University List

12 Important Resume Guidelines

Denzil Otieno

Yes, even students need resumes - high school resumes to be specific while applying to colleges. Your high school student resume will give the admissions team a quick summary of your achievements, extracurricular activities and perhaps any summer program that you’ve participated in.

The contents of a high school resume

  • Your name, address, and email id (preferably in a larger font size so that it stands out)
  • Information about your high school comprising the graduation date, your GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and class rank
  • Academic awards, achievements and honours for other activities
  • Additional coursework like summer programs or workshops that aren’t listed in your high school transcript
  • Extracurricular activities that project your enthusiasm and dedication
  • Community service that demonstrates that you are a caring person
  • Hobbies (e.g. solving puzzles) that highlight underlying qualities which will help in your studies
  • Additional skills (e.g. knowing a foreign language or coding skills)

The following guidelines will help you write a resume for high school students that will stand out in the crowd:

#1 Begin planning early

Once you’ve decided to pursue undergraduate studies abroad, begin planning for your high school resume right away. Since your international undergraduate study plans take shape while you still have a few years left at high school, start compiling all your achievements, honours, and other activities right then. This will give you an idea of your shortcomings and areas that you will need to work harder on, like your GPA, extracurricular activities, community work, etc. The resume for students in high school ‘to-do list’, will help you make inroads in helping you strive in the right direction.

#2 Collect your thoughts before hitting the keyboard

Peruse all your achievements, honours and other activities that you have gathered over the years and draw a mental picture of how you will present it. Preparing to write a resume for high school students is similar to how you think things through before writing your college application essay. You may even want to discuss it with your family or teachers about what you should include.

#3 Begin with a spirited high school resume objective

Start your high school resume with a spirited and short introduction of yourself so that it showcases your strengths and skills, makes you stand out, and conveys how you will fit well into the college.

#4 Chronology is key

Your high school resume must list things accurately in chronology. In doing so, you will project your clarity in thinking and attention to detail. On the other hand, listing information haphazardly, in a jumble, will not only bewilder the admissions officer, but it will also reflect poorly.

#5 Keep the education information exclusive

Start by mentioning your high school GPA. However, if it is on the lower side then you may want to discreetly tuck it away. Then list down the coursework that is pertinent to what you are applying for. Include any award or honours or membership in associations that will convey your keenness.

#6 Keep it snappy

Like any other resume, your high school resume must be to the point. Try to keep it a one-pager or a maximum of two pages. The admissions officer will have hundreds of applications to go through, so a lengthy resume will tire him even before he begins to read it. Categorize the information as mentioned in the resume for students in high school above, and highlight each heading in bold so the admissions officer will grasp everything swiftly.

#7 Demonstrate action

By using action verbs like ‘participated’, ‘generated’, ‘planned’, etc., while detailing your skills, you will seamlessly convey that you are a person of action. 

#8 Give detailed information

Don’t just list out all the necessary contents in your high school resume. For e.g., when you mention community activity, ensure that you include what you did, the duration of the activity, how your contribution made a difference, and any other information that will project your leadership or team-player qualities.

#9 Make it honest and real

Pretensions and dishonesty won’t work here. If there are any contradictions in your narrative, it won’t take the admissions officer much effort to crosscheck. And no college will be inclined to accept a deceitful student.

#10 Focus on untold information

Rather than repeating what’s already there in your college essay or answers to questions in the application form, use your high school resume to showcase something you simply couldn’t include anywhere else - it could well be your love for chess. 

#11 Learn from others

While you will work really hard to come up with a good high school resume, it will help you immensely to also peruse high school resumes of successful students. Besides, you can get started with standardized resume templates on Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

Read these sample resumes of successfully accepted Massachusetts Institute of Technology students: https://capd.mit.edu/sites/default/files/jobs/files/sample-resumes.pdf

Watch this video with tips to write a high school resume: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT40Au0RFa8

#12 Use it to market yourself

In your absence, it is your resume that will have to work hard to sell the merchandise – you. Besides, to ensure that they have all the relevant information, you will have to share this high school resume with those who will write out letters of recommendation. 

So when you are writing out your high school resume, put your best foot forward and give it your best shot so you get selected in the college of your choice. Be sure to put down information that will easily translate into qualities and a personality that will fetch you a college seat. 

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