Creating and Updating Your Activity List/Resume
When it comes to your college applications, you will likely need to submit a resume or activity list. Colleges are not admitting facts and figures, they want living, breathing human beings with likes and dislikes, passions and aversions. Your “soft factors,” your essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular involvement, will tell an admissions committee what kind of person you are. From the quality and duration of your participation in certain activities, a college admissions officer will gain a more in-depth understanding of your personality and character.
As one Yale University admissions officer once said, “Don’t be shy! Brag! Give us as much information as possible, because you are up against thousands of other applicants and if you really want us to get to know who you are, then tell tell tell!”
In order to completely and accurately portray your involvement in extracurricular activities, you should begin compiling your resume in 9th grade. The end of the academic year is a great time to create or update your resume, while the school year and your involvement is still fresh in your mind.
I suggest students organize their resume into the following sections: extracurricular activities, honors and awards, community service, summer experiences, employment and internships, and hobbies and interests.
If an application does not request a certain format, you should list extracurricular activities and hobbies in order of their importance to you. You should list everything else in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent. You should also indicate how much time (hours per week and weeks per year) you spend on each activity. If the activity calls for a description or location, put it underneath the activity. Finally, do not forgot to list your positions, titles, or responsibilities for each activity.
- Every detail counts. Supply as much information about your non-academic life as possible.
- Exercise restraint. Do not for example include something you do for only a few hours per year.
- Do what you love. Get involved with a few activities that truly interest you. Colleges are not looking for well-rounded students but for well-rounded student-bodies.
- Stick with it. Colleges specifically look for consistency and commitment.
If you can give a compelling and accurate view of who you are, making the facts and figures of your application come alive in the mind of the admissions reader, then you already have a leg up on the competition. To do this, you will need to keep detailed records of everything you do outside the classroom, ideally starting from the summer before your freshmen year in high school.
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