September 20, 2023

Three Reasons To Start Your College Resume… Now!

Everyone is familiar with the resume. It’s a short overview of a person’s job history, accomplishments, and skills meant to help them apply for a job opening, scholarship, or program.

What many don’t realize is that the resume is just as important in applying to college as it is applying to a full-time job. While it’s not explicitly required on the standard Common App, the resume serves the same function as ACT and SAT scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation: It helps students demonstrate why they’re a valuable applicant.

In this blog, we’ll summarize three of the ways that a resume can accomplish this goal for you. In the process, we’ll give you some brief tips on how you can use the resume to put your best foot forward in the application process and give tips on what you might want to include in it.

1. Resumes Show Your Achievements

Did you complete a summer program or leadership conference? Have you won your high school’s local robotics competition or Model UN tournament? Were you selected to manage the ice cream machine at the restaurant where you work part time?

All of these are achievements that can help tell a college admissions officer what you excel at. Great or small, your resume can be used to demonstrate the different skills you possess and the ways that you’ve applied them—in a way that might be missed in your essay or letters of recommendation. It can be another tool for you to tell your story.

2. Resumes Demonstrate Your Interests

It can also tell a college admissions officer what drives you, which interests you’ve pursued. Through your college resume, you can provide a snapshot into your life that might demonstrate why you are a great candidate for a particular academic program.

Depending on where you’re applying and what you are interested in, you might want to craft your resume to tell a particular story over another. If you are applying to a fine arts program, for example, you might want to put greater emphasis (and detail) into an art show you won while shortening your descriptions of the summer you interned at a congressional office.

Any experience can be good to put on a resume but some experiences might do an easier job of telling others the path you envision taking in college and beyond.

3. Resumes Prove You Will Be Part of the College Community

Finally, a fleshed-out resume is a great way of demonstrating you’ll seize the opportunities your college of choice presents to you.

Few colleges want students who will spend all day hiding in their dorm rooms. They want students who are motivated and engaged. They want students who will go out and contribute to their college campus by joining clubs, pursuing internships, and leading their academic department. When they graduate, they want students who will take their degree and find some way to apply it.

You can show your college that you will be active and engaged by showing the diverse activities you are involved in. If you volunteer at your place of worship or provide service to those in need, that can demonstrate an awareness of others. It shows that you carpe diem, seize the day.


Of course, resumes can serve other functions as well. They can demonstrate your professional writing abilities, your seriousness as an applicant, and your desire to go beyond the bare minimum. The three items listed in this blog are only the most common reasons we recommend for resumes.

Students should talk with their Class 101 college advisor about how to make a resume work for them and whether they might need other compilations of their skills—such as a portfolio for those pursuing art.

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