Like employers, colleges are interested in resumes as part of evaluating a student’s candidacy for admission and scholarships. A high school resume is more than a list of experiences and accomplishments; it’s a look into how a student spends their time and contributes to the world around them. This is an easy way for colleges to differentiate students from one another and identify candidates they feel would be a good fit for their institutions. Here are a few tips for how to write a resume for college applications:

When to Start a Resume

High school students should plan to have a finalized resume before the beginning of senior year. However, parents should encourage their students to begin compiling resume information as early as freshman year. Starting early on your college admissions activities like your resume, can help ensure your applications and resume are as robust as possible, since it can be difficult to remember activities and involvement from early high school by the time senior year rolls around. Additionally, parents and students will have more insight for what activities may need more focus in the coming years if they begin tracking earlier.

What to Include

Resumes for high school students should highlight academic performance as well as leadership ability, work experience, volunteer activities, and extracurricular involvement. Students should include:

  • School Information

  • GPA

  • Test Scores

  • Work Experience

  • Academic Activities

  • Extracurricular Activities

  • Team Membership

  • Volunteering

  • Special Skills

  • Awards


The structure of a high school resume should not be all that different from the traditional resume of a working professional. It should follow the below structure or a similar variation.

  • Heading

    • Name

    • Address

    • Phone number

    • Email address

  • Education

    • High school name

    • High school address

    • Graduation date

    • GPA

    • Class rank

    • Test score(s)

    • Honors

  • Activities (academic, extracurricular, teams)

    • Activity: Date

  • Jobs

    • Job: Date

  • Volunteering

    • Volunteer Organization: Date

  • Skills

  • Awards and accolades

It is often helpful to look at a resume example before designing one. Microsoft Office has several free resume templates to get you started. Check them out here.

STAR Method

Students should use the STAR method when adding descriptions. This will help illustrate the context and results of experiences. Students should draft a longer description and then condense down to one or two lines.

  • Situation: What was the situation, conflict, or problem faced?
  • Task: What was the task assigned? What were the responsibilities and goals?
  • Action: What actions were taken? How was the problem solved?
  • Result: What were the results or outcomes of the action?

Action-Oriented Bullets

The description listed for each activity should include action-oriented bullets that use action verbs. It is important that students display involvement and engagement with their language. Some words to consider are organized, created, designed, facilitated, or led.

Other Tips

  • When adding action-oriented bullets to further explain activities, be sure that the information is succinct and understandable.
  • Thoroughly check all the information included. Pay specific attention to dates and spelling.
  • Keep the length to one page. If it is longer, then remove less important information or shorten the action-oriented bullets.
  • Have it proofread by a counselor or admissions professional.

If you need further help with writing a resume, look no further. Our college advisors are ready to help. Schedule a call today!