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Six Ways to Improve Your High School Resume

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Your high school resume is more than a list of academics and activities. Your resume can show a college that you are not only involved and committed to academics, but you are engaged in life and committed to exploring new opportunities. These are the qualities colleges look for in a well-rounded applicant.

The college essay allows you to focus on one topic; the high school resume sums up all you are and helps colleges get an overall picture of how you can contribute to their student population.

Here are six ways you can boost your resume and stand out in the minds of college admissions officers:

Start a business.

Entrepreneurship communicates drive, passion and commitment. Consider starting and running your own business. These are admirable qualities that will help you stand out in the application pool. Here are just a few business and entrepreneur ideas for teenagers:

      • Landscaping and yard maintenance

      • Pet sitting

      • Errand service

      • Cleaning and organizing services

      • Jewelry-making or other crafts

      • Web design and coding

      • Tutoring

      • Inventing a product or service that solves a problem

Running a business will give you experience in managing time, money and customers. You can improve your business skills even more by attending an entrepreneur camp

Pick a worthy cause and stick with it.

Find an organization or a charity that you believe in and stick with it. Get involved. Don’t just show up. Be consistent and do community service with one charity all throughout high school.

Or, identify a need in your community and create your own way to help. One student collected used test prep books and donated them to inner city schools. Another saw a need in the homeless community and collected hotel samples of shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap distributed personal hygiene bags. Be creative and enlist the help of others.

If you attend a teen summer program that concentrates on community service, think about how to follow through on this interest throughout the year. Don’t let it be a one-and-I’m-done.

Start a club.

Is there an activity that you love but there’s not a club in your school? Gather other like-minded students and start a club for students with the same interests. You can turn a hobby or interest into a school extracurricular and even focus the club’s efforts toward volunteer work; killing two birds with one stone. Taking the initiative to lead a group of people will boost your resume.

Look for an internship.

What interests you? As a high school student you might not know what career you want to pursue, but you do have interests and passions. The best way to find out if a career interests you is to test the waters in a high school internship. Working in the “real world” shows you are ready to take on adult responsibility. You could also find your dream career and it could help you decide on a major.

Travel or study abroad.

There are many teen summer travel opportunities available for high school students. You will be a part of the global community and learn about different cultures. You can immerse yourself in a language. You can volunteer and become a part of the community where you live.

This activity communicates independence, self-sufficiency, and the ability to thrive in new and unknown environments, similar to going away to college. Admissions officers love this type of student. Again, be sure to follow up on your travel experience with related activities during the school year. Did you learn Spanish, for example? Perhaps you could tutor students at a community center.

If you can’t study abroad this year, consider a summer language immersion program in the States that will let you hone your skills.

Test out college during the summer.

Summer pre-college programs on college campuses offer numerous opportunities for students to study and explore interests along with becoming familiar with college life. Consider one that your college of interest provides. This scores major points with admissions officers and when your application arrives, the college will already know you are up to the task of transitioning from high school academics to college courses.

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