It’s Time to Market You!
So you’ve chosen your colleges to apply to, and you’re sitting at your computer ready to prove yourself worthy of attending said school by sending in an application. You’re trying to sell yourself to the college, you’re trying to tell them “Look at me, look what I can do, pick me!”
But you don’t even know where to start. Relax, don’t feel any pressure. Just keep reading on, I promise it’ll make sense.
Let’s look back at last week’s blog. We discussed how important grades, extracurricular activities, and recommendations were. Those are all really important, and you need to show it.
You need a resume.
The resume is going to include your grades, your activities, and is going to be YOUR indirect recommendation to the school. That’s right- you’re marketing YOU.
There are many ways to begin a resume. What I like to do is to take a blank sheet and write every little thing I can about myself and my academic career. I write about interests, skills, jobs (don’t worry if you don’t have prior employment experience, most kids don’t anyway), grades, and clubs. Then, I take a look and decide what I can remove. For example, a simple “Volunteered for one day at *insert here*” is ridiculous. No college would look at that and think “Oh, wow, look at the experience they had!” If it’s no more than two weeks, chances are it’s not worth putting down.
It doesn’t matter if you do this method or not, as long as you remember what you want the college to know.
The next step is to write your purpose for the resume. Why did you choose to apply to THEIR school? What do you like? Where do you see yourself in their school?
To understand this concept, imagine you are sitting behind a desk- you’re a big shot admissions officer. Now you just received two letters from hopeful students, the first of which stated:
“I would be the great student at Example University because this great school offers a fantastic science curriculum unseen anywhere else in the world and I think that I would be great.”
The second letter reads:
“The science curriculum at Example University would allow me to excel in the study of genetic engineering, where I could continue research and pursue my passion in genetic studies.”
Which sounds better? The first one seems cocky; the student obviously didn’t do any research, and is too general. The second one shows that the student did their research, has a reason to be applying, and already portrayed a skill the student has. So promote both yourself, but don’t try not to seem desperate. Colleges read thousands of resumes, so stand out for the right reasons.
Now the admission officers are thinking “Great, so what makes your worthy of our school?” This is the chance to show them.
Start off with the academics. I can’t stress that enough – write about your experiences in school first. What was your GPA? What classes did you take? Did you receive any awards, titles, or any honor worth mentioning? How are your testing skills?
Phew, you just zoomed through that one. Now it’s time to use your list. You’re writing about activities. What clubs were you in? What role did you play? Were you captain, founder, manager or a member? What extra classes did you take? What about volunteer work? What activities outside of school did you participate in? What sports did you take part in? Write something that makes you stand out.
You’re reaching the end now. It’s time to list skills. How many languages do you speak? What skills do you have? Communications, writing, computer skills? Do you play an instrument? Do you paint, draw, or sketch? What talents are worth mentioning?
Stop here. If you’ve been writing a resume as you read this blog, pat yourself on the back. You’re done. Now it’s time for the hardest part – editing.
I’m going to keep this concise (as your resume should be):
• Look for typos. If you don’t pay attention, any little misstake can pass your eye. (See what I did there?)
• Make sure you were concise but stand out. (For example, “Founded and managed the formation of the Model United Nations club” sounds better than “Model U.N founder.”)
• Don’t use fancy headings, font, or colors. Keep it professional.
• Stay away from using “I” (with the exception of the few sentences in the beginning explaining your interest, it’s not usually needed).
• DO NOT LIE. Firstly, everyone acknowledges that it’s a competitive process. Colleges understand that you WANT to be in the school. But do not lie to them. Do no write about being able to speak Italian when you can’t even detect the language. Even if you feel your resume is lacking (which, unless you spent your high school career at home, shouldn’t be an issue) there’s no reason to lie.
Finally, remember to have someone take a look at what you’ve done. I’m sure it’s great, but like I said, sometimes we miss little details.
Good luck, at this point you’re ready to go!
Nadia Goes To College: The Resume
It’s Time to Market You!