A student resume is essentially the brag sheet for colleges you court. Most students keep an ongoing list in their head of what they’ve done and what they’ve won. However, there are real benefits to formalizing that internal list into a document before college applications are tackled.

Don’t Miss Your Accomplishments

If you wait until sitting at the computer completing applications, you may just forget something you’ve done. Formalizing the resume early, revisiting it, and sharing with parents will make sure nothing is forgotten. It also helps you think through the importance of what you’ve done and what pursuits best showcase who you are (that’s what colleges really want to know). Some applications ask students to rank their extra-curricular activities in order of importance to them. Seeing yours as a list is a good exercise in being able to do so.

Jump Starts Essays

What the Common App calls the Personal Statement is essentially a biographical essay. The answer of what to focus on to give a voice to your application may indeed rise out of your list of accomplishments you see come together on your resume.

Saves Time on Applications

Some applications will actually allow students to upload a document to their application instead of typing out activities and awards. For those that require the student to type these into the application, having a formal resume can save time with the cut and paste feature.

Garners Better Recommendation Letters

As a former high school teacher of juniors and seniors, I can tell you we are often inundated with requests for recommendation letters as school launches each fall.  Keep in mind you’re likely requesting a letter of a teacher whom you like and vice versa, you had good grades in his or her class, and participated regularly….so is every other student who’s requesting a letter from this teacher.  From the teacher perspective, the letters can start to sound the same as we are writing them; we really don’t want them to. Thus the students getting the best letters are not our favorite kids, but the ones we know more about than what they did in our classroom. LEAP recommends giving a resume to anyone from whom you request a letter.

You can certainly try to tackle resume development yourself or join a LEAP Resume Workshop to brainstorm with a facilitator and other students, see how to formulate your resume and get it proofed by a professional.