Maximizing Your Summer Break in High School: Building Your College Resume

Get the inside scoop from former Admissions Officer Arianna on how you can build a strong activities list during your high school summer break.

Date 02/06/2022
Duration 58:50

Webinar Transcription

2022-02-06 AO Advice: Maximizing Your Summer Break in High School: Building Your College Resume

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on maximizing your summer break in high school in order to build your college resume. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start up 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 panelist. Hi everyone. My name is Ariana Pagan, and I have been with CollegeAdvisor for over a year now. Um, I’ve been in higher education since 2016, and I have experience in college admissions as well as college academic advising. So not just getting students through the college process and finding competitive applicants, but also helping

establish therefore your plan while in college. Um, and so tonight we’ll talk about how to really set that foundation maximizing your summer break while in high school. Um, and so before we get started, I’ll turn it back to McKenzie. So we can do a poll and kind of get a sense of who our [00:01:00] audience is. Yes.

So, um, for our only poll tonight, what grade are you in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re a current college student, uh, taking a gap year transfer or, um, if you’re a parent on the call and while we wait for that to roll in, uh, Ariana, can you tell us any, um, examples of things you did over the summers, um, before you applied.

Absolutely. So before I applied to colleges, my summers were mostly spent, um, working at summer camp. So that was a really cool experience because I started off in one position as like a leader in training. And I graduated high school with nearly four years of experience at summer camp and ended up being like one of the lead counselors slash instructors.

So, um, definitely a great way to show your. How you’ve grown your skillset and how you’ve kind of been promoted over the years. [00:02:00] Um, and consistency overall, which is great, which is always something we look for in college applications is like, what have you been consistent with? Not just in the school year, but outside of the school year as well.

I’ve always wanted to go to summer camp for workout when there are a lot of opportunities to do that. And so that sounds really fun. Yeah. So it’s looking like we have 0%, eighth graders, 7%, ninth graders, 32%, 10th graders, 53%, 11th graders and 8% other and no seniors. So it’s a pretty good mix. Mostly a 10th and 11th grade.

Awesome. Great, great to hear it. All right. So for some of you, maybe if you’re in ninth grade, you might be like, what even is a resume. And in a nutshell, your resume is essentially like your personal brand. Like it’s, you know, typically one to two pages of your highlight reel, like your personal experiences, [00:03:00] education, professional qualifications in, um, The word resumes, something that is unique to north America or like more academia in north America.

So if you’re from outside of north America, you might hear the resume referred to as a CV, which is a curriculum vitae. Um, so that’s what they’re, they’re interchangeable term CV resume kind of the same thing. Um, but believe it or not, your resume is also used in the college admissions process, which we’ll talk about more.

Um, but essentially it’s just a visual representation of your personal brand. Like who are you, what skills have you developed? What work experience have you gotten? Um, and believe it or not, you know, uh, I think a lot of students underestimate how much experience they can get in their summers throughout high school.

You know, and it, and it really boils down to what you want to pursue and what you’re looking for, um, and how determined and disciplined you are in [00:04:00] finding those opportunities. Um, so we’ll talk more about how that plays a role in the admissions process, right? So, The, the application for college has a lot of parts to it.

And if you’re an 11th or 12th grader, you’ve probably already started to see this where you’ve got your activity section, you’ve got your essay, you know, maybe supplemental essays. You’ve got like another section for additional notes where sometimes students will put additional activities. Um, It’s not a replacement for anything in the college application.

The resume is meant to be another opportunity for you to highlight your pride points, your strengths, your experiences, recognitions honors, you know, did you start off your freshman year on? You know, junior varsity team. And then by senior year you were a captain, you know, those go in your activity section, but on your [00:05:00] resume, that might also be an experience instead of work, or if you were paid, you know, through a club league or.

Um, you know, you started coaching, you know, little league or something like that. That would be an opportunity that you would want to put on your resume just to highlight and explain in more detail than what you would get. So it’s not meant to be a replacement for the activity section. It’s essentially another opportunity for you to brag about all of the great things that you’ve done throughout your summers and throughout high school in general.

But the reason we focus on the summer is because it typically is the period of time where you finally have an opportunity to explore something outside of your assigned curriculum. Right? So there’s more time to focus on areas that light your fire that you’re passionate about. And it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the coming year.

It’s a time to get your mind, right. Your energy, right. [00:06:00] Building your network outside of your high school. Um, and I think for some students, obviously we want, we all want to enjoy our summers, you know, especially, um, As you progress in high school, you know, once you get to like 10th, 11th grade, you really just want to enjoy your summers because you know how demanding the academic years can be.

But there has to be this balance. It has to be a balance of, you know, having fun while also growing your skillset, exploring new interests and really going outside of your comfort zone. So, you know, again, going back to the athlete example, cause it’s such a perfect example. If you have been an athlete your whole life, or, you know, athletics has always been a part of your life.

The summers might be an opportunity to expand that. Maybe you do go work at a summer camp as a camp counselor. Maybe you’re working part-time at the local ice cream stand. Maybe you work down at the docks [00:07:00] on the boats during the summer. And you’ve been able to like develop a new skill set each. So, you know, when you think about it in that light, it’s a re it’s really an opportunity to grow.

Um, cause it’s really a short period of time that you get. But when you take, you know, each summer break, essentially, you’ve got almost two years of experience, um, that plays a factor in your admissions applications.

So then it becomes a matter of how do I use the summer to get ahead. Um, you want to demonstrate initiative and explore new interests, and I think the best place to start looking for those is within your own network, you know, does your friend. You know, it is your friend working part time and they know their employer is hiring.

Um, are you really interested in research and you want to start looking at opportunities to be like an intern assistant or something? Um, or do you want to take [00:08:00] up a new hobby? You know, I’ve worked with a lot of students who have really had a passion for music. Um, You know, very high achieving students, but they love music and just don’t have the time to incorporate it into their everyday lives.

But the summers are really great opportunity because they’ll go to, you know, um, a band camp or a music camp to like really hone in those skills. And that’s something that’s different. Volunteering is honestly a really great way to start if you’re somebody, you know, especially if you’re ninth or 10th grade and you’re like, I don’t know what to do.

I have no idea like where to start, start volunteering somewhere. Um, cause honestly what I can tell you is that the best way to figure out what you want is to go through what you don’t want. Um, and sometimes getting an experience. That you don’t really like is an eyeopening experience to say, okay, I think I want to take this in a different direction.

Um, and then there are classes, a lot of students will take, you know, math [00:09:00] classes over the summer, maybe dual enrollment at a local community college. Um, those are, those are definitely helpful as well. And I, again, I would say if you’re somebody who’s like, I don’t really know where to go. You can always look to see if there are any summer courses offered at your local community college or even audit a class.

Um, if there’s a class that you’re interested in and just want to want to jump in on one of the biggest. How do I say it? One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve given to the students that I work with is to journal. And I’m not talking like dear diary. This is my day. I’m literally just talking about making bullet points every day.

Like, what was your high? What was your low? What was something interesting? You know, what starts to, what felt repetitive today? Like what am I sick of doing every day? Because you would be amazed how when the time comes to write your essays and prepare for interviews, you’ve got literally. [00:10:00] Three to four summers worth of material to look back on and be like, oh, I totally forgot.

That happened to me. That was actually pretty cool. Or actually, I can’t, I can’t believe I wrote that down because that was actually a really funny story. You’d be surprised at what can work to be a personal statement. What could go into your activity, section your supplemental essays? Um, so journaling is definitely a great piece, whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, doesn’t matter.

Um, And going off of. Off of your personal statement. You know, it tends to be one of the sections of the application that takes the longest, because it requires the most thought the most review, but your summers are also a really great opportunity to start getting ahead of the pieces of your application that are more time consuming.

Um, so specifically if you’re a junior senior, You know, going through and starting the activity section of your application towards the end of the summer can be really helpful [00:11:00] to get that off your plate later on. Um, even doing college tours over the summer can be really helpful if you’re a sophomore, junior, not really sure where you want to go, what you like yet.

Um, So doing things that you can focus on over the summer that give you a little bit more time to again, think, reflect on what you like and what you want to do. Um, it helps to set the pace and makes you also feel like you’re slowly accomplishing things and it doesn’t all pile up at the end of the summer.

Okay. So we’re going to go through each grade, you know, what should you be doing for your summer break or what’s really recommended as, um, former. Advisers what we like to see. Um, and if you’re a ninth grader, you should be reading like across the board, ninth, 10th, 11th. We’ve put this on every slide read, read, read.

Um, you would be surprised at how beneficial reading can be, especially when it [00:12:00] comes to sat prep. Um, Sat act prep, anything like that? Reading really helps not only with comprehension, but also with critical thinking skills, um, as well as communication and literacy. So that becomes really helpful when you’re looking to write your essays when you’re brainstorming, um, you can really see the.

In, in your writing that’s for sure. Um, and as a ninth grader really take your summer to reflect, um, and enjoy it because it will probably be the most relaxing when you have after, after your, your summer of ninth grade things really start to kick into gear. But if you’re really wanting to get ahead at this stage, it’s really a matter of reflecting and starting to think about, okay, What do I want to try this coming year that I didn’t get a chance to try this year?

What did you enjoy? What did you feel you were missing? Um, you know, what are your talents or strengths or what do you feel you could be good at if given the chance, if you put [00:13:00] yourself out there, um, and, and really reflecting on what you want for the coming year. So that way you do get that opportunity and you can start building that skill set as.

But also as a ninth grader, learn something new, pursue a passion project. Um, I worked with a student who. You know, as a ninth grader, you know, 13, 14 years old, he couldn’t really work for, you know, for like, you know, his parents or Dunkin donuts or anything like that. But he was a dog Walker for two of his neighbors.

And so, you know, during the summers, when his neighbors would leave for vacations, he would walk their dogs and take care of them. And what started as just like a simple. You know, like neighborly good deed ended up turning into a business for him by his senior year. He had his own app on the iPhone and Android.

He had his own website, um, all because he, his neighbors gave him that opportunity. So really think about, you know, longterm, [00:14:00] what do I want here? Like, where can I take this? What can I do with this skill? Um, and how can I continue to grow? Because you never know, again. What one activity during the summer might lead to longterm, um, create your resume.

I think ninth grade is a really great time to start creating your resume. And of course we at CollegeAdvisor can help with that. But also if you just Google or go into Microsoft word and look up templates, you’ll find thousands of resume templates. Um, and in this. Webinar, we will go over a little bit of the format that you should be looking for for this specific type of resume, um, as a high school student.

Um, and then also of course you want to have that balance of de-stressing having fun and enjoying your summers while, while growing your skillset. And that takes time.

So as a 10th grader, again, [00:15:00] keep reading, volunteering. This is a really great time to start building those volunteer hours, especially if your high school requires them. Um, and usually the summer after 10th grade students have the opportunity, um, to start working. And I think it’s a really, you know, I think people under value, um, part-time jobs over the summer, like, I’m sure I’ve had that conversation with students who say, well, You know, it’s only like three months out of the year that I’m working.

Like, does that really matter to the college application? And it matters in the sense if, you know, you’re working the same job for four summers in a row that shows consistency, that shows trust that shows reliability and that also shows good work ethic. So, you know, part-time jobs are definitely highly recommended.

Um, again, pursue a passion project, but this is also a really great time to start. Picking up on the curriculum [00:16:00] outside of your high school. So, you know, really, I always advise students, you know, the summer of 10th grade is honestly the perfect time to start doing college tours because you know, at this point, people are going to start talking to you about.

And your curriculum that you’re taking in high school can really make or break your college application because at the end of the day, what drives admissions is not your GPA. It’s not your test scores. It’s your academic rigor bottom line. So making sure that you’re taking the right courses, making sure.

The curriculum you’re taking in high school is going to be beneficial for your first and second years of college. And so what that means is doing college tours and taking a look at the curriculum saying, okay, if I’m interested in. You know, biology, what is, what are those freshman year classes look like these?

Okay. And then asking an admissions officer and talking to your guidance counselor and saying what courses would best prepare me for this [00:17:00] curriculum. Um, and seeing if there are any dual enrollment courses again, that could be taken, um, and again, creating, updating your resume. The thing to know about the resume is that it’s not a static document.

I like to refer to it as a living document because it’s constantly being updated as you constantly build your skillset, um, and familiarizing yourself with sat or act. Um, we often get asked, you know, which one is better and it really just boils down to. Um, personal preference, um, colleges look at both sat and act the same.

So doing some sat, prep work always recommended if you plan on taking the exams. Um, and again, distress how fun again? It’s just about balance. So for my 11th graders, 11th grade is, is the last year that. The last year of grades, your college will see. So the summer going [00:18:00] into 11th grade is really important.

Like this is really the last opportunity you have before you apply to colleges to set some groundwork, you know, so never stop reading, of course, but this summer you want to be more intentional about how you branch out. So. You know, if you’re a student athlete and you have played, you know, the same sport for three years, do you want to try and do sport this summer?

Do you want to branch out? Um, have you always played this one position? Um, maybe you’re looking to play for a summer league in a different position just to grow that skillset and try something new. Um, You know, it’s small changes like that can really have an impact. Um, and this is the time to really start making a plan.

You want to take the time to reflect on your time commitments, whether that’s athletics, whether that’s a part-time job, whether that’s family responsibilities, um, but you really need to be realistic about the amount of time it’s going to take for you to [00:19:00] successfully navigate the priorities that come your senior year.

And those priorities are. Getting those college applications, you know, submitted, continuing to perform well academically taking a rigorous course load. Um, and also, you know, really completing those out of class requirements that you know, are important to you. Um, whether that’s family time, whether that’s, you know, volunteering again.

Um, it’s about quality, not quantity. And I think that’s something that should always be remembered is that the resume is not about packing in as many things as you can. It’s about quality. It’s about us as admissions officers getting the opportunity to see, okay, who is this student beyond their academics?

Um, and usually over the summer is when students will take their SATs or act. Um, and if you’re not planning on taking an exam that summer, [00:20:00] definitely prep is important. Um, and th this is really a time to, if you’ve already done those college tours to start narrowing down the list of colleges that you like and that you plan to apply to.

Um, and at the end of the summer, typically in August, the comment application opens for students to start filling out. Um, and so this is a really great time to start drafting your personal statement, filling in any honors or activities. Um, and then thinking about who it is you want to ask before your letters of recommendation, um, and as always update your resume and this summer for 11th graders, this is really a time to perfect.

That balance of, you know, de-stressing versus, you know, time commitments versus having fun and seeing, you know, what that looks like for you, because long-term, if you can master balancing your work with school with [00:21:00] personal life, that is honestly going to make you a very successful college. Um, cause I have also worked on the college advising side and I can’t tell you how many students, you know, I’ve worked with at some high level colleges who just don’t know how to balance, you know, school with, you know, extracurriculars with a personal life because they solely focused on their academics.

Are they solely focused on playing a sport for so long? Um, so, you know, perfecting that balance is going to help you. Long-term. All right. So let’s get into what the different sections are of a resume. Um, you should know, there are a lot of different resumes out there, depending on. What you’re applying for the resume of a high school student is going to be very different from the resume of a college graduate.

And the resume of a college graduate in biology is going to be different than the resume of a college graduate in business. Um, so that’s important to note [00:22:00] that your resume will change over time, and that’s a good thing, but along the way, there are some staple sections and they’re listed here. These sections are.

You know, standard across the board in every resume, your contact information, your name, phone, email address. Um, if you have a LinkedIn profile, you can add one. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, um, I don’t think it’s really necessary. I have never looked at a high school students, LinkedIn profile personally, but you know, that’s, that’s personal preference for you all.

And then a summary of qualifications, or just like a brief, you know, two to three sentence summary of. What your objective is in submitting and using this application, your education. If you’re in high school, obviously you’re only going to have your high school years, but this is a really great opportunity to put in your GPA as well.

Um, and your summer experiences, you can [00:23:00] add research, you can have work, volunteer, experience, activities, your resume. Isn’t solely limited to work that you’ve done for. Um, it’s, that’s not exclusively what a resumes for a resume is for all of these things listed here, including any honors or certifications.

All right. So we’ve got some samples of a good versus not great resume here. Um, so best practices in a resume. Obviously we said that your name, your name should be the biggest factor. On your resume. I can’t tell you how many resumes I’ve looked at and I’m like, who is this person? I don’t even know their name because it’s small.

It’s like in the header, like not big enough to see an email, your email should be a professional email. Um, [00:24:00] I’ve I’ve seen some really interesting emails from students. Like I’m your daddy? [email protected]. Let me just tell you something. I, that was from like six years ago and I still remember it. We will make fun of you if you have, um, non-professional email address.

Um, and that’s something we advise to students as well is maybe make a separate. You know, email account that is solely for college applications, college materials, you know, marketing materials from colleges, um, cause that does help to, again, separate and balance, you know, your work from your personal professional summary for high school students.

It really is just like, you know, high school student, you know, seeking full-time undergraduate admission. That’s pretty standard. Um, the formatting is. Is important. It’s not an opportunity. We don’t want to see your creativity here. Um, you could be applying for like graphic design [00:25:00] major, and maybe like you could argue having like a pretty nicely designed resume.

But as you can see here, you know, you’ve got that little stock image up on the right hand corner. Um, the email address is unprofessional, Sally baby [email protected]. Your resume is a reflection of you. And so you want it to be professional and put together overall. So here’s a good resume and you can see already the font.

The name of the student is the biggest font. It’s right at the top. You can’t miss it. Um, their email address is professional. There personal summary, um, is a really great example, honestly, like if you want it to screenshot that and like just use that in your personal resumes, that’s totally fine. Um, and listing your skills is really important as well, because you’d be surprised at how [00:26:00] many at how good you are at so many things.

After, you know, three, four years of high school, the formatting is clean. Um, there’s not a lot of paragraphs and I think that’s something that students should remember. We’re not reading paragraphs in college admissions. Like we are reading your personal statements and that’s it. So when you are making a resume, whether it’s, you know, for summer opportunities or for your college application, Your summary should be limited to two to three sentences and bullet points.

Um, so it should be direct and it should be listed in a way that if somebody were to ask you about it, you could go fully in depth about it. You don’t want to add fluffy. Um, always save your resumes as a PDF. Um, so typically what I tell students is when you make your resume, whether you’re doing it in Microsoft word, Google suites, whatever it is, you want [00:27:00] to have the word documents saved and then save a copy of it as a PDF.

And the PDF is what you submit. So that word document is a live document, right? Like you can constantly go back and save. Go back in, add an experiences, change around formats. If you have to, and then save a copy of that again and again and again. Um, that’s the easiest way. So you constantly have the format there and you can just go filling in information as you gain experience.

So this is a pretty standard resume for a. Student applying to colleges. So if you’re like a high school, senior submitting applications, this is a pretty ideal resume. You’ve got your objective right at the top, the name of the student, their education, we see clearly where they went to high school GPA, graduation date.[00:28:00]

Um, and then, you know, you’ve got their extracurricular activities. Um, And, and whether you put the, in terms of like listings, like should education be first, should work, be for. Honestly education should be somewhere at the top. And then whether you want to start with extracurricular activities or work experiences, isn’t really, what’s important.

What’s important is what have you been involved in the longest? Um, and the most recent. So if the most recent, you know, activity you’ve done was a part time. That would want to be listed first. If the most recent thing you’ve done was, you know, in this example, student government, then that’s what you would want to have listed first.

Um, I don’t want students to feel intimidated by this because the student has clearly done a lot. Um, but I, I would highly suggest everybody really take a look at what’s on here to see just how much you [00:29:00] can do. In four years, how much experience you can get in just, you know, three and a half, four summers at the high school level, um, you know, honors and awards.

Excuse me. You know, you’ve got honors and awards. This student was an AP scholar. They received, you know, an award for education. You know, these are things that you could also put in the activity section of the common application, but they do also hold a spot on your resume. Um, so, you know, nobody’s saying you have to have, you know, 10 to 12.

You know, experiences on your resumes from the summers or the academic years, but just use this as an example. Like there’s a lot that you can do in a short amount of time.

And so what do admissions officers really want to see? [00:30:00] Um, and ultimately what we’re looking for is intentionality. Again, it’s about quality, not quantity. You know, if you have been, you know, on the soccer team for four years, that’s great. We’d love that consistency. We love seeing that commitment. Um, there’s a lot of skills you can build by being a student athlete.

Um, Whereas, you know, if somebody was in band for one summer and then another summer, they like, you know, switch to art or something, and then another summer they were working, part-time, there’s a bit of inconsistency there and you can definitely work around that. Um, cause we love when students try new things, but ultimately what we want to see is that students are balancing, long-term committed.

With trying new things. So there should be a combination of things on your resume. There should be a combination of things you’ve been involved in for a while and a combination of things that maybe you’ve tried for one or two summers or for one or two years. Um, and. [00:31:00] You know, that that really covers the optics of it.

Um, but we also like to see an attention to detail. So not just listing what you’ve done, but again, adding in one to two bullet points, really highlighting what you did during that time. If you were an athlete describing, you know, to one to two bullet points, what did that look like? What did you do? What skills did you learn if you, you know, Starting your own business.

Like what skills did you learn from that? How did that develop? Um, so it’s really about quality over quantity, and we want to see that students are really being intentional with the things that they’re trying, um, throughout their high school career.

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. Uh, also I have been adding some info in the chat. So if you want to see some of our other webinars, blogs, or the example resume that she [00:32:00] showed, um, you can find those links in the chat.

Moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions. You submitted in the Q and a tab and read them a lot before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up. If your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom link in your, uh, sent to your email and not from the webinar landing page.

If you joined through the webinar landing page. Um, you won’t get all the, future’s a big marker. So just make sure you join through that custom link. So now we will get on with the Q and a. So the first question we have is do the summer pre college programs at Stanford, UC Berkeley, or just schools in general that they host, um, help students get into those schools specifically.

Um, that’s a great question. And the short answer is no, because everybody wants to go to Stanford and everybody wants to go to UC Berkeley. If you look at the admission rates for those schools, they’re extremely low, [00:33:00] but going to those summer programs do benefit you as a student, they benefit you because one, if you do plan on applying, it shows, demonstrated interest in the college.

It shows you’ve done a little bit of research. But it also shows a commitment to building a skillset. Are you going to this, um, you know, summer program because there’s a specific skill you want to learn or, you know, you want to develop better leadership. Um, it, it, it really boils down to intentionality.

Like, are you going simply because you think it’ll look good on your application to Stanford or UC Berkeley, or are you going, because the programs that these colleges are running definitely aligned with your values and you want to share the same values as those universities. You know, it’s, it’s really about intentionality.

So it does help you in the long-term with college applications. Does it increase your chance of admission to those specific schools? No. Yes. Um, there’s um, Which McCall it. Uh, another good thing about [00:34:00] going to those pre college programs is just getting used to the rigor of college courses. And then also, if you’re, it’s like a residential program, you can maybe stay on the campus so that can help you get a feel for colleges in general, though.

Um, it doesn’t necessarily increase your chances and those programs do tend to cost in the thousands of dollars. So it wouldn’t be fair to all students that aren’t able to afford it. So that’s why it doesn’t really help your chances. Uh, so, um, another student’s asking is what template do I choose for my resume?

That’s a great question. Um, the best templates, you know, if we’re talking about free resources is I know that Microsoft word actually has like college student templates. Um, but also if you go into Canva, Canva, A million templates. Um, but looking for something that’s simple is the best bat you want to look for something that’s simple that has all of the sections we talked about [00:35:00] previously, where you can just go in and fill in education experience.

You know, it’s as a high school student, you’d want to see that a template has like leadership or extracurricular. In addition to work experience. So look for something that’s really simple, um, and start there. And as you go building your skills and building interests, you can go adding sections. Uh, just to get this out of the way, uh, for anyone wanting the information that I put in the chat, you do just have to copy and paste.

Some of that is found on the [email protected] slash blog. Um, so if you wanted that information, you can either copy and paste. We’ll go with it. Um, otherwise it won’t be saved later, but you can watch the recording of the webinar and you can watch, um, download the slides.

Oh. Later, just not the chat. Um, okay. So, um, one student is asking, is there anything specific you’d like to see from a student [00:36:00] majoring in accounting and just to broaden it a bit, um, when you’re looking at a student’s application, do you want to see it like linked to their, um, major? That’s a great question.

And it’s one that is highly debated amongst college admissions officers. Um, we definitely like to see that there’s some sort of link between experiences and intended major. What we don’t like to see is that all a student’s interest in activities centered around their major. So we want students to have better.

Um, no matter what major, whether that’s accounting, biology, you know, pre-med pre law, anything like that, obviously it’s great to have experiences related to those majors, but you also want to make sure that you’re also showing I’m interested in other things as well. Definitely. And a lot of [00:37:00] students do ask, like, does everything need to be related to academics?

No, it does not. Because when you actually get to college colleges, aren’t wanting students that are just in their books. They want students that are doing stuff around campus and really, um, getting involved in the community and outside the community so that they can make their school look good and have great active alumni and students.

So it has to be more than just academics and there are different ways. Do that? Absolutely. Um, okay. So another student’s asking, uh, where would you submit a resume, especially with the common app? Um, I believe you can just upload it like as a part of your application, right? Like NZ. It’s kind of weird. I don’t think, um, cause like the common app is like two separate sections technically.

So if you’re actually on the common app, there is the common app part where you put in all of your general information about yourself, parents, education, all [00:38:00] that good stuff. And then your personal statement, which gets sent to all the schools that you applied to. And then there’s the mycologist section where you actually upload your colleges.

It makes more sense when you’re actually looking at the platform and we do have a webinar going over the common app. And then you have your mycologists section where you add all the schools you want to apply to. And each school may have their own information. They want to ask you. And then some schools have a specific place where you can upload your resume.

So like, for me, when I applied to Cornell university and Howard university, there were specific sections of the application on the activities part where it said, do you want to upload your resume? And so they gave you the option and I uploaded mine. So it, it may, it you’ll be able to see it once you actually get on the common app and like explore.

Um, okay. Uh, how do I balance academic athletic, um, summer activities? Should I do more academically or athletically? It depends on what you can handle. [00:39:00] I, I can’t tell you what to do. It really boils down to what can you, as a student handled, are you going to be in a better spot where your most of your time is dedicated to your sport?

And then maybe one or two days a week is dedicated to. Something else, like academics or volunteering, or is it the reverse? Do you want your sport to be like, kind of split evenly with your personal and you know, extracurricular work? So, you know, for some students they do better one way or another, but it does take time to figure that out.

So what I would say is spend some time really figuring out when do you feel your best? You feel your best when you’re mostly focused on you? Sport, and then spend a little bit of time, you know, on other things. Or do you feel better when, you know, you do your sport at your own leisure versus, and you know, can spend the rest of your time, um, on extracurricular activities.

So it takes some time and definitely feel it out and see what works best for. [00:40:00] Yes. And we do have other webinars that go over extracurricular activities. What you should be doing 10th and 11th grade, academically, and extracurricularly. And then we also have different webinars on passionate projects. You can find all of these.

If you go to college, and then just type in the keyword that you’re looking for. And another student’s asking is what kind of passion project will make your application stand out? And if we can broaden this. What can make a student stand out in the admissions process? Yeah, that’s a great question.

Um, what will make you stand out? Like the passion project that will make you stand out is the one that is most authentic to you. So it’s not, um, I’m not gonna say it’s, you know, Rescuing abandoned puppies from Texas. I’m not going to say it’s finding a cure for cancer. It really boils down to what are you passionate about and how you communicate that?

Because what students, I think fail to understand is that we read [00:41:00] hundreds of applications. And so a lot of the time we’re reading the same things over and over and over again. And what makes you stand out is that you’re doing something different and we can read about it and say, wow, this is what.

McKenzie’s all about Mackenzie is about this and that’s great. I know exactly what she’s passionate about. I know exactly what her values are. So the passion project that aligns the best with your values is what’s going to give you the best chance of admission and it’s going to make you stand out in your college application.

And really it’s like, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing it, and you’re doing it for the sake of impressing someone, you’re not going to write about it in a way that’s really interesting or shows that you’re passionate about it. It’s just going to come up. It’ll have like a vibe of being like, oh, she’s just trying to show off.

Not she actually likes Liz. We totally pick up on when a student is just doing something for clout versus like a student who is [00:42:00] actually passionate about what they’re involved. another student’s asking, would you be interested in seeing a lot of volunteer hours or not so many, but, um, ha but done at places that are unique?

If so, what would be the best place, maybe something, um, which you have seen a student do before? Um, for like an example. Yeah, it definitely sounds like you’d be a great candidate to join college advisor. So, um, I would highly recommend that for you. Um, but honestly, Um, I already forgot the question McKenzie.

So could you repeat it back? So, um, how, uh, would you prefer seeing a lot of volunteer hours and like a lot of places or, um, if it was a really unique volunteer experience though, it wasn’t like a million different ones, which would be better. So like quality or quantity. Sort of answer. Yeah, absolutely. I’m definitely quality.

And it also matters to look [00:43:00] at the values of the universities you’re applying to. So if you are really passionate about one university and you know, that university. You know, in their mission, they are about volunteering and giving back and like being linked to their community in some way, then that one unique experience might actually hold a lot of weight at that one university.

Um, but if you’re you’re researching the universities that you’re interested in and you’re not really seeing. They value volunteer, work in their community, then, you know, maybe that’s a conversation of, okay, what do I actually want? And am I looking at the right university? So it’s always going to be quality over quantity.

Um, especially if you’re excited about it. Like, if you’re excited about working at like one or volunteering at one unique, you know, organization, that sounds like a really great opportunity. And for me, I was in beta and NHS and we had like the different service projects. Most of the time, we would just be making cards for old people.

And I [00:44:00] did not mention that at all in my application. Cause I was just barely there. I made like one card and. Um, but technically I still got volunteer hours, but when I did my own passion project, starting my own college readiness club at my high school, that was volunteer. That was my own project. I had way more to say.

And that was like the main thing that was on my resume for, uh, getting into college. And then now, still in college, I’m still using it. It’s how I got this job. It’s like, um, what’s, you’re able to talk more about that you were actively in is better than just having a million things to talk. Absolutely. Uh, and real quick for those in the room that 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 like Ariana and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate at all in one-on-one advising sessions.

In last year’s admission cycle, our students were accepted into Harvard at three times the national. [00:45:00] And accepted into Stanford at 4.4 times. The national rate sign up for a free consultation with us by registering for our free web [email protected] Their students and families can explore webinars, keep track of application deadlines, research schools, and more.

All right on. And college advisor is just a really great pro form where you really get that one-on-one time with an advisor who really understands the admissions process, and they can really help you in navigating what your interests are, what you want to do, what you are looking for in a school and using what you’ve already done so far in high school and beyond, um, to really make your application well-rounded really get that brand together.

And. Even if you aren’t a part of college advisor, we do have our free webinars and our blog. But if you join college advisor, you really get that one-on-one, you are off offered other resources, such as our different essay, editing teams, financial aid [00:46:00] teams, uh, and you can, uh, even get. I forgot the last thing.

Oh, private webinars, um, on various topics where you can get some more face-to-face time with our presenters. And so now going back to the Q and a, um, so, um, just to get like a broad idea, um, how can a resume really help a student’s, uh, application and how do admissions officers. Yeah, that’s a great question.

So, uh, again, we read hundreds of applications a day, um, a lot of the same thing, believe it or not. And so it, it gets monotonous and it gets redundant. And what students need to know is that adding a resume. To your application is an additional opportunity for you to brag about yourself. It’s an additional opportunity for you to highlight who you are outside of that application.

And that’s a really unique opportunity that a lot of students don’t take advantage of, but it really. Is like [00:47:00] underestimated at the college level. Um, it’s, you know, maybe there are things that aren’t don’t fit into your activity section. Maybe there are things that you want us to see that you you’ve been involved in outside of your academia.

And again, it’s an opportunity to brag about yourself and contribute to that personal brand. You know, we read applications all the time that I’m like, okay, this student has a 4.0 GPA. I don’t know anything about them. They’re a bio major. They’re in biology club. They’re doing research. They sound pretty boring to me, to be honest, like you and having.

Like let’s take that same student. Right. And they submit a resume. And on that resume, they’ve spent, you know, the past four summers working for their parents’ restaurant and helping their parents establish, you know, a marketing brand and like, you know, they created an Instagram account for their parents and like help drive revenue.

Like that’s a really cool, separate thing that tells me more about that student and what [00:48:00] that student values. Um, so that’s the role that, that plays in the admissions for. Yes. And because what the common app on the activity section, it has 150 character limit, which means it’s not even words, it’s just the literal characters, including punctuation.

So that’s a very small amount of space to really explain in depth what you did with these activities. So the resume really does provide you an extra space to really tie everything together with that professional summary or personal summary. And. Elaborate more on your activities so that you can really show admissions officers what you were doing in high school.

Um, and yes. Okay. So a lot of students, uh, on the call are new to the admissions process in general. Um, so can you explain maybe a little bit like a brief overview of some aspects of the admissions process and then how the resume connects to it? Yeah. I mean, I just answered that, but I guess to repeat myself, um, [00:49:00] so.

For example, if you know, student a is looking to major in biology and they’ve got a 4.0 and they’ve got a good sat score and they’re in biology club and they’ve been doing research, you know, at a lab outside of school. Honestly, like I get it. You’re interested in biology. You like sciences, but especially when we talk about competitive college admissions, there’s nothing about this student that I’ve read that stands out.

And so what the resume does is it gives the student an opportunity. To highlight who they are and what they’ve accomplished. It’s an opportunity to brag about yourself. You should be bragging about yourself. You’re about to put down thousands of dollars for an education. You better, you better brag as much as you can.

You better tell me about why you deserve to be here. Why you, why you belong here, why your values align with our values. And that is not something [00:50:00] that students take advantage of in the application. A lot of the time now let’s say let’s take another student, right? Let’s say the same student is interested in biology, but they also started.

Um, a math club for underprivileged children in a different community. They’ve done mission trips every year, somewhere. Um, they have worked part-time for the past three summers at camp, you know, and they’ve taken AP biology. They’ve got a really rigorous curriculum that is also a really balanced student, right?

Like that’s a really balanced application. I get a picture of who they are. But what the resume does is it said, Hey, these are additional things. These are additional qualities that highlight my application and additional qualities that highlight what I’m about and how your resume connects to your long-term plans.

Like these are the skills I’ve built, and this is how I plan on continuing to build those skills through college, through graduate school, into the [00:51:00] real world to get it. Uh, okay, so we’re getting close to the end of the webinar. Um, but let’s see. Um, if you see any questions that you want to answer, please feel free to just read them and start answering.

Um, it says, um, somebody asked, is it appropriate to have. On your resume of volunteer work or sports? Um, the short answer is no, it, it, you should not be putting pictures, um, on your resume or your CV. Um, you know, submitting a sports real like through the NCAA is different. Um, but on your resume, there’s no need for, for pictures.

Okay. So, um, how can students find opportunities to put on their record? Uh, yeah, that’s a great question. Honestly, start with your guidance counselor. Yeah. Would be surprised the resources that your guidance [00:52:00] counselor has, um, because what happens is that, you know, colleges will visit your high school. They will visit your high school and, you know, meet with your guidance counselor.

And a lot of the time colleges will leave information about summer programs. They leave information about summer. You know, leadership institutes that they offer because they want students to attend. So starting with your guidance counselor and seeing, you know, do you have any resources of, you know, summer camps that are coming up or do you know of any, you know, companies in the area that are looking always start within your network, ask your parents, ask your friends, ask your friends, parents.

Um, you know, I think a lot of people are quick to just like Google internship opportunities for high school student. Honestly, any opportunity I have ever found any opportunity any of my students have ever found has been through their network and who they know. Um, so never underestimate, you know, who knows who and who in your network has an opportunity that you might [00:53:00] be interested.

Yes. And, um, what’s she gonna call it? Uh, I, when I was in high school, I got some of my experiences from my teachers also. So, um, my, um, his not my, his, my gov teacher was telling us that we should go work at the, uh, as poll officials in their election and my 10th grade year. Trying to do it, but I ended up not doing it that year, but then when senior year came around, I ended up becoming a poll official.

And that was one of the best things of my application as well as, um, for my resume. Um, later on when I was looking at jobs and now getting back into policy it’s really helped. So there are a lot of opportunities out there for high school students. You just have to really ask around. Yeah, absolutely. And just to, oh, go ahead.

No, you go. Sorry. Oh, no, I was just going to answer another question. Um, so somebody, somebody asked, should I put the website link or proof of my activities on my resume? No. Do not [00:54:00] put any links to activities in the activity section. Um, we won’t, we won’t click on any links in the application. Um, so like if you don’t have an uploaded resume in the college app, um, There’s a 99% chance the admissions officer is going is not going to click on it.

So that’s a no going off of that question, another student was asking if the activities are verified and do they need references? Um, it depends. So like if you’ve done research in a lab, like you worked as a lab assistant, um, and you’re interested in biology, they may require a letter of recommendation or require.

Um, just to verify those opportunities, but like, if you’ve played sports for four years on a high school team, like nobody’s going to ask you verification for that. We just [00:55:00] don’t have the time to ask you to verify a lot of things. Uh, for projects like passion, project and stuff, I’ve recommended to my students.

Um, either if it’s a school project, have a teacher sponsor or, um, someone else write them a letter of recommendation to go with their application if they want it, that extra bit of proof. So like I had, um, my sponsor for my passion project at my high school, write me a letter of recommendation, but it wasn’t really necessary.

Cause I talked about it enough to where. And I wasn’t lying, so it just kind of spoke for itself, but it can help to get a letter of recommendation of back it up, but you don’t need like references. Right. Um, okay. And just to close off the resume, um, a lot of students are asking about like how to pick majors, how to pick, um, interests, passions.

Uh, do you have any advice on how to go about picking a passion, finding a brand for you? Yeah, absolutely. I would say start doing college tours. Like [00:56:00] it doesn’t even have to be anywhere specific. Like you don’t have to come to Harvard to do a college tour. Like started a college that’s near you. You know, are you by a state school?

Like go do a tour. Are you by a private or Catholic college? Go do a tour because what you’re going to start to realize is that number one, your tour guide is going to be a current student and they are going to list off everything that they’re involved in. And so you’re going to hear, these are the things that student is involved in, and that’s an opportunity to pick that person’s brain and.

You know, what did you do in high school? How did you navigate choosing opportunities? And then also just getting a feel for the college and saying, you know, what are the most popular majors here? Like, like why did you choose here? And literally the more you start doing that, the more you’re going to start to realize, you know what?

I actually. This topic. I actually like this campus, you know, I actually was really interested when this tour guide was talking about like her psychology [00:57:00] courses. Like that sounds really cool. That might be something I’m interested in. You pick up on things as you go touring colleges and talking to people at these colleges.

And so that’s really a great place to start if you’re like, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I want to do or major in, or I don’t even know what I want. Go do a college tour. Hear about what other people like and see what sparks your interest and ask questions as you can. And if you aren’t able to travel to them, um, some of your schools may do their own college fairs or even career fairs, um, where you can just go to different booths and talk to colleges and they do, um, and colleges will do tours in different cities.

So like back home in Atlanta, they had one with Cornell rice, um, and a few other universities, and they were just talking about those. And those are usually all free. And you can just go and find out more. If you are unable to travel to the actual school. And so, um, that is the end of our webinar. Thank you everyone for coming out tonight and thank you to our panelists, Ari, [00:58:00] Ana, I hope you found this information helpful.

And remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, and this webinar is being recorded. So you can view it later at, or you can even make your account with us at, uh, so that you can get more notifications and information and start on your admissions process.

Here’s the rest of our February series, where we will be talking about, um, different aspects of the application. We have a few, um, Things on, uh, people’s journeys. And, uh, next month we will also be having a webinar on creating your own brand. If you want it to know more about that, and we’ll have other opportunities for you to learn more about different aspects of the admissions process.

So thank you everyone for coming out and goodnight.