Colleges want to know how students spent their free time outside of school. Do they stay involved with activities or go home, sit on the couch, and watch TV?
Involved students have spent time pursuing and developing their strengths and interests. They have experiences that will help them contribute to the college community. A list of activities, also known as a resume, shows colleges what students have done with their time.
Take time to include all activities from last school year and account for summer activities. Remember that activities done the summer before 9th grade are considered part of a student’s 9th grade year and so on.
What should I list?
List everything! Colleges understand that students might change their interest over time or participate in an event only once. Go ahead and list the variety of things done every year of high school.
Resumes typically can be broken down into the following sections:
1. Extracurricular Activities – sports, school clubs, youth group, Boy / Girl Scouts, recreational teams, band, music lessons, theater, church choir, newspaper, debate, etc. This includes school, church, community, and recreational activities.
2. Honors / Awards / Academic Achievements – dean’s list, honor roll, all area team, regional qualifier, most improved, top student in a subject, Eagle Scout, high honors, state finalist, first chair, blue ribbon, etc. List all awards, honors, and academic recognition.
3. Work Experience & Internships – Colleges recognize students can learn valuable lessons from work. You might learn customer skills, responsibility, and leadership by working 40 hours a week at McDonald’s over the summer. After two months of clearing carts from the grocery store parking lot, you may have learned why you want to go to college and improve your job prospects!
Don’t forget internships and unpaid experiences. You may watch your siblings every day after school or work in your dad’s office over the summer; these are both work.
4. Community Service & Volunteer Work – There are many ways for students to volunteer these days. The best types of service are those that let you develop your strengths, talents, and interests while helping others.
5. Summer Experiences – Because students have so much free time in the summer, it is an ideal time to take on additional projects, activities, and experiences. Many colleges offer programs for high school students to get a preview of campus life and college classes. Make the most of this time!
6. Hobbies & Interests – Some students are passionate about subjects which aren’t offered in school. Use this part of the resume to show anything that hasn’t fit into the categories above. For example, one student was a self-taught gourmet cook. Just because you do it for fun, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be something you brag about.
It is a good habit to update your resume each semester. Keeping an up to date resume will make interviews and applications much easier.