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5 Steps for Creating an Outstanding Activity Résumé

extracurricular activity resume

When deciding whether to admit you, colleges consider your extracurricular activities. The best way to showcase your activities is with an activity résumé that highlights your talents and strengths. An activity résumé organizes information you will need to complete your college applications. Some colleges invite you to attach an activity résumé to your application. It can also be given to your recommenders and college interviewers. Most scholarship applications require an activity résumé. Colleges want to know how you spend your time.

Here are five steps for creating an outstanding high school activity résumé.

1. List everything

To begin, make a list of everything you have done since the summer before 9th grade. Look around your home and check your computer for records of activities, such as a brochure for a summer camp, or a schedule for virtual club meetings. List activities of all types, including independent work and work performed to help your family at home.

2. Categorize

After you have a list, group similar and related activities together. The most common categories are:

  • Extracurriculars, such as school clubs, performing and visual arts, writing, academic research, math and science competitions, speech and debate

  • Athletics

  • Volunteer and community service

  • Summer experiences

  • Paid work

Your categories will be unique to you. For example, a student who focuses on music may not have an athletics category and other students might not have a paid work category. It’s not necessary to have every possible type of activity.

3. Prioritize

Prioritize your activities by putting those most important to you highest in order on the list within each category. For example, if you are a member of your school’s robotics team, write about robotics for the school newspaper, and independently research robotics, cluster those activities together near the top of your list under “extracurriculars.” That way, the reader can easily see what is important to you.

4. Describe

Clearly and briefly describe each activity. Here is the type of information to include in your descriptions:

  • The year in school you participated in the activity stated in descending chronological order—example: 11, 10, 9

  • The hours per week and the number of weeks per year you participated—example: 6 hours per week/30 weeks per year

  • Organization name—example: National Honor Society or school newspaper

  • Your role—example: president, member, volunteer, and specifically what you do

Your role is the most important part of the description. Start with your position—captain, editor, or volunteer. Describe your growth in the activity by noting, for example, that you evolved from newspaper writer in 9, to section editor in 10, and editor in 11. If you received any recognition, such as MVP or Rising Star, add that information to your description.

5. Format and proofread

Your activity résumé is a visual expression of who you are. It should be aesthetically pleasing and clear. Make life easy for your reader!

You can choose any format you like, either an Excel spreadsheet, a table in Word, or a classic résumé format with headings and bullet points. Whichever format you choose, be sure to use a consistent font and bold all headings. Have a header that includes your name, your school, the city and state where your school is located, and your email address.

Carefully read every line of your résumé. It is easy to make mistakes when you are compressing so much information into a single form. Neatness counts when teachers, interviewers, and colleges read your activity résumé, so proofread it. Finally, when you’re absolutely sure everything is perfect, convert your document to a PDF.

Traditionally, what you do in school, your activities, define you—a scientist, an athlete, a musician. Engagement in activities takes time and energy, but It’s worth the effort for many reasons, not the least of which is the positive impact an activity résumé can have in the college admission process.

At College Choice Counseling®, our counselors and tutors are here to help you with college counseling, college essay and application help, test prep tutoring, and academic subject tutoring.

Reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your activity résumé!

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