Create An Impressive Resume for College Applications

A resume is essential for high school students to showcase their knowledge, skills, and personal hobbies to college admission officers. Not sure how to craft a perfect resume for college applications? Follow our step-by-step guide to craft an impressive resume!
Create Impressive Resume for College Applications

Step-by-step

To better provide guidance and instruction about writing resume for college application, we will provide a resume example from an MIT admitted student named Chelsea Edwards. You can read more about her information here.

resume example 2
resume example

How long should my resume be?

Your college application resume shouldn’t be longer than 2 pages. We know that you will probably have a lot of activities and awards throughout high school; therefore, it’s challenging for students to fit everything into only 1 page. Besides the main resume, if you want to showcase detailed achievements about your passions or talents in arts and sports, you can also create a separate 1-page resume for each of those talents as well. 

What should I put on my resume?

The above image is our recommendation for a standard high school resume. In short, a standard resume should include the following: 

  • Contact information
  • Resume Objective
  • Education (Graduation date, GPA) 
  • Academic awards, publications, honors and achievements
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer/Community service 
  • Work Experience
  • Interests & Hobbies
  • Skills

Overall, the sections should have bullet points instead of paragraphs highlighting your abilities and skills. The resume structure should be easy to read and easy to follow. 

Let’s go into detail about each section: 

Resume for college applications
1. Include your contact information.

In this section, you should include your full name, email address, phone number, and links to other profiles (portfolio, website, projects, etc.). Optionally, you can include a branding statement such as “Aspiring Website Designer” under your name to introduce your career goals and aspirations. 

House address and phone number are for formality purposes, because you already include these two pieces of information somewhere else on the Common Application or university specific application. If you don’t have enough space for the resume, you can shorten your house address to street address, and remove your phone number. The purpose of this section is for the admission officer to identify your name and links to your other profiles like LinkedIn, portfolio, or website. 

2. Write a resume objective

A resume objective is a one-to-two sentence statement discussing your professional goals and aspirations. An objective statement is recommended for a high school resume to clarify and emphasize your objectives and goals once attending college. A resume objective is totally optional for students, because a resume is the showcase of abilities and experience

Examples of a resume objective can be: 

“A scholarly and enthusiastic high school student seeking acceptance at a top tier university to further study Biomedical Engineering and research”

“High school student interested in expanding skills in website design and digital media, with the passion to create inclusive digital products for underserved communities”

3. Don’t forget your education history

No need to think much about this part. You can include information about your high school, graduation date, GPA and maybe a short introduction about the school. 

Example: 

High School Name, City, STATE 

A select admission school with five-year, honors-only curriculum

GPA: 3.8

Graduation Date: May 23, 2021

4. Highlight all experience

Before writing down your experience in the resume, you should list out everything you have done in the past and see which experiences are relevant to add. Experience can range from babysitting to website development personal projects, from volunteering activities to internships. Overall, this experience section should highlight your soft skills and academic capabilities. You should only focus on meaningful experiences from the high school level or above. 

Besides academic involvement, you should also highlight any academic achievements like honors or awards in this section. Honors can include the honor title, grade level, and level of recognition (regional, state, or national). 

According to Common App, you should include these in your experience section: 

  • Activity Type
  • Organization names, your title and dates involved 
  • Provide a short description of the experience/activity, focusing on your impact or how this experience has had an impact on you. 
  • Grade of participation 

Example: 

Science Involvement

Intern at UIUC Micro and Nano Technology Laboratory with Lab on a Chip for Global Health

  • Individual chip design and discussion with Dr. Rashid Bashir: adding malarial enumeration
  • Lab work: Fabricates microfluidic devices to enumerate CD4/CD8+ T-cells in blood 

Grade 12

Math Involvement

President at the school’s Math Club 

  • Manage a team of 5 and delegate responsibilities among members
  • Invite guest speakers from colleges for monthly workshops

1st-place in AMC-12 Competition, National Level 

Grade 9 – ongoing






Grade 12

5. Extracurricular activities and volunteer/Community service

Besides academic involvement and achievement, you can also add other extracurricular activities. If you have many activities, you can separate this section out from volunteering. If not, you can combine extracurricular activities with volunteering/community service. 

The content of extracurricular activities is similar to experience. 

Example: 

President at School’s Student Government 

  • Working with different stakeholder within the school’s environment to solve potential problems 
  • Informs schools administration of ideas from the student body 

Grade 9 – ongoing

6. Work experience

If you have the chance to work in school and/or outside of school, you should also include this here to diversify your experience. Examples of work experience can be tutoring, pet sitting, babysitting, being a photographer, etc.

7. Interests & Hobbies

This part shows the admission officer a little bit about your personal interests and your hobbies, showing your personality and what you like to do outside of school and other commitments. Some examples could be that you have traveled to 10+ countries, you go fishing every weekend, you have hiked the highest mountains in all states, etc. 

8. Skills

The last part is for you to include any soft skills you think are relevant to the college application. You can write about your fluency in languages, your editing skills, or your expertise in website development. 

Optionally, you can add a list of references at the bottom of the page in case the admission officer wants to contact a reference to learn more about a particular experience you have had. 

That’s everything you should include in your resume! You can create a simple resume like this in Google Docs, Word Docs, or even InDesign if you are a design expert! There are a lot of resume builders websites online if you want a specific design for your resume.

Further reading: 

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