Admissions Officer Advice: Building Your College Resume
Learn from a former Admissions Officer on how to identify the best extracurriculars for you, so that you can build your best possible college resume.
2022-01-31 AO Advice: Building Your College Resume
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on building your college resume. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download the slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our speaker. Hi, good evening everyone. Uh, my name is Brian . I’m excited to be with you this evening, um, coming from, uh, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Um, and yes, we got a ton of snow, um, here where I am probably about 18 inches on Saturday. So, um, if you guys are in new England, um, or even down the east coast, uh, you can, uh, enjoy that or, or not be happy about that with me as well.
Um, I love snow. I’m going skiing this weekend. So excited about that, but I’m a graduate of St. Anselm college, [00:01:00] um, and Boston university, um, where I worked as, uh, spent the majority of my time in college admissions on. Was there for six years. Um, previously I worked for two years at another very small liberal arts institution, just outside of Boston called Regis college.
Um, but while I was at BU I also got my MBA, uh, as it says here, I graduated in 2018. Um, and for the last two and a half years, I’ve been working actually in corporate recruiting on recruiting college students, um, and now MBAs, uh, to come work at, um, at our company. So, uh, definitely have some thoughts on, on how to build a resume.
So excited to chat with you all tonight about that. Yes. And real quick, we’re just going to do a quick poll. So what grade are you in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re a current college student transfer or, um, a parent on call. And while we wait for those [00:02:00] answers to roll in, Brian, can you tell us if you submitted a resume of where your application process?
So. I’ve already dated myself a little bit in terms of when I applied to college. Another, uh, interesting fact about my particular admission process is that I only applied to three schools. Um, whereas now, you know, people are applying to far more than that. Sometimes three or even a multiple of five of, of that.
Um, and, and truthfully, I didn’t create a resume at that time. Um, I think as we’ll get into it probably would have been a helpful exercise to kind of flush out, um, you know, the things I was involved in. Um, but I did not have a specific formal resume that I submitted a Wong, uh, side my applications, uh, back back then when I was going through the process.
I actually did submit a resume and it was looking back. It was kind of it like, I didn’t like the format that much, but it [00:03:00] had good information. So that’s all that matters. And it’s looking like we have 1% are eighth graders, 3% are ninth graders, 20%, our 10th graders, 66%, 11th graders, 2% 12th graders and 7% others.
So we have a pretty good mixture. Definitely 11th grade as though. Yeah. Nice. Get a nice early headstart on that college research and. And you can control the sides. Awesome. Cool. Well, um, you know, ultimately what do we think a resume is? Um, ultimately, you know, a resume is typically a one-page document. Um, I’m a big believer in the one page, uh, resume, um, and you know, it’s highlighting one’s educational, professional, extracurricular involvement.
Um, it really allows you to kind of explain, uh, yourself and what you’ve been involved in and gives the person reading it a quick snapshot of, of who [00:04:00] you are, um, and what you’ve been involved in, what you’ve done up to that point. It’s often used for employment opportunities. Um, and when applying for a job.
You know, most, uh, every job I’ve applied to ever on in my professional career after college has required a resume, um, or sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as a CV. Um, and so it’s good to good to have one within the college context. You know, I think it really highlights your experiences in addition to what already might be on your application.
Um, you know, whether you’re using the common application, the coalition application, or, you know, a school, uh, Mead application, most of those don’t allow you go into a lot of detail. And so a resume might be able to allow that, um, further detail explanation. And we’ll talk about that at all. But it’s going to highlight again, your education experience, what you’ve done, uh, in your four years of [00:05:00] high school, maybe what courses you’ve taken, any awards, uh, your grades, have you worked, um, have you done had any employment, um, experiences, um, what school clubs or involvement are you involved in, uh, within your, your school, uh, building, you know, your traditional, uh, school extracurriculars as well as activities outside of school, you know?
Um, and that might be, you know, a club sport team, as opposed to a school, a sport team or additional volunteer activities, or you’re involved in boy Scouts or girl Scouts or whatever the case may be. There’s a variety of different things. Research outside of. Um, so you’re, you’re showing your achievement and success in these activities and then any awards or recognition.
I mean, these can vary in a variety of different, uh, ways, obviously both in and outside a school. So, um, really a wide different things that you can highlight here. And again, the most important thing is it’s a snapshot, um, you know, quick, a quick glance that people can get an idea. [00:06:00] And truthfully, probably like two to three minutes, um, get kind of an idea of who you are as a person and as an applicant, whether it’s, uh, whether you’re applying for a job or for a college admissions.
Awesome. So, you know, why is it important? You know, I think it allows you to shape your narrative. Um, it’s another way that you can shape that narrative, who you are, what you’re involved in, why you think what you’re doing is impacting. What exactly that thing is. Um, and we’ll get to exactly how you do that in a little bit, but that’s one of the goals.
Um, ultimately, what do you want the admissions committee to know about you? This is, I mean, truthfully, this is probably the biggest question and it applies throughout the college application process, right? Not just the resume, but what is it that you want, um, about yourself to be highlighting? Um, and you can put that on your resume in addition to [00:07:00] whatever else is already on the application.
And I’ll, I’ll, I’ll say this, you know, sometimes the resume is a supplemental to the application. And what I mean by that is. Yes, that information is already on the application. And this is allowing you to go into further detail sometimes for whatever reason, you may have chosen not to put it on the application.
Also some of the applications do right, have a limit to the amount of activities or awards or what have you that you can add. Um, and so this could give you an opportunity to really, um, expand upon those, uh, uh, opportunities that involvement. Um, again, it offers some additional detail. What is it specifically that you’re doing?
What is the activity, maybe, you know, someone doesn’t know what I’m trying to think of. Something off the top of my head, you know, the key club is, um, for me at my college, our, excuse me, my high school, that was our, um, service and community service organization. So maybe it was this it’s the same for you.
Um, but it’s a pretty generic term. Um, [00:08:00] and so you may want to give a little bit of detail about what that specific activity was. Um, It shows organization, you know, it shows that you’re prepared. It shows that you’re taking the process seriously on, and you’re going to need to have one eventually, as I mentioned, if you ever apply for a job, which I would imagine that you will.
Um, and I think that the other thing that I was thinking about in preparation for this, that I didn’t write down here that I want to add is that I think that whether or not you choose to ultimately submit your resume as part of your college application process, I think the act of going through the process, thinking about the activities, thinking about how you want to describe them can actually be, and this is what I was getting at when I talked about why, when I did it, do it, it can be a helpful way of thinking about again, how do I want to frame myself?
How do I want it to demonstrate who I am to the college admission committee? What do I want to talk about? Um, and so again, whether or not you actually ultimately submit that resume can be up to you. Um, [00:09:00] and. The act itself, the process itself, the activity I think could be beneficial. Um, and so, um, I was, I wanted to make sure that I noted that as well.
Um, so when we get to building a strong college resume, what are some of the things that we’re looking at? I mean, I think I break down a strong resume into two major factors, period, content and format. Um, both are, I think very important. Um, content is probably more, slightly more important. Um, but I think that, um, you know, format can throw people off right off the bat.
Um, and if it’s sloppy, we’ll get, we’ll get to this. But if it’s sloppy, it’s not organized, you know, the font’s all messed up. Um, you know, or there’s too many colors or there’s pictures or too much going on, whatever. That can be a little bit jarring and difficult and it loses some of the, um, the, [00:10:00] uh, benefits that the content content might have.
So again, reflect on what you’ve done. Um, we’re are doing in high school. And I think that it’s really helpful to do this, not like in a resume builder format, right. Typing, but in a separate list. So whether it’s writing it down or just starting a word document, just type out what your, you know, your activities, you know, so, you know, for me, it was okay.
Student government. Okay. Mock trial. Okay. Band. Okay. Uh, I was in a boy scout side side of school. I worked, um, okay. Now let me go back to those things. And what do I want to say about. Those four or five things that I just listed. Okay. And then you can put it into the resume format. So I think starting with a separate list, um, can be really helpful.
You’re thinking again, inside and outside of school, a lot of people get lost in when they think, oh, I need to talk about activities. They’re like, [00:11:00] oh, I don’t do anything at school. I’m not really that involved. Well, I also challenge you to think about that, but it’s not just about what you’re doing within the confines of the walls, but what do you do when you go home?
Do you have hobbies? You know, do you have family responsibilities? You know, I’ve talked about this in other areas of, you know, building your personal narrative and other webinars I’ve done is not just what you’re doing within the four walls of your, um, of your. You know, it’s what you do when you go home.
It’s what you do out in your community. Um, so think about that. Um, again, what are your, some of your hobbies or passions, do you have family traditions or experiences, you know, maybe your family, um, you know, you haven’t necessarily worked over the summer because your family, um, you know, goes on vacation or it goes to a specific place and, and that’s been like a big tradition in your family and you’ve gotten into, you know, maybe travel a little bit and see other parts of the country or [00:12:00] other parts of the world.
And, and, and that’s important to you and you want to talk about that, um, you know, in traveling or, you know, maybe, um, you know, you have the, uh, again, family responsibilities where you’re taking care of a sibling, um, or another loved one. You know, there’s a lot of different things that you can put down, um, that may not be traditional, um, you know, activities or hobbies.
Truthfully, you know, um, when I was kind of in school and in high school and, and younger, you know, people would think about things like, um, you know, video games is kind of like, you know, oh, that’s not something that now there are colleges have entire e-sport teams and that’s, you know, a competitive environment, you know, so.
I think my point in mentioning that specifically is that you need to think about your hobbies and your passions and what you specifically are [00:13:00] interested in and share that with the community, um, that the college admissions, uh, panel, um, when you’re applying in terms of format, um, again there, and, and, and this is true.
I’ll say this now, um, you know, it’s going to be true in multiple stages over the course of the presentation, there are many opinions about resumes online. Um, there are many format builders, there are many things that are probably will contradict things that I’m going to say tonight. Um, and that’s fine.
Um, I think that the, the resume can be a little subjective. I’m going to try to guide you in some, um, concrete ways that I think it will be helpful in terms of, you know, submitting, uh, to a college application. And really, again, just building that resume overall, but. To start. There are plenty of format builders online, and I actually encourage you to look up some of these and use them.
I think they can be really helpful. And it’s easier to, uh, again, to utilize that than [00:14:00] to try to format it yourself within, you know, a Microsoft word or, um, other kind of word processing application. Um, so don’t just type it out, um, you know, and, and then just hit, enter and tab over and bullet, and I’ll use a format builder.
It’s going to be really helpful for you, um, be aware of your. Um, and the size of the text. Um, so, uh, you know, whether you’re using times new Roman, Roman, or Colibri or whatever, the case may be used, kind of a more traditional one, you know, probably not yet the good time to use like a comic Sans or something funky like that.
Um, you know, be professional, um, in terms of the size of the text I was reading and I agree with this, I was, you know, reading a little bit about resume building, you know, I think for the majority of the texts, you want something between 10 to 12 point font. Um, and then for any. Uh, subjects or kind of, um, overarching themes anywhere between 12 to 14.5, you [00:15:00] don’t want it to be too big and you don’t want it to be too small.
Um, we’ll talk a little bit more about this later. Um, but there are also things, you know, in terms of, you know, your margins, you don’t want your margins to be too small, but you don’t want them to be too big. Um, you know, again, we’ll get into a little bit more of a specific format stuff, um, in some do’s and don’ts in a moment, but that’s a general overview, so content format to the most important things, the two most important things in building a resume.
Um, so what are some different sections of the resume that you want to include and how do you build that out upon those? You know, I think that, um, you’re probably going to have, you know, these five, I would think, um, for the most part. Um, and that is your personal information education, um, your organized activities, hobbies.
Skills talents. Um, you know, the last two I’ve seen organized in a variety of different ways. So that’s kind of where you can kind of play with it again, organized activities [00:16:00] could also be called employment, especially if it’s a professional resume, um, personal information though. Name, address, email, pretty simple, pretty straightforward.
Probably, you know, maybe you want to include a phone number, um, in the college process, probably not as important as in the professional process. Uh, Here’s something though that is really important. I strongly, strongly, strongly believe in this from the college process, as well as the professional process, whatever email you choose to put on your resume, make sure that is the same email that you’re using in your application process on, because that is how people are going to get in touch with you.
And you want to be sure that if people are getting in touch with you on a there’s no ambiguity and how they should go about doing that, but also that, um, you know, email to, to be, uh, checking. So it’s really important, um, education, you know, for all of you, this is, you know, at this point [00:17:00] it’s going to be your high school years on, you know, no need to really, um, include anything before ninth grade.
I don’t think, um, you know, Ninth 10th, 11th. And then your current work and 12th when you’re applying, um, is more than sufficient. Um, but talking about, you know, your GPA, um, if you took an sat or act, um, you know, providing those, um, And, you know, did you take, uh, advanced curriculum? You know, if you want to list out some of your APS or your IB courses or your honors courses, um, any awards you may have been awarded from an academic perspective?
Um, things like, you know, um, you know, a Spanish honors, uh, accommodation or a national merit, uh, accommodation, um, honors are, excuse me, on a role, uh, you know, is, is it is, um, something you could put here. Um, I’m going to [00:18:00] anticipate a question that I often get, and that is, you know, what if my GPA is not, you know, above, you know, a 3.3 or know, you know, you could set the for wherever, um, or the, the number wherever, um, it’s a, it’s a perfectly valid question.
Um, I think that. Truthfully, if you’re going to be submitting a resume, um, and the college admission process we already, and, you know, I’m talking as an admission officer, we already have your transcript. We already know what your GPA is. So I don’t think that it really hurts you. Um, but in most cases, um, going forward on what I was told from a professional experience is that if you don’t have, if you didn’t have above a 3.0, and again at the college level, um, not to put that on your professional resume, that was what I was told from my career services.
Um, that’s generally speaking what I see, um, you know, from an employment perspective, when I’m looking at resumes from a high school perspective, I don’t [00:19:00] think it really matters all that much. Um, you know, it’s, it’s a personal choice, same with test scores. Okay. Um, obviously if you’re not submitting your test scores, I wouldn’t put your test scores on your resume on, you know, where more and more schools are not requiring standardized testing.
That might be something to use your personal judgment. Um, there, um, organized activities. Again, we talked about this already at school and outside of school, um, with a brief explanation of what the activity is and what you did, um, it should include the length of time or time that you were involved. Um, so was this something that you just did your freshman year?
Is this something that you’ve done all four years of high school? I talked about not needing to include anything prior to freshman year. This is maybe the exception. Um, for instance, I was a boy scout, I’m an Eagle scout. Um, I was involved in boy Scouts from, you know, second grade as a Cub scout all the way through to senior year, um, of, [00:20:00] of, um, until I turned 18.
Um, and so that’s something where you might want to say, okay, this is something I’ve done for a really long time, or, um, you know, if you’re a musician, you know, I’ve, I’ve taken lessons. I studied this instrument since I was. Six years old, whatever the case may be. Um, and so that would be the exception to that.
Um, did you have a leadership role in this activity or involvement, you know, and if it’s a club or organization, did you, were you the leader of the club where you just a member doesn’t matter, but if you were a leader on, you know, that’s, uh, a good thing to highlight, um, and again, what, what you were doing within that club or organization.
Try to explain it a little bit. Um, this is up for debate for some people. This is a personal preference. This is a personal Brian paws, Nancy preference. I like the reverse chronological order. Um, most recent first meaning if you’re still involved as a senior and you’re applying to college, that would be at the.[00:21:00]
And then if there was like, say an activity that you only did for one year, or maybe you did JV, um, you know, JV soccer, but you, you know, you didn’t play Varsi you only did it your sophomore year. Um, that would be more towards the bottom of the list. Again, making up an example here. Um, but that’s a personal preference for me.
I like to see what you’re doing most recent, um, uh, down to what you haven’t done for awhile. Maybe perhaps on hobbies, again, less official organized experiences, you know, maybe something that you’re doing at home, you know, maybe you ought to go skiing like myself. Um, maybe you ought to shoot hoops with your friends.
Um, you’re a video game or you’re, um, a runner, uh, you know, you’ve run a, you know, you’ve done some, uh, you know, some races. Whatever the case may be. This is something where, um, hobbies could come in skills and talents. Um, I often see these as students that are folks that speak multiple languages, [00:22:00] they have technical skills, maybe you’re, um, you know, advanced in, uh, you know, coding or, you know, a, a coding language, you know, a C plus plus or Python, or, um, you know, you have a special certification you’re um, again, as an Eagle scout, I was, um, at the time I was, uh, certified in CPR, you know, so that was something I could have put on my resume.
Um, again, certifications, um, trying to think of any others, maybe, uh, nothing of any off the top of my head. So, uh, but technical skills, certifications, things of that nature. Um, these are the types of things that you can build your sections out in. Generally, these are the sections I see. Order is up for debate.
Um, I’ll say I see some people like to have education at the top. I like some people that like to have education at the bottom. Um, I really truly personal preference, I think at this point. Um, [00:23:00] and I’ll tell you, this is how my resume currently and in the past has always been organized. I always have had my education at the top, um, followed by, you know, my, my now my employment experience.
And then, you know, maybe some hobbies or skills that I may think that I have. Um, so, um, some do some resume dues and then we’ll get into some resume dots. Um, for this, I use an example of, you know, activity that I did in high school. And I’m going to try to talk it out as if I were to write it out on my resume if I was applying to college.
So I think a big one is be descriptive and explain. And show yourself, um, explain and show yourself. Don’t tell. Show demonstrate, use action, verbs action words on, if you can quantify is, is actually something I didn’t do in this description. Not a hundred percent sure how I do with this [00:24:00] specific example, but let’s see if I can figure it out as we go.
Um, but for instance, when I was applying for jobs in the past, I would quantify things like. I was an admission officer. So how many applications did I read that year? Um, how many high school visits did I do? How many presentations, you know, things like that, um, you know, showing the quantity and, uh, putting a value to something is going to be, um, helpful if you can, in the activity.
So when I was in high school, I was, um, involved in mock trial. I did it all four years. So 20 2003 to 2007. Um, I was selected, um, as the team captain, my senior year, uh, and beyond, you know, what did that involve? Well, I helped, you know, we, the team set the strategy for the team and as well as it included mentoring, we had two teams at my high school and mentoring, uh, the quote unquote JV.
Um, my junior and senior year, I was one of the lead attorneys. I [00:25:00] completed the opening direct and cross, uh, cross examinations. So something I could do here is obviously, you know, if anyone knows anything about Metro or the format of, you know, a case there’s only one opening, there’s only one closing, but I could have said, you know, I did two directs and one cross or, you know, one direct and three cross.
I honestly forget because it was obviously, you know, like almost 15 years ago. Um, but, um, that’s an example of quantifying, uh, something, um, you know, and then my senior year, we were state champions and we were runner ups, uh, state runner up my, in, uh, both my sophomore and junior year. So, you know, kind of quantifying that was a way to quantify the success right.
Of, of the role on, you know, this is not a. These next bullets are not about the specific description above, but another resume do, um, in terms of format, is [00:26:00] I already talked about this a little bit clear and concise one page? Um, I’m a really big believer in one page. Um, I’ve heard horror stories. I don’t know that they are true, um, more at the employee level than the college admissions level.
Um, of folks not even looking at a second page, it’s just, you know, if, if they were handed one, just ripping off the second page and throwing it out. I again, can’t confirm or deny. I would never do such a thing. Uh, but I will say that I expect a resume to be one page. God forbid you go on beyond, you know, a second page, you know, that’s just, it’s just too much.
And at that point you’re being, you’re not being concise. That’s the problem. You probably describing it. Um, your format format might also be a little bit off. Um, so, you know, looking at those types of things, um, another really big do is. Ask for help. Um, ask friends, ask family, ask. As I say, with college essays, ask, uh, people [00:27:00] that don’t love you, whether that be, you know, a school counselor or a teacher on, you know, in, in college, um, when you’re applying to jobs, you know, your career services, um, you know, but again, in a high school environment, your school counselor, or a teacher really good at a person that can kind of, uh, give you some feedback.
Um, I like to bold sections and maintain the font throughout. So, um, for instance, um, if we were to, I’m just going to go back real quick here, personal information, bold education, bold organized activities, bold again, 12 to 14 point font and then information underneath regular, not bold, but, um, 10 to 12 points.
Um, again, personal preference. You’ll see a lot of information about that. Um, but I think it looks neater, concise. It pulls out the information that you’re trying to get across. Um, and that’s, you know, the goal again, the goal is to try to make the reader, see what it is that you’re [00:28:00] trying to get across. Um, and that’s, what’s most important.
Um, but maintain the font throughout that’s really important. You don’t want, you know, one section to be one size font, um, and the other section to be another size five, um, that’s not going to be too helpful. The other thing that I’ll say is that there are other, there are different types of resumes out there.
Um, and. You know, for the college admission process, I think that, you know, this type of format where you’re talking about what you’ve done, as opposed to, you know, your skills or experiences is the right approach on, but if you get in and you’re doing it in a chronological manner, um, but if, once you get into more advanced, you know, opportunities, you know, maybe you’re trying to make a career shift, you know, that would be another time to kind of explore the other opportunities.
But, um, and I mentioned that only because again, there’s a lot of information out there about, um, what the right format is. Um, so this is just one example. [00:29:00] Um, I just want to be clear on that. So some don’ts, um, again, using, uh, the previous example, um, you know, only listing activities, no description, um, so telling, not showing.
Um, and so here I highlighted, again, some things that I did, you know, mock trial, um, all four years, Banned all four years, student government, junior class and executive account. It’s like, okay, what, you know, what’d you, do you know, what were you involved in was, you know, were, were you, she just showing up, like what, you know, what was your role on?
And so, you know, in, in, in bands, what I really should say is, um, you know, I played, you know, also saxophone, um, and, uh, baritone saxophone in marching band, jazz band and concert band all four years, including being, you know, the section lead my senior year. Right? So those are different things that you can kind of add.
Um, and, and again, [00:30:00] describe quantify, um, and, and tell, uh, or excuse, excuse me, show. Right. Show them what you’re doing. Um, and then obviously, uh, don’ts we kind of just already talked about this multiple tech sizes fonts, you know, it’s not organized, maybe it’s just simply typed out. Um, I’m going to show you an example of a good resume and a bad resume in a moment.
Um, that will kind of allow me to demonstrate some of these things, um, as well. Yes. And before we get into that, we just want to do one more quick poll. So where are you in the application process? Haven’t started, I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done.
And while we wait for those, uh, answers to roll in, Brian, can you tell us a little bit from your admission side, um, how a resume could like add to an application or if it made a difference? Yeah. So we will cover this a little bit, um, [00:31:00] in a couple of slides, but I think that what I would say about that, um, is that.
It adds another level of information to the qualitative narrative. Um, you know, what have you done? Um, and as I mentioned previously, it may allow us to get some additional information, um, that we don’t already have, um, that you weren’t able to put on the application or they, uh, this allows you to extrapolate on.
Um, and so that’s, that can be helpful. That can be important. Um, but I also want to say that when I read college applications and at BU I literally read thousands of applications probably in the six years I was there. It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that I read tens of thousands of applications, um, that maybe half, maybe less than half actually submitted a [00:32:00] resume.
It’s not. Everyone by any stretch of the imagination. So it’s really a personal choice, whether you think it will allow you to, um, add additional information. Um, and, and, and that’s what. Um, definitely. Um, I really liked adding the resume to for mine because like some of my activities, I want it to say more, but on the common app, you only get 150 characters, not even worse, just characters.
So having that extra space on the resume really did help me to elaborate more. So it’s looking like we have 26%, haven’t started 63% are researching schools. 5% are working on their essays, 4%, get it are getting their application materials together. And 2%, the lucky few you’re almost done, but this is pretty expected.
Yeah. Um, and McKenzie, that’s, it’s a great example of why you might want to submit a resume, right? As you feel like there’s more information that you want to tell that you’re not able to demonstrate in the application itself, whether [00:33:00] that be in the activity section, you know, your, your essay, um, or other supplemental, uh, you know, essays that might be required by the school.
So kudos to you. Um, you know, you got to demonstrate, um, all that. All right. So here, we’re going to look a little bit at samples of a good and a bad resume, and I’ll be honest, you know, I think there are things to nitpick about both keys. Um, and if you literally, and this is I’ll be transparent and honest is what I did.
If you Google good resume, you Google bad resume. There are thousands, right. There are thousands. And some of them look a little bit different. I have, I’ll also, um, present a personal bias and that is, um, I’m not a big fan of color on resumes. Um, I think in LA, unless you’re applying to like an art or, you know, um, like a visual [00:34:00] type role or, uh, emission, you know, uh, program college program, um, you know, kind of demonstrating that portfolio example might be helpful, but if you’re just doing the standard resume.
I am a big believer in the black, just black and white. That’s just me. Um, and some people might say that that’s boring and you’re not going to pop out. But the other truth is that 99% of the time now, right? We’re in a digital age, how many times are you actually handing over, um, a physical resume and people are actually, um, you know, seeing it, they’re usually just, um, screening at, for the content itself.
So personal opinion, personal preference on, uh, and I’ll admit that going in. Um, so in terms of good things that I like about this resume, you can’t read it, right? So we’re just gonna assume that they did a good job showing, um, and not telling. Um, but the format is great, you know, it’s, um, they got a little cute with the John Smith, in my opinion, uh, you know, [00:35:00] name, uh, Texts, uh, but it has their contact information.
It has something that we actually didn’t talk about. This is another personal preference. I see it much. I saw it much more for, um, or I see it much more for employment resumes than I ever saw it for college resumes. And that is, um, kind of an objective statement or a, um, yeah. Professional summary summary, you know, for college it would be, it would probably be, you know, seeking admission to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree, right.
Or, or to study a specific program. Um, so it can or can not be used in, in the college admissions case. But again, we have experiences, um, we have their skills on. Certifications we had their education. Um, it’s all laid out on it’s clear and concise. The margins are probably a little bit small, but you, you know, you [00:36:00] know, that it’s formatted, it’s clean.
It, it’s appealing to look at. Um, and again, it calls out the different sections. Um, also here again, it’s kind of hard to see, um, and I’m using my mouse. Like you guys would be able to see it here. Um, but you know, the, the stars on the bottom, right. Kind of demonstrate, um, kind of demonstrate, uh, you know, experience within a skill or, you know, this is a skill that they really kind of want to highlight.
Um, I see that sometimes, especially in a professional environment again, where you’re trying to demonstrate your technical abilities. Um, okay. So. Well, I would say is, you know, an example of a good resume. We might come back to this, uh, depending if I want to compare so a not so great resume. Um, you know, for me the main thing here is the format, um, it’s centered and that is, to me, it’s kind of a [00:37:00] mess.
Um, the other thing that I would say about this one specifically is it does look like the information is kind of bunched together. Um, and so it may be a little bit harder to read. Um, but again, you know, I am a strong believer in kind of the left aligns, um, section, you know, um, information under their bullets, um, if necessary.
Um, so again, let’s go back to the good, um, example, I think. Yeah, so this person did use bullets. Um, but what they did is, um, Their experience, it has their title. And then it’s a bullet for the example. So for instance, if we go back to my, our resume, it would be, you know, mock trial and then, uh, you know, maybe a description and then a bullet, you know, uh, seeing, uh, you know, state champion, uh, 2007 bullet runner up 2005, 2006, something like that.[00:38:00]
Um, you don’t always need to use bullets. Um, you can kind of just use the description right after it. And one of the benefits of that is that it saves you some space, um, bullet, you know, doing an enter and then a bullet every time, um, does eat up a lot of space in the, in your, your page. Um, so that’s something to consider, but again, I think if we just go back and forth really quick, um, you know, It’s just clear to see that.
Um, there’s a lot more information here that that can be hard, uh, to, you know, grab everyone’s attention here. So, What do we see? We I’ll be honest. A lot of the next couple of sides, we probably can go through pretty quickly here. Cause we’ve kind of laid the groundwork for this, but what do we want to see as an admission officer?
I mean, what have you done? Um, what have you been involved in? What would you like to do perhaps? Um, it adds to the holistic piece of admissions. You hear that word thrown out a lot? Holistic [00:39:00] admissions. What does it mean? It means that we’re looking at everything. It’s the quantitative and the qualitative, the resume adds another level of the qualitative.
Um, what type of person. Will the applicant be on their college campus or their university campus. That’s one of the major questions that college admission officers are asking when they’re reviewing applications, how will this applicant enhance the community or the experience on our campus that already we feel exists.
Um, and, and that’s one of the things that you can demonstrate, uh, through a solid resume. So those are some things that we’re looking for. Again, what have you done? Um, and, and what will you, do? You know what, um, we don’t know what you’ll do on campus if you haven’t done anything already. And so that’s one of the things we’re trying to evaluate, um, Again, what type of activities?
I think we’ve talked a little bit about this. Um, what have you accomplished? Have you been awarded something? Did you receive any awards in [00:40:00] school, outside of school, on, you know, what do you like to do for fun? What kind of hobbies do you have? Um, have you worked? It doesn’t have to be formal work. Some people have done research.
Um, some people, um, you know, have done significant amount of community service and volunteer work. Um, so it really kind of varies. Um, again, I mentioned family traditions or responsibilities in the past, um, hobbies skills. Um, these are all things we’ve already talked about a little bit. Um, but these are the types of things that you put on, on, on your resume and your college admissions resume.
And then, you know, I think ultimately. How big of a, a, of a role. I, I started to answer this a little bit. Um, does it play, it’s another piece in the puzzle of the holistic. Um, and I think that that’s important to think to, to make out. And ultimately, you know, I, I know a lot of you are early on in the [00:41:00] admission process, so, um, maybe you haven’t heard this term holistic admissions before, but it’s pretty common phrase.
And I think what it means is that call it again, college admission officers are looking at the entire picture, your, your grades, your test scores, if applicable the rigor of your school, of your school courses, um, your extracurriculars, what have you done? What are you involved in? Um, your essays, your recommendations, all of that.
And the resume helps tell that story. It helps tell your personal narrative. And so it can be really, it can be a big piece actually of that piece of the holistic puzzle. Um, and that’s important. Um, it also means that when we’re looking at to admit or not admit a student or make an admission decision, It’s never based on one factor, it’s based on a variety of factors.
And so the ability for the applicant to demonstrate to the admission committee who they are and what they will bring to their community is really important. [00:42:00] And my point is that the resume is one of the ways that you do that. Um, and so how, how, again, how big a part of this is going to vary by institution.
Um, you know, there are going to be some really small or schools that, um, you know, don’t have a large applicant pool and if they are comparing a smaller amount of applicants and, you know, there’s some that have resumes that really stand out that might, you know, res um, that particular applicant in that, in the context of the pool.
Um, whereas for a school that has, you know, thousands of applicants, tens of thousands of applicants, you know, a resume might be important, but at might not carry quite as much weight, um, in that holistic. Um, so it’s going to vary by school. Um, again, I worked at two different institutions that probably would have cared or not cared.
That’s not the right term, but evaluated or resume, um, in a different lens, um, in a different way. Um, and so that’s kind of the important thing to understand [00:43:00] about, um, when you’re building your college list as well is how, and if you choose to submit a resume, how’s it going to play within the application process itself?
So those are my thoughts and, and I’ll turn it over to Mackenzie, uh, to kind of help, uh, delegate with, uh, some. Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving onto the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions.
You submitted in the Q and a tab and read them aloud before our panelists, give you an answer. If your Q and A’s have, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom links into your email and not from the webinar landing page. If you join from the webinar landing page or the website, you won’t get all the features of big markets.
So just make sure you join through those special links sent to your email, getting into the, uh, Q and a, um, we have a few questions in are ready. Um, so, uh, the first student is asking if you did an activity for a short period of time, should you add [00:44:00] it to your college resume? Yeah, if it’s important to you.
Absolutely. Um, if it’s important to you and it demonstrates, you know, something that you did, um, and demonstrates who you are, um, then absolutely. I think, you know, it’s not necessarily how long you’ve done something, um, you know, or again, your role within the activity itself. Um, but the fact that you are involved, um, that, that, that, you know, schools are looking for.
I think that, you know, the truth is that we would like to see some activities that you have sustained over a period of time and, and really demonstrated true, um, you know, dedication or involvement to something rather than, um, you know, just one thing or doing something for just, you know, A semester, you know, a year, but also we understand that in co in high school, you know, your, your active, uh, activities and interests [00:45:00] change.
And so maybe it wasn’t something that you were super passionate about and you only have so much time in the day. You want to do something else instead. That’s fine. Um, but if there’s something that you think you, uh, or something you were involved in and something that you think, uh, goes, uh, you know, you in a positive light, it helps shape that narrative.
Absolutely. And could it, uh, for me, I had an activity, I was working as a pole official in the election and it was only for about three or four days, but it was just such a big experience that I just put it on there, listed my. What I did. And then, um, I just put June, 2020, this was after I applied, but it still works.
Um, but, uh, just so I didn’t have to list out individual, uh, days, but, um, having that really related to my interest in like policy and, um, wanting to get into like government work. So, um, a [00:46:00] short time doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not relevant or like impactful. So perfect example, McKenzie, thank you for chiming in there.
It’s a perfect, perfect example of something. Uh, do you think that schools like to see classes are activities on your resume that closely relate to, um, schools? The school is most popular or best offered majors? Ooh, that took a different turn than I anticipated. Um, I thought it was going to be about what you’re going to study.
Um, and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll answer it pretty much the same way. And it’s. No. Um, I don’t think it matters. Um, I think that if you have some involvement that closely aligns with your intended major, um, great. That’s cool. Um, but I also think that, you know, most, um, colleges, um, you know, they expect you and most academic programs for that matter.
Um, especially to come in with limited [00:47:00] to sometimes no knowledge of, um, the program that you’re going to be studying. Um, that’s the whole point while you’re there is to learn and develop within that program. Um, now let’s take Mackenzie’s example. Um, you know, she is someone that’s interested in, you know, political science or policy or history or something along those lines.
And she’s showing that she’s already volunteering on a campaign or being a poll worker showing that interest. That’s cool. You know, it shows that she has a passion for that subject. That’s that’s good. She could also have a passion for being a civically active person and be wanting to study biology or physics.
Um, so, you know, th the two are not necessarily, uh, correlated and to that same note, she could have done a really cool biology research project and be wanting to study social sciences. So, um, they’re not necessarily always correlated and that’s totally fine if they are awesome. But if, if I don’t think that [00:48:00] the question was, is it important?
And I don’t think that it’s important. It’s more about presenting yourself. And it’s funny that he said that though. Cause I was originally a public health major and I applied with that and most of my things had to do with education and volunteering and education and I ended up moving into education.
So now that lines up a bit more, but going onto the next question, does the admission committee, um, print the applications or read them from a screen and do they read all, uh, documents attached with the rest of the community members or individually and then like have a discussion? Yeah, so, um, I am, I’m old enough to have had the experience of doing all of these things, um, where we did actually print out the applications and read them, uh, by hand.
Um, I don’t think that that’s done anymore. Um, you know, I think for the most part, [00:49:00] um, you know, emission readers are, you know, taking their laptop and, and, you know, reading, um, you know, their applications. Um, is it tiring on the eyes? Yes. Um, do I miss being able to highlight and circle things? Yes. Um, but, um, it’s much easier than no joke.
Quick sidebar. Literally I used to, we had suitcases for reading. We’d put all of our applications in the suitcases and bring those home the said suitcase home with us. Um, now, you know, you just have to bring your laptop it’s much easier. Um, and, uh, in terms of reading, um, I kind of answered this. We do read first, typically 99% of the time.
I think, um, most readers, um, you know, the first read is individual. Um, it’s by yourself. Um, not within the context of another person. Um, but every place that I worked, um, and you know, I’ve heard many presentations, uh, [00:50:00] about emissions. Uh, you know, you’re getting a second, third, um, everyone’s getting a multiple.
Uh, before an admission decision is made. Um, in some cases, again, it’s going to depend on the volume of the applicant pool. In some cases, they do all get together and discuss. Um, and I had that experience again at one of my former employers, um, and others. Um, it’s more of, um, you know, kind of a virtual committee or again, multiple readers, uh, working together to reach the final decision, um, again, based on volume.
Um, but it really varies, uh, across the many colleges and institutions, um, you know, that and how they go about that process. And I’m going to combine two questions, but one person is asking if you could, uh, if you consider, um, self-learning self-research as an important aspect of your application, would you place that under education, even if it isn’t related to score under hobbies, and then [00:51:00] another person was asking, where did it go?
Um, Uh, okay. If you did a project that was not necessarily an activity, but it allowed you to get out into the community, should you put it on your resume? Um, so here’s the thing, uh, I mean, to answer broadly, you can put whatever the heck you want on your resume. Um, if it’s important to you, it helps you show your narrative again, describe your yourself, who you are, um, what you are bringing to the table.
So absolutely it, you know, if it was important to you, if you were involved in the community, you want to put it down. Um, You know, I I’ve seen, you know, um, truthfully honestly, I’m professional in college emission, uh, applications, you know, um, like to work out, you know, weightlifter, um, you know, I’ve seen, uh, like to read, I’ve seen, you know, [00:52:00] uh, follow, you know, the stock market, um, follow current events, you know, so it really, um, is up to you.
Now, what I would add is how do you do all of those things is an important thing to add. Um, but in terms of, um, where you put, you know, kind of, for instance, a self-learning or, you know, you like to read, you know, that’s maybe how you’re learning, you’re reading a lot. You’re reading articles, um, listening to podcasts.
Um, I love podcasts by the way. Um, you know, those are examples of self-learning. We’re again, getting into that kind of ambiguous area of where you kind of want to put it. It’s a personal preference. I don’t think anyone’s going to dock you on if you put it under self-education. I think it’s probably safer to put it under activity or hobby or something along those areas.
But I honestly, again, if you’re a learning on, you know, I don’t think it’s wrong. I think that educational, that education section is typically. [00:53:00] Um, where traditional quote unquote brick and mortar learning, uh, is, is taking place. And I just use the phrase that I shouldn’t, because now we’re seeing things like MOOCs and online, uh, education classes and degrees being earned online and things like that.
And those would obviously that would, you know, certainly, uh, fall education. So, um, but from a high school perspective, I’m going to say the vast majority view, 99% of you, that, that, uh, space, um, would be reserved for your four years within your high school building. Uh, the courses you’ve earned, uh, weren’t there, um, and your work there, uh, some students are asking, um, when would be a good time to start your resume.
And, um, also where would you submit it on the application? So, um, It is never a bad time to start. So, you know, more than 60%, I think [00:54:00] 60 something percent of our audience was in that, um, you know, 11th grade timeframe, you can start now on. And I saw something, you know, in the question and answer also about it kind of inferred.
Like, you know, what, if you plan on doing a job or internship or something like that, but it hasn’t happened yet. If you. Are, uh, planning to do it with every intention, you know, God willing, it, it works out for you obviously the last couple of years, you know, some things have gotten canceled, but if you truthfully intend to do it, I think it’s fine to put on the resume on, you know, if you didn’t end up completing it at the appropriate time, you can take it off.
Um, but you can put that up there. And so for again, for folks that are juniors, now, what that would mean is if you think that you’re, if you know, you’re going to have a summer job or, you know, you’re going to do a summer activity, um, you’re going to do a class at a college, or you’re going to do, you know, debate camp or [00:55:00] whatever on, you know, you could put that on your resume now.
And then probably when you went to submit it, it would have already happened is you can update it to say, you know, completed. So the caveat there is that you could also say planned activity. Right. Um, and that way the reader knows, okay, this hasn’t happened quite yet. Um, if, if that’s, um, what the plan is going to be.
So again, uh, for employers, typically what you do, and this is a good actually for you, um, all of you, it would be anticipated graduation date, right? Um, so for, for folks that are juniors right now, anticipated graduation, date of June 20, 23, um, for instance, would be an example. Um, so there’s no bad time to start.
But if you started and you, you know, you were actively building it while you’re also doing your essays and putting your actual application together fall of your senior year, that’s not wrong either. So there really is no right or wrong time. Um, and then typically [00:56:00] it’s submitted as, um, and in additional information, um, section, uh, most applications will allow that the common app, for instance, allows you to upload it as an additional attachment.
Um, you know, some folks, you know, add, um, you know, a, a writing sample, same thing. Um, you can add it, uh, add it there, but yes, it’s not in the application itself. Um, it’s in addition, Um, so real quick for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know that the college admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike.
Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate in a one-on-one advising sessions and last year’s admission cycle. Our students were accepted into Harvard at three times, the national rate and accepted into [00:57:00] [email protected]tionwithusbyregisteringforourfreewebplatformatapp.CollegeAdvisor.com their students and families, um, can explore webinars and keep track of application deadlines, research schools, and more all right on our website.
And then, um, also I believe there should be a pop-up that comes up at the end of this webinar, where you can fill in your information and receive a call back from us. Um, And yeah, so, and working with CollegeAdvisor can be a great way to get this additional support on building your resume. I know I’ve worked with most of all of my students on making their resumes, and it’s just a good way to get some practicing and really learn how to present yourself, because you will again need one in the future.
Um, though you will be updating it constantly, the older you get, because you’ll realize, uh, my resume needs work. Um, but going back to the Q and a, we are coming up on time. So Brian, if you have any last minute advice you want to give to students about college, read resumes, [00:58:00] please feel free. Yeah. Well, I need to take a little bit of a different tact and you’d use to just kind of general, uh, uh, advice about the process.
Um, if I may, you know, resume could be part of this, uh, the admission process, but, um, because the vast majority, uh, Of your, uh, you know, the audience is in their junior year. Uh, you know, you’re entering what is going to be a very busy time. Um, it can. Can be a stressful time for many, um, I’m a strong believer in, uh, the fact that it doesn’t need to be a stressful, uh, process is an important process.
No doubt. Um, but my personal advice, uh, to every student that is on the webinar now is to. Run, uh, I mean, use a free, uh, kind of, uh, analogy and, and that is to kind of put your blinders on as if you are a horse and run your own race. Um, don’t pay attention to, you [00:59:00] know, uh, where your friends are applying to school or what their sat scores are, um, or where they ultimately get admitted or where they enroll.
This is a very, very personal process for every person. Um, there are many different, uh, ways to go about it. There are a lot of colleges, universities out there, um, and something I used to use a lot when I was in admission and officer’s is all about finding the right fit, um, and fit. It means so many different things, academic, uh, location, culture, cost, uh, education, uh, you know, what you’re studying, um, all of these different things, right?
It means a lot of different things. Um, it’s really important to pay attention to your process. Um, we here at CollegeAdvisor are here to assist with that. Um, but even I’ve had to say to some of my clients, this is your process. And, you know, I’m here to give my advice, but ultimately I want you to be happy.
You’re going to be the one that is at school, [01:00:00] living in the residence halls, eating the food, taking the tests, uh, writing the papers. And so you need to be happy in that process. So ultimately, um, pay attention to your individual process, try to avoid the noise as much as possible, um, and really focused on what um, is right for you.
Um, and, and that may be a variety of different things. Um, it can include what schools you apply to, how many schools you applied to, um, where you ultimately enroll. All different things, but run your race. Um, it’s a personal process and enjoy it for yourself. Um, if you do that, I think it will take some of the anxiety, some of the stress off of the, uh, the entire process, because it can also be a very fun and truthfully exciting, um, uh, opportunity and process as well.
Um, as you’re planning for, you know, a really, really important, um, and an exciting time in your life. So I hope you hear my. Um, I went a minute over time, so [01:01:00] I apologize for keeping you, um, but thank you all. Um, McKenzie, I’ll throw it back to you to close. Yes, definitely. We get a lot of students asking about like how to game the system or how to, um, be the best applicant.
And surely there is no such thing as like a perfect applicant or a perfect application. It’s really just about expressing yourself and presenting yourself in the way that you feel is best and really getting, um, like pretty much, if you were to meet a new friend, how would you want them to see you? What would you want them to know about you?
That’s really what it’s all about, and this is your times I really have control over it. That’s really all I have right now. Um, it’s a con uh, two controls, so really take advantage of that. And, um, now we’re coming to a close, so thank you to our panelists, Brian, for all this wonderful information about, um, building your college resume, um, please check out our upcoming February series, um, where we’ll be talking about scholarships, summer opportunities and different strategizing techniques.
So we will also be [01:02:00] talking about other things you can add to your resume, uh, and as well as we’ll have a couple of presentations for parents specifically, um, to really help with that process. So thank you everyone for coming out and good night.