Creating a Standout College Application: Tips for Creating a Strong Resume

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, “Creating a Standout College Application: Tips for Creating a Strong Resume,” 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. Our expert will guide you through the process, sharing valuable insights and best practices that will set you apart from other applicants.

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
  • Showcasing your skills, talents, and passions through your college resume
  • Tailoring your resume to align with specific college programs or majors
  • Presenting your experiences in a clear, concise, and professional manner
  • 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 02/15/2024
Duration 1:01:22

Webinar Transcription

2024-02-15 – Creating a Standout College Application/ Tips for Creating a Strong Resume

Hello, everyone. Welcome. Good evening. Good afternoon. Whatever time it is and whatever time zone you’re in. We are thrilled to have you here for “Creating a Standout College Application: Tips for Creating a Strong Resume.” My name is Anna Vande Velde. I’m your moderator today. I’m also a senior advisor here at CollegeAdvisor.

I’ve been with the company for about two and a half years, uh, and in addition to advising students, I’m a proud co captain of our essay review team, uh, along with this webinar team. So you have a bit of background about me for undergrad. I studied psychology at Carnegie Mellon. Thought I was going to be a clinical psychologist, but ended up at Harvard Law School where I graduated a couple of years ago.

Um, so in addition to my work with CollegeAdvisor, I am a nonprofit attorney in the Pittsburgh area. That’s more than you needed to know about me, but just wanted to give you some background. Let’s move on to orient you all with the webinar timing. We’re going to start off with a presentation. Then at the end, we’ll answer your questions in a live questions and answers section on the sidebar under the handouts tab.

You can download the slides that you’ll see tonight, and you can also start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab. So keep your questions coming in throughout and we’ll get to them at the end. Without further ado, I’m thrilled to introduce our panelist, Stacey Tuttle, and I’ll let her, um, give you some of her background.

Yeah, thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here with you tonight. Um, we are just, Talking about the last time we were on a webinar together when we were discussing essay prep back in the middle of the Application cycle in December and so it’s really great to see you again, and I’m really excited to be here with everyone I am Stacey Tuttle.

I am a former admissions officer from the Yale School of Public Health. I’m still working there today as their director of student affairs and registrar. I also went to Yale university for my undergrad, where I also studied psychology with a concentration in neuroscience. And I worked in life science consulting for a short time before returning back to surprise, surprise, Yale couldn’t stay away where I worked at their school of medicine.

And now I’m at the school of public health. I did give him all of my admissions experience at the school of public health. Hence, Why I’m here with you all today, but interestingly enough, a lot of my resume expertise comes from my undergraduate career. I had a really stellar career, um, advisement office at Yale University.

And so those tips and tricks still stick with me today. Um, but I also am really active in the resume review process with our public health students, our master public health students, and we even have a resume review workshop next week. I’m looking forward to it. Um, so I’m excited to share what I have with you today.

Awesome. Thank you, Stacey. Before we get into your presentation, I thought I’d open it up to the room just so we can get a sense of who’s here with us right now. Um, so folks, if you don’t mind just responding to this, letting us know what grade you’re in. If you’re here as a parent, a guardian, an educator, support person, um, please just select other.

Just so we can get a sense of who, who’s here with us. And while those answers come in, Stacey, if I can put you on the spot, this will show you, I’m getting ready for dinner. I like asking folks about favorite foods. So you’re in Connecticut. It’s the, Fine if the answer is pizza, and it’s fine if it’s not.

Do you have a favorite local food? Oh, oh, that’s a really tough question. That’s a really tough question. I’m gonna controversially say it’s not pizza. I am going to say it would be pho. Uh, you know, this is a great time of year to love soup. And, uh, I recently brought a colleague of mine over to, uh, a really great pho place in New Haven.

Um, and, It was the first time she ever had it, and she was floored and wants to go back, um, so I just think, you know, a really good warm meal is powerful in that way, and I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. Amazing. What about you? Soup was on my possibility list tonight, so now it for sure will be.

Amazing. Yeah, just so you know, in the room with us right now, we have a majority of 11th graders, 53%. Um, then about 20 percent of folks, said other 18 percent are in 10th grade and then just a few and eighth and ninth and Amazing cool. So we have a nice spread. Thank you. Thank you for joining us today And i’m hoping to give you at least one tip to take home with you That you would find useful in practice.

So what is a resume a document? Ultimately, that conveys your experiences, activities, background skills, and more is what I’ve written here. Really what we’re looking at is a snapshot of who you are, wherever you come from, where are you now? And where are you going? Um, you’re telling a story about yourself in a very short period of time.

And so you want, when you’re looking at that, you want to ask, what story am I conveying to the person reviewing this resume, given what I’ve outlined here, you use this document and application processes like internships. employment opportunities, and of course college applications. And it is typically one page in length at the high school level.

I have had students push back on the length, uh, requirement with me. Um, they’ll, you know, really be upset that they can’t include all the details or awards or research papers that they necessarily want to include on Their resume because I am so strict with them about being concise and keeping it to one page And really at the high school level and this is me being very frank with you all You haven’t lived enough life to justify a longer than one page high school Uh, resume.

Uh, it really is more appropriate when you’re past the college level, when you’ve had some work experience and you start really working on those lengthier resumes or CVs, um, curriculum by day. That is when it is more appropriate to be longer. Now, The focus is being concise and giving that snapshot that paper that piece of paper.

Your resume can fluctuate and change depending on the opportunity that you’re using it for the opportunity to which you’re applying. So that means if you feel that you’ve had to leave off certain things. Parts of your resume, um, in order to keep it concise, but maybe you’re applying to an opportunity where something you left off could be brought back in.

Maybe you could pull something out that’s not as relevant to the opportunity you’re applying to. It definitely can be a living document in that way, where you can not only. Change it in the moment depending on what you’re applying to but also Continue to update it and maintain it over time and I encourage you to do so once you have that resume Every time you have an award every time you have a new honor That you’ve received every time you’ve had a new experience or join a new club Put it on the resume.

Um, put it on some version of a resume where if you needed to go back and readily get that resume together for an opportunity at the last minute, you have everything you need. You don’t need to ask yourself, Oh, what were those dates? Or what was the name of that certificate that I had? It’s all there. And I want to take a moment to also emphasize that whatever you’re conveying, Just make sure that it’s authentic.

Right. Um, and so a takeaway that I’ll talk about later is it’s okay to, you know, brag about yourself, but make sure that whatever you’re saying is truthful. So what are the different sections of the resume? Um, the very top of your resume should include your name and contact information. So phone number, email address.

For some of you, this might be a LinkedIn page if you have one. No pressure to have one at, um, this stage, depending on what grade you’re in, it might not even feel really appropriate. Um, but you know, if you wanted to explore starting a LinkedIn for yourself, it might not be a bad idea. And the resume is definitely someplace where you can include that link underneath your contact information.

It’s typically an objective and or summary statement. So this is a few sentences about you, a high level introduction, um, about where you come from, who you are, what you’ve achieved and what you hope to do. Very brief. It should only be a few sentences. Um, educate. And this is also a part of your resume that might fluctuate depending on the opportunity you’re applying to.

Your objective may change depending on what that opportunity is. Do you hope to find a research opportunity? Do you hope to find a shadowing opportunity? Do you hope to get field experience? Then the next section you typically see is an education section. Um, students often leave this off by accident, uh, which is interesting because education is such an important part of your day to day as a high school student.

And so that’s going to include your high school, um, your graduation date, your GPA, and so that might be weighted or unweighted, depending on your school. I tend, there’s differing opinions about this, but I tend to advise students to include their weighted GPA, whatever is the higher of the GPAs to report there, you should include that, because I do think it reflects more positively, just from a snapshot perspective.

You can also include your rank. That’s applicable to your high school. Um, in this section, you can also include relevant coursework. I also mentioned in the slide, if space allows, because if you have a lot of other experiences. activities and skills that you want to highlight, it might not be the best use of space to include relevant coursework.

Um, because it does take up a lot of room, but relevant coursework, like say, if you’re a pre med student, you might want to include that you took AP bio, AP stats, AP calc, especially for opportunities, maybe, you know, summer internships, research opportunities, where they’re not seeing your transcript. It might be helpful to highlight the courses that you’ve taken.

that are relevant to the work that you would be doing and can tell them more about what kind of skills you have. Work experience is another section, um, typically right under education where you would list internships, Paid experiences things that might be relevant to your ultimate career goals. That is where the work experience section becomes relevant for students who have shadowing experiences.

That’s where you’d include it as well. Extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, another section. would be, um, clubs, groups, organizations, sports, things that you do in your spare time that don’t necessarily constitute work experience. So think, um, math club, basketball, um, tennis, debate, all of those sorts of things.

Volunteering is also another section. I often say that this is an optional section. If you don’t have a lot of volunteering experience, it might be the case that you want to collapse your volunteer work into your extracurricular activity section. Um, but it’s definitely a section that you could include, especially if a lot of your time is spent doing community service.

And then, um, after volunteering, I would include your awards and achievements, and some students like to include awards and achievements under their education section as a way to consolidate that information a little bit more, but I think it’s important to highlight it separately if you do have awards and achievements to highlight.

And then finally, at the very bottom, skills and interests. So there’s a difference between soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are skills that are more relevant to character traits of the individual, things like organization skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, these things come. With you as an individual skills that you’ve harnessed as part of your personality hard skills Meanwhile are related to technical skills and training that you might have had so I’ve listed here things like Microsoft Excel Python programming languages like that Canva, you know online graphic design tools Those are things you might want to consider including under hard skills Languages is something else you might want to include under the skills section.

So any language that you can speak Um, I would include your proficiency level So if you’re you know a novice versus an expert in speaking that language You do want to indicate that because if you say you you know can speak spanish And you’re not indicating whether or not that’s, you know, fluent or whatever, you might get to an interview and have somebody try to speak Spanish to you and you actually don’t know Spanish that well.

So you do want to be truthful and authentic and prepare for that scenario. Um, and then finally interest. So interests are things that. Are exactly how they sound things that are interesting to you that you do in your spare time baking, reading, crafting, um, agriculture, uh, skiing, you know, whatever that looks like hiking, make sure you include that there.

And if you have something interesting, even better. How do I showcase my strength? So. I mentioned earlier, don’t be afraid to brag. It’s okay to talk about yourself. I know it’s uncomfortable for some people to do that. Um, but you should highlight yourself in a really positive way and, and aim to do so, um, in a way that really demonstrates how excellent you are.

Um, so don’t be afraid to put that best foot forward in an authentic and truthful way, right? You don’t want to embellish, but you do want to make sure that you’re not selling yourself short. Make sure you add all those relevant awards, honors and accomplishments. And when you can, highlight your leadership.

So, if you have an activity where you hold a leadership role, great. But there might be activities where you’re not the president of the club, or you don’t necessarily hold a leadership position that said, you might have had a leadership experience as part of the club, maybe you headed a subcommittee that created a specific event or campaign in your community.

So you weren’t necessarily the leader of the group, but you did lead that initiative. So really reflect back on your experiences and make sure that you revisit them so that you’re going to highlight those moments of leadership in a clear way in your descriptions on your resume. I always suggest also going to speak with your friends, your families, your mentors, show them your resume and say, am I missing anything?

Um, you never know when somebody reading, um, that resume who knows you well might say something. You completely missed something that you really should highlight here or That’s not at all how I would describe your experience here. You did way more in this experience So I always like to get a second pair of eyes on the resume, especially from people who know you well Again, think about skills or interests that are different different, excuse me, ones that help you stand out.

Um, I had a student who, and I say here, don’t shy away from highlighting unique hobbies. I had a student recently finishing up her application and I read, uh, an essay that she wrote for a school at the last minute. It wasn’t, you know, an essay that she had ever written before this. And she talks about creating high heels.

in her essay. And I never knew this about her. I never knew that she had an interest in high heels and she studied the history of high heels and all of this stuff. Um, so that was a really cool hobby that she never told me about before that moment. Um, so it’s really helpful to kind of include those bits and pieces of your personality, who you are, because in an interview or a job opportunity or a college application, you never know when those things might bring you to the forefront and make you stand out.

So how important is the resume in the college admissions process? The thing is, not all colleges require a resume when you apply. Um, some, some do, but a lot don’t. On most applications, there will actually be a section where you’ll transfer the information on your resume into a designated section in the format that the school wants to see it in.

So it’s not going to be a one to one, you’re going to have to fill in maybe some blanks. Um, Or maybe you won’t have as much room to write about an activity as you would have on your resume versus in the section on the application. And so you just want to be prepared for that reality that you might not be submitting a resume with your applications.

You might actually be taking your resume. And putting it into a digestible format as the application asks you to do so. Um, ultimately resumes are a snapshot of who you are. Admissions officers will use it to more easily digest the information that’s being presented to them about you. Um, again, one page, summary, bullet points, you know, just really the highlights of who you are.

And it helps them in a very busy admissions process, right? They’re reading many, many applications. They can’t spend or dedicate a lot of time to any one individual application. They have to be very organized and efficient about it. And so that snapshot. Can be very, very helpful to them in the process.

And so the goal would be to create a concise but comprehensive picture of your strengths, how you spend your time, what’s valuable to you, what’s important to you, what you have achieved and what you hope to achieve in the future. There will be other parts of your application outside of a resume or an activity section of your application where you can highlight similar things about yourself.

Essays are very important. Letters of recommendation are very important. Your transcript will highlight things about you, um, in terms of your skill sets, your academic skill sets. And so the resume and activities section is just one part of a larger admissions review process, a holistic application review process, but nonetheless an important part of that process.

Why is summer break such an important time to build your resume? So in the summer, your academic obligations are less intense. You have more time to pursue those, those deeper, lengthier, immersive, more meaningful experiences as they relate to your academic and career goals. And you can consider doing things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do during the academic year, such as residential summer camps.

So summer camps where you have to go and live in. person at some alternate location to commit to this camp, you wouldn’t be able to do that during the academic year because you have school. So that’s something that you can do in the summer that you can’t do during the academic year. Similarly, local colleges have programs and classes that they could offer to you, both residential and online, that maybe you wouldn’t be able to spend time doing if you were in the middle of your normal classes.

You could also volunteer or shadow individuals during normal business hours when maybe you would have been in class. And then there’s formal research programs in the summer as well that you can apply to, um, really unique opportunities that you otherwise would not have been exposed to. That are lengthier.

So they require commitment, a period of time from you. Maybe that’s 234 weeks in duration on. So you do need to take out time to commit to that on. And then finally, your passion project. So passion projects is a phrase that’s floated around a lot on. These are projects that do require some time commitment from you.

They’re they’re projects where you’ve seen a gap in your community and programming and resources. You’ve seen a need. Rise up and you want to meet that need in some way, for example. So this is a project where you’re bringing forth, um, something you’ve created, something you want to offer to the world.

And that can take so many different forms. I’ve had students, um, offer, STEM programming in their community, a STEM summer camp. I’ve had students offer a public speaking seminar at their library. I’ve had students give a seminar to their local community on diabetes and the risks and prevention efforts they could take because diabetes was a real problem in their community.

I’ve had students do podcasts. I’ve had students Write poetry I’ve had students write children’s books I mean, there’s so many things that you can do book drives like so so many so many ideas But ultimately a passion project should be A passion of yours, you know, you shouldn’t do a passion project for the sake of doing a passion project You should truly be passionate about it And that’s why you are doing it and it should highlight something about you that you want to convey Um to other people including admissions officers about your values about who you are about what you love to do And these experiences hopefully will help you Further understand the career path you hope to pursue And therefore inform your college applications, right?

so It, these experiences will help you understand what major do I want to choose? What’s important to me in a college? What’s important to me in an academic journey as it relates to my future career goals? And then these experiences will also demonstrate to admissions officers your commitment, your diligence in pursuing those interests and goals.

And as a high schooler, I think there’s, you can really get caught up in what you should quote unquote be doing. Um, you look left and right and you see that people are doing X, Y, Z, and you’re stressed because you want to make sure that you’re keeping up with everyone. This is just truly the way to have a miserable summer because then you’ll set yourself up with activities that you think you should be doing when you really don’t want to be doing them.

They don’t align with your passions. They don’t help you pursue your interests or your goals. And so really what you should be doing. Is assessing, okay, what is a valuable way to spend my free time right now? Are there, for example, new experiences that could help me better understand what I hope to do in the future?

Um, in my undergraduate work in my career. And again, are there passion projects that I could be pursuing in the summer that I wouldn’t normally do during the academic year, but avoid activity collecting is what I call it. Pursuing activities for the sake of saying that you did them. That will not be helpful for you.

That won’t be helpful to admissions officers and understanding who you are. Um, and ultimately it would be to the detriment of your future college application, because you spent time doing something you don’t actually want to do. It didn’t help you inform your career and educational goals. And. Therefore, it didn’t add any value to your application.

So I also want to mention to you that you’re going to have for a lot of these applications have a very limited space to provide activities, awards, honors, that information to admissions officers. Some will say you only have so many characters and you’ll have so many activities you can list or so many awards you can list.

And so it’s not beneficial to have 20,000 activities and awards, um, it’s better to have quality over quantity of these experiences and these awards and such, um, in terms of translating who you are to admissions officers. Other things to think about too in the summer, I think there’s a lot of stress around making sure you’re having all of these, you know, meaningful experiences.

And yes, it’s important to have a meaningful experience, but in the summer you might be doing other things that are also important to your college application process, including things like college visits and tours, because you have more time to commit to traveling to these colleges and taking that step onto their campuses and seeing what life is like.

You’ll also potentially be test prepping. You might be studying for the SAT or ACT. You might, if you’re a student in an advanced placement class, um, or class that requires summer homework, you might be doing that homework over the summer. I remember having heavy, heavy AP packets of work to do in the summer.

It was a lot. Um, and you might decide you want to continue some extracurricular activities or volunteer activities that you actually did during the into the summer. And so, All of those things are valuable as well. It’s about balancing your time and finding the right things that will help you continue moving forward in your academic and career goals.

And I would also say it’s okay to relax. It’s okay to take vacation. It’s okay to take time with family. And time to reset. That is really what summers are for.

What do admissions officers want to see in a resume? So typically they like to see, um, across the board an organized and clear format, a polished resume. So something that’s been proofread, that’s been looked over for consistency, um, make sure, you know, fonts all the same size and, um, the right font type and color and just making sure that that formatting is, is well done.

Um, again, another place where a second pair of eyes would be helpful. They like to see commitment. So what I mean by this is the length of time associated with certain activities. Um, they do like to see that you have long term commitments, um, associated with what you’re doing in your spare time.

Naturally, some of your summer experiences, some experiences in general by nature are shorter in duration, so they won’t be that long. But say you’re pursuing extracurricular activities at school. How long were you on the debate team? How long did you commit to that sport? How long have you been playing the piano?

How long? Whatever that looks like for you. If these are your passions, it’s good to show that you’ve been doing them for For maybe a few years or the entirety of your high school career. Um, it’s okay to pick up an activity late. Don’t get me wrong. And by late, you know, I’m thinking junior year, early senior year, but really starting to think about this in freshman and sophomore year is really helpful to so for those in the room in those grades.

It’s not too early. It’s good to start as soon as you can. Um, leadership. We talked about this, making sure you could highlight those leadership skills where possible on your application, alignment with your academic and career goals that should be evident in some of your activities. So You know, you might be part of STEM related programming at your school or groups, clubs.

You might shadow researchers or have a research experience if you’re thinking about going into STEM. If you’re into, if you want to be an art major or pursue art, um, you might be doing particular art programs or art contests or, you know, submitting your art or to certain contests or taking certain classes.

These things will be evident given what you’re highlighting on your application. That said, diversity of interest is appropriate. Um, you know, you can have things on your resume that don’t perfectly align with what you’re applying to. It’s okay to not have everything fit in to this perfect picture of who you should be and what a pre med student should be and, you know, what a chemistry major should look like and what an art major should look like.

You are you. Your journey is not like any other, and the reason why you would be admitted to a school is because of your unique background and experiences that have led you to this point. Um, and so if all of those things are not necessarily in alignment with a certain major, that’s okay. It’s okay to play a sport, even if that’s not relevant to your ultimate career goal.

And remember, this is a holistic application review process, so the resume is just one part of the overall review process. Final tips. Begin now. Um, I mentioned earlier, it’s never too early to have a resume available. Uh, you can continue to update that as new accomplishments and activities come your way.

I will tell you, it’s a whole lot easier to, uh, Do that in the moment than to go back later and try, like I said, try to remember, okay, what was that thing I did? What was the month? What was the year? You know, what are the things I want to highlight about it? What was most meaningful to me? Very easy to do when it’s happening or once it’s happened, like right afterward, not so easy to do a year or two down the line.

Check for formatting. Consistency is key. Look for templates online. There’s a lot of them out there. Um, I tend to lean toward are my career strategy office where I got all of my great resume tips and experience. I remember I didn’t have a resume coming into the college application process. I wasn’t required to submit one at the time.

And so I got to college and I had no resume and so I started from square one and I really relied very heavily on the samples, the templates from my career office. So, um, definitely talk to your college or I’m sorry, your high school counselor, um, or look for appropriate templates online. You should use action verbs and, um.

you know, diversity of action verbs. Try to, you know, assess when you’re looking at your resume as a whole, did you use the same verb over and over and over check for tense? If it’s a past experience, is it in the past? If it’s still happening, is it in the present tense? Um, these are, you know, these nitpicky formatting thing, um, make sure, you know, you’re using consistent bullet points when those are relevant and consider your order.

Um, your most recent or current experience should come first in all of the sections. Be specific in your descriptions as well. Um, I know that I got from a colleague recently, which I really like is really consider if you can include numerical data when it’s relevant, like, you know, reached 100 students or, you know, offered three camps to 60.

middle schoolers or whatever that looks like for you. Offer those concrete numbers and it really, you know, um, bolsters the information you’re providing. Have a counselor mentor review and give that feedback to you. And remember to adjust your resume to the opportunity that you’re applying to when appropriate.

All right. Over to you for the Q&A thank you, Stacey for all those tips. Oh, my gosh. We are lucky to have you here. I will say that. I also went to college without a resume. Um, so I, I relate to that very much. Um, so, folks, this is the end of the formal presentation of our webinar. I hope you found the information helpful.

Please remember that you can download these slides from the handouts tab on the side of your screen. Now we are moving on to the live questions and answers. Thank you for submitting your questions both ahead of time. And now keep them coming. We’ll be here for a bit. We’ll get through as many as we can.

So, with each question, I’ll read it out loud, paste it into the public chat and then Stacey will. Give us her wisdom as a heads up. If the Q&A tab isn’t working for you, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. All right. I think we got our logistics out of the way.

So first question, Stacey, you mentioned, you know, the opportunities that summers give for students to Participate in programs, maybe on or off campus. Um, where would you put that on a resume? Some are paid, some aren’t. So is it a work experience, education? How would you put it on a resume? Yeah, I think, you know, if it’s appropriate as a work experience, I think it does.

And I’d like your opinion on this, too, as somebody who has worked with many students writing resumes. Um, I do feel it would fall nicely under work experience. Um, my rule of thumb with work experiences, if you have been paid for it, or if it’s related to your career goals, then it would make sense under work experience.

But I do I think sometimes resume writing is more of an art than a science. So there is some wiggle room between, you know, work experience, extracurricular activities. There’s also different ways to phrase each of those sections. Sometimes they’re titled differently. I mentioned earlier that volunteering experience can be absorbed sometimes into your extracurriculars.

Maybe volunteer experience actually ends up under your work experience because it’s relevant. to your career goals. Um, so it really is kind of how you’re categorizing it in your mind sometimes. Um, you know, what are you, what, excuse me, what are your thoughts? I agree completely. My advice with students when it comes to categorizing things is to not overthink it.

What’s most important is that you get the substance of what you did on there in a way that’s really clear and easily digestible by the reader. So if there’s something that could fit in more than one section, just pick the one that makes the most sense to you. Agreed. As maybe a bit of a follow up to that question, folks are curious where, where do you recommend they look for these summer programs?

Great question. There’s so many. Um, and I think this is a million dollar question. I will say, you know, working with CollegeAdvisor, they have a great extracurricular, um, search tool. And so it’s this wonderful, you know, place to go in and look. for summer opportunities that fit in certain, not just geographic areas, but also interest areas.

And so that’s something that’s really great with CollegeAdvisors, a cool CollegeAdvisor tool. Um, but I think in general, the best place to start is really internet searches. I hate to say it like that, but it’s so true, you know, type out some keywords, summer programs, and what you’re interested in. And.

See what pops up for you. Um, a great place to start are local universities. If you’re interested in academic opportunities, you never know what your local universities around you could be offering to you. In terms of, um, research programs, courses, leadership programs, um, global opportunities, global, I know that our school has a global health, um, program for high schoolers in the New Haven community.

Um, so there’s a lot of opportunity to be found at local universities around you. Um. I also mentioned, you know, for, I lean toward pre med students and pre health students. So this is why my advice usually goes in this direction. But local hospitals, your local practitioners, um, that you might be able to shadow, volunteer with.

And don’t sleep on your local library. Your local library can have a lot of great opportunity for you to give back to your community. Um, but really, you know, another place to look is inward. Ask yourself. What do I want to do? What would I do an ideal situation? Um, and how can I find that? How or how can I manifest that?

And that’s where the passion project comes from. So there’s The entrance, a great place to start, um, talking to local community resources. Another great place to go asking yourself what you want to do is really where you should start. Um, and I would add one last resource would be your guidance counselor.

Your high school might be able to point you in a really good direction. Absolutely. Um, and because you leave health. I lean legal and we are getting a lot of questions about, you know, extracurriculars to do if you’re interested in the law. Um, so my answer is the same as Stacey’s and instead of local hospitals, um, consider local politicians.

They’re not all lawyers. A lot of them are, and all of them are actively engaged with policy and lawmaking, and more than practicing lawyers, like you have their own standalone office, politicians feel more pressure, maybe, to be responsive, um, so they might be more likely to take a meeting with you to help, you know, or connect you with someone who can speak to your interests.

So, uh, That would be my added advice. If you’re interested in law, I love that. It’s a great add on actually for any student, not even anyone interested in law, I found even pre health pre med students, I get great opportunities from local government. Absolutely. Um, can you explain a bit, Stacey, someone asked, do you submit a full resume into the common app or just fill the 10 activities?

Can you just clarify that please? Yes. Um, so all schools will look for the activities. The Common App requires the activity section for all of the schools, and then there will be school specific questions where they may ask for a resume, um, or additional information from you. That’s not going to be all schools.

And so it is not always required. Um, there’s also not, not every school is in the common app. Um, there are a number of schools that are not going to be applied for through the common app. So, for example, for example, excuse me, I cannot, I’m tripping over words today, um, University of California school systems.

Those are all through 1 separate application. They have a whole different way to report activities. MIT has its own application. Um, that’s a whole different way to report activities. Um, and so it really is about getting that assistance in navigating an insight and navigating the differences between the applications that I think CollegeAdvisor is really great with in terms of our teams and our advising and our networks, and then of course, I would lean on your guidance counselors and your, your mentors in high school.

Well, to ensure that you have that support across your applications.

Absolutely. What are your thoughts, Stacey, on middle school accomplishments? Do they belong on resumes? And would you read them off? So I, this is a bit tricky, um, only because it depends on what stage of life you’re in. So if you are a freshman in high school right now, maybe even a sophomore, you’re not applying to college yet.

It may be important for you to keep those middle school like later middle school experiences on your resume But as you enter junior year and especially so into senior year when you start applying to colleges You need to leave them off Um, and so after a certain period of time your middle school experiences need to go by the wayside And you need to focus on your high school experiences, especially during the college application process

Um, we’re getting a lot of questions Stacey You about grades. How important do you think grades are in the overall overall picture? And would you put them on the resume? Is there a point which you wouldn’t put them on the resume? Yep, totally. Great questions. Um, So with the college application process, they’re going to have a copy of your grades and your transcripts.

I think even Less so important in the college application process is that you include coursework specific coursework On the resume if you submit one because they do have this copy of your transcript. I think it’s more important to Include relevant coursework, um, when you’re applying to summer opportunities, extracurricular opportunities, um, and less so when you’re submitting a resume or your college application, because they do have access to your transcript.

I wouldn’t necessarily highlight. Specific grades on a resume. I think it’s more so for me about the coursework and less about the grades. You’re going to be highlighting your GPA and rank if it’s available on your resume. And so that will give me an academic. marker, you know, an academic metric for, you know, academically where you’re sitting with your coursework.

I think where I take a moment of pause is when a student will come to me and say, you know, I don’t have a really strong GPA, but my coursework as it relates to this major is very, very strong. In which case you do want to, you know, maybe highlight that through an essay of some kind, or maybe some, an additional information section where you explain kind of why, um, your academics might be a little skewed as a result of your academic focus and your academic strengths.

But I don’t know if I would necessarily include grades on a resume as opposed to just the coursework and your GPA overall. And in terms of the value, I, the first question that you really asked was about the value of grades in the college. application review process. It is one important part of that process, but it is only one of the many important parts of the process, right?

And so to give you insight into the review process, you know, most application review processes will begin with the academics. Um, and that includes not just your coursework, Your grades and your GPA and your ranking, but also where did you go to high school? You know, how does that compare to, you know, the grades that you’re getting?

What is the rigor of your high school? Are you taking advanced placement courses? Are you taking IB courses? Are you taking dual enrollment courses, meaning courses at other colleges? What is your test score like if you submitted a test score, SAT or ACT? And so this is a larger academic review step in the admissions review process, but it’s one step.

And then there’s also going to be an activities review, and there’s also going to be essay review, and there’s also going to be review of letter of recommendations. They’ll get a full picture of who you are, with academics being just one component of that picture that you’re painting. And so it is important.

But it’s not the only thing being considered. Totally agree. It’s a holistic review. And just because we got another question about how important school rank is, I just want to emphasize what Stacey said, that when colleges get your applications, they’re also getting a profile of your high school. So they’re seeing what classes are offered at your school.

So they’re going to know if you’re at You know, it really academically competitive school or I high school didn’t offer a P classes at all. Right. Um, so they’re seeing all of that and they will take that into consideration. Yeah. And I, to add to that too, I didn’t have a lot of AP courses offered at my high school either.

And. When I did have them offered to me, I didn’t even take all of them. Um, so, you know, it’s about a balance to your schedules while you want to make sure that, you know, you’re balancing in such a way where you can maintain really good grades. Um, and so it’s something to consider as well.

What’s your advice for students who, like me, went to a school that doesn’t offer AP exams? Do you think definitely, yes, they should self study? For the AP exams, um, if you don’t know that, that is something that you can do. You don’t actually have to take the class to take an AP exam. You can study it, study for it for yourself and sign up.

Is that something you advise students do, not do, or it just depends? You know, that’s a really great question. And I don’t think it’s a one size fits all answer. Um, I don’t, I think the real, the root of the question is in, do I need AP scores. or equivalent, um, experience to get into these top schools. And my answer would be no, you, you are, you should demonstrate that you’re able to, um, excel in the coursework that’s available to you in your community at your school.

And then what I would recommend doing is in your spare time pursuing. valuable experiences to you in terms of your academic and career goals. This goes back to our whole conversation earlier, um, about what’s a good use of your time. What’s a valuable, and that doesn’t mean in the same way that I said, not activity collecting, you shouldn’t be AP score collecting, um, because it doesn’t necessarily help you in the grand scheme of your Your ultimate goal, which is to achieve a career that you’re really happy with.

You might want to self study for AP courses that will help you in pursuit of your career goals. Leaning on the pre med, pre health again, if your school doesn’t offer AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Calc, Those courses would be helpful for you in preparing for an undergraduate career as a pre med student, and so it is to your benefit if you have time to self study for those things, because that will give you a leg up going into undergrad as a pre med student so that you’re prepared for that process.

That coursework that you’ll take at the undergraduate level even more so than if you didn’t study for it. Um, and so that might help you, you know, accelerate in your curriculum a little bit potentially with your, um, your math or your science classes. And it could, it could also look good on a college application.

Don’t get me wrong. But it really is about what’s valuable in terms of your grand journey and also what you have time to do. Um, because not every, some people work, some people take care of their families in their spare time. They don’t necessarily have time to complete their high school courses and also self study for AP exams.

So I do want to, you know, assuage that stress that you’re, you know, you’re not keeping up with the person next door. They’re evaluating you in light of what your high school has to offer.

Totally agree. It’s a one tool in a massive toolbox and you get to choose. Which tools you pick up. Absolutely. I’m going to give Stacey a little break here. Um, just so I can talk a bit about CollegeAdvisor for those in the room who aren’t already working with us. We’re really excited to work with you.

We know how overwhelming the admissions process can be. We’ve been through it. We’re walking through it with our students. Now. It’s a lot. We have over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts. Ready to help you and your family navigate this process in one on one advising sessions. At this point, we’ve helped over 6, 000 clients in their college journeys, and the number keeps climbing.

It’s super exciting. We recently looked at our data, um, going back to 2021, and found that our students are more likely to get into colleges like Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Harvard. So increase your odds, take the next step in your admissions journey by signing up. If you want to learn more, I suggest signing up for a free 45 to 60 minutes strategy session with an admission specialist on our team.

You can do that by scanning the QR code on the screen. Remember, you can also download these slides so you can have the QR code with you. Later, um, during that initial free meeting, we’ll review your extracurricular list, your application strategy, talk about how everything aligns with your college list, and then outline the tools that you need to stand out in a competitive admissions world.

That said, we’re going to get back into the Q& A, but I am going to leave on the screen this QR code, um, so please feel free to scan that at any time. Um, Stacey, one last I think it’s one last question about grades, and I think it’s a quick one. If you’re taking college classes and high school courses, would you list separate GPAs under education?

Oh, that’s a good one. Um, yes, I, I think that would add clarity because on your resume, you’re going to be listing your high school. So actually, point of clarification, some high schools. Allow your, they call dual enrollment courses at a local college to apply to the transcript at the high school. So if you’re reporting it as a, uh, a course on your transcript at your high school, um, and it’s incorporated into the GPA there, then I would.

include it as part of your high school experience, but more appropriately, it would likely be the case that you’re reporting in your education section, your high school with the high school GPA, and then the college with the college GPA. Um, and you’ll list the coursework that you’ll take, that they’re taking at the college or have taken at the college.

And so you’ll want to separate those two things in your education section on your resume. Agreed. Any special considerations for neurodivergent applicants? That’s another really great question. Um, so I guess first and foremost, there’s no obligation to disclose, um, any diagnoses, anything personal that you don’t feel comfortable disclosing.

I don’t necessarily think it’s the right place on the resume. Um, but if you do need accommodations at some point, it will be important to talk with college admissions counselors or whoever that may be to understand how they can provide those accommodations to you. But in terms of, you know, the resume special considerations for the resume.

Individuals who are neurodivergent may have, um, a lot of really great skills that they could highlight about themselves, perhaps, you know, their detail focus, maybe their creative thinking, maybe they have skills that other individuals might not have because of their neurodivergent thinking. And so that is something to consider when highlighting your, your skills and your attributes on your resume.

Absolutely. I’m trying to generalize a handful of questions that I think are all getting at the same idea, which is how important is it to be a student who specializes in one or two subjects versus more of a generalist? Are there pros and cons? Are both fine? What are your thoughts? Yeah, and this goes back to our conversation about authenticity.

And so, for you, it might not be an appropriate path for you to focus on just one thing. That’s not who you are. That’s not, you know, going to make you happy in the grand scheme of things. You are somebody who maybe thrives by touching on a few different areas of life. I will give myself as an example again.

Um, I was very into STEM. I was a STEM student, loved math, loved science, but I was also a theater kid. And my whole college essay, my personal statement was about theater, even though I applied, this is also more background than you need, but I applied as an engineering major. And my whole personal statement was about theater.

And so you can get transferable skills from Any activity that could be applicable to a future educational or career path that you have, um, whether that be public speaking or competence or, um, leadership or organizational skills, you can get a lot of really great experience from something that seems irrelevant, um, to your ultimate career path, um, but is still important to you as a person.

I, I think, The best example I could think of is sports. A lot of students are like, well, I shouldn’t be doing this sport. I should be spending more time doing research or whatever, um, because I want to be in STEM. And the truth is you are gaining a lot of really valuable experiences and skill sets from being on a team, um, that you wouldn’t maybe otherwise have gotten.

And so you’ll be able to highlight those. Parts of yourself through your application essays and such and so that’s like a very long way to answer the question But I think it’s important for you to follow your passions because whether that be one Two or three things that you clearly want to use to define yourself That will make for stronger application because you were true to who you were and your passions.

Um, and you didn’t try to fit yourself into a box of what you think you should be doing. Agreed. And as a co captain of the essay team here, I would just give a little shout out by saying if you feel like your resume looks disjointed and unrelated. And essay is a great place to tell your story about how, how you got into all those activities and why they all made sense for you and how they’ve helped you figure out what you want to do in college.

Absolutely. Absolutely. There is, I, there’s a bigger application at play and you always have to remember that, um, your job is to pull all those pieces together and the essays. is really where that can shine in the end, um, where you are weaving in the pieces together so that that narrative makes sense to the person reviewing your whole application and not just your resume in a snapshot.

Um, thanks, Stacey. I’m an essay nerd. So I had to say that. I also love essays. So I’m there with you. Do you have advice for students who want to do a passion project, but don’t know how to get started? And if a student does a passion project, how do they put it on a resume? Like how do they know it’s Looks good enough to be on the resume.

That is a very good question. Um, to get started. I think the challenge with getting started with a passion project I want, saying I want to do a passion project but I don’t know where to get started is inherently part of the problem. If you don’t know what you want to do, It can’t appear out of thin air, right?

You need to have a spark. You need to have a creative moment where you see, like I said, Oh, there’s a gap that needs to be filled. There is a need that needs to be met. There is something that I’m seeing someone else do in my community that I would like to replicate because I think it could benefit a lot more people.

If I did it here, or if I did it there, or maybe I’m going to try this a different way. You need to have a moment of inspiration. Around the things that you are passionate about whatever that looks like and I can’t tell you what that perfect idea would be Because it’s going to be different for everyone And it’s going to be in alignment with the things that you love and the things that you’re most passionate about um, but the best if you did need a place to start I think the best advice I could give is Thinking about where there is a need to be felt And that’s usually where very meaningful passion projects, um, come from, but not always, um, and then in terms of highlighting on your resume, you’re going to want to have a clear role that you play in that passion project.

Is it a founder? Is it a co founder? Is it a president? What is the role that you’re taking on in this passion project? Um, how would you define yourself? Think about it that way. And then what is the period of time during which you dedicated yourself to this project? You needed to find those parts of the activity so that you could put them on a resume at all.

Um, and so the goal would be to have something of a clear duration. Where you played a clear role in making a difference. Um, or providing a resource. Um, and so it really is going to be a lot of internal reflection for you and trying to find a project, um, and again, the having to ask that question to begin with may signal that you shouldn’t be doing a passion project.

Maybe your time will be better spent doing more formalized activities. Um, if you are having a hard time finding something. To do in a passion project type role. Yes. There’s another question that says, what did applicants whose applications were accepted do differently than other applicants? And there are a lot of factors that go into the decision.

And I will say the ones that stand out the most. passion that Stacey is talking about. Um, so I asked the question and then answered it. I’m sorry, Stacey. That is absolutely true. I think the one in my admissions experience, there was always, every application review process is different, but one of the most important parts of my review processes was, um, something I called, um, Like the public health passion, I would always call it like the fire in the, um, for the applicants that I’m reading.

It was fine if, you know, they were academically excellent, um, and they had this great experience. But if they couldn’t articulate why they wanted to be at the program and doing this particular major and doing, you know, pursuing work under a particular faculty, whatever that would look like, um, If they didn’t clearly do their research about the school, they weren’t, yeah, maybe they mentioned another school in their essay.

That happens. We know that, right? Um, you know, making sure that you’re focused and you’re demonstrating your passion clearly in a way that aligns with the school you’re applying to. I have a whole nother, you know, a number of presentations I do about college fit. And it’s so important that you’re demonstrating your fit with the school.

But it’s also important that the school is a good fit for you and you need to do that research and make sure that you’re aligning yourself with the schools that you’re applying to, because that will also make for a very successful application is not just demonstrating your passion, but also ensuring that that passion translates appropriately to the place that you’re applying to.

Absolutely. With that said, thank you, Stacey, so much for your time tonight for sharing all your wisdom with us. We’re really grateful to you. That is the end of our webinar. Before we log off, I just wanted to point out that we have more webinars upcoming. Um, so there were some questions about SAT versus ACT versus test optional.

So I want to point out there’s a webinar about that on Sunday, the 18th. We also have a webinar coming up about social media, personal branding, and how that impacts college admissions. Um, early decision, early action, financial aid, diversity and inclusion, and recommendation letters. We have a bunch of topics upcoming.

Please check them out. You can sign up the same way you did for this webinar. And with that said, we will sign off and say goodnight. Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you.