendation letter. This list can be updated as needed, but it is easiest to have someone lined up early in the application process.

When writing a high school resume, you need to make sure that your references are credible and will say good things about why you should be accepted into the program. Your college applications are not for your high school’s guidance counselor, so you will want references that are knowledgeable about the program and similar to you.

Include recommendations from teachers and coaches and any other type of professional that can attest to your academic ability.

Skills, Interests, and Achievements

You should include a section where you describe your skills and interests. Keep in mind that college admissions officers want to know that you have things that they can help teach you or by mentioning something they will just be curious about.

Knowledge, skills, and interests can be very diverse too. You can mention music and athletics or science, technology, and engineering. When writing a high school resume, it is best to be as specific as possible with information such as employment or volunteer experience.

a female student holding her school stuff and looking at the camera

It is perfectly fine if your job titles or titles with organizations change, but try to be as accurate as possible with this information. Making a college application is a complex and challenging process.

Writing a resume is not easy, but it is an essential part of the college application process. It takes time to fill out an application, and you will want to make sure that you put your best foot forward in this section.

How to Write a High School Resume: 7 Essential Tips

There are many different components that make up a college application, so it is important to make sure that your high school resume is as concise and effective as possible

Follow these tips on how to write a college admission resume.

1. Use a Professional Email Address

If you want to be taken seriously in the eyes of college admissions officers, it is important to make sure that your email address is professional.

High school students may use their social media or other sites to communicate, but college admissions officers expect students to have a professional email address. College email addresses should also follow the same format that many other people use, such as [email protected], or [email protected].

2. Start With Your Education

If you want to create a powerful high school resume for college, then it is important to list your education first. If you decide to skip this section of your application, you will be missing out on a great opportunity to show the admissions board that you are qualified and committed to their program.

High school students should list all schools, grades, and honors or awards. Writing about your high school experience in reverse chronological order is essential. You should use number one to show the most recent award or achievement and then continue with numbers two through ten in reverse chronological order.

3. Be Honest and Accurate

Honesty and accuracy are the most important elements of your high school resume for college. You should be upfront and honest about your accomplishments and experiences.

You will want to make sure that your application is as accurate as possible because you cannot change it once you submit it to the admissions board.

You want to be as truthful as possible, so avoid anything that is irrelevant or exaggerated on your college resume.

4. Use Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists are an effective tool for organizing information. It is important to keep your resume for college as simple as possible to avoid using big blocks of paragraphs.

If you want to write a resume for college, make sure that you organize everything in numbered and bulleted lists to get your message across clearly and effectively. Your goal is to convince the admissions board that you are a good fit for their program, and this kind of format will give them a quick overview of what makes you unique.

5. Provide Detail Wherever Possible

It is essential to provide as much detail as possible. You can mention your GPA, honors or awards, and any jobs or volunteer service that you have done.

Two students talking on a table.

High school students are likely to have a number of different experiences and achievements, so be sure that you include all the details that the admissions board needs to know.

6. Use Strong Action Verbs

You should make sure that your action verbs are as powerful as possible. Action verbs are those words that explain what you have accomplished rather than giving a general overview. For example, if you say you worked hard on a project, it is vague.

It is much more effective to say that you worked diligently or with perseverance on a project. These types of words show that you have used your time well and have been productive. It is important to choose action verbs that are powerful and relate to the program you are applying to.

7. No Longer that One Page

It is important to keep your high school resume to one page to avoid writing a lot of filler.

College admissions officers want to see that you have been productive in and out of the classroom. It is important to focus on the achievements and experiences relevant to the program. This will communicate your sincerity more effectively than trying to explain everything else about yourself on a single page.

High school resumes should be tight and focused, with no extra information or big blocks of text. Think about the message you want to get across, and then use a clear and concise format to communicate that message to the admissions board.

If you focus on these key tips on how to write a high school resume, you will be able to explain yourself in an effective and concise way. High school students are not always sure how to organize their experience, but remembering these tips will help you to create a resume that is memorable and effective for the admissions board at your top choice school.

How to Write a High School Resume Effectively: Achievements vs. Accomplishments

Many high school students are not sure how to write a high school resume. They are unsure which achievements are worth listing and which ones should be left off the list.

There is also often confusion about whether they should list all of their activities on their resume or only the most important ones. It is important to understand the difference between accomplishments and achievements when writing a high school resume.

An achievement is a goal that you achieved. An accomplishment is the result or outcome of your effort. For example, having a perfect score on a test is an achievement, while being accepted into college is an accomplishment.

It is important to list your achievements on your resume for college because this will communicate the kind of person you are and show that you have set high standards for yourself and have been able to achieve these standards consistently.

Writing an effective resume for college applications is important, but it’s only a small part of the overall college admissions puzzle. Understandably, many high schoolers struggle to piece the entire puzzle together because of the lack of accurate information regarding the college admissions process. That’s where a college admissions specialist can help!

AdmissionSight (that’s us!) is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping high schoolers increase their chances of getting into the schools of their dreams. In fact, 75% of our students either get into Top 10 or Ivy League universities. We have the services and expertise to help high schoolers reach their academic goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about college admissions resumes and what we offer or how it can benefit you, feel free to contact us. We can schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss how our services can help you reach your academic ambitions. We look forward to hearing from you.



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