How to construct an awesome college résumé

How to construct an awesome college résumé


While not every college requires that you submit a résumé along with your application, many suggest that you do. Submitting a résumé to the colleges you are applying to will allow them to see a comprehensive list of the high school achievements you are most proud of.

The trick is to accurately describe your high school achievements in a way that can be easily understood and digested by the admissions counselor reading it. Brevity, precision and clarity are three keys to a well-crafted résumé. Here are some tips and tricks to guide you as you work to construct a college résumé that really stands out!

1. Brainstorm

Like any new creation, start with a blank page. Brainstorm everything you’ve done in your high school career — academic achievements, awards, activities, athletics, leadership, community service, special talents. Then, find the components of your high school career that are specific to you. Think about some things that you’ve done or been involved in that are unique! Try to look at the big picture, and remember — it’s not just about academic achievements. Colleges are looking for well-rounded students.

2. Use plenty of action verbs in your résumé

The still, unmoving and boring forms of the verb ‘to be’ rot after a while in the mind of the reader, especially when the reader is looking through hundreds of student résumés! Some alternative words to use are as follows:

  • Administered
  • Assembled
  • Assisted
  • Captained
  • Coached
  • Constructed
  • Coordinated
  • Critiqued
  • Developed
  • Operated
  • Organized
  • Participated
  • Planned
  • Published
  • Scheduled
  • Served
  • Solicited
  • Volunteered

Here’s an example:

  • “I was a member of the poetry club” (not so good)
  • “I organized and managed various poetry club events” (much better!)

3. Be organized and make sense

Divide your accomplishments into sections and maintain a seamless flow of ideas — long paragraphs aren’t going to make the cut. Here are some sections for your consideration:

  • Heading (name, address, phone and email)
  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Employment Skills
  • Activities and Awards
  • Community Service/Volunteer Activities

4. Be consistent throughout your résumé

Develop your own style and keep it uniform. For example, if you are using months to make clear the timeframe of playing on the soccer team, don’t switch to using years when discussing your involvement in Student Council. Note that consistency doesn’t mean repetition — make an attempt not to overuse the same adjectives or verbs when describing your accomplishments. Be innovative and creative — use if you need to!

5. Proofread, proofread, proofread

Your first draft should not be your final draft. After you’ve completed a draft, read it to yourself both silently and out loud. Have your high school counselor review and make edits, as well as at least one other person — the more editors, the merrier!

Your college résumé will help highlight the various things you’ve done throughout your high school career that a college application might not. Submitting a résumé along with your application will help an admissions counselor get a fuller idea of who you are as a person. Get started on your résumé today!

Interested in learning more about how to make your college application stand out? Get in touch with our Admissions counselors at Marymount, who are here to help you navigate the process of finding your perfect home for a higher education!