Your resume should give undergraduate admissions committees a brief rundown of your grades, past jobs, awards, leadership activities and presentation skills, and creative capabilities like music, art, writing, or interpersonal skills.
The purpose of the resume is to demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed academically and socially at the college. To that end, the resume should usually include the following items to paint a complete picture of you.
- Be concise and direct.
- Limit your resume to one page. If you absolutely must go to two pages, you should have enough content to cover a good portion of the second page.
- Mention unique experiences.
- Don't embellish your background or accomplishments.
- Use active rather than passive voice.
- Emphasize specific achievements over general responsibilities.
- Proofread the resume several times.
- Have one or more people look at your resume before you send it out. This will help you avoid glaring omissions or errors.
- Heading: Include all your personal information, including your name, address, phone number, and email address.
- Academic profile: List your high school and the dates you attended on your resume for a college application. Include your specific class ranking or a general percentage ("graduated in the top 10% of the class") if you think it will strengthen your application. Also highlight any advanced coursework you've completed, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.
- Co-curricular activities: Include any school-affiliated clubs, musical groups, or sports teams you took part in.
- Extracurricular activities: Mention out-of-school groups or activities in which you participated. They, along with your co-curricular activities, will show that you have a diverse background and aren't one-dimensional.
- Employment history: This can include internships, research experiences, summer programs, and study abroad programs.
- Skills: Include any languages you are fluent in, computer skills, software skills, and soft skills like leadership or communication to increase the odds that you will get accepted.
- Volunteer experience: Having volunteer experience on a resume for a college application shows that you care about the world around you and are willing to work for the betterment of your community.
- Recognition: List the achievements you are most proud of, including any honors or awards.
- Hobbies and interests: Focus on hobbies that are indirectly related to your intended degree program (photography for a media program or travel for an international relations program, for example).
Note: You don't have to include all the above items in your resume, but include any that would make you the most attractive candidate for the program.