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  • Writer's pictureJason Flurry, CFP

Part 2 - Uncovering the one super ninja move that gives your applications an unfair advantage

Using this often overlooked secret can mean the difference in success and failure at the college of your dreams.

In my last post I gave you the basic structure of how to design a winning resume that sets you apart from the rest and in this message I’m going to give you more tips on how to complete each section. Plus, I’m also going to share with you the best time to build your resume so you can gain even more advantages in the college admissions process.

Top 9 Admissions Resume Tips

Colleges aren't just looking for students with good grades and test scores. Especially at more competitive schools, to get accepted you'll need to show admissions officers that you've been productive and taken the initiative during high school. That's where an admissions resume comes in.

1) Sports - You don't have to be a future professional athlete to get involved in high school sports. In some instances, the junior varsity can be rewarding as well. In addition to keeping you in shape and allowing you to meet new people, involvement in sports shows colleges that you have discipline, initiative, and experience working with a team.

2) Student Government - While only one person can be school president, there are usually a number of slots for homeroom representatives, treasurers, etc. Sometimes, getting a spot on the student government is as simple as volunteering. And getting started as early as possible gives you a better chance of moving into a more impressive role down the road.

3) School Clubs and Service Organizations - To join most clubs and groups, all you need to do is show up. So try a few--why not? You can learn something and meet people while you build your admissions resume. Joining the Spanish club or math team won't get you into college, but doing so will show that you're involved. And joining is the first step towards doing something more impressive. Spanish club might lead to work with immigrants, which would look good. The math team might later compete for honors or awards.

4) Academic Honors - If you're very good at a subject, try to do more than just get good grades. Find out from your teachers if there are other ways to get involved. If you're great at physics, look for science fairs. If you're a writer, try submitting your essays or poems to competitions.

5) Community Service - There are always lots of community service opportunities out there to give you good experience and help boost your admissions resume. Some popular choices are Habitat for Humanity, working for a homeless shelter, and doing service projects at your church or religious institution. While any contribution you make is good, you'll get more mileage during application season if you can show you were substantially devoted to an activity--they'll actually ask how many hours per week you spent there!

6) Debate and Speech - At schools with forensics, debate, or speech teams, it's usually easy to find a specific area of focus (anything from policy debate to poetry reading) and quickly enter competitions.

7) Jobs - Having a job shows colleges that you have discipline and a work ethic. While any job is okay, you'll probably get more mileage for employment that seems related to an academic interest or career possibility. For example, if you hope to be a doctor someday, try to find a job or volunteer position in a hospital.

8) Music - Pursue your musical interests, even if it doesn't lead to any type of formal recognition. A passion for music is definitely something you can write about on your applications and colleges love to see an interest in the fine arts.

9) Hobbies - While you obviously won't get admissions "credit" for everything you do outside of school, activities that you're passionate about will frequently spill out into accomplishments or interests that you can somehow get onto your applications. If you like working with cars, that may lead to an interesting admissions essay or application blurb. Fixing computers may eventually lead to a job or other opportunity. Remember: anything is better than using your free time to simply watch Netflix, build your list of followers on Instagram or improve your text typing speed!

Timing is Everything You’ll want to build your resume BEFORE you start working on your college applications. Why? As you’ll see, many of your college applications will ask you about your activities, awards, etc. and guess where they already are, neatly organized, and perfectly worded? That’s right – on your resume. Having your resume done first will save you a ton of time and give you another advantage when it comes to submitting your applications – speed!

Get ahead of the pack with a well-planned approach that involves a winning resume and watch your best results improve. Even a 3% difference can make ALL the difference in you reaching your goals. Just ask Dustin Johnson…



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