Admission to a college of their choice is a dream of every high school student or any other working professional who aims for a college education. And why shouldn’t it be? The first thing that should come to your mind is to create an awesome resume for college admissions.
Being a college graduate increases your ability to be a critical thinker, work smoothly in an increasingly sophisticated and diverse world, expand your career options, helps you earn better wages at a job of your choice, ensures job security along with benefits. You can also make lasting connections that can help you if you need support to launch a business later on in life.
In this competitive world, several good students aim to further their knowledge and career by attending a topnotch college. So what are the things that can add weight to your resume? Read on to find out!
Academic excellence: All colleges look for students with good grades. Some pointers
- Strive for a good grade point average (GPA)
- Ensure that your grades are good in both the easy and tough courses
- Make your that your standardised tests scores are also good, eg. SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT (American College Testing) or any other standard tests accepted by your shortlisted colleges
Advanced Placement (AP) or Honours classes: Colleges also look for instances where you have gone over and above the standard curriculum to challenge yourself academically. Have you taken any AP exams, honours, International Baccalaureate (IB), or any other college prep classes? Ensure high scores in such courses and mention them to show that you are up for the task of higher learning. For the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) syllabus, AS(11th grade) and A(12th grade) levels are considered as AP courses.
Personal qualities: In addition to good grades, colleges also look for things that make you unique and those who can contribute to life on their campus.
Personal traits such as leadership skills, willingness to take the initiative, the ability to handle a team, a sense of social responsibility or commitment will all contribute to making a good impression. Individuals who can show resourcefulness, dependability, problem-solving ability, along with a positive attitude can be a feather in the cap of any institution.
These skills can be indirectly displayed by participating in several activities, such as:
- The math team
- The debate club
- Contributing to the school newspaper
- Athletic pursuits such as a soccer team or cricket team
- Peer tutoring or advising
- Volunteering or providing community service, e.g. helping out at an old home, spending time at an orphanage, teaching underprivileged children
- Pursuing after-school or summer jobs
- Taking extra classes to improve upon weak areas
In each case, the more responsible the post, the better. If you have received any promotions or special recognitions, mention them in your resume. If you are currently working, including the relevant pursuits that you may have undertaken both during your school years and thereafter.
Talents or passions: This refers to any other talents or passions that you may have or engage in like hiking, singing, playing an instrument, etc.
College essay: The college essay presents ‘you’ in a snapshot of the college. So you can include all reasons why you will be a good fit for the college in question. It can show the admission officers who you are and how you can contribute to their college campus.
Also list out your reasons for choosing their college – their classes, their department, the positive social environment, etc.
Letters of recommendation: Ensure that you ask for recommendation letters from teachers or professionals who can give an admission officer a lot of insight into you both as a student and as a person. The qualities that you display in class or at work such as teamwork, leadership, fairness can be better articulated by the person who has mentored you.
Once you are ready with information on all of the above, ensure that when you write your college admission letter, you portray a confident person who will be a valuable addition to their institution!
Tips for writing a good resume
- Restrict your resume to a single page, a maximum of two pages
- Be concise and direct; don’t use flowery language
- List out personal details followed by your academic profile and work experiences in reverse chronological order, i.e. start with your latest achievements
- Mention any unique experiences that can set you apart from other candidates
- Emphasise specific achievements over general responsibilities, e.g. Instead of saying ‘helped publish a paper on the growth of banana plants in vitro’, state “researched, wrote and presented laboratory findings of in vitro growth of banana plants along with Prof. Masters in the Journal of Agricultural Sciences’’. Don’t forget to include the details of the publication in your admission letter!
- Keep the resume neat and clean with bullet points along with a consistent formatting style.
- Proofread the resume several times
- Ask trusted peers or seniors to go through your resume and give you suggestions on any errors/omissions.
But before applying, do not forget to shortlist the colleges which can enhance both your personal and academic learning!
Research, research and more research: Whether you are a high school senior or a working professional, it is never too early to start researching colleges to make sure that you get into your preferred course at the college of your choice. Some of the criteria that can mould your decision include:
- What are the courses you need to take?
- Are the available classes interesting?
- What are the class timings?
- What are the average class size and the faculty-to-student ratio?
- How are the courses structured? Do they emphasise on hands-on training, lectures or team collaborations?
- Do they offer flexibility in changing your major/classes?
- What is the size of the department? How prestigious is it?
- What opportunities do they offer students? Can students participate in research and internships?
- Do they offer financial aid?
- How far is the college from home?
- What kind of housing facilities do they offer, if needed?
- What is the size of the campus?
- How diverse is the body of students? Do they give admission to students from other states/countries?
- What is the cultural atmosphere? What kind of clubs is available on campus? Do they host events?
If you are well-equipped with all the required information, then please put your pen to paper (or rather type out your resume) to ace your admission!
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