If you’re a high school freshman on the college track, it’s time to start building your resume to get into the right university for you.
Resume?, you might ask, scratching your head. Aren’t those just required when you’re trying to get a job? Well, when applying to colleges, you’ll have to provide an autobiographical essay and enumerate the activities you participated in during high school. In essence, you will have to provide colleges a resume—a summary of your accomplishments.
To improve your chances of getting into one of your dream schools—just as you would work to improve your chances of landing your dream job—come prepared with a strong resume.
You’ll show a college that you’re serious about pursuing a specific course of study and career path when you can provide proof you’ve invested time learning more about that specific career. And writing an essay and providing a list of activities that speak in earnest to your career interest can give you a better shot at getting into a school with programs that align with that interest.
This can improve your chances of getting into the college or university that is right for you.
All colleges and universities have different strengths; one college may be known for its music program, another for its medical program, and yet another for its engineering program. You’ll want to research which colleges are a better match for your interests and keep in mind what those colleges are looking for in student candidates.
Great, you may be thinking, but I still don’t know what I’m really interested in doing. Or perhaps you have an idea of what you think you want to do, but still aren’t sure.
Don’t despair. High school is the time to figure things out.
I’m thinking of a student who aspired to attend a college with a top-rated journalism program. For purposes of this blog, let’s call her “Carol.” Carol made great grades, and in her junior year, she participated in a summer journalism workshop offered by her hometown newspaper. During that experience, Carol met reporters, editors, photographers, managers, and others who spoke about what their jobs entailed. After hearing them talk, Carol was even more convinced that journalism was the right field for her. Additionally, she came away with tangible proof of her participation in the program: The paper published an article she wrote. She also made connections with professionals who ultimately wrote college recommendation letters for her that spoke to her genuine commitment to becoming a journalist.
In part because of her experiences in that summer program, Carol wrote a convincing college essay about why she was a perfect candidate for her dream university’s journalism school. The workshop experience also looked good listed alongside her special academic activities, which included a semester studying biochemistry in a medical program for high school students. Carol had participated in this program because, though she believed she wanted to be a writer, she had wanted to see if writing is what she really wanted to do. That medical program experience had turned out to be important, because from it, Carol learned that she was not talented in the sciences and that she had no interest in the field of medicine. This had given her further proof that her talent was with words, not with numbers, which helped her write that strong college essay that clearly showed her passion for journalism was not a fluke.
Ultimately, Carol was admitted to the highest-rated journalism program in the country.
The moral of Carol’s story: Though you may know, or think you know, where your genuine career interests lie, still take advantage of the various academic programs and extracurricular activities your school and area may offer. Doing so will help you more clearly define or confirm your interests and help you get on the path to the right college and career.
The only mistake you can make in building your college resume is to not take a chance on a new activity. Now is the time to learn what you do best, what you like the most, and what you might like to pursue as a career.
Get your resume ready.