How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

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Our counselors answered:

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

Very often it can be the deciding factor to tip the scales - one way or the other. Sometimes it just winds up in the trash, never being reviewed. It's always to your advantage to include one, unless you've had very, very few accomplishments in high school.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

Typically, the most important factors in college admissions are: Grades in College Prep Coursework, Curriculum, Test Scores, and overall GPA. However, some universities, typically those with holistic approaches to evaluation, will give merit to the information included in the resume. It will not necessarily include or exclude you from a class on its own, but it can push you over the edge if you are a candidate who is on the fence.

Steph Hart
Owner, Principle Consultant Essential Elements: Comprehensive College Planning

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

For many public institutions that conduct admission decisions based upon a matrix of test scores and gpa, the resume is of no importance and, if submitted, will likely not even be read. But for schools that utilize wholistic review in determining admission, the resume is a critical aspect of the application file. In partnership with the essay, letters of recommendation, test scores, and gpa, the resume shows a student's commitment to life outside of the classroom; demonstrates passions and interests. The document should reflect what is important to the applicant and thereby assists the campus in recognizing good fit...or not. There are also colleges/universities that offer leadership and service scholarships, often in addition to academic awards. In these cases, the only opportunity for the admission office to learn if a student might be qualified to receive one of these scholarships is by reading the resume. If one is not submitted or if it does not offer a quality view of the applicant's time outside of the classroom, scholarship dollars could be in jeopardy.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

Though some schools do ask for students to include a resume, this is generally unnecessary. The items that you would include on a resume (club memberships, work experience, awards, etc.) are all things that are already being asked of you on your application. Though a resume does streamline this information, some admission officers may just bypass your resume as an additional piece of paper with repetitive information.

Ronald Harris

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

A résumé is an important part of your college application,it summarizes your achievements, talents, and interests. It is a great way to showcase what you have done during your high school years, who you are, and what you can contribute to a college campus.

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

Having an actual resume is not important at all. However, having solid and meaningful extracurricular activities is very important to many schools. While some public universities admit students just on the basis of transcripts and/standardized testing, most private universities want to see some activities. The most competitive schools will want to see activities where you have accomplished a lot and/or taken advantage of all the opportunities available to you. That said, your transcript and GPA are still the most important part of your application and you should make sure that your grades don't suffer because you are over-committed to your extracurricular activities.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

In the overall scheme of things, the resume is lower on the scale of application importance. While it is certainly helpful in rounding out your file and adding another dimension to your candidacy; it is not nearly as critical as the academic rigor of your transcript, grades, test scores, and interview. Colleges want to enroll a diverse student body, not necessarily an entire class of well rounded individuals. By reviewing resumes the school and make sure there is a cross section of community service minded, politically active, musically oriented, athletically interested, etc. students enrolled.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

The resume is vital to a college application. Whether it is a formal resume or an activity list, colleges are looking for students who have been active throughout high school. They want students to be active on campus. They are looking for where students show consistency, development, leadership, and initiative. The more you can show what you have achieved through power verbs and strong sentences is key.

Henry DelAngelo
High School Counselor 20 + years Your Key to College

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

Many schools do not require a resume but rather have an extracurricular section, as the format is consistent. Have a few activities that you are actively involved in and have meaningful experiences is better than many activities with little impact.

Brittany Maschal
Founder/Director B. Maschal Educational Consulting

How important is a resume compared to other parts of the college application?

The Common Application collects resume data or 10 activities. There are only a few schools that now even allow for an additional resume upload (Penn, Brandeis, Georgetown, to name a few). So, given that most schools don't request it - aka they don't want it - it isn't all that important compared to other parts of the application. Although if a school gives you the option to submit one do it. Nothing optional is ever really optional.