Most people think of resumes as a tool to use for job hunting. It’s the document you send to potential employers along with your letter explaining why you’re the best fit for the job. So you might wonder, “What is a student resume?” and “Why does someone need a resume if they aren’t looking for a job?”
Below, I’ll answer these two questions and offer some of my best tips for preparing and using a student resume.
What is a Student Resume?
A student resume is very similar to its more traditional counterpart. It is a document that relates your experience, skills and academic performance. As author Penny Loretto explains in her article, The College Admissions Resume, the primary difference between a student resume and a jobseeker’s version is the document’s purpose. Your student resume is sometimes called a college application resume because many students forward them to college admissions offices along with their Common Application.
Student resumes aren’t required by every college. Some colleges even prefer that you not submit a resume with your Common Application when it is filed electronically. Regardless of whether colleges require it, when I am advising students on the college admissions process, I recommend they prepare a student resume.
When to Use a Student Resume?
There are several reasons why I believe it is important for students to prepare a resume. First, having the document available before it is needed means one less item on your college application “to do” list.
Additionally, if you are invited to have an admissions interview, your interviewer may want to see your resume. Providing an interviewer this short document of your accomplishments and activities can serve as a conversation starter.
Also, your resume can be reviewed by admissions officers to clarify or support the information provided in your application. Your resume can also serve to confirm and demonstrate the depth of your interest in activities outside of academics.
Your student resume can be useful outside of the college admissions process as well. Bradford Holmes of US News & World Report recommends that you distribute copies of your resume to recruiters at college fairs. Another great use of your resume is as a refresher document for the people you ask to write recommendations on your behalf. Deliver a copy of your student resume along with your request for a recommendation letter. The information it provides will help your teachers and counselors remember key details about you.
Finally, even if you aren’t looking for a full-time job, you might be looking for an internship or applying for scholarships. Your resume is the perfect place for you to relay your passions, interests, skills, and talents in a compelling way.
What to Include on Your Student Resume?
Like a traditional resume, you should include your name and contact information. You’ll then want to include a summary of your academic performance, including any summer academic programs. Include any honors, awards, class rank and admissions tests scores.
You will also want to list your extracurricular activities, work experience, community involvement, skills, and hobbies. This portion of your resume affords you the opportunity to highlight any activities that demonstrate your commitment to a cause or your leadership skills. You can also share unique travel or other experiences in this section. Here is a link to a student resume template. You can also view this podcast for more tips.
Final Tips for Your Student Resume
Even if you’re a freshman in high school, begin keeping track of activities and information to include on your resume now. You will be surprised at how quickly time passes and how much you can forget if you don’t write things down.
Try to limit your document to one page in length. Make good use of the space you have available by avoiding repetition and limiting open space. Before you begin distributing your resume, ask someone to proofread it for you. It is very easy to overlook your own typographical errors so it is best to entrust the proofreading to someone else.
About the author:
Stephanie Klein Wassink is the founder of AdmissionsCheckup.com and Winning Applications College Consulting. She frequently writes for Money Magazine and Huffington Post, and speaks nationally about the college admissions process.