The high school resume is unique. Unlike an employment resume, the student resume highlights a variety of activities from the high school years sharing a specific set of information that can paint a picture of their passions and aspirations.
Colleges and scholarship committees use this information to reveal what the student’s transcript cannot. They seek to understand students’ interests, experience, and character to guide their decision-making process.
Where one spends time - there lies the heart.
By drawing attention to activities in which students have invested their time, both in school and outside of school, students can help admissions officers decide if they are a good “fit” for their community and help scholarship committees discern the best candidate for their funds.
Students are more than a set of grades and much more than test scores on a given day. They were created for a purpose that is guided by their God-given gifts and interests. A well-crafted high school resume can illuminate the uniqueness of each individual. It can also indicate their level of commitment to their community whether that be serving others as a volunteer or in leadership roles.
While students should try a variety of activities in high school to help them find where their true passions lie, as they move closer to the upperclassmen years they should begin to show a more defined set of interests.
Colleges will be looking for “quality over quantity.” It is more important to do fewer things WELL, rather than spreading oneself too thin. It is a bonus if the student’s activities support the goals shared in their career objective. Avoid “packing” the resume with a multitude of unrelated activities.
What Information Should Be Shared on a High School Resume?
A high school student's resume should include activities from their high school years beginning with freshmen year. There are exceptions to this rule. If students have an activity they have invested time and interest in for years and continue to do so, this
information is important to share. Examples of this could be, Scouts, 4-H Club, Competition Riding, etc.
Personal Contact Information:
Student contact information should appear at the top of the resume. Name and email address are essential. It may be helpful to include a phone number but this is optional. The email address should be mature and respectful. Students may find it helpful to create an email address just for colleges. This may help them keep this process organized and prioritized.
In this section, the name of each high school attended, anticipated graduation month/ year, and Diploma plan should be listed as applicable. It is helpful to share the student’s GPA, as well as the GPA scale here, such as 4.0 or 5.0.
This section is optional but if students have clear career interests, this is an appropriate place to share that information. This should appear directly under the personal contact information.
This includes participation in activities outside the classroom, such as sports, clubs, etc. These can be school-related or non-school-related. These activities can take a considerable amount of time and demonstrate a student's drive and personal commitment.
The resume is not the place to be shy. This is where you will want to brag. Share the achievements and awards earned in school as well as accolades received outside of school. This could include musical performances, athletic events, academic honors, and competitions. Success in these areas demonstrates a student's diligence, skill, and abilities.
Activities that demonstrate leadership tell the reader that students understand the value of cooperation, communication, and commitment.
When most students think about leadership positions, they think of titles such as, “president”, “treasurer”, or “team captain.” However, the heart of leadership is service and influence. Jesus is a servant leader. John 13:12-17 tells the story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet and instructing them to do as he has. Students can demonstrate this type of leadership by organizing a monthly neighborhood clean-up or volunteering to lead a committee event. These activities have value and should be listed in this section.
Service or volunteer experience is important to college and scholarship committees. These are activities in which students work without compensation. A student's willingness to serve demonstrates selflessness and character.
In this section, students should keep track of hours spent in service. It can also be helpful to note adult supervisors who can verify your efforts if needed.
Employment is work for which compensation is received. Holding a job demonstrates work ethic, a key ingredient for success in college and life. This could include working at a local business, a summer camp position, or self-employment, such as babysitting or lawn care.
Students should include the name of the business, dates of employment, position held, and duties performed.
Special Talents, Abilities, and Skills
Sharing unique gifts and proficiencies can be beneficial. Playing a musical instrument or speaking a foreign language fluently can be shared here.
What About Resume Format and Length?
Colleges may require you to enter the information into their web database rather than submit a document. If you are creating a physical document, be concise. Use specific phrases to describe your activities using “bullet points” rather than sentences.
Typically, one-page resumes are the easiest for the reader to scan, but unlike a business resume, student resumes may be longer.
What About "Portfolios"?
Most fine art programs want to see a portfolio of up to twenty of the students' best works and artist statements. This can be uploaded digitally for some colleges or given directly to the fine arts department on a tour of the school or interview for the programs there. Experts at IvyWise share a helpful article on “How to Plan” for this important documentation.
In the fall, explore “National Portfolio Days,”. Art students meet with various art schools on the same day to present their portfolios and get feedback on relevant scholarships.
High School Resume-Building Resources
Keeping track of these activities and accomplishments as soon as high school begins can make college and scholarship applications a breeze.
Check out our free resume building template. Explore our Freshmen Orientation package which includes a key lesson on building and maintaining this important document as well as other topics crucial to successfully maximizing the significant high school years.
Ultimately, God wants to use students to impact their generation for His glory. A well-crafted resume is a sign of a student who maximized the important high school years, bringing glory to God, and serving as a testimony of His work in the student’s life.
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