One of the biggest mistakes students make when creating a resume is under-explaining their extracurricular activities. Admissions offices love to learn about applicants from their clubs and activities outside the classroom.
Resume: The term is something usually associated with job seekers and the business world. For high school students, a resume might seem unnecessary. Yet having a resume, or brag sheet, on hand is helpful no matter where you are in your high school career.
Creating a resume doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few easy steps, you can create a brag sheet that will help you fill out college applications and apply for scholarships. Once your brag sheet is complete, you can take it with you to college fairs, on-campus interviews and even use it in the future as you apply for internships.
Follow these guidelines to write a clean, professional resume that will help you in high school and beyond.
Before you begin writing your brag sheet, it’s a good idea to make a list of what you’ll be including. To start, think about everything you've done over the course of your high school career.
Gather transcripts, your school information and jot down your cumulative GPA. Ask your mom or dad to help you make a list of the awards you’ve won and extracurricular activities you’ve participated in throughout high school. You’ll need the dates of each of these items as well, so be sure to make a note of that too.
Once you’ve collected all this information, keep it in a binder or folder. You’ll want to refer to it as you create your resume, so it’s good to have it in one place. It’ll also help you fill out college applications when the time comes.
Format Your Brag Sheet Like a Real Resume
Resumes have a somewhat standard format: contact information, education and work experience. Even though you’re in high school, your brag sheet should follow in this traditional style.
Here’s what to include on your resume:
- Your name, address, phone number and email address belong at the very top of the page.
- The name of your high school and your graduation date should follow next. If you’ve taken any honors or AP classes, you can list them below if you’d like.
- Any work experience you’ve had, such as a part-time job, comes after your education information. List your job title, the company you work for, and the dates of your employment. If you have multiple jobs to list, be sure to put the most recent positions first.
- If you’ve participated in extracurricular activities, those should appear next on your brag sheet. List the clubs, sports, volunteer work, or anything else you’ve been a part of through school. Be sure to include any positions you held and the dates you participated.
The one section of a professional resume that you don’t need to mimic is the references page. It’s rare that colleges will ask for references so don’t feel like you have to include them. Letters of recommendation fill this need for a reference.
Explain Your Extracurricular Activities
One of the biggest mistakes students make when creating a resume is under-explaining their role in extracurricular activities. Admissions offices love to learn about applicants based on their experiences in clubs and activities outside the classroom. Make an effort to explain yours in detail, especially if they're unique. Jot down any positions you held, whether you were president junior year or the official t-shirt designer as a freshman. The extracurricular section of your brag sheet is like your high school work history – tell colleges exactly what you did and where you excelled.
If you participated in sports or accomplished impressive feats, include that information. Write down the years you played on the JV or Varsity teams. Tell your resume readers about the year you won the regional poetry recitation contest. Point out how you organized events for your school’s spirit club. Any accomplishments that you’re proud of deserve a spot on your resume.
Be Neat and Professional
Once your resume has all of the information written out, you’ll need to format it properly. This resume will represent you to colleges and maybe even potential employers, so be sure it exhibit who you are as an adult.
Most importantly, check to ensure your brag sheet is free of any grammatical or spelling errors. While looking for these potential mistakes, revisit your verbs and make sure your sentences are active, not passive. Once that check is complete, change the font to one that’s readable – most offices prefer the standard Times New Roman in size 12. Although it’s not an exciting font, it’s one that will work with every computer and operating system. Also, be sure to keep your resume in black and white. Admissions officials frown upon pictures and colored text.
If you’re unsure about the overall appearance of your resume, you can check out some great examples online. La Salle High School and Kirkwood High School have examples designed for students on their websites.
- Keep your brag sheet as brief as possible. Rather than writing long, descriptive sentences about the details of each activity, only point out the accomplishments for which you're most proud.
- Don’t panic if your resume isn’t pages and pages long. Many admissions offices admit that the longer the resume, the more they think the student is trying to pad their application.
- Not all college applications will allow you to upload a resume or brag sheet. If you’d still like to send yours in, just ask the admissions office. Most are more than happy to accept these via email.