How To Write a Resume for College Applications (With Sample)

Updated June 27, 2023

A person writes in a notebook while sitting at a desk in their home.

Some colleges and universities may ask you to submit a resume as part of your application packet. In your college admissions resume, you can describe your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, work or volunteer experience and unique skills to show schools why you're an ideal candidate for admission. Knowing how to prepare a quality, well-written resume can help you enhance your applications to colleges and universities.

In this article, we explain what to include in a college admissions resume, offer steps and tips for writing one and provide a template and example resume to guide you in creating your own.

What to include in a college admissions resume

A college admissions resume is a document describing a high school student's academic performance, extracurricular activities and work or volunteer experience. Typically, you submit an admissions resume as part of your application to a college or university. An admissions resume can help you show schools you're capable of academic success.

While a job-seeking resume focuses on work experience, an admissions resume usually focuses on academics. If you've had jobs in high school, you can list them on your resume, but most of the document describes your academic achievements and school-related activities. Typically, a college admissions resume contains the following elements:

  • Header: This section contains your full name and contact information, such as your phone number and email address.

  • Summary: A resume summary briefly describes your academic achievements and special skills. You may also include your academic or career goals in this section to show colleges your commitment to higher education.

  • Education: In this section, you can provide your expected graduation date and other relevant details, such as your GPA or test scores.

  • Activities: This section may describe your participation in extracurricular activities, such as sports or school clubs.

  • Work experience: You can use this section to describe work experience you may have, such as a job, internship or job shadowing experience.

  • Volunteer work: If you've volunteered or performed community service, you can include a section on your resume to highlight this experience.

  • Skills: This section can help you show colleges your unique skills or capabilities, such as a foreign language or technical proficiencies.

  • Awards: Including a section on your admissions resume for awards, such as academic honors, can help you distinguish yourself from other students applying to the same school.

Related: What Is an Activities Resume for College? Tips and Example

How to write a college admissions resume

Use the following steps to write your college admissions resume:

1. Create a template

Begin by outlining the information you want to include into categories, such as activities, experience and awards. Leave space below each category so you can insert relevant details about each item. It's helpful to search online for templates you can use for a college resume. When creating a resume template, follow these formatting guidelines:

  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the document.

  • Choose a readable font, such as Times New Roman or Georgia, in a 10- or 12-point size.

  • Bold your name and section headers so colleges can scan key parts of your resume quickly.

  • Use bullet points to structure your resume in a readable format.

  • Limit your resume to one page to make it easy for colleges to review.

Related: Resume Examples for Teens: Template and Writing Tips

2. Research the college

Some colleges may ask you to include specific information on your resume. For example, a performing arts college may want a list of your recent roles or performances. Research each college where you plan to apply to make sure you include any details they require. It's helpful to create a new version of your template for each college where you apply so you can explain why you're a good fit for a specific school.

Related: How To Craft a High School Resume in 6 Steps (With Examples)

3. Gather information

Using the template with categories you've outlined, identify the information you want to include in each area. Make sure you have the correct dates for each item on your resume, such as the dates of an internship you completed. In each section of your resume, list information in reverse-chronological order to highlight your most current experiences. For example, if you've had two part-time jobs, list your current or most recent job first. Some information to gather for your college resume may include:

  • Grades in high school coursework relevant to your intended major or field of study

  • SAT or ACT scores

  • Class rank

  • High school GPA

  • Dates of employment, extracurricular activities or volunteer experience

  • Job titles or leadership roles you've held, such as debate club president

  • Names of awards you've received and the dates you received them

  • List of skills or abilities you want to highlight

Related: How To Include Your High School Education on a Resume

4. Describe your experience

Once you have the information you want to include, use it to complete each area of your resume. Write action-oriented bullet points to describe your education and experience. Be clear and concise to describe your duties, activities and achievements. Start each bullet point with an action verb and explain the results of each action. For example, if you worked at a fast-food restaurant after school for several years, your bullet points may include:

  • Managed a cash register using math skills to maintain an accurate till

  • Communicated with team members to divide tasks, leading to increased productivity during shifts

  • Prepared customers' orders in a quick, methodical manner to ensure satisfaction

  • Greeted each customer politely to provide exceptional service

Related: How To Describe Your Work Experience on Your Resume (With Examples)

5. Highlight your skills

In your skills section, feature traits and abilities that make you a desirable candidate for admission. If you know what you want to study in college, highlight academic skills relevant to your field of study. For example, if you plan to major in computer science, you may include various technical skills, such as coding or operating systems. It's also helpful to provide some soft skills on your resume to show colleges your personality. Some soft skills to feature may include:

  • Teamwork

  • Leadership

  • Motivation

  • Time management

  • Communication

  • Organization

  • Active listening

Related: 56 Examples of Academic Strengths for a School Application

6. Revise your resume

After you write your resume, read through all the information you've included. Check your formatting to make sure your resume concisely describes your academic performance, skills and experiences. Review your resume for grammar, spelling and punctuation to ensure it's free of errors. It can be helpful to have a knowledgeable adult, such as a parent or teacher, review your resume for content and format. You can use their feedback to improve your resume before submitting it to colleges.

Related: 27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume

College admissions resume tips

Here are some additional tips you can follow as you write your college admissions resume:

  • Customize your resume. If you're applying to multiple colleges, customize your resume for each one. Since colleges may ask for slightly different information, customizing your resume ensures you meet each school's requirements.

  • Be concise. Think of your resume as an overview of your high school experience. Keep it concise to showcase your top qualifications and use other application documents, such as a personal essay, to provide more in-depth information.

  • Check your resume for accuracy. Make sure each item you include on your resume is accurate. It's important to be honest on your resume so you can show colleges your strengths and abilities.

  • Avoid linking to social media. Unless you have a professional networking account, avoid including social media links on your resume. You can link to an online portfolio if you've created one for college admissions.

Related: FAQs About High Schooler Resumes (With an Example)

College admissions resume template

This template demonstrates how to structure a college admissions resume:

[First name] [Last name]

[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City], [State] | [Optional link to online portfolio]


[Two to three sentences that highlight your academic performance, extracurricular activities, work or volunteer experience, relevant skills or other achievements as a high school student]


[Name of diploma]
[Name of high school], [Expected graduation date]

  • [Details about your academic performance, such as GPA, class rank, test score(s) and honors]


[Name of activity], [Dates of participation]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

[Name of activity], [Dates of participation]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]


[Job Title], [Employment dates]
[Company Name], [City], [State]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

[Job Title], [Employment dates]
[Company Name], [City], [State]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

Volunteer Work

[Volunteer Title], [Dates of involvement]
[Organization Name], [City], [State]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]


[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]


  • [Name of award], [Year received]

  • [Name of award], [Year received]

Download Undergraduate Resume Template

To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.

Related: Student Resume Examples (And How To Create One)

College admissions resume example

Review this example as a guide when writing your own college admissions resume:

Allison Graham
Columbus, Ohio | 503-492-9739 |
Driven and motivated high school student expected to graduate with honors in June 2023. Planning to study biology as an undergraduate with the goal of continuing to medical school to become a pediatric physician. Demonstrated ability to manage time effectively while working, participating in extracurricular activities and maintaining a full course load.

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