6 Tips for Presenting your Activity Résumé

Colleges of Distinction Staff / Colleges of Distinction »

The activity résumé is a great opportunity for you to explain important activities and accomplishments to admissions committees. By offering concrete information about yourself in a concise form, you seem more real and more interesting to the committees. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your résumé.

Tip 1: Write only about high school accomplishments

Some people get tempted to include winning the spelling bee in junior high school. As with your grades, colleges and universities are only interested in what you have been doing within the last three to four years.

Tip 2: Organize your thoughts and follow the pattern of the résumé

You don’t want your readers to get lost in the résumé. Look at the attached example and notice how activities and interest are organized by categories. Also notice how things that are bolded or underlined are consistent throughout.

Tip 3: Use clear terminology that your audience will understand

Admissions committees may not automatically understand abbreviations or special terminology that your schools (or even yourself) use in everyday vocabulary. Spell out abbreviations and describe activities so that anyone can understand at first glance.

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Tip 4: Be clear and concise

Beware: you can overdo your résumé. In some cases, people tend to ramble on about every activity or put in every accomplishment. Try to adhere to this rule of thumb when describing your activities:

  • Describe the activity (in one sentence)
  • Describe your personal involvement (in one sentence)
  • Describe any awards or honors associated (in one sentence)

Tip 5: Remember that résumés do not replace activity sections on applications

Some applicants think that because they completed a résumé, they do not need to fill out the activity or employment sections on the applications. That is not true. Unless the application says that you can attach a résumé in place of filling out the section, then you must do both. If you do both, make a note on the bottom of the activity section and state “please see attached résumé.”

Tip 6: Don’t repeat your essay

Both your activity résumé and your essay give you a chance to highlight your accomplishments. Try not to repeat information. If you spend a lot of time talking about one of your activities in your essay, there is no need to go into great detail about it in your résumé, and vice versa. It’s ok to mention something in both places, but there is no need to go into great detail more than once.

If you follow these simple tips, you will have added a strong component to your application.

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