Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Resumes: A Way to Showcase Who You Are

Supplementing the colleges’ own pointed questions, a well-crafted resume can help complete the picture of the applicant. In writing a resume students should avoid endless lists. Instead, the resume should highlight the things that really matter to the student, the activities and recognitions that illustrate their true talents and passions, not their ability to be a joiner or a follower. Effective resumes give the admissions people a better sense of who an applicant is and what they offer the prospective college community, since in the end, whether applicants are what the shapers of that community want is what the admission process is about.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Simple is Better

I think that it's important to know how to compile a solid resume because resume writing is definitely an important life skill. However, I don't recommend submitting a separate resume along with your college applications for the following reasons: 1. some colleges expressly tell applicants NOT to submit separate resumes; 2. most applications (including the Common Application) provide ample space for you to list your activities, accomplishments, and honors; 3. most of the student resumes just repeat information that is already set forth in the application; 4. some application readers find having to read additional materials annoying; and 5. many resumes are not read at all and therefore are a waste of your time. If you do decide to submit a resume, make sure that the colleges to which you are applying do not expressly request that you do NOT submit them. Also - craft your resumes with care. Do not list the same activity/accomplishment more than once in order to "beef up" your accomplishments. Many students will list membership in "honor" societies under "honors" and "activities." Once is sufficient. "Double dipping" just makes your look bad. In my many years of interviewing applicants for Harvard, I found that having to wade through 3-4 page resumes only to find that the same activity was listed two, three and sometimes four times -- was a truly negative experience and duly noted on my interview report to the school. Don't make it difficult for admissions officer to find out who you are. Keep it simple and direct and put forth your best efforts on the application. If you have the time to devote to agonizing over a resume, you have the time to craft an elegant application that sets forth the best version of you. Your application readers will be able to "get" you quickly and THAT is the goal -- right?

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

Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

On the Common App if the college asks for any additional info you'd like to submit. Just make sure it's not too many characters. Otherwise, submit it directly to the director of admissions, or give it to the interviewer at the beginning of your interview.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

I do not work in an admissions office, but it is my understanding that a student-submitted resume is neither recommended nor desired. It is conceivable that a college or university could for some reason request a resume, but I've never encountered that situation. Colleges/universities gather the information they want through their institutional applications, the Common Application, and/or the Common Application supplements specific to the schools. A student-submitted resume would merely be extraneous in this context; they will already have the required information. If a student submits a resume anyhow, I don't know how or even IF it would be considered in the application review process.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

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.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

A student-submitted resume is fine if you just have soooooo many activities/awards/extracurriculars to list that they just don't fit on the Common App section. If that is the case, note "see attached resume" and don't fill in that section. Application readers don't have much time, so don't waste it by making them re-read information stated elsewhere. That said, make sure that you aren't listing minutia that doesn't belong in the application anyway. If you are just trying to "pad" the file, don't go there, they will see right through that. It never hurts to have a resume ready to go. Create one now and it will be easy to just update it as your life proceeds.

Trevor Creeden
Director of College and Career Counseling Delaware County Christian School

Is a student-submitted resume suggested? How/when/where?

I am a big believer in the resume. The resume should be one page in length, include a profile picture and include anything and everything you have done outside of your core academic classes in school. Even electives that student took could be included in the resume. A college wants to know how you are going to benefit their school and be involved. They don't want students who are going to stay in their room all day and study. They want students who are going to be an asset to their campus and get involved. A picture is important because it forces them to put a face to the name. At a lot of big universities, an applicant is just a number. When they see a picture, it personalizes you a bit to them and can make a small difference. I send the resume in with the transcript to make sure they get it. You can also use the resume to give to teachers when asking for a letter of recommendation, a college rep when they visit your school, an internship or an interview you have. I have sample resumes if you would like to see one.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Follow the directions

This is one of those times when you need to go directly to the admissions page of the college's website. Research to find out if supplemental material is encouraged or discouraged and follow the directions. Admissions officers dislike it when students disregard clearly stated instructions. If there is no specific advice and you really cannot fit the information in the allotted areas on the application, then you can upload the resume in the additional information section. Always use a print preview to make sure everything had been uploaded correctly.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

Every Senior Needs a Resume

All high school seniors should create a resume. Resumes are excellent tools for sharing information in a standard format. To create a resume, start with a template from Microsoft Word (your guidance office may also have samples). Before submitting your resume, have your guidance counselor, English teacher, or another trusted adult proofread it for clarity and accuracy. You should bring a resume with you to each college interview, supply each person writing a letter of recommendation with a copy, and send it along with your college application. You will need to update your resume annually as you apply for scholarships, seek internships, find part-time employment, and prepare for life beyond college.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

That depends.....

The Common Application now has 12 boxes, where a student can list: school activities, jobs, interests, hobbies etc. If you really have more activities/accomplishments then the space would provide then you do have the option of uploading a resume in the Additional Information section. What you have listed on your resume however should not be redundant to what you have already listed. And it should indeed add something to your overall profile. Having a resume can be helpful though, you might want to give it to your teachers, who will be submitting recommendations for you and your guidance counselor as well. Some students like to bring a resume to a college interview, which can facilitate conversation.