Create a ‘Brag Sheet’
The “college admissions resume”—often called a “brag sheet”—lets you show colleges what you’ve been doing during high school. Additionally, the resume also serves as a valuable resource for the people writing your recommendations. You should include a resume with your application if a college requests one, or if the application itself doesn’t offer enough room to describe all your involvements.
To create a resume, follow the basic recipe below. After your “Heading” and “Education,” feel free to rearrange, rename, combine, or omit categories so that they make the most sense with your unique background. For example, you can leave out “Special Projects” if you have none, or create two categories from “Experience” into “Work Experience” and “Volunteer Experience” if you have a lot of both.
At the top of your “brag sheet”, include your name, address, phone number, and email address (professional email only). Include any tracking numbers (i.e. SSN, Student ID number etc) that the college may have requested be placed on all incoming documents as well.
List your high school(s), including location and years attended. Consider specifying your GPA and class rank (only if you rank in the upper 3/4 of your class. You should include academic awards here too.
Think about everything you’re involved in: clubs, sports, art, music, drama, journalism, religious groups, and so on. Then list these extracurriculars, with the most significant or most recent at the top. (If this list seems overwhelming, consider grouping it into sub-categories like “Music” or “Sports” first.)
For each item on your list, do the following:
- Briefly describe
- Specify the time of involvement (e.g., Fall 2009) and the amount of time spent (e.g., 4 hours per week).
- Mention any leadership roles. You can also include awards here, or list them in a separate “Awards” section.
- Put your achievements in perspective whenever possible. For example, write, “This team is ranked in the top 10 for California” or “Only three students at Liberty High School received this award.”
This category is optional and gives you a way to include one-time activities, like a science fair project or a weekend working for Habitat for Humanity.
Describe both work and volunteer experience. Don’t forget non-traditional work- and don’t be afraid to think outside the box, such as babysitting or helping out with the family business your mom tried to start in 2nd grade but it didn’t go anywhere. For each item, include:
- job title
- name of organization
- and your job description.
You are free to mention any special skills (Ham Radio Operator), trips (mission trip with church for philanthropic support), interests (17th century art), or hobbies (surfing) that are important to you.
- Keep the resume to one page if at all possible- less is more.
- Don’t include activities from before high school unless you’re still doing them or you have received exceptional recognition.
- Ask your parentals if you’ve forgotten anything- they know you better than anyone.
- Be sure to include a professional email address.