Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills


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Attaching Resumes or Activity Sheets to an Application – The Right Way

In my last post I talked about an interesting LinkedIn discussion among college professionals as to whether or not students should have a resume or activity sheet. Now I want to tackle another question:

Should students attach a resume or activity sheet to their college application?

For that answer I turned to friend and colleague Betsy Bell, a college consultant whose company is Acorn Educational Consulting in Wilton, Connecticut. Here’s what Betsy says:

“I have my students create a resume so I can see what their activities are and their level of commitment in each activity. If their activities are easily covered on the application with all the necessary descriptions included, their resumes are not included in the application.

If there is not enough space on the application for good descriptions, and their resume has more in-depth descriptions of their leadership roles, then we will upload their resume.

If the student is applying to the very top schools they might be asked to restrict their resume to one page, or not include one at all. I read the fine print just to make sure we are following the rules.

On the common application there are 12 spaces for activities. Usually that is plenty for most students, but there is limited space for descriptions, and in these cases I would have the resume uploaded in the “additional information” space which is after the essay on the common application. Each school might have very specific requirements and I read them very carefully as we do not want to irritate the admissions people.”

To summarize:

DO include a resume/activity sheet:

  • If there is not enough space on the application and the resume has more in-depth descriptions of a student’s leadership roles
  • Upload to the “additional information” space on the common application

DON’T include a resume/activity sheet:

  • If activities are easily covered on the application with all the necessary descriptions included
  • In other words: Don’t Duplicate Information

READ the fine print and  follow the rules

  • You don’t want to annoy the college admissions people

Thanks, Betsy!

Read  Resumes and Activity Sheets: Good Idea When Applying to College?


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Resumes and Activity Sheets: Good Idea When Applying to College?

Are resumes or activity sheets a good idea to use when applying to college?

This question recently sparked a lively debate among admissions professionals on LinkedIn.  Interestingly, the answers were split.  Here’s a representative sampling:

Admission CounselorsAdvice:

Joanne Robertson, Assistant Director, Transfer Admissions at Quinnipiac University, says yes to activity sheets but no to resumes: “Although it is a great icebreaker for the student to provide us with an activity sheet, unless they are applying for one of our majors that need documented hours for the admission requirement, a resume is definitely overkill. I have had the unfortunate experience of talking to parents who overwhelm us with details on “internships” etc. Seriously, then why is your child applying to college? Sounds like they are already set.”

Warren Harman, Admission Professional at Clarkson University, says yes to resumes and activity sheets:  “Every time I open an application I ask “Who are you?” Hopefully, the student’s application will answer that question. The resume gives our team a better idea of what the student is most passionate about. Call it what you will, a resume or activities sheet gives us a better feel for how happy the student would be to attend our school.”

Ken Higgins, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Sacred Heart University, also says yes to resumes and activities sheets: “Oftentimes I’ll ask a student if they have any sort of resume or an activities sheet so we can go over that and discuss each bullet or topic. That gives me a sense of their extracurricular activities as well.”

Opinions differ, so what should you do?

  • When admissions professionals didn’t like resumes it was usually because of their unnecessary detail and length (some they saw were six pages long). If your resume is more than a couple of pages, try putting together an activities list that doesn’t include the typical resume stuff like where you go to school, GPA, scores, etc.
  • Don’t include huge explanations and don’t include every single thing you did in the past four years.
  • Don’t be fooled into thinking you definitely need a resume/activity sheet. If everything you want to say is easily conveyed through what they ask on the application, then don’t include anything extra.
  • Don’t duplicate information already provided in the application.

Look for part two: “Attaching Resumes or Activity Sheets to an Application – The Right Way”