How to Create a Great College Resume (With Templates)
Is it really possible to sum up your life’s work on a single piece of paper?
Always, keep in mind Remember that you are not your college resume. You are a conscious human being, not a machine. If you don’t have an outstanding resume, that’s completely fine. Be what you are.
Now that your head is clear and you can think straight, let’s talk about how to write a great resume.
How Significant Is the Your Resume For College?
It totally depends.
As usual, most colleges have a devoted space on their application system called the Activities List where you can list down all the things you carry out outside of school. That section is your ideal place to share your details. Remember, don’t ever skip it.
However, some colleges allow the option of submitting a separate, more traditional style resume. (A PDF-style resume that you upload.)
If you believe you have completely presented all of the relevant details in your Activities List, you don’t need to submit a separate resume. You know for a fact there are many colleges where you don’t have an opportunity to upload a traditional resume.
But if you get such an option, would you do it?
Some colleges heavily suggest that you submit a resume along with your application (check out UT Austin’s policies for certain programs.) While others deny it (check out UVA’s FAQ section.) So be certain to check with individual colleges to see what they prefer.
I suggest, keeping a professional resume with you will serve you in a few other ways.
- Works as a base for the Common App Activities List or vice versa.
- Gives educators and counselors a structure for their letters of recommendation.
- Presents you with a list of already prepared talking points for an admissions interview.
- Inspire your Common App essay.
- A must need for many scholarships, job or internship opportunities
Ultimately, in simple words, it’s like having your own business card. You get a sense of your own identity, you feel you belong somewhere when you have a well-organized resume to slap on someone’s desk.
Now, let’s create one.
In this post, we’ll use examples from this resume template, but you can use any other link mentioned below.
Some College Resume Templates
Note: To use these examples: Click on the link, go to "File" > "Make a copy..." > "Ok"
Also, there is one good option, you can check out some of Canva’s ready-to-use, customizable resume templates.
Picking the best template that suits you is like choosing the right outfit for an interview. You want it to look excellent and it must feel like you.
Eventually, always remember your template doesn’t guarantee success—it’s your skills, knowledge, and experience that matter the most.
For whichever template you prefer, make sure you do the following:
Go to File > Make a copy, and copy the document to your Google Drive.
How To Pick A Right College Resume Template?
You already know that what’s on the inside counts. Well, when it comes to college resume templates, looks matter too. You can think of your resume as your first impression.
Let’s know about some things to acknowledge when it comes to format and design.
- Don’t use Helvetica font. Use a serif font. So, why use a serif font? Because it’s a font with little feet at the bottom of each letter, like Times New Roman. A serif font looks a little more professional on a resume. The opposite of a serif font is a sans-serif font, like Helvetica.
- Design for each level of information. Bold headings. Use italics or underline if it’s relevant. You can also use bullet points. The key here is consistency. There’s no one correct way to do it—just choose a style and stick to it.
- Commit to one page.
- Make sure you have good white space. Keep a space between each section. White space is both a great design tool and gentle in the reader’s eyes.
Use this one. Ex: Times New Roman Don’t use these. Ex: Helvetica
How To Create A Great College Resume
You need 5 for your college resume:
- Relevant contact information
- Detailed education history + test scores
- Experiences (like “Activities List”!)
- Additional skills
Our team recommends sharing the above details in the same order, from top to bottom: If you’ve won honors and awards, you’ll have a separate section for those also.
1. Contact Information
Include the following:
- Your name.
- A professional email that you check regularly. If you don’t have one, make one. Avoid using email ids like ‘Johnheavylover6969’, please change it—for everyone’s sake.
- Your cell phone number.
Include the following:
- High School Name, City, State (your start year-end year).
- GPA, weighted and unweighted.
- Best test scores (ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, AP).
- Appropriate coursework. In this section, you can show off any extra classes you have attended that reflect an interest in your major. So, if you want to study mass media and you have taken journalism, to the you can add it.
In this, you have a chance to show that you’re unique because it’s more than just your responsibility. It’s also about your accomplishments. What’s the difference?
Responsibilities vs. Accomplishments
Your responsibilities and accomplishments, whether at a job, in a club, or on a team through service, a project, etc., and then think of those accomplishments in terms of numbers.
Why numbers matter
Numbers give context and scale. Also, they can help you stand out. Here’s what we mean:
Let’s say you’re the editor of your school’s newspaper. Do you remember how many papers you’ve published? How many reports? How many meetings have you managed?
Let’s say you babysit neighborhood kids. How many kids? How old are they? For how long each time? Maybe you’re the team captain for your soccer team. How many practice sessions do you do every week? For how many teammates? How often?
Use strong, active verbs
Once you’ve taken care of the numbers, think of active verbs that describe exactly what you did.
Here you can mention whether you’ve created, led, produced, organized, managed, developed, maintained, problem-solved, budgeted, written, coached, presented, built, scheduled, traveled, delivered, sold, bought, bid, etc.
Tips for organizing the Experiences section of your college resume:
- Enter experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent activities while going backward.
- For each activity, list the organization. You can also mention even if it’s your school, location, your position, and the dates of your experience. The dates show much you’ve invested in that activity.
- Keep in mind to avoid first-person. Instead of saying “I managed,” just say “managed.”
- If you’re still engaging in the activity, use present-tense verbs. If you’re not, use past-tense verbs.
Check out a massive list of verbs you can use to describe your experiences ideally.
Note: Remember that “experiences” can cover lots of things. Don’t think yourself small; even babysitting your neighbor’s child counts (if you’ve spent significant time and energy!).
Some good ideas for your Experiences section:
- Taking care of a retired neighbor.
- Volunteering at your house of worship.
- Coordinate weekly pick-up soccer in your neighborhood.
- Repairing your parent’s car.
- Plan a fantasy football league in your class.
- Taking summer dance classes.
- Selling homemade arts on eBay.
- Teach kids to play any musical instrument.
- Writing a regular blog about cooking.
Check out this guide to write a work experience section for your resume that will impress readers and show your expertise.
4. Awards and Honors
This section is like your trophy case on paper.
Maybe your essay received third prize in the school writing competition, or your science exhibition project got you selected to visit NASA. Maybe you’re an Eagle Scout and you earned all 137 merit badges (yes, it’s possible!). Maybe your goal-scoring abilities got you the Best goal scorer on your soccer team.
You can also add if you were selected for something. For example; “1 of 4 students chosen to represent our school at the national debate competition.
With the Experiences part, take the time to give a short, specific summary that shows just how awesome you are. Make sure to do this:
- Mention the name of the award
- List the companies involved, your position, and the date you received the award.
- Be specific and use numbers.
- Avoid using “I.”
This final section should be short and engaging.
So, what are skills? Anything you can do that could be appropriate for college or the major you’re pursuing. These often create great conversation starters for an interview, for example.
Some tips for writing skills section of your college resume:
Avoid cliches “passionate,” punctual,” organized,” “hard-working,” etc. These days everyone and their grandfather are punctual, hard-working, and passionate.
Instead, write on computer and language skills. Modern employers and organizations are looking for the same.
- If you can good at Word, Excel and Powerpoint mentioned “Microsoft Office Suite.”
- If you know how to code, include it.
- If you’ve taken Spanish I, include it.
- If you’re learning Hindi or any other language through Duolingo, include it!
Some examples of other skills you can mention:
- Sports-related skills
- Technical skills
- Data analysis skills
- Communication or
- Teaching skills
- Writing skills (Maybe you can create fiction stories, comics, or write screenplays or newspaper articles, always include it) and
- Debate skills
- Artistic skills (Can you work on Adobe Photoshop?)
- Interpretation/translation skills
- Musical proficiencies (Can you play any instrument? Can you read music?)
List 8-10 maximum skills, whichever comes first. Don’t mention 50-60 skills. It will sound stupid and ridiculous.
Save your resume as a PDF with a clear title.
Include your name and the word “Resume.” Avoid titles like “xyzs.pdf” or “Resume.pdf,” which looks unprofessional and confusing. Remember, small details matter.
- Don’t write, “References available on request.” It sounds good, but whoever sees your resume knows to contact you if they need references, so it’s plain stupid.
- Don’t add an “Objective.” They know your objective is to get into college, get a job/internship.
Ultimately, How To Submit Your Resume For College Applications
You now have a sleek digital resume. Now what?
If you’ve decided it makes sense to share your resume with colleges beyond what you’re sharing in your resume, you can typically do so within each school’s application system.
The Common App typically lets schools decide whether or not to offer an upload function within each college’s supplemental section.
If you plan to do interviews in person, go to some local office supply store and buy some thick, white, or off-white resume paper. Take a professional-looking folder while you’re at it (no folders with cartoons). Print several copies to keep on hand.
When you ask professors for letters of recommendation, give them a copy. When you walk into an interview, whether for college or a job, bring a copy for every interviewer. Hand one to your significant other’s parents! J/K.
Lastly, keep your resume updated as you gain new skills, experience, and achievements just keep adding them to your resume.