Writing a CV for College Applications

Writing a CV for College Applications

First things first, Why Write A CV for College?

There can be many reasons for writing a CV and having it prepared before application season starts.

Firstly, some colleges require it.

Next, it’s good to have one handy just in case the teachers working on your recommendations need it for reference.

Furthermore, if you have too many activities to fit into the Common App activities section, a CV can be a nice summary of all the things you’ve accomplished within and outside of the classroom.

What Should My CV look like?

Barring publications, your CV should be no longer than one page long. Yes, you read that right. Elon Musk’s CV is a half page. If he can fit his lifelong accomplishments into a half page, there’s no reason you can’t fit your accomplishments in a full page. If it is more than one page, colleges won’t care about what extends beyond the first one. So there really is no point in having a long CV: it’s unprofessional and a waste of time.

It’s also important to note that your CV template should look as clean, sleek, and professional as possible. This means staying away from colourful layouts and funky fonts. You might want to show off your graphic design skills, but this is not the place to do so, unless you plan to major in graphic design. If that’s the case, you still cannot go overboard with the uniqueness of your layout.

Your CV should be divided into 6 categories:

Education (High School), including your grades
Jobs
Activities
Achievements and Awards
Additional Skills
Hobbies

You needn’t include all of these if you have nothing to show for every single one.

Fleshing out Each Section:

The Education category should be the shortest and most succinct. Start by adding the name of the highschool you went to. Then, just add your grades for 10th and 12th, and a general list of the subjects you took. Done and done.

The rest of the sections require a little bit more work. You need to list the jobs, activities, and awards in the order of their importance to you, and in the order of their impressiveness. Admissions officers don’t have much time to go through your entire resume, so you’ve got to list the stuff that is going to captivate them first.

As for the descriptions of each activity, only mention what’s most relevant to the position you’re applying for, or in this case, the hook of your application. So, for example, if your hook is research, and you’re mentioning a research internship in your CV, saying “worked efficiently and met all deadlines” in the description won’t be nearly as effective as saying “collected, observed, and analyzed first hand data from several geographical locations,” or something of the like.

Additional skills and hobbies:

This is really where you get to show the people reading your resume that you’re a real person, and not just a list of accomplishments. This humanizing aspect of your resume can really work in your favor: maybe the person interviewing you has the same taste in movies, or likes going fishing as much as you do. Make sure to mention hobbies that set you apart, and really add value to your character and personality. Hobbies and skills also demonstrate how good of a fit you’ll be at any organization, educational or otherwise. Make good use of this section.

Finally, remember: you are more than just your resume. Your CV reflects what you’ve done, and not who you are. And much of this game is about marketing, which I’m sure you know all about at this point in your high school career 🙂

Good luck, and happy writing!

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