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How to write a better:
ESSAY
RESUME

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WRITING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME FOR YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION

The purpose of a resume:

  • To reveal interests: sports, extracurricular activities, academic pursuits
  • To show accomplishments and areas of strength: skills, talents, awards
  • To display dedication to your activities
  • To organize interests and accomplishments into a format that can be quickly examined and easily assessed

Why do you need a resume anyway, since most colleges leave you a space on the application to list extracurriculars? It¡¯s simple: the space they leave you often isn¡¯t the best way to present your interests and accomplishments. Organization is key in making yourself as attractive an applicant as possible, and the best applicants will type out their own resumes. We suggest you fill out anything they ask you to on their forms, but also write include your own resume with your application.

The best format for you will differ depending on whether you want to present yourself as a well-rounded student or a lop-sided one. Before you scoff and say, "Why would I want to present myself as anything but a well-rounded student?" let us explain what we mean by well-rounded and lop-sided. Certainly, there¡¯s always something to be said for being a smart student, a skilled athlete, and an accomplished musician: well-rounded is definitely a good thing to be. But by "lop-sided" we don¡¯t mean "limited" or "only good at one thing." Rather, a lop-sided student may be good in most areas, and excellent in one particular area.

For instance, volleyball may be your passion, or community service, or the tuba, or writing?anything you excel in, or enjoy above all else. Colleges don¡¯t mind seeing a smart student who is passionate about one certain activity and pursues it successfully; that kind of focus can be just as positive a trait as being well-rounded. If you think you might be "lop-sided"?and many excellent college applicants are?then you will want your resume to reflect and accentuate your strengths. (However, keep in mind that even if you are, say, your high school¡¯s track star, dozens of track trophies and medals might not make up for bad grades, poor tests scores, or a lack of participation in community service. Being too lop-sided is not a good thing!)

Below, we have included two basic essay formats that we think are particularly effective. You¡¯ll notice that they are very similar, with minor adjustments: feel free to make as many adjustments as you see fit. The goal here is to make yourself as attractive an applicant as possible, so mold the resume formats we¡¯ve given you to fit your personal achievements and activities.