The “Whys” and “Hows” of the Activity Resume

by | Mar 8, 2018 | Resumes

You may have heard that you should create an activity resume for colleges, but why? What should be on it? And how can you make it stand out?

So Many Uses!

Once you create an activity resume, you will find that you can use it for many purposes. Is there a summer internship you want to apply for? Is your high school teacher or counselor requesting a list of your high school accomplishments? Applying for a scholarship? These are all great reasons to have a resume handy.

But, another very important reason is for college applications. On the Common Application and many other applications, you can only list 10 or fewer high school activities. So, you have to choose wisely and it can be harder than it sounds. But fear not! Many colleges allow you to submit a resume along with your application where you can outline even more activities.


Your activity resume should start with a clear heading on the top with your name and another distinguishing item (address, contact info, high school info are some options). Once you have a heading, the rest of the resume will consist of all of your high school activities, awards and accomplishments. Many students find the following categories helpful for organizing their information: Honors and Awards, School Activities, Out of School Activities, Community Service, and Employment. However, every student’s resume looks different, so the content is up to you.

1-Minute Rule

Consider the fact that many college admissions counselors will have only one minute to scan your resume. For that reason, it’s really important that it is “admissions-friendly” in format. That means organizing the information into categories, as mentioned above. Then, use bullets, numbers or sub-categories for additional information about each item. Use school year (9-11, for example) instead of calendar year (do not use 2016-2018, for example).

Try giving your resume to someone who doesn’t know you well and ask them to review it for one minute and see if all the important information is clear and easy to read.

Campus Bound counselors keep a variety of resumes on hand to show students and use as templates. We can help you identify the most important information to put on it, tell you how to organize it, and help edit it to make it perfect. A strong resume can certainly help your college application stand out.

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