The Education Resume – Why do I need this?

Universities make admission decisions based on a student’s academics, personal achievements, extra curricular involvement, community/volunteer activities, and work history.  They obtain this information via several vehicles, the actual application, submitted test scores (SAT/ACT), transcripts, letters of recommendation (covered in my next post), written essays and the resume.

WHY IS A RESUME NEEDED?   From the website:  “Although an expanded resume is not required to complete your application for admission, we strongly encourage you to submit one. Think of it as your opportunity to provide us with a complete picture of your activities, community service, honors and awards, and employment. . . ”  Hint:  When the most competitive university in your state “strongly encourages” you to include a resume, you listen and take their advice!  My view, if it’s good advice for one university, it’s good for all universities =]

Additionally, the resume is used for the following purposes:

1.  Honors Programs Applications

2.  Scholarship Applications

3. Letters of Recommendation – A resume is required by your teacher and your counselor to assist in writing your recommendation letter(s) (covered in next post)

4.  Greek Recruitment – National sororities and fraternities require a resume with their application

WHAT SHOULD INFORMATION SHOULD I INCLUDE?  Each student/resume is unique, however, be sure to include the following: (See links to samples at bottom)

1.  Heading / Personal Information: At the top of your resume, include your name, address, phone number, and email address. If the college has requested your social security number or applicant/university i.d. number on other documents for tracking purposes, include that number on your resume also.

2.  Education: List your high school(s), including location and years attended. Include your GPA (should match the transcript you will submit) and Class Rank / Size (e.g. 33 of 635, Top 5%).   Be sure to include your SAT and/or ACT test scores.

3.  Awards: You can mention your honors and awards here, or simply include them in your “Education” and “Extracurricular Activities” categories. Specify the date and describe the awards if necessary.

4. Extracurricular Activities:  Include all clubs, teams, or organizations that you’re involved (e.g., clubs, sports, art, music, academic teams, theater, yearbook/newspaper, religious groups, etc.) List the activities chronologically, beginning in your first year of high school and progressing through senior year.

For each item on your list, include a brief description, specify what grades you were involved, the time spent (e.g., 5 hours/wk), detail any leadership roles. (e.g. Vice President), and put your achievements in perspective whenever possible. (e.g. “Team advanced to state semi-finals” or “Awarded to only two seniors.”)

5. Community / Volunteer Activities: Chronologically list all community and/or volunteer service beginning with first year of high school and working through your senior year.  Group similar projects together and include all years that your participated (e.g. Blanket making for Linus Project, grades 9-12, 12 hours/year; School Book Room, grades 11-12, 20 hours/year).  The resume gives you the opportunity to explain, in more detail, what service you performed. The application limits the amount of information you can fit in the box.

6. Work ExperienceInclude all work experience, including non-traditional work, such as babysitting or helping out with the family business.  For each item, include the job title, name of organization, location, grades or dates worked, and your job responsibilities.

7.  Other: Include any special skills, trips, interests, hobbies or classes that you may have taken over your high school career.  We lived overseas for seven years, so our children included that in their resumes.

Rule of Thumb: Do not include any information about activities prior to your 9th grade year unless you have remained active in this activity in high school and excelled in something you began prior to 9th grade. e.g. You’re a competitive athlete like a gymnast, ice skater, equestrian, etc., and have reached a state or national ranking in your sport during high school.

WHAT TIPS SHOULD I KEEP IN MINDJust like the tips for a good essay, content is more important than appearance.  That being said, remember to double-check for proper spelling, good grammar, thoroughness (include everything, but NO b.s.), and  don’t try to fit everything on one page (no matter what you might have heard to the contrary).  Have your parents double-check your resume.  A second and third set of eyes often catch things you might miss.  They might remember an award that you have forgotten – they are good that way – after all they are very proud of you!!  Students are allowed to submit multiple pages of information about their involvement if so needed.

If everything you’ve done fits on the actual application, don’t submit a resume just to say you did so – it will be repetitive and waste the admission counselor’s time reading over the same information in two places.


University of Texas sample:

Student #1:

Student #2:

From – various types of resume samples:

And as always, my standard advice applies. ..when in doubt “Google it“!!


About wagnerjb2011

Retired systems analyst and retired volunteer. For 12 years I volunteered at the International School of Hamburg (Germany) and in various schools in Texas. My first child, a son, graduated high school in 2009. I had an excellent mentor going into his senior year, who gave me wonderful advice about navigating the college application process. I again found this information quite handy as our second child, a daughter, found herself filing applications in 2011. Both made it into the schools of their choosing without much trepidation. I am a firm believer in paying things forward. So there you have it!
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