How to Write an Activities Résumé for College Applications
When you apply to colleges, it’s important to highlight whatever qualities will set you apart. Most college applications will require your transcripts, an essay, and an activities résumé, each of which are your opportunity to emphasize your accomplishments and proudly exhibit what you bring to the table. Your activities résumé especially gives college admissions officers a quick yet comprehensive glimpse into who you are as a person, not just as a student. This is your time to shine, so be thoughtful and thorough as you compile the information you want colleges to see.
Resumes are not just for job seekers in the career world. As a student, a well-executed activities résumé has the ability to set your application apart and give you a competitive edge. Colleges of Distinction has mustered up some important points for you to include as well as some extra tips to consider as you’re writing.
What to Include in Your Résumé
Aside from your contact information, which should be clearly visible at the top of the document, you will want to provide whatever is applicable of the following information:
- The name of your high school and anticipated graduation date
- Cumulative, weighted GPA
- Academic awards, publications, honors, or recognitions
- Class rank (if it is available and will add value to your application)
- Summer programs, internships, or college courses not otherwise listed in your transcript
- Extracurricular activities—clubs, sports organizations, and any leadership positions you may have held
- Community service
- Job experience
- Special skills (proficiency in American Sign Language, Adobe Photoshop, etc.)
Tips for Compiling Your Résumé
You do not want simply to submit a general list of activities. Colleges pay close attention to specific details, especially those that emphasize your commitment to what you’re involved in. Explain your specific role in that which you have participated, giving details about the amount of time you committed, leadership positions you have held, and any special contributions you made during your tenure (organizing the inaugural annual fundraiser for an animal shelter, being a founding member of your high school’s improv comedy club, etc.).
Some colleges will provide a space on their application in which to input information regarding each of the categories listed above. In this case, you will likely be allotted set amount of characters for each answer. No matter how short or long your descriptions on the application are, however, you nevertheless want to ensure that the points on your activities résumé are as succinct as possible. Résumés are most effective when kept short at just one page in length. Remember: admissions officers may have to read thousands of applications. To be memorable, you need to make clear, quick points so that you don’t lose their attention. You might be tempted to think that, the more of your history they have, the better. But this is exactly where the phrase “less is more” rings true!
- Be selective about the information you include in your activities résumé. If you were only a part of the French Club for one semester as a sophomore, there is no need to mention it. Colleges only want to know about the activities to which you were committed.
- If a college explicitly asks not to provide activities résumé, be respectful of the request and only submit the necessary information.
- Format your résumé in a way that is clear and easy to read. There’s no need to over-stylize—use a simple font that allows you to make your name, headings, and dates pop out.
- Provide a copy of your activities résumé to your teachers, coaches, school counselors, or whomever else you may ask for a letter of recommendation. This way, they can easily recall your accomplishments and reference them in their letter.
We’ve provided a résumé example below to help you know how to get started! Take note of how concise it is as well as how clearly the information is presented.
Your college application is not the place for modesty. Be proud, not shy, of your accomplishments!
Your activities résumé will provide a snapshot of who you are and all the dedication and passion your potential colleges should know about you. Looking for more? Check out our other tips for college prep on the advice section of our website. We at Colleges of Distinction are excited to see you thrive and will be here to assist you along the way!
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