When comparing applicants with equal academic profiles for a seat in the freshman class, it’s the extracurriculars on the resume that can give the admitted student the edge.

LEAP advises all students, particularly those going for seats in selective colleges or programs, to carefully consider what they chose to pursue outside the classroom then be diligent in crafting their formal resume1/3 of colleges actually require students to submit a resume at the time of application and others give the option to do so.


Question: How would you describe your involvement in this extracurricular activity?

AnswerThe more challenging it is to put the activity into words, the more value it will add to your resume.

Unique Pursuits

These are the ones almost impossible to fit into the extremely limited 150 character count (spaces included!) on the Common App activities list.  They are begging to get more attention in the additional information section of the application or better yet highlighted on your resume where you have additional space to explain.

Some unique examples from LEAP students over the years…..

Start a club, make yourself the president, have a unique mission. In this example, what started as a conversation in 10th grade looking for leadership opportunities, ended up in a full ride scholarship. Read more about how that happened.

Ella not only participated in marching band, made the competitive select band and competed at musical competitions, but she started a used instrument drive to benefit those at an inner city school.

Trey used to $7,000 his grandparents left him to start a scholarship fund for a student with financial need in his high school who has the potential to impact the lives of others. The scholarship fund is also set-up to be ongoing.

Another student started a lunch and learn speaker series for students considering the medical field.

What’s NOT Unique?

Tutoring students after school, playing a sport, getting a job, being in a play.  I’m not saying not to do them, but limit the number of non-unique pursuits in favor of going deep with the unique. It’s better to have depth than breadth.

Having trouble getting started on the unique? Begin with the end in mind the work backward into the details.

Write Your Resume

At LEAP we believe students should put their activities into a resume format no later than the end of 10th grade. Doing so can often give the holistic look and shine the light on gaps while there is still time to fill them before application at the beginning of senior year.

Participating in our student Resume Workshop  will provide collaborative insight into your pursuits and others while getting the resume into a document.  We also provide 1:1 resume review and guidance based on the individual student and his or her goals. Contact us for more information.