Seniors – Step 1 Write a Resume

Having your resume ready is one of the easiest tasks of starting the resumecollege application process, yet it can have a tremendous impact on the overall outcome.

The student’s resume is an important reference guide for the teachers who will be writing your recommendations and a handy tool for yourself, for when you complete your applications, all of your activities and the participation dates are in one location. A teacher’s recommendation may be the tipping point of your application. Make sure they know all the super things you have done.

Your resume recaps almost four years of  your life and “paints” a picture of who you are. Categories to include:

Education – High school name, GPA, level of courses such as AP/Honors

Leadership – Highlight if you were a team captain*, club officer, work manager or in Scouting

Volunteer – Activities may be church or community related

Athletics – List the sports, the years you participated (9th, 10th…). *Alternatively,  you may want to list if you were a team captain in this area.

Extracurricular – This includes everything else; dance, yearbook, etc.

Work Experience – Colleges love kids who have part time jobs!

Photo: A small thumbnail photo in the upper right corner makes you more memorable!

Most Proud Of – This is a 1 or 2  sentence statement that personalizes your resume. It is not typical of a resume to include this, but it will help your recommenders with writing about you, i.e.: Most Proud Of: As avid outdoors person, over the past ten years I have hiked  in more than 15 US National Parks, including Yellowstone (WY), Everglades (FL) and Denali (AK).

first impression The resume is a useful ice-breaker. Bring copies of it with you to campus visits, college fairs, or if colleges visit your high school.  It is a great way to make a memorable impression.  Let an admissions officer know that you are greatly interested in their school and ask them if they would like to see your resume. Many will decline (large state schools- not interested!) but often smaller liberal arts colleges view this favorably.

Later in the application process, a resume will be helpful if you are applying for local scholarships or interviewing with a college representative.

Parents can play an active role in organizing the student’s resume since it is not submitted with the college application. Organizing applications, essays, test dates and deadlines along with a full course load is a challenge for a high school senior. Some parental assistance on the administrative and organizational side can be helpful.

Trending – Willingness to Pay

Trending— Fewer parents are willing to pay full tuition at all levels in both the public and private institutions, even if they have the ability to pay the full sticker price.

We learned at a recent NJ Association for College Admissions conference that Admission and Financial Aid Offices have seen a record high number of families who have requested  that their child’s admission offer be reevaluated for greater Merit Awards or Financial Aid. These requests are coming from many families who can afford the tuition but they are now reconsidering the value of a bachelors degree at $80k to $200k.

Why the sudden blossoming of “Lets Make a Deal” college financial decisions?

Just about everyone knows someone who has has been downsized or unemployed due to company cut backs in the last few years. Scary times indeed. If you have first hand experience of not having income for a 6 month period, it’s hard to justify spending $20K to $50K annually on an 18 year old to go off to college.  Remember “Animal House”… Can you risk spending that much on your 18 year old?

Like the private college counseling business boom in the past 10 years, so has grown the college financial planning business. College financial planners  have coached many price conscious parents to shop around. Get a scholarship offer from school and then go back to Suzy’s first choice school and ask them to match the offer.

Colleges are not necessarily caving in to the pressure to offer more scholarships or financial aid; after all, they have hundreds of employees on their payrolls too. However, it is nice to know that other families are in the same boat – is yours a row boat, motor boat, or yacht ?  :)