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What is a College Admissions Resume?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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A college admissions resume is a resume that is included as part of a college application, and includes information such as educational experience, awards won, volunteer work, or work completed, depending on the age of the student applying. A college application for undergraduate work may or may not require a resume in addition to the actual application, but nearly all graduate and post-graduate programs will require one. It is important to tailor the college admissions resume to the specific program, just as it should be tailored when applying for a specific job.

As with any application, it is important that a college admissions resume is neat and free of any grammatical errors; it is best to keep it to under two pages in order to highlight the most important information. Consider the most important pieces of experience that might make it more likely to be accepted into the program of choice. For instance, students or people just starting out in a field might not have a great deal of work experience, but volunteer experience can look fantastic on a college admissions resume. This is especially true of undergraduate applications, because it indicates the applicant's involvement in the community and ability to handle responsibility.

Individuals applying to graduate or doctoral programs will need to put more time into the college admissions resume. This is because most of these programs require some experience in the field of choice before graduate work can be pursued. This might be substituted for an undergraduate degree in the same field, but in general, at least some real world experience is preferred. Again, this might be volunteer work or actual work employed in the field. Additional courses above and beyond the requirements in the area of choice may be helpful as well, and something to be included on the resume.

Also included on any college admissions resume should be recognitions or awards received as part of work or education. These can indicate the ability to excel in a chosen field, and to do work above and beyond that of colleagues. Brief descriptions of each item listed on the resume should be included as well. It is helpful to have someone look over the resume before submitting it, to be sure that it is as complete as possible, and that no grammatical errors or mistakes have been made. The resume should also be printed on nice paper, or saved as a PDF if submitted over email, which is what most institutions prefer.

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Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Jan 13, 2015

@Terrificli -- I can't agree with you. Here is the thing about high school. You wind up taking a lot of classes that you may or may not care about. Take math, for instance. You are required to take a lot of math in high school, but what if you hate math? You probably won't do well in it during high school.

That does not necessarily mean you'll tank your classes in college because you will be taking stuff you like.

And that is exactly the type of thing a resume can show. It can show that your grades may not be the best, but you are involved in a lot of activities and have done some things that demonstrate you are serious about those things you do care about. That is a good thing for a college recruiter to know.

By Terrificli — On Jan 12, 2015

@Melonlity -- I am not sure that those resumes will show why a kid deserves a second chance because grades and test scores are good metrics. If a kid is sharp as a whip but has average grades and entrance exam scores because he is too lazy to apply himself, how will that change when he gets too college?

The chances are good the kid will still goof around in college and get fair to middling grades. All the admission resumes in the world won't alter that fact.

By Melonlity — On Jan 11, 2015

A good resume can help make the difference between getting into college and staying home. In a lot of ways, they provide those students asked to write them a chance to show why their grades or college prep scores don't paint the accurate picture of a student. They can help a student show that he deserves the chance to show what he can do in college.

In other words, I am talking about those students who might not have the best grades or entrance exam scores on the planet. Those metrics don't always paint a complete picture.

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