Resume/Activity Sheets: Where Less Is Always More

Resume/Activity Sheets: Where Less Is Always More

The resumes we see tend to take two forms: the students who does it all, but nothing very deeply or well, and the students who does very little (to varying degrees of depth and rigor). 

You don’t need to do it all, but you do need to do something, or a few things, really well or to an extent that goes beyond that of your peers. And if you can’t help but spread yourself a bit thin, you can still craft a narrow application (ask us how!). 

Colleges look for students with something unique, a specific talent, skill, or interest to add to their next class. Students who drill down on an interest or two early on in high school will be better positioned to tell a clear, focused story in their applications. By doing so, they hand the reader of their file exactly what they are looking for—they make it easy to see the value you will add on campus.

This might mean doing a lot of exploration early in high school and this is okay. However, don’t be afraid to find something you like, drill down on it, and not do too much else extracurricularly. You don’t want a resume that reads like a laundry list anyway.

Here’s what a few top colleges have to say on the subject via Niche:

  • “You [should] demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for what you spend your time doing. The joy you take in the pursuits that really matter to you – rather than a resume padded with a long list of activities – will strengthen your candidacy.” –Yale’s advice on Activities
  • “When we evaluate an applicant’s activity list, we’re not looking for a specific number of involvements or even specific types.  We are much more interested in seeing an applicant follow their passions and show dedication over time to a few specific involvements rather than spreading themselves too thin.” –USC Admissions Blog
  • “We are looking for students who will contribute their talents, interests, perspectives, and distinct voices to our community… We are more interested in your focus on a few activities over time (such as work, care for parents and siblings, service, or athletics), rather than membership in a long list of clubs—although we understand that some students can balance an assortment of activities.” –Swarthmore College, “What We Look for in a Swattie”
  • “You’re joining a team. And because we’re recruiting a team of people who will work together, we want a variety of strengths and talents that, together, will form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. So, not every talented student needs to be talented in the same way.” – UNC-Chapel Hill, “Who We Want”

The question I ask a lot when thinking about activities: How much can you meaningfully contribute to more than a few activities? Narrowing down your interests and corresponding activities can provide the time and space needed to engage more meaningfully and at a higher level in the one or two things you love the most. It’s a bonus if these activities relate to your potential college major, or support it in some way!

Remember, colleges seek to build a well-rounded class comprised of students with unique talents and skills, not a class full of generalists.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Remote Volunteer Opportunities!

Remote Volunteer Opportunities!

We shared a bunch of these back in the early days of COVID. However, we found a few others recently that looked interesting. Check them out below!

Robotics for All: Robotics for All strives to provide equitable educational opportunities to students of all backgrounds, particularly low income and under-represented students, with an emphasis on teaching the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The goal is to reduce the opportunity gap, allowing students to gain beneficial skills for the rest of their academic and professional careers. We believe that it is important for students to have access to a quality STEM education, regardless of socio-economic status.

As an online volunteer teacher, you will be responsible for running an eight week long online class. This includes leading the two weekly synchronous classes (either on Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday), evaluating student homework (assigned between each synchronous class) and managing teacher’s assistants. It will be your responsibility to ensure that the class runs smoothly and take care of any issues, whether related to student behavior or errors in code. You must possess strong leadership skills and a high level of independence. Our current curricula for online classes are the Code.org Curriculum (for K-3rd graders), Scratch Curriculum (for 4th-6th graders), Python Curriculum (for 6th-8th graders), CAD Curriculum (for 6th-8th graders), and Fusion Curriculum (for 7th-8th graders). You are expected to have mastered the curriculum they teach. Learn more here.

The Empowerment Factory (TEF): a non-profit dedicated to giving youth the skills they need to lead happier, healthier more empowered lives. We focus on three areas of development: creativity, self esteem, and civic pride. Our Creative Squad programs blend hands-on activities with social emotional learning (SEL) and environmental education. Our vision is for every child to develop the confidence and ability to express themselves and become successful in school and life. Every child should feel that they matter and can make a difference in the world around them.

The Empowerment Factory is partnering with The United Way to bring you a fun and safe volunteer opportunity folding paper Peace Cranes! The purpose of this initiative is to share positivity and hopeful aspirations for our community. The Peace Cranes will be used to create a public art installation in January that aspires to exemplify the goal of this tradition. Learn more here.

Girl Scouts: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We seek to accomplish this by providing girls opportunities to develop their potential and have fun with their peers in a supportive, all-girl setting.

Do you have a passion for a particular topic or life skill? Do you want to create a fun event that shares your enthusiasm with girls? You could design an event that helps girls earn a Girl Scout badge related to your specialty or help teach girls a skill they need to grow into the leaders of tomorrow! If you have a love for STEM, outdoors, or the arts – there are ways you can use your skills and resources to provide an experience that helps girls explore something new. There are dozens of new badges that will inspire you to think of creative ways to bring the projects to life for a group of girls, including things like “Inside Government”, “Eco Advocate” or “Philanthropist” badges! You can decide how many girls you’d like to participate, select what age girls you’d like to involve, and pick a date and time, and an online meeting platform that you’re comfortable with! You can also use materials we provide to host a meeting rather than making your own program. Learn more here.

Head to Volunteer Match to search for other remote roles!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Our Favorite (and Free!) Online Courses for High School Students

Our Favorite (and Free!) Online Courses for High School Students

I have been pushing free classes via edX and Coursera for a while now. They are the perfect way for students to build their academic narrative, which is a must when applying to selective colleges. If you did not jump on this suggestion already, this summer is certainly the time.

Below are some of my favorites from both platforms. Click on the course title for a direct link!

English/Writing

Creative Writing Specialization, Wesleyan

Writing in the Sciences, Stanford

Write Your First Novel, Michigan State

Business/Psychology/Leadership

Leading People and Teams Specialization, U-Michigan

The Art and Science of Relationships, U Toronto

The Art of Negotiation, UC Irvine

New Models of Business In Society, UVA

Arts/Fashion

Circular Fashion: Design, Science and Value in a Sustainable Clothing Industry, Wageningen

Inspiring and Motivating Arts and Culture Teams, Michigan

Hollywood: History, Industry, Art, Penn

Weird/Wonderful

Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology, Smithsonian

Tangible Things: Discovering History Through Artworks, Artifacts, Scientific Specimens, and the Stuff Around You, Harvard.

The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture, Smithsonian

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe*