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How to Write a College Resume (+ Templates)

Create Your Resume Now

Our customers have been hired by:

“I wasn’t accepted by my first college pick. My college application simply missed the mark. If only I’d known then what I know now! I’d have gotten into Harvard, Princeton, or any school I wanted.”

You don’t have to make the same mistake. With our dedicated college resume template and simple instructions, you’ll write a high school resume for college that paves the way for your future success.

This college resume guide will show you:

  • A college resume template suited for high school graduates.
  • How important is the resume for college application, and how to write one.
  • Tips and examples on how to craft the best high school resume for college and get admitted to the most prestigious schools.

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

Sample College Application Resume—See more resume examples here.

Wondering if you need a resume for college application? Here’s why to take it seriously:

How Important Is Your Resume for College Application?

While it is not always required to attach a resume to a college application, it can be a valuable component. Some institutions might even prefer receiving a traditional resume over a conventional application form.

A well-crafted resume for college application gives a full view of your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, internships, and awards. Through a resume, you can emphasize your unique skills, passions, or any other qualifications or achievements that can’t be fitted into an online application form, an essay, or a letter of recommendation.

How to find the right college resume template? Just pick one of our dedicated resume templates and follow the advice from this guide.

college resume template created in Zety resume buildercollege resume template created in Zety resume buildercollege resume template created in Zety resume builder

That’s three. But there’s more where that came from! The Zety resume builder features 20 templates that make great college resumes. Simply pick a resume template and build a college resume here.

That’s just three, but Zety resume builder features multiple templates that make great college resumes. See more professional resume templates and build your resume straight away.

Convinced enough to write one? Let’s get started!

High-School Resume For a College Application Example

Nathan Young

High School Student

123-456-7890

nathanyoung@email.com

linkedin.com/in/nathan.young

Personal Profile

Diligent high school senior with a strong record of academic and extracurricular achievement. Eager to support the University of Kentucky with a steadfast commitment to learning and a passion for community engagement. Significant accomplishments include organizing a city-wide literacy campaign with the Lexington Public Library.

Education

Lexington High School, Lexington, KY

August 2017–Present

Academic performance

  • Grade Point Average (GPA): 3.9 out of 4.0, reflecting consistent high academic performance.
  • Standardized Aptitude Test (SAT) score: 1540 out of 1600, demonstrating strong proficiency in critical reading, writing, and math.
  • American College Testing (ACT) score: 32 out of 36, showcasing comprehensive knowledge and skills across multiple subjects.

Awards and Honors

  • National Merit Scholar, 2021
  • Lexington Public Library Youth Volunteer of the Year, 2020
  • Lexington City Mayor's Award for Community Service, 2019

Extracurricular activities

  • Served as the high school debate team captain, honing critical thinking, persuasive arguments, and collaboration with diverse students.
  • Member of the Future Business Leaders of America club, organizing and participating in fundraising events to support local charities. 

Experience

Youth Volunteer

Lexington Public Library, Lexington, KY

June 2019–Present

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Assisting library staff in managing and organizing library resources.
  • Conducting weekly reading and storytelling sessions for younger kids.
  • Helping in arranging and managing city-wide literacy campaigns.

Key Achievement:

  • Organized a city-wide literacy campaign, increasing library membership by 20%.

Volunteering

  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter, caring for and nurturing furry friends in need.

Skills

  • Strong oral and written communication
  • High level of organization and attention to detail
  • Proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Proactive problem-solving
  • Team collaboration and leadership
  • Strong work ethic
  • Effective communication

Certifications

  • First Aid, American Red Cross, 2019

Languages

  • English—Native
  • Spanish—Intermediate

1. Format Your College Resume Template The Right Way

Remember that one colleague who got an F due to illegible writing? Don’t make the same mistake. You can have the best college admissions resume in the world, but if it’s poorly formatted, it’s very likely that it won’t even be read.

Here’s a handful of tips to make your high school resume for college easy to look at:

Considering alternative college resume formats? See our guide: Best Resume Format: How to Format Your Resume Right

2. Add Contact Details to Your Resume for College Application

Getting started with your college resume is quick and easy. All it takes is to fill in your contact details section, so the admission officer can proceed with your application. The brief below shows how to tackle it.

Your resume’s contact information section should have:

  • Full Name and Address
  • Updated Phone Number
  • Professional Email Address

Like so:

College Application Resume: Examples of Contact Information

RIGHT

Tim Carvalho

3193 Hannah Street

Hayesville, NC

28904

Phone: 336-215-7612

Email: timqcarvalho@gmail.com

Don't forget to add a LinkedIn profile or a personal website if you have one. They add extra value to your resume, but only if you refine them and make them look professional.

Pro Tip: If you’re reading this and don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it’s not too late. Just use our guide to LinkedIn magic here.

3. Start With the Perfect College Resume Objective

How does an admissions department read 30,000+ applications? They don’t. They skim your resume in less than 10 seconds, according to our HR statistics report.

The good news is that if your resume objective is great, they will likely read the rest.

Check out these two college admission resume objective examples:

College Application Resume Examples [Resume Objectives]

WRONG
Very hard-working student with a passion for math and science. I only have a 3.2 GPA and 1350 SAT scores, but I’m committed to working very, very hard in college. I was captain of my high school swim team.

This one doesn’t put the applicant in the best light, though it shows some of their passions. See a better example instead:

RIGHT
Passionate student writer/producer seeking to invigorate Elon University’s student body with proven leadership and organizational skills. Founded and ran a video comedy group that got 350,000 YouTube views. Varsity swim team captain with A+ avg. in English, History, & Physics.

The second one shows a passionate individual who’s at the start of a professional career but already has some impressive achievements to show off. This is, among other things, what admission officers look for when flipping through college applications.

Including a captivating introduction to your CV is key as it decides if a recruiter will continue reading your application. See more examples of how to start a CV the way it grabs attention.

4. Make The Education Section in Your College Resume Powerful

Does education matter on a high school resume for college? Ask no more. There’s no better way to highlight your high school experience and the good grades that you have on your record.

Here’s what to include in your education section:

  • High school name and location
  • GPA score
  • Graduation date (past or future)

 But don’t just stop there. Add relevant achievements, like in the example below:

College Resume Examples [Education]

RIGHT

Cardinal Gibbons High School NC

2014–2018

  • Commended by 3 professors for exemplary public speaking skills.
  • Maintained A+ average in all English and Math classes.
  • Co-Captain, Varsity Swim Team
  • GPA 3.2
  • Combined SAT scores 1400 (750 Verbal, 650 Math)
  • Graduation Date 6/7/18

That’s not a basic applicant. It is someone with leadership abilities, communication skills, and a strong work ethic.

For comparison, don’t just write about your education like in the next of our college resume examples:

WRONG

Cardinal Gibbons High School NC

2014–2018

  • GPA 3.2
  • SAT Scores 1350

It doesn’t tell much about your involvement. It just says you attended a particular school and finished with a certain GPA. But that’s what the majority of applicants do. Be different and mention some remarkable activities and accomplishments you can be proud of.

Use the education section on your high school resume for college to impress the dean. See our guide: How to Put Your Education on a Resume

5. Show Your Experience on a Resume for College

You made it this far. You’ve got a good start on your college resume objective, activities, and education. But, as a college applicant, you might need to put your work experience on a resume for college applications, too.

Look at these two sample work experience sections:

College Application Resume Examples [Experience]

RIGHT

Waiter

Pizza Hut, Hayesville, NC

2016–2018

  • Completed F.A.S.T. upselling training with score of 99%.
  • Frequent high earner, with most tips per shift.
  • Received 95% positive customer comment cards.

See, it doesn’t only show you had a job. It shows qualities that matter to admissions officers, like work ethic and interpersonal skills.

In turn, you shouldn’t approach your work experience section like this:

WRONG

Pizza Hut

Waiter

2016-2018

  • Responsible for waiting on tables in a busy restaurant.
  • Trained as cook to fill in during busy times.
  • Able to work cash register when needed.

A good college resume template requires relevant achievements. Don’t just list your regular duties. However, add only 3–5 resume bullet points to your work experience section. 

Make your resume for college applications fun to read with action words. See our guide: 300+ Resume Action Words & Power Words

6. Recall Impressive Activities on a College Resume

Remember the candidate who didn’t get into their first-choice school? They wish they had a do-over. You’re right before your first attempt, so roll up your sleeves, and do the best you can.

Improve your college application resume with a selection of activities, hobbies, and interests. Don’t put in your resume things like “I was on the swim team” or “I like reading.” Write “Co-captain in a varsity swim team” or “Read 100+ books about science within the last three years” instead.

This college resume example shows how:

College Application Resume Examples [Activities]

RIGHT

Co-Founder, Operator

Slap the Norker Productions

  • Co-founded and ran comedy video production group of 4 people for 3 years.
  • Co-wrote, produced, and acted in 20 short video comedy sketches.
  • Received total of 350,000 YouTube views with 95% positive viewer feedback.

Athletics

  • Avid cross-country skier. Skied 50 days/yr since age 14. Maintained own skis in old Nordic style, heat-applying tar base & temperature-matched waxes.
  • Varsity Swim Team for 4 years (Captain Senior Year).

Interests

  • Read 100+ books about science within the last three years.
  • Pursued passion for ancient castles during trip to Ireland, mapping 15.

Don’t list every achievement at random. Focus on the ones that match the school. For instance, if you apply to a top computer science school, show CS achievements first on your high school resume for college.

Trying to get into Harvard Business School? Your college resume should highlight leadership skills and accomplishments.

Just don’t do it like most applicants. Avoid writing your college resume using the following tone:

WRONG
  • Passionate about writing comedy
  • Avid cross-country skier
  • Captain of high school swim team
  • Love to read

That sample resume for college application will barely make it through the door. Take the time to look into your past. Think about what you have achieved and how to showcase it most effectively.

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and our resume checker will tell you exactly how to make it better.

7. Highlight Your Unique Skills in a Resume for College

You have exactly what it takes to succeed. But it does matter how you prove you’ll be a great contribution to their college. First, know what skills admissions officers value. Next, highlight them on your college resume.

Let’s say you’re applying to a business school that values leadership and literacy. You could just list your skills, like the next of our college applicant resume examples:

College Admission Resume Examples [Skills]

WRONG
Skills: Strong work ethic, communication, collaboration, fast learner, listening, problem solving, computer skills, programming, public speaking, everything else I could think of...

But put yourself in the admissions officer’s shoes. They’ll think, “This applicant is telling me what I want to hear.”

Prove your skills using bullet points instead:

RIGHT

Founder, Leader

High Shots Model Rocketry Club

  • Created and led small model rocketry group with local children for 5 years.
  • Built 50+ rockets, including space shuttle and wing re-entry models.
  • Launched over 300 times, following all safety procedures.

Interests

  • Read 468 books from all genres since age 9.
  • Learned basic useful Hungarian words/phrases during family trip.

This one sounds much more impressive. Don’t you know what skills to put on your resume for college application? Worry not, we’ve made a quick list of soft and hard skills just right for college applicants:

List of Skills to Put on a College Resume

Soft Skills

Hard Skills

Pro Tip: Don’t just use skills from our list. Think what skills fit the school best. A customized college resume will beat a generic option any day.

8. Add Extra Sections to Your College Resume Template

While a professional resume emphasizes work experience and qualifications, a college resume focuses mostly on extracurricular activities and achievements. That’s why you must fill your resume with the right details describing your unique passions, talents, and interests.

Here are some suggestions of what to put on a resume for college:

  • Awards & Recognition: List competitions (essay, speaking, spelling, storytelling, art) or perfect attendance.
  • Teen Jobs: Use part-time or summer gigs to show your work ethic.
  • Volunteer Work: Bake sales, GoFundMe projects, hours logged at Goodwill, or other work you did for free.
  • Social Media Followings: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Have you built up an impressive following? Show it!
  • Personal Projects: Websites built, art portfolios or shows, or public service projects. Anything you put your heart into can look good on a high school resume for college.
  • Sports: List varsity teams or captainships. Show track, football, LaCrosse, powerlifting, soccer, baseball, or other sports.
  • Leadership Positions: Are you an Eagle Scout? 4-H member? Official or unofficial clubs or groups can bolster college resumes.
  • Language Skills: If you’re fluent in French, Spanish, German, or any other language, show it.

Pro Tip: Use details. Don’t just say: Eagle Scout. Say: Eagle Scout with 200+ hours of community service. For Eagle Project, raised $3,000 for the homeless.

9. Write a Compelling College Cover Letter

You have your resume for a college ready. Do you need anything else? Well, yes. Even if the admission office says that the cover letter is optional, it’s better if you send it over, too. In fact, they’ll be pleasantly surprised to receive it.

But don’t worry, it won’t take as long as that one essay you wrote a couple of months ago. Keep in mind the following tips, and you’ll create a cover letter sooner than you think:

  • Make it personal by using the dean’s name.
  • Say why this school is so important to you.
  • Show what you have to offer.
  • End your cover letter on a positive note: I'd appreciate the opportunity to discuss how I can enrich the student body at Elon University.
  • If you apply for various colleges, tailor your letters to particular institutions. Plus, use a college application checklist to ensure you don’t forget a thing.

Pro Tip: Always follow up on a college application resume and cover letter. An email or letter in a week or two works best.

Trying to get into a specific school? See these guides:

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

Here’s a recap of how to write a resume for college admissions:

  • Put on your thinking cap. You have tons of flashy achievements for a resume for college applications. You just need to do the thinking time.
  • Customize your college application resume. Your experience and education bullet points should prove you’ve got the skills to make it through.
  • Write your college resume objective last. Stuff it with your best achievements to make the admissions officer stop resting his eyes.
  • Make a cover letter. College admission resumes with cover letters have a higher chance of moving up the food chain.

Do you have questions on how to make a great resume for college? Not sure how to describe your skills or achievements? Give us a shout in the comments! Let's get you in your dream school!

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.

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Marta Bongilaj, CPRW
Marta Bongilaj is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and career specialist. She's a member of the National Career Development Association and the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Her extensive marketing background serves as a strong foundation, enabling her to offer pertinent guidance in accentuating candidates' most compelling attributes and crafting resumes that captivate attention. Through her written works, Marta emphasizes the critical role of showcasing unique skills, experiences, and qualifications in a resume, essential for standing out in today's competitive job markets. She furnishes precise and invaluable advice on effectively presenting one's candidacy across various career stages. With a degree in philology, Marta firmly advocates for the significance of concise, persuasive language as the cornerstone of a successful resume. If you're seeking expert counsel on marketing yourself to employers, regardless of your current stage in the recruitment process, Marta's articles are your ultimate destination.

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