Building a Strong Extracurricular Resume for College Admissions

Do you want to learn how to create a standout college resume that will impress admissions officers? Join us for an engaging and informative webinar, “Building a Strong Extracurricular Resume for College Admissions,” designed specifically for high school students and their parents.

Former Admissions Officer Stacey Tuttle will provide you with essential tips and strategies to help you craft a compelling college resume that highlights your achievements, skills, and experiences effectively.

Key Learnings to Expect in the Webinar:

  • Understanding the purpose and importance of a college resume in the admissions process
  • Identifying the key components of a well-rounded college resume
  • Strategies for showcasing your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and leadership roles
  • Tips for highlighting your community service, volunteer work, and internships
  • Tailoring your resume to align with specific college programs or majors
  • Common pitfalls to avoid and resume-writing mistakes to watch out for
  • Answering frequently asked questions about college resumes

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain a competitive edge and maximize your chances of getting accepted into your dream college. Register now and embark on your journey to college success!

Date 03/26/2024
Duration 59:51

Webinar Transcription

2024-03-26 – Building a Strong Extracurricular Resume for College Admissions

Hello everyone, welcome, good evening, good afternoon, good morning, whatever time it is, wherever you’re dialing in from, we’re so excited you’re here. Welcome to Building a Strong Extracurricular Resume for College Admissions. My name is Anna Vande Velde, I’m your moderator today, and I’m also a senior advisor here at CollegeAdvisor.

Just a little bit about my background. I’ve been in the company for about two and a half years now. And in addition to advising students, I’m a proud member of our essay review team. I studied psychology at Carnegie Mellon, thinking I wanted to be a clinical psychologist, ended up at Harvard Law School.

Life is full of twists and turns. Um, so I am now a nonprofit defense attorney and I live in Ottawa, Canada to orient everyone with the webinar timing, because that is enough about me. We’re going to start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A. On the sidebar under handouts, you can download our slides and start submitting questions in the Q&A tab.

Please submit your questions as you think about them. No need to wait until the Q&A session. Um, so submit them as you think of them and we’ll get to them at the end. Thank you. Without further ado, I am proud to turn it over to Stacey to introduce herself. Thanks, Anna. Um, I’m Stacey Tuttle. I, uh, currently work as the Director of Student Affairs and Registrar at the Yale School of Public Health.

Um, I’m also a former admissions officer. advisor, proud to say great company. I get to meet wonderful students and people like Anna all the time. Um, and so my admissions experience actually comes from the Yale school public health, where I currently am. I used to work in on their admissions team. Um, and so that’s where all of my admissions insight comes from.

My Alma mater is also Yale. So, like Anna, I actually majored in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience at Yale University, and I ended up getting my Master’s of Public Health in Health Education and Promotion. Um, I have a passion for public health and higher ed, and so my intersection of interests lie right at the core of those two things.

I absolutely love resume building and essay editing. Those are kind of, Two of my pinnacles, my, my loves. And so I’m really excited to bring my insight, my tips to you all today. And hopefully you’ll come away from this webinar with at least one new thing that you didn’t know before about resume building.

Thanks, Stacey. Before you dive in, I’d love to pull the audience just to get a sense of what grade folks are in. If you’re here today as a parent, guardian, educator, support person, please select other, um, so we can get a sense of who’s here. While y’all do that, Stacey, I was wondering if I could put you on mute.

Always amazing. If you remember what your favorite extracurricular in high school was and double part question, if you remember, how did you frame it on your resume? That is a great question. So, uh, Fun fact, I did not have a resume when I was in high school. At the time, I don’t think my applications required it and I’ll get into that in a little while.

Um, but yeah, I didn’t have, if I had one, I don’t think it was very strong at the time and I know, I know for a fact that my strongest and most meaningful activity was theater. I do talk about this quite often. It was the central theme of my personal statement on the college application and so theater was really important to me because it was a community for me in my high school career, a group of people that I felt very close to that I learned from and grew with, mentors, um, you know, my choreographer in theater married my husband and I, so it was just a very tight knit group, um, but also I gained so many personal skills from that.

experience, public speaking skills, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, um, really things that I carry with me every single day from high school to college to my career now. Um, you know, even being able to sit here and talk to you all, I credit that to my theater experience in high school and being comfortable talking to you.

To big groups of people, right? Um, and so definitely one of my more meaningful experiences. And I’ll, uh, I, like I said, I normally talk about this during the webinar or during the presentation slides, but, um, I had a stellar career strategy office at Yale. And I still rely on their resume tips, their resume templates today.

And as a freshman, they got me started on the right foot. And that is the resume that. spurred the rest of my resumes into eternity. So very grateful for that. I love all of that. Relate to all of that. Proud theater kid here. Um, not surprised actually. Yeah, you can tell sometimes. Um, just so you know, in the room we have about 40 percent 10th grade and about 60 percent 11th grade.

So good. Amazing. Really great. Turn it over to you. Sure thing. Um, and so let’s get to the main part of the presentation. The million dollar question tonight, afternoon, morning, wherever you are, what is a resume? So a resume is, it’s a document that conveys your experiences, activities, background, skills, and more, as I’ve written here.

It really, you can think of it as a snapshot into you as a person. Where have you been? Where are you now? And where are you going? Um, you’re telling a story in a very, very concise and brief way, um, a singular page typically, uh, and that is something I often get pushback on from my students applying to college.

They feel very strongly sometimes when they have so many things to talk about, so many things they want to list that they really, really want to extend past that one page, but that is not helpful. for admissions officers. It’s not helpful for employers or internship reviewers, wherever you’re applying with this resume, they have a lot of applications they have to review.

And so the resume is supposed to give them that, like I said, the snapshot of who you are. And the goal is to be concise in doing so, so that they can digest that information quickly and easily. And arguably, you can give, um, A solid snapshot of who you are in one page, um, especially as a high school student.

And please don’t take this offensively. Uh, I, most high schoolers to have not lived enough life to justify a longer than one page resume. Um, that’s just the truth. You know, I would say not until after college and you’re in your professional career, you really should start thinking about extending past a page or doing a larger curriculum by Tay.

Um, one page as a high schooler. That should be your goal for your college applications and this can fluctuate or change depending on the opportunity that you’re applying to So if you feel you have a lot of things you want to talk about or maybe you have a lot of content you want to include for each of those activities or awards or whatever that is that you’re including on your resume and and maybe one activity lends itself more to Your research background.

So maybe you include more content for your research activities. Maybe include more coursework in research or sciences on that resume that you’re submitting to that particular opportunity. Meanwhile, maybe a job opportunity. Um, maybe a paid opportunity that you’re doing. looking for just a side gig, something that you’re hoping to be paid for while you’re in high school.

Maybe that resume looks a little different. Maybe you’re not focusing so much on the research or your science courses. Maybe you don’t even have any courses at all. Maybe you’re really focusing on any prior work experiences that you’ve had, where you demonstrate leadership or organizational skills. So you can demonstrate that to your students.

That particular option. So it can fluctuate. You can kind of pick and choose what you’re including what you’re not including. I would say with a word of caution that if you exclude something, and that creates a gap in your experience that isn’t really explainable. Um, you might want to consider leaving it back in, even with a few sentences, so that it’s clear what you were doing during that time frame.

Uh, I will say one of the bigger red flags I’ve seen on resumes for employment opportunities is that there’s a gap in experience and it’s unexplained. So just be wary of, um, leaving things out that cause gaps like that. And it should be a living document. So I highly encourage you, I think if you take anything away from This webinar tonight, this is probably my, probably my top tip.

Something I wish I knew when I was starting out. And it’s a tip I got from my career office at Yale when I was creating my resume for the first time. Have a master resume that you can continually add to as things come up. So when an award comes immediately document that on your resume so that later on when you’re thinking to yourself, Oh, I had that award and I don’t remember the dates or the exact certificate name.

No, it’s already there. You can just pull it from this kind of larger document so that you can create the singular document that you’ll need for that opportunity you’re applying to. It should be living in that way. What are the different sections? So Resumes are sometimes an art form in some ways There’s definitely some standards of practice that you’ll see out there that are pretty consistent Um, but there’s some nuances as well to consider.

So, um in my Opinion these are the sections that you’re really going to want to be focusing on so at the very top of your resume You’ll have your name and your contact information your contact information typically includes your email address and your phone number Sometimes you’ll have a website or a linkedin if that’s relevant to you at this stage in your high school career You might not have a linkedin.

That’s okay It might be too early for you to have that. It could be something you might want to consider having. Um, LinkedIn is a great platform for networking opportunities, and you might want that when you get to college. So it’s not too early to start considering it, but please don’t feel pressured to create one.

Just because I said that’s something that you could include if you have one That would be the right place to include it at the top of your resume Um underneath that is typically an objective and or summary statement So this is a few sentences a high level introduction to who you are Um where you come from what you’ve achieved and what you hope to do.

What is your objective? in applying to this opportunity or in general what your career academic goals are, give a brief summary of that. And really if I read that, I would understand who you are and what you’re hoping to do, again, at a high level. Not in any great detail, brief. The next section under that, and this is actually this section my, my students often forget, which is really ironic because you spend so much time.

In high school, um, and committing yourself to your academics during your high school career the education section Um, you absolutely should have an education section on your resume It should be pretty high up because again, that’s an important part of your everyday life at this stage in your career So you’ll have your high school listed Um, typically the location of your high school your graduation date your anticipated graduation date Your GPA, if that’s relevant, um, some schools don’t have GPA, some do, some will have weighted GPA, some will have unweighted GPA.

If you’re trying to decide between weighted versus unweighted GPA, if you have both, I tend to lean toward weighted GPA because Perceptively, it just, you know, comes off a little bit more positively when you have that higher number. Um, as a cognitive thing, it’s It’s definitely not going to hurt you if you have weighted versus unweighted in One Direction.

I know I have colleagues who say stick with the unweighted, um, so it really, I think it’s just a personal preference at the end of the day, um, for a lot of these opportunities you’re going to be applying with a transcript so that they should be able to see your overall academic profile anyway. And then rank if your school has it.

If that’s applicable, you’ll include that there. Now, in the education section, you might also want to consider including relevant coursework to the opportunity you’re applying to. I mentioned earlier, for example, if you’re applying to a research opportunity, it might be helpful to list coursework. Um, higher level, more rigorous coursework that you’ve taken in the sciences and math classes or stats classes specifically.

Research seminar things of that nature. Uh, if you aren’t applying to an opportunity that it would be beneficial to include your coursework, um, on your resume for I would say don’t include it because it does take up a lot of space. I especially would advise against including it if you’re applying to an opportunity that requires a transcript, because they’re going to see that anyway.

Um, so if you’re really struggling on space, the relevant coursework might be the area that you want to cut down a little bit. Or excluding entirely. The next section is typically work experience. So this area is really for paid experiences or even unpaid internships or other opportunities related to your career goals.

Um, and so there are, this is a little nuanced, right? So some, for example, my pre med students will ask, Where do I put shadowing? I actually would advise putting shadowing under the work experience section because it’s related to your career goals. Right? Um, so really think about what falls in that category.

Is it related to your career advancement? And or is it paid? Is it a paid work experience? Like for example, when I was in high school, I worked at my local grocery store. That is a work experience. Um, and the next section after that would be your extracurricular activities. These are clubs, sports organizations, things that you do in your spare time.

You’re not paid for them. They’re probably not really relevant to your career goals, but they’re things that take up your time in your, in your everyday life. Um, That you’d like to include on your resume and are important to you, especially in terms of your academic or personal development, right? Things like math club, debate, basketball, tennis, soccer, whatever that looks like for you.

The school newspaper, I remember I was the editor of my school newspaper. There’s so many things you could be doing in your spare time. Those would fall under extracurricular activities. The next section, this might vary depending on the person. You might not have a lot of volunteer experience in your life, and so you might not have a volunteering section at all.

Or maybe you collapse that if you have a few of them with your extracurricular activity section in the prior section. If you have, however, a significant amount of volunteer experience, It might be worth including a whole separate section for that. And so if you wanted to separate volunteering from extracurriculars or work experience, you are welcome to do that in a separate section.

Again, as a high schooler, one page, we have to keep it to one page. So Really think about how you can consolidate and keep this concise and straightforward for a reviewer. Um, awards and achievements is also, uh, another important section. This would be towards the bottom of your resume, typically. I’ve seen some students include it in their education section.

If a lot of those awards and achievements are educational, not all will be for everyone, right? And so an awards and achievement section might make more sense as a separate section for a lot of people. Um, skills and interests. This is at the very, very bottom. This is usually very brief, um, not very descriptive in any way, rather a listing of relevant skills and interests that you might want someone to know about you.

Um, there’s some categories I’ve included here. Soft skills is a category to describe Basically things related to your personality traits, um, things that you intrinsically have as an individual. So communication skills, I’ve listed here, customer service skills, organizational skills. Um, do you like working with people?

Are you personable? Are you really great at, um, leading? Are you a great leader? These are things that you can include under soft skills. Hard skills, meanwhile, are related to technical expertise. So, examples here are Microsoft Excel, programming languages like Python, Canva is like a design tool or graphic design tools.

These are things you can include under hard skills. Languages, so that is very popular as something to include under skills and interests Um, what I will say is if you include a language just make sure you’re including your proficiency level in parentheses Because the last thing you want is to say you can speak spanish And you’re only in spanish one and you get into an interview and someone tries to speak spanish to you That does not come off very authentic.

And so you just want to make sure you are not um Appearing In genuine when you are when you are conveying your your language speaking on a resume, right? You want to make sure you are transparent about your ability. And then finally, your interest, so these are things that might be fun facts about you. I love this section.

You never know what. Might come up on an interview and what might be of interest to somebody or something you might have in common with somebody that you’re interviewing with or applying to Um, I listed examples here like seeing reading baking crafting things that you do that aren’t necessarily formal Extracurriculars that you’re doing as part of school or an organized effort not work experience These are things that you’re really doing for personal um Um, reasons for personal passion reasons, things that you are doing because you like to do them.

Uh, and so definitely think outside the box. when you are filling out that part of your resume as to what’s really important to you. How are you spending your spare time? Just a quick note, if you do message me directly, I won’t be able to respond while I’m presenting. Please actually put your question in the Q& A, and that way we can get to all of your questions during the Q& A section later.

Thank you. So how do I showcase my strengths and interests on a resume? It’s funny how, how hard it is to talk about yourself, right? And I find one of the biggest struggles with my students. Is that they feel like they’re bragging about themselves or they’re coming off as condescending or arrogant don’t be afraid to brag about yourself as long as you’re being truthful, right if you achieve something or you led something or you Really, you know shine during a particular activity Tell the reader that showcase that on your resume, right?

Um, now you don’t want to embellish, you want to be truthful. Um, you don’t want to, you know, explain over the top about something and then you get pushed on it later or questioned about it later. And you really don’t have a lot to say about this activity that seems so amazing on your resume. Make sure whatever you’re saying is authentic and you won’t go wrong.

Um, but don’t be afraid of, uh, Raging about yourself when it is truthful and all of your relevant awards, honors and accomplishments and highlight your leadership. So Not everybody is going to be class president, right? Not everybody’s going to be captain of the football team, but you might demonstrate leadership in a different way through your activities.

So for example, you might have led a subcommittee, um, as part of your student government for spring formal or for a particular, um, fundraising endeavor for your school. If you can highlight those moments of leadership, As part of your activities in the description of your activities, that is really beneficial for resume reviewers to see something.

I also suggest to my students, bring your resume to your friends, families and mentors and ask them. What does this look like to you? Am I missing anything? Those people are around you all the time. They know you best. And they might https: otter. ai About your parents, probably haven’t forgotten about or your guardians and not forgotten about it because they’re really proud of you and all of your accomplishments.

So they might remember things that you don’t think about. When you put the resume together for the first time, it’s totally worth having that discussion with them. Also think about skills or interests that are dark. Maybe a little outside the box. Don’t be afraid of standing out in that way. I had a, um, I had the example I always give is in my recent application season.

I was nearing the end and I had a student write an essay. Um, a very last minute essay. It was unlike any of the essays that she had to write before. So it had to be new. And. She wrote about how she was really interested in high heels, the history of high heels, creating high heels. Um, that’s not something I didn’t know about her at all.

And it was very interesting and very cool. Um, so don’t shy away from the highlighting unique hobbies you might have as well. Like you said, you never know when that could help you stand out. So how important is a resume in college admissions? Not all colleges, as I mentioned in the beginning, require one when you apply.

Um, and so on most applications, there’s actually going to be an area, or multiple areas, where you’ll transfer your resume content into the format that the school or application prefers you to report that in. So like the common application, For example, has an activity section and then an honors and awards section.

These are limited in format. Um, you only have, for example, on the common app, you have 10 spaces to enter your activities and you only have so many characters to describe those activities. Same with your honors and awards, and so it is a very different. animal, depending on the application or the opportunity you’re applying to.

It might not always require that you have a resume. That said, it’s still really helpful to have a resume as a baseline so that you can take that information and transfer it easily. Or when an application does require a resume, you have it readily available. Uh, and resumes are a snapshot of who you are at the end of the day.

I mentioned this earlier. Um, It is one part of the application that allows admissions officers to digest your overall profile, your overall applicant profile, in a quick and easy way. Right? And so you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. You want to make sure that you’re doing, um, a strong, um, effort in your, um, the words you’re choosing, the things you’re highlighting and outlining, you do want that to be strong, but it is just one component, right?

There’s a lot of other parts of the application that are going to be important, like your academics, your essays, your references, or letters of recommendation. So again, just one part of the application, but an important one nonetheless. And your goals in creating that resume would be to have a concise and comprehensive picture of your strengths.

How you spend your time, what you value as a person, what you have achieved, and what you hope to achieve in the future.

Why is summer break such an important time to build your resume? So in the summers, academic obligations are arguably less intense, right? You don’t have your standard classwork. And so that therefore there’s more time to pursue those more meaningful and immersive experiences that you normally couldn’t pursue during the academic year.

For example, you could potentially pursue a residential summer camp. So these are camps that require that you reside at the camp. You’d be there in person and you normally wouldn’t be able to do that. If you are enrolled in school, similarly, local college programs or classes might have both residential and online might have pretty intense attendance requirements.

They might be compacted, accelerated and format in the summer so that students can complete classes more quickly and you normally wouldn’t be able to commit that kind of time or, um, in person effort. If you were in. Your normal academic cycle, volunteering or shadowing opportunities might be easier to pursue as well, because you could do those during normal business hours, research programs out there in the summer times.

There’s many of them. Those are usually a lengthy endeavor. They’re usually multiple hours a day, multiple weeks during the summer. And so you do need time to pursue those and then passion projects. This is a phrase that you’ll hear a lot passion project. is exactly that. It’s a project related to your one of your passions.

Uh, you perhaps you’ve seen a need or gap in resources in your community and you’ve decided I want to do something to address that, right? I, for example, I’ve, um, had students. Who have offered public speaking seminars at their local library for people to learn about public speaking I’ve had individuals start podcasts to expose people to science topics or stem topics I’ve had students do book drives for their home country schools in their home country to increase literacy in That those communities.

And so there’s a lot of ways that you can pursue your passions. Now, it might not always be fulfilling necessarily a specific need, but rather really truly aligning with the passion of yours. It could be, um, an art project. It could be a Um, poetry contest, maybe where you’ve created a short story or a poetry book.

Um, I’ve had somebody write children’s books before. Typically, though, when you do a passion project, you want to ask yourself, what am I giving back to the world? What is the product that I’m bringing into the world as a result of my passion? And then that’s something that you can really highlight on your application because you’ve made an impact.

There has been a, an impactful relationship between your project and the world. Um, ultimately, all of these projects in the summer that you could pursue should inform your understanding of your potential career paths later, and therefore further inform your college applications, right? The ultimate goal in going to college is to end up in a career of interest.

And so you want to make sure you’re informing how you’re going to get to that career using your experiences in your summertime. And ultimately, those would demonstrate to admissions officers your diligence in pursuing those interests and goals when you ultimately apply to those institutions. As a high schooler, what should you do during your summer breaks?

Now, should is a very heavy word. Um, really what you mean by this, what people mean by this, is what would be a valuable way to spend my free time, right? And that, there’s many answers to that. Uh, should is very Very different than what would be a valuable way to spend my free time because I’m not saying you should do all of these things I’m saying that these might be helpful ways to to create valuable experiences for yourself.

Um, so are there new experiences that could help you to better understand what you hope to do in your future career? Right? We just talked about that. What can you do to better understand how you want to pursue your academics and then ultimately your career goals? Are there passion projects that you can’t pursue during the academic year that you could do during the summer?

And we just talked about that too. Things that require a lot of time and commitment, how can you carve out time in your summer to get those things done? All of this to say, I strongly caution against what I call activity collecting. This is pursuing activities just for the sake of pursuing them. If you’re pursuing an activity just for the sake of pursuing it, um, maybe because you feel pressured to have More on your resume, more on your applications.

You are going to be miserable during that experience and it actually won’t help you in the grand scheme of your applications because having a bunch of different activities in a different place, a lot of different places is going to make you appear un focus, and you’re not really taking time to understand what your true passions and focus is.

Therefore, your applications will not be as strong. Admissions officers are really looking for focus, for somebody who’s introspective and understanding what they want out of life, what they value, and what they like to do in their spare time, right? That’s where your resume comes in. And it should translate that.

You should be able to translate your interests well as a result of the activities that you did in your summertime. Now, there’s other considerations outside of, you know, formal programs or opportunities that you might need to pursue in the summertime, right? So, you might want to go on college visits or tours to really understand different institutions of interest.

I did that in the summer. It was absolutely a good use of my spare time. Um, you might be test prepping. Right? A lot of schools are moving back to test required, meaning it’s no longer optional for a lot of these schools to, um, submit a test score. So you’re going to want to make sure you’re preparing for those tests accordingly and studying and practice.

Practice makes the biggest difference in those test scores. Any academic homework you might have for advanced coursework. I know I had massive AP packet AP course packets when I was in high school, and that took up a lot of my time. And of course, you might be continuing any other extracurricular or volunteer activities that you had during the academic year in the summer if it has a summer component.

And last but not least, I give you permission to take time to relax. That is what summer vacation was originally built for. Um, gives students time to be kids, to enjoy life a little bit, spend time with family, walk away from academic obligations for a moment. It’s a time to reset, and so I do give you permission, um, to take that time for yourself when you can, and balance that alongside all of your other obligations.

What do admissions officers want to see in a resume? Admissions officers love to see organized and clear formatting, a polished resume. Um, what does that mean? They’re looking for consistent font, um, consistent sizing throughout, colors, um, making sure nothing appears wonky in any way, shape, or form, one page, right?

Um, there’s many, many templates out there. So, you know, attach yourself to one and really familiarize yourself with it and make sure that you are being consistent throughout. Admissions officers also want to see commitment. What I mean by this is experiences to which you have committed for an extended period of time.

They want to see that you started something earlier in your high school career if possible and stayed true to that for the duration of high school. This is not going to be relevant to your summer experiences. Those are by nature, usually very short in duration because they’re for the summer term. But, you know, things like your sports, your clubs, if you started it in freshman or sophomore year and you continued on with it through senior year, that looks really positive on a resume.

Now, for those of you who might be a junior year, senior year, I get the question I get a lot. Is it too late for me to start something? No, it’s not too late for you to start something and add something to your resume But you might have a less significant Experience to convey as a result of the shorter duration the shorter time commitment that you’ve had to that experience Leadership we talked about this look for unique ways to highlight your leadership on your resume.

Um, Admissions officers also want to see alignment with your academic and career goals. So, if you’re telling me you’re interested in art history, what kind of art experience do you have? What art endeavors do you have, um, in your background? Or what history experience do you have in your background? Are you taking coursework in advanced history or art?

Um, What does that look like for you? If you’re a STEM major, do you have research in your background? Do you have volunteer experience in hospital settings? If you’re interested in medicine, what is informing those academic and career goals? So then I know that you’re actually making a mature and focused choice when you’re applying to my school under the major that you’re choosing, right?

I want to see that alignment, but it’s also okay. This is a question I get a lot. It’s okay to have a diversity of interests as well. You don’t have to drop debate just because you want to major in public health. That’s not the case at all. Debate has many relevant, uh, skills that you can gain from it that might lend itself to your public health career one day.

Um, and so don’t give up on those activities that you really love to do just because they don’t have direct relationship. To your academic and career goals, they still are relevant in some ways in terms of you building upon your skill set. And I, I even alluded to this earlier with my theater experience.

I am not currently working in a theater, right? I am not an actress. Um, even though maybe you all might think I am on this webinar right now, just kidding. Um, but I’m not right. I, that’s not a career path. I chose theater. Absolutely informed everything I do, um, in my life. Since high school, and I have no regrets in pursuing that activity.

And in fact, I wrote my personal statement about theater. Um, and I was an engineering major, so it was still important as an important part of who I was and it informed my applications even then. And remember the application process is a holistic review process. So the resume is just one part of the application overall, my final tips.

So let’s begin. Now. All right. This is the one tip I wanted you all to take away from this. Keep building upon that resume, get a baseline and continue to update it as you have new accomplishments and activities coming your way. It is so much easier to do that as you go along and then just try to think back and make sure you’ve remembered everything later.

Make sure you check your formatting. I just had to review a bunch of resumes recently and A lot of them went into the no pile because they just did not proofread. They did not bother to update things appropriately Um, and so make sure that you’re proofreading look for appropriate templates online.

There’s so many out there I mentioned my career office at yale had one. Um, it’s Your high school has a counseling office. Check with your counselors. They might have recommendations um when you’re writing out your Descriptions make sure you’re using action verbs. So past opportunities should be in the past tense present opportunity should be in the present tense You shouldn’t be including future opportunities because they haven’t happened yet.

That’s actually a question I’ve gotten if it’s happening in the future. You have to wait until you’re in it or you’re not It’s happened in the past for you to include it on the resume is something that you’re actually doing. Um, you’ll use bullet points, consider the order as well. Your most current experience should come first, followed by the next and the next.

Um, one really great piece of advice I’ve gotten from a colleague is, um, include numerical data when you have it for your activities. So, for example, um, with my student with the book drive that he did, He, you know, would say, I reached this many schools, this many students. We’ve donated this many books, um, with this many partners.

And so having that numerical data can really back make that experience seem much more, um, robust and impressive. And just be as specific as you can in your descriptions. Uh, definitely have a mentor or counselor review that and give feedback. You want that second pair of eyes. And remember, you can adjust your resume to the opportunity when it’s appropriate.

All right, now it’s time for the Q& A. so much, Stacey. As you said, that is the end of the presentation part of our webinar. We hope you found all this information helpful. Remember, you can download the slides that you’ve seen from the link in the handouts tab on the side of your screen. We’re now going to move on to the live Q& A.

I’ve been reading through the questions you submitted, um, both now and ahead of attending today. Please keep them coming. Any question you can think of, throw it in the chat or in the Q& A. We’ll get to as many as we can. I will read them out loud and then paste them publicly in the chat so you can all see the questions as Stacey gives her answers.

As a heads up, if your Q& A tab isn’t working, if it’s not letting you submit questions, please just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link you should have gotten in an email and not from the webinar So, Stacey! The first question we got, um, it’s not phrased as a question, but I think I know what they’re asking.

It says, I presume the resume should not repeat any information from the Common App. For example, the Common App has extracurricular sections. So what’s your thought? Is it okay to have things on your resume that you’re also including on the Common App? That’s a great question. So you wouldn’t logically leave things out of the resume you’re uploading for college if a resume is required of you just because you also have it in your activity section.

I wouldn’t worry about redundancy. What’s most important is that your resume is an actual true blue snapshot of who you are including all of the relevant pieces that you want highlighted about you. Think about your resume when you’re submitting it as if the person who has it in front of them has no other information.

Right. Um, the activity section on the common app is a sort of different way for the admissions team to digest that information. The common app requires that section right of all of for all the schools. It’s for reference by all the schools that are on the common app. But some schools don’t want to use that information in that format.

They want the resume or maybe they want both. And so you don’t want to exclude information from Your resume just because it’s in the activities section. Good advice. Um, I think you capture at least like the theme of your answer to some of these questions. But I’m going to put them out there so you can get super explicit answers.

Sure thing. What type of extracurricular activities should students be involved in to get noticed? So that is a loaded question. Because getting noticed can mean a lot of things, right? And so the question then is, what is your goal? What do you hope to do as your next step? What do you mean by getting noticed?

Do you want to get noticed by a top 20 school? Do you want to get noticed by a top 10 engineering school? Do you want to get noticed by, um, Large institutions small and there’s so many details to that, right? I think you need to operate in the In a different direction. I think you need to look introspectively and ask yourself.

What do you want to do? what do you find joy in doing both academically and um extracurricularly. So for just for fun, I mentioned earlier that you can have a variety of things on your resume and not all have to be relevant to your academic or career goals. A lot of schools love to see well rounded individuals, but more importantly, they like to see focused and passionate people.

So regardless of the things you do, commit to them, commit to them early, look for leadership opportunities in those things, and really start to branch out and decide, okay, if I really like doing this, can I pursue this other relevant activity? And that’ll help further inform my interest here. Think about your whole journey and how you’re developing as a person and how that’s going to get you to where you need to go.

Something I always tell my students is that It’s just as important for a college to be a good match for you as you are a good match for the college. And a lot of students make the mistake of looking at the procedure, the name of the school without actually considering what the school has to offer to them and whether that’s a good fit.

And so understanding who you are is going to actually help make your college list. The schools to which you’re applying better and that will make your application stronger to those schools Because you will have done that research and made sure that what you’re doing is actually a good fit for what they’re looking for So that’s my best advice to you um at this point, there’s a lot of different ways you can go about that, but Really look and reflect and ask yourself.

What do I like to do and what that might that lend itself to in terms of future majors and therefore careers. I think that is so well put, Stacey. Like at the end of the day, I know it’s easy to think of the point of extracurriculars as being for your college application, but really, truly, they are there to keep you engaged, to help you explore your interests, and to help you form is like a human, right?

That’s, that’s clear there. A member of society. Yeah, absolutely. Um, how much time, and I’m assuming the answer is not a number, but how much time should students spend on their extracurricular? Another challenging question, right? Because every extracurricular is going to be different. Those of you who play sports in the room will, um, definitely feel me when I say that sometimes sports can be very high number week activities, right?

But it’s, Not for the whole academic year, right? It’s for your season or maybe preseason plus the current season, whatever that looks like for you. Um, some sports, some people who play sports or have sports like activities, it’s year round. For example, individuals I know who do karate, it never ended. It never stopped.

Um, and so it really, for me, the magic number. Um, there’s not one number, but rather it’s a balance with your academic classwork, which is equally, if not, actually, I should say probably more important than your extracurriculars because your GPA is going to be very important and the success you have in your coursework and potentially regular rigorous coursework is going to be very important to a school.

And especially top tier schools. Um, so you do want to make sure you are balancing your extra curricular commitments in such a way that you can academically succeed in your courses in an optimal way, right? So that number will be different from person to person. Um, but that would be my advice to you is to understand how many hours you can commit to your activities in and also maintain your grades.

And also your mental health. Also very important. Take vacations. Yes, take time off. There’s pressure from so many directions. Um, you gotta take care of yourselves. You mentioned sports, Stacey, and we had a student ask, so if they’re involved in sports year round, and it’s taking up a lot of their time, then they have their homework.

It’s hard to do anything else. So they’re wondering, like, is our college is going to look unfavorably on that, that they might only have one or two extracurriculums? That’s a great question. I think the It is helpful to have, you don’t have to fill out every section. I, let me clarify. You don’t have to fill out every single spot of your activities list, right?

I, one thing I want to really hit home is that it’s more important to have quality experiences over a quantity of experiences. And I think I’ve relayed that earlier in the slides where I mentioned avoid activity collecting for the sake of activity collecting, right? That said, as a high schooler, It’s even though sports are important to you, and they’re probably going, it’s probably going to be the most important activity to you moving into your college applications.

It’s also important for you to have a diversity of experiences. And so, especially in those summer times, I think for you in particular, the academic year, it’s challenging to balance. Sports and your academics and then other activities, the summers is going to be a very valuable time for you to pursue additional activities that you can list on your college applications.

And so if that academic year is just too busy to fall, my advice to you would be to find those times during either your summers or. Any other breaks like spring breaks where you can capitalize on shadowing, volunteering, um, maybe you’re working with your local library on a project or your local community has a project or maybe there’s a passion project that you can do in your spare time and really manage those hours appropriately.

Um, yeah. Given that you have control when it’s your own project, and you’re doing it on your own, or maybe there is something that you could commit low commitment to, like one hour a week that you’re really interested in and could help inform your academic and career goals. I would challenge you to really think about.

Opportunities where you could diversify your experiences because, yes, I do sympathize that sports are quite time consuming, um, as are academic sometimes, um, but it is also important to have a diversity of experiences, not just for your extracurriculars, but also because your essays will be better informed and better written when you have, uh, A wealth of experiences to pull from.

And again, you don’t have to fill out every single activity component, but if you apply for college and the one activity you have is baseball, you’re not going to have a lot to write about, um, or much to inform your academic choices and your major goals, um, why the college is important to you outside of what you’ve experienced in that one sport and then in the classroom.

And that might be really limiting for a student. I agree. And for students in situations like that, I often encourage them to really look at what they’re doing. Every single day. If you are not lying on your couch, watching TV lounging, right? Like turning off refreshing. What are you doing? And then think about how might that be an activity you can include on the common app.

So if you’re involved in the religious community, that’s an extracurricular job. If you have family responsibilities. They take a really broad approach to activities, so if you really truly feel like you’re at capacity, you can’t take anything else on, I’m guessing you have a lot of things that can actually fit into the extracurricular list.

Um, that’s something we love to help students explore. Yeah, I’m so glad you mentioned that. Absolutely. The number one thing that students exclude and until I push them for more information is your job. If you have a job, that is absolutely an activity that like a paid position, even if it doesn’t feel relevant.

Like I said, I was a cashier. That was a really important part of my everyday life, you know? Um, and that was something I included in my activities list. And then family obligations. I think that’s a great emphasis. And that’s something you can include on your activity list as well. If you’re taking care of a family member, um, that is something that you should mention in your activities.

That is absolutely something. Absolutely. So since, since I was interrupting anyways, now might be a good time for me to give Stacey a break. Um, so I can talk a bit about CollegeAdvisor. So for those in the room who are not already working with us. We know how overwhelming the admissions process is. Um, we know.

We see it every day. And our team of over 300 former admissions officers, safety, and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate the college admissions process in one on one advising sessions. We’ve already helped over 6, 000 clients in their college journeys, and I’m very excited to share that we’ve recently analyzed our data from 2021 to 2023 We found that our students are 3.

6 times more likely to get into Stanford, 4. 1 times more likely to get into Vanderbilt, and 2. 7 times more likely to get into Harvard. So increase your odds, take the next step in your college admissions journey, and sign up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an admissions specialist on our team.

You can do that by scanning the QR code that’s on the screen right now, and remember that you can download these slides and have that QR code with you, um, if you’re not able to scan it right now for any reason. During that free meeting, you’ll receive a preliminary assessment of your academic profile, along with some initial recommendations.

Then at the end, you’ll learn more about the premium packages we offer, um, that pair you with an expert who can support you in building your college list, editing your essays, helping you figure out what activities you do that can go on the common app, everything we’re talking about tonight, and more. Um, so give that QR code a scan.

We’re going to go back to to the questions and answers, but that QR code will remain on the screen for the rest of our time together. Stacy, someone is asking, can you, what’s your advice for a student interested in doing sort of like a self study research paper, general advice, and then how that fit on a resume or in extracurricular events?

That’s a great question. So at the high school level, it’s very difficult to get involved with formal research because there often are age limitations on a lot of research studies in terms of students getting involved at that age. Um, but I have seen students get involved in major research endeavors at the high school level.

It is a commitment and on your resume, you would list it as a research activity with, you know, the dates associated with it. Um, you could include that you’ve been. Published or maybe you’re in the process of being published or being reviewed for publication. If that’s relevant at all, um, or you can just simply include the research experience itself.

If there’s no paper related to that. And so it’s definitely something a student can do. Don’t feel like you have to have a research paper. In your background to be successful in your college applications Will it be looked upon favorably if you’re looking into stem related majors at top tier schools and ivy league institutions Absolutely, but you should be doing it because You’re passionate about it.

You enjoy it. It’s in informing your academic and career goals. Don’t do it because you’re saying to yourself Well, I have to have this or I won’t get into school. That is not true. Absolutely any advice on highlighting You Achievements, interests that aren’t or aren’t part of like a formal school, um, extracurricular and organization.

Um, so I think I’d have to consider what they are alluding to. Yeah, so they give examples of like, um, let’s say they just go out and like, their community beach or They’re exploring their artistic talents But not within an organizational structure. Yeah, this actually this is a great question Um, thank you for the examples too.

So it depends on the activity for something like a beach cleanup I would put that under your volunteer section Um, you would you know describe the activity like I don’t know my my hometown is west haven west haven beach cleanup um, and you put your title as a volunteer, the dates that you did it, if it’s ongoing, leave it, you know, open, describe what you did.

Something like, um, personal art pursuits, you might want to include that under your extracurriculars, or it might be something related to your interests. If it’s not, maybe something formal in any way, um, where you can. Say that you’ve really given or produced something to give back to your community or the world in some way Typically, that’s my barometer for including something under your extracurriculars your volunteer your work experience sections Did this produce an impact right?

Um, if you’re doing something intrinsically for yourself Like drawing painting and then you’re not giving that back in any way. You’re not, you know You Putting it in an art show or, um, maybe hosting an art show or, um, giving it to a community center or whatever that looks like, then maybe that would fall more appropriately under your interest, but it really depends on the extent of the endeavor and how.

Much that reaches outside of yourself.

How important do you think it is to have activities that relate to your intended major? That’s a great question. It’s something that a lot of students agonize over because they might not pursue a lot of activities related to the major they’re hoping to pursue. Um, a lot of you are sophomores and juniors right now.

If that is the case for you, I do challenge you to think about how you can spend this summer informing Your major interests because the truth is how Admissions officer is going to look at your resume and your academics and if there’s nothing related to the major you’re applying to they’re gonna ask How do you know?

How do you know that’s the right major for you, right? If you can’t articulate that through your extracurriculars or your academics You’re not going to be able to write about it in your essay as well, right? Um Often there might be for a lot of students a personal reason why they’re interested in a major, particularly students who are interested in health majors.

And that’s a valid, you know, spark into those health related fields or whatever that looks like for you. But even Still, in order to demonstrate your focus and your ability to understand this pursuit, this path for you, you do want to look into activities that will inform that interest and align with that.

Again, not everything on your resume needs to be related to your academic or career goals, but it’s important that you are actively thinking and exploring, um, to understand that fit with that academic endeavor, right? Um, it’s something that. As a former admissions officer, if I couldn’t, you know, put two and two together to get four, I wasn’t going to admit you because what I would say is the student lacks focus.

Um, and so it, I would encourage you to consider finding an activity or two in the next year or so, um, depending on your With what class you’re in to Find activities that are meaningful to you. These do not need to be research programs These do not need to be application based programs. They can be passion projects that you create for yourself These can be volunteer experiences giving back to your community These can be clubs at school so that you can create a club if a club doesn’t exist, right?

Um, and so there’s a lot of opportunity there think outside the box and be innovative Love that We’re getting close to the end of our time, but I think we have time for this one. What is the first thing that colleges look at on an application? Yeah, these are all really great questions. So, Every college admissions officer is different even within an institution in terms of what they’re looking at first.

Um, it really depends on personal preference. What I will say is that overall, I do believe academics is typically the first step, right? A lot of schools, because they’re very competitive, have academic thresholds that they’re looking for from their applicants to ensure that they can handle the rigor of the coursework on their college campus, right?

And so academics is likely the first thing for many admissions officers and many admissions teams. For me, personally, the next thing I did look at was Was the resume and so that that actually was my next step typically after that It was typically the essays and then finally i’d wrap up with those letters of recommendation again Everybody is different, but I would say that academics is typically that first step insider insight Thank you, Stacey, for that and for everything, all the information you shared with us tonight.

Thank you to everyone who came out to listen in. We appreciate it. Before you go, I wanted to point out that next month we have a bunch of webinars coming up covering a wide range of topics from building your personal brand, writing about extracurriculars in your essays, Um, how admissions officers make decisions, so you can get more insight on that and a whole list of things here, um, that you can find on our website.

Please sign up for them, submit your questions, come and learn more, and remember to submit, uh, scan that QR code and sign up for a free session with CollegeAdvisor. That brings us to the end of our time tonight. Thank you so much, everyone. Take care. Thank you.