July 12, 2016

Building a College Resumé: What Your Student Should Know

Have you ever felt helpless and not known how to help your child with their college applications? It’s tough, and I’ve been there. I come from a military family, and my parents didn’t have the slightest idea of what to tell me when I began applying for universities. For this reason, I’m here to help you help your future college student.

Many students and their parents are hyper-focused on applications and essays. But an important aspect of applying for colleges is building a college resumé of sorts. In addition to grades and test scores, a college resumé should include extracurricular activities that show off your student’s qualities as a leader, a student, and as an active community member.

When a college admissions officer is comparing the applications of numerous students with similar GPAs, extracurricular activities can really make your student stand out. This is especially true if your student plan on applying to competitive universities.

Parents can help their students build this type of resume by being involved with their high school and with their community. Here are some additional things you can do to encourage your child to become a more eligible candidate for admittance to competitive colleges, as well as top scholarships.


Students learn so much through volunteering. They can learn humility and how to offer a helping hand, not to mention they gain valuable practical skills in socializing, cleaning, cooking, or child-care depending on what the volunteer opportunity is.

College applications commonly ask about community service experience as these opportunities demonstrate leadership skills and willingness to get involved. This may even be a good family activity you can do together.

Sports and Clubs

Sports and clubs, volunteer work, and of course grades, are all part of your child’s college resume.

Success in sports often looks very good on a college application even if the student is not eligible for a sports scholarship. A student who is successful in balancing sports with schoolwork shows that they are good with time management and can be a team player. This is true for potential future employers as well.

Not every child is into sports, but there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved. Encourage your child to choose an activity whether it be sports, music, debate or the chess team. Not only are these activities great for college applications and essays, they also help students form friendships, build confidence, gain leadership experience, and overall become a contributing student on their future college campus.


Traveling is an amazing way to gain worldly perspectives and become a well-rounded individual. It’s a way to get stories, to show cultural understanding, and looks excellent to colleges.

Not every family can afford expensive trips around the world, but even local travel can provide different perspectives and meaningful experiences. In addition, some students may be able to afford trips sponsored by their school, church or local community center or business. Look into what is available.

Part Time Work

Work experience is crucial for a teenager. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t appreciate the value of a dollar as much as I do if it weren’t for all of my customer service jobs. Have your child get a part-time job, even if it is just for the summer or even at the McDonald’s down the road. These types of experiences look good to college scouts also, because they show that your child is hard-working.

Even with all of these suggestions, the number one thing that will help your future college student is your support. Supporting your child throughout this journey and helping them accomplish their dreams will benefit them so much through the end of their high school years and beyond.

Discover schools and majors that match your student today.

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