How To Write A College Admissions Resume In 6 Steps

No matter where your high school student is on the path of college applications, a resume is a tool that is always good to have on hand. 

If your student is a freshman, you might be thinking, “So young, why start now? They have plenty of time.” What we’ve found in the years of helping clients prepare their college applications, essays, and resumes… It’s never too early or too late. In fact, we encourage you to be proactive about doing the leg work towards applications starting freshman year of high school.

The good thing is that “leg work” is going to be helpful to your student in more ways than just creating a killer resume. Our proven process of practicing self-acceptance and understanding to get to the root of who each of us really is. 

How To Write A College Admissions Resume In 6 Steps

Whether it’s getting a head start or your student has started their senior year, we are sharing these 6 steps on how to write a college admissions resume that will represent your student’s personal brand and that their college will love.

  1. Start early
  2. Figure out who you are and where you’re going
  3. Find hobbies
  4. Write down everything
  5. Get the right format
  6. Expand on your strengths instead of summarizing your life

1. Start Early

Early bird gets the acceptance letter… or something like that! Although it’s never too late to figure out what drives your student’s ambitions, our college counselors have a better chance to help your student develop their aspirations into feasible goals if we start early. 

Help your student thrive by starting on the resume writing process early. To work with a freshman as they create and re-adjust their ideal resume throughout high school, we are better suited to help them define an actual resume (and ultimately write an outstanding essay that will impress college admissions officers).

2. Figure Out Who You Are And Where You’re Going

Self-acceptance is such an important part of the college application process. By coming to terms with who they really are, and not what parental and peer pressure dictates they should be, a student can have a clearer grasp of what they want for their future.

We encourage you to schedule the Birkman Assessment for your child because we’ve seen the benefits first hand in our clients’ lives. The results we see are enlightening and helpful for narrowing in one’s goals – which align with your passions and interests.

3. Find Hobbies

Colleges don’t always want only grades and extracurriculars… They want to have a sense of YOU. Not all colleges even require a resume, but it’s good to have one. 

If your student doesn’t feel like they have a worthwhile hobby, then this is a good time to encourage them to expand on their interests. 

For instance, one of our students loved making videos; he’s even produced some marketing videos for us. Another student applying to McCombs Business School at the University of Texas in Austin mentioned he designed and tied fishing flies in his free time. He even sold them online. Although we only found out about this hobby in October of his senior year, it’s never too late!

4. Write Down Everything

We have seen so many students that didn’t realize the power they already had to bolster their resume. 

There is one young man we worked with who was dealing with clinical depression and confused why his parents didn’t make him follow through with schoolwork or other activities. He was struggling and didn’t think he had much to offer in terms of a list of activities. 

Once we evaluated his record of how he spent his time, I realized this kid was a primary caregiver for his disabled grandpa. To him, this was a seemingly uninteresting family obligation, but in reality, he was spending 30 hours a week essentially babysitting his grandpa. 

I explained that taking care of a family member matters to college admissions, it’s even asked about on the Apply Texas application. This boy who didn’t think he had much going for him explained it on his college application and was accepted to his first-choice college. 

5. Get The Right Format

Formatting your resume is another key component. It doesn’t need to be chronological, but more biographical. 

A popular strategy is to summarize the important things and highlight what will get you noticed by certain schools. For instance, a resume going to UT may want to emphasize career aspirations. Insider knowledge can be helpful in determining which format to use for which school. Bright Futures college counselors have visited over 300 college campuses around the world and have researched even more. We can guide you with our insider knowledge. Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we can help.

This circles back to playing your best poker hand. Sometimes, we make adjustments based on the dealer.

6. Expand On Your Strengths Instead Of Summarizing Your Life

Yes, we want your student to make a list of everything they spend time doing, but that doesn’t mean they should include every detail in their resume. 

It’s crucial to stress and expand on the important factors rather than providing a summary of every single detail. This is where you play your poker hand. A well-rounded life and education are meaningless without such important highlights. Students need to develop a strong hand to play and focus on making it stronger. If you’ve been intentional about yourself in a way that’s unique to you, you could be holding a much stronger hand than you realize. 

Following The Steps To Submitting Your Killer Resume

When you’re going through these 6 steps to writing a resume with your student,  you might notice self-acceptance and understanding are key components to each step.

A successful resume isn’t based on preconceived notions. It is successful when it best represents the personal brand of the person writing the resume. College admissions officers want to know the person behind the transcript. This is your student’s opportunity to shine above the rest. 

Help them find the school that is best for them and follow the steps to creating a resume that will return an acceptance letter. Take the first step in helping your student determine and go after their goals by reaching out to a Bright Futures College Counselor today!

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