You need a high school resume if you want to apply to a traditional four-year college, get an edge on scholarship applications, or simplify the college application process. It is easier to summarize your high school career when you create a resume that gathers all your information into one place.
Samples Based on Real Students
The following two samples have unique formats and highlights based on the career and college goals of two different students. The sample can be downloaded by clicking the image of the sample you want. You can customize each sample to create a resume that represents you perfectly. See the troubleshooting guide for online printables if you have issues.
STEM-Oriented Narrative Resume
In this resume template, the student provides some explanation of the activities he or she engaged in. Additionally, it emphasizes test scores and difficult coursework, both of which are important for STEM programs.
This template can be used for:
- Do you want to highlight your grades, sports, coursework, or test scores?
- Would you like to explain your awards or leadership
- Writing is one of your strong suits
Liberal Arts Traditional Resume
A resume that looks more traditional might be appreciated by students going to humanities-based programs. Without being too wordy, it highlights important details from the student’s high school years.
You can use this template if you:
- Interested in highlighting your leadership experience in extracurricular activities
- A full page will be taken up by extracurricular activities
- You don’t need many categories, but you do need a lot of things in one
What You Should Include
Your resume is the most important piece of real estate in your high school career. How would you describe yourself as a student? You can showcase both things that make you stand out on your resume, as well as information you think makes you especially attractive to employers. It is always advisable to keep your resume to one page and include as much information as possible.
- Don’t forget to include your name and contact information.
- You should generally include your GPA, class rank, and SAT or ACT scores. Depending on your intended major, you might want to include your studies (e.g. Honors, AP, or IB).
- Include things that you are passionate about, have spent a lot of time on, or are related to your future field of study.
- A section devoted to sports accomplishments should be included if your high school career was dominated by sports or if you plan to participate in college sports.
- Positions in leadership – This may or may not be a separate section. You can discuss leadership and extracurriculars together if that makes sense for your resume format.
- You might want to note how many hours per week something took in addition to any initiative you took.
- Summer Activities – Highly competitive programs hope you engage in learning activities during the summer. Note if you used your time off to learn something, whether it was a language camp, extra classes, or anything else you found interesting.
- Honors and Awards – If you have won a national award, such as a member of an Honor Society, or if the award is self-explanatory (for example, the Principal’s Award for Academic Excellence), you need not explain these. If you won something that might not be familiar to everyone reading your resume, be sure to explain it briefly.
- Are you fluent in German or even Elvish? Don’t forget to include it on your resume. Include if you have taken classes as a natural illustrator or if you enjoy gardening. You don’t have to list all your leadership positions or awards on your resume.
- Things related to your major – If you have accomplished something important related to your major, note it separately. Awards could be for research, field studies, or anything else.
Arts Majors Take Note
Performing and visual arts majors are often allowed two pages for their resumes. Your academic and extracurricular accomplishments will occupy one page, while your most important arts accomplishments will occupy the other. Each area of the arts handles resumes differently, and different schools may ask for different information. Contact the school in advance and ask how they want the resume formatted if you are giving the resume to them on your application.
What Not to Do on Your Resume
In terms of writing your high school resume, there are not many rules. If you think something is relevant to you as a student, you can and should include it. It is important, however, to avoid a few mistakes on your resume in order for it to stand out. The following should be avoided by students:
- It might be tempting to embellish your leadership position or claim to have been involved in something when in fact you attended one meeting – but resist the temptation. The colleges want to know who you are, not who you wish you were.
- Instead of just giving your GPA, emphasize how you have improved your grades over the last few years if you weren’t a top student. Put your test scores higher on your resume if you have high test scores but mediocre GPAs.
- If you have so much information that it takes up two pages, you must choose your highlights. Students in the arts are exempt (see above).
- Middle school – College admissions counselors are not interested in what you did in middle school unless:
- You have been fencing since you were 8 years old and are an Olympic hopeful fencer.
- In 7th grade, you won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a major, nationally recognized award.
- You should change your email address if it’s something like firstname.lastname@example.org. It is generally best to use some combination of your name or initials.
- Don’t get too creative with formatting – Format your resume traditionally and don’t get too creative. You want someone to feel like they understand who you are after looking at it quickly. It is inappropriate to use fancy colors, perfumed paper, or anything similar.
When to Use a Resume
A resume is a great idea for a variety of reasons. They are becoming the ‘norm’ among students, and you can use them everywhere.
- When filling out college and scholarship applications, having all of your achievements, volunteer work and other opportunities in one place is incredibly helpful. Creating one is a good idea if for no other reason than to have all the information in one place.
- You can hand your resume to a representative at college fairs. This should only be done if you are genuinely interested in the school. They will create a file on you in their admissions office if they accept it. (Tip: Include a QR code on your resume so admissions people can scan the information right into their phones.)
- Provide your resume to your potential coach as a way to introduce yourself if you are interested in playing sports or taking part in a team that represents the university (such as Model UN or debate).
- Do you need a letter of recommendation? The person you’re asking knows you from one place, so giving them your resume will help give them a better picture, and will also ensure they get the dates right. You don’t want to say you’ve known your coach for three years when they say they’ve known you for two.
- If you are very interested in a particular major, you can present your resume to an advisor or professor at the school. You should only do this if you have accomplished something noteworthy in that field.
- Give your resume to a professor you are interested in working with as a freshman in college. If you don’t have a lot of experience, this will give them an idea of your background.
- Resumes are useful for college interviews. When the interviewer has a sheet of questions to refer to, the interview is often less awkward.
- Scholarship applications often ask for a resume or all the information on it. Keeping this handy can help you apply for money more quickly if you plan on applying for it.
Will a Resume Get You In?
You won’t necessarily get into the college of your dreams based on your resume. The fact that you want to contribute to the campus proves that you are a serious and capable individual. By using your resume wisely, at the very least you will reduce your stress during the application process.