How To Write a College Student Resume

When applying to colleges, you may find some schools require a resume. You can write a great resume for your college applications by showing your relevant high school and other experiences and emphasizing how you’ve explored topics and pursued your interests. Incorporating this theme into each section of your resume can increase your chances of being accepted into your preferred college or university. The advice and examples provided below can guide you in achieving this goal.

  • Math
  • Computer Science
  • Marketing
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1. Summarize your college student qualifications in a dynamic profile

Your resume profile should catch admissions officers’ interest by giving the top reasons they can expect you to engage actively in their campus community. Can you share some instances from your life where you have exhibited curiosity and dedication toward excellence? Your answer to this question can lead to your best profile points. For example, maybe you’ve earned an “A” average in the school subject likely to become your college major. Or perhaps you’ve done freelance work that’s helped you develop a hobby into a possible career track. With details like these at the top of your college resume, you can show your potential to thrive in a college setting.

Profile Example

Motivated student with strong academic performance in high school, including an “A” average for mathematics. Demonstrated success in a leadership role through multiple school athletics and work activities. Naturally curious and eager to explore and understand new topics.

2. Add a compelling section featuring your college student experience

Use your resume’s experience section(s) to give examples of exploring and pursuing topics that interest you. Colleges and universities generally want students who are engaged, diligent, and curious about the world. So view your experience from this perspective and write down anything that reflects your gaining or showing these qualities.

You aren’t limited to details about work experience, especially if the jobs you’ve held so far don’t speak to your career interests. On a resume for college applications, the strongest experience section will often come from a different area. For example, maybe you’re most proud of having been on the debate team or teaching yourself HTML outside school. Below is a list of possible experience sections you might develop on your resume:

  • Community service
  • High school athletics
  • Internship experience
  • Personal accomplishments
  • School clubs and societies
  • Study abroad experience
  • Summer coursework

Experience Example

High School Athletics

Spring Track Team

Co-Captain (Senior year)

  • Voted into team leadership role; coordinated with the head coach to help organize meets and answer various questions from team members
  • Served as a valued mentor and resource to underclassmen


Member (all four years)

  • Gained and demonstrated a strong sense of dedication and teamwork
  • Contributed to team’s placing in the top four out of 18 high schools in the region for three consecutive years

3. Include education and certifications relevant to college students

View your resume’s education section as another chance to show active engagement in learning. Give basic details about your high school. But also feel free to name study areas or materials that have sparked your interest and may become a focus for you at the college level. For example, if your English classes have let you choose from a reading list for each unit, you could name some of the books or texts you decided to read and why. Also note any AP classes you’ve completed, school awards you’ve won, or other distinctions you’ve earned, like a high GPA or class rank. These can all help admissions officers see your potential.

Below are templates and examples to help you format your high school education, along with any certifications you’d like to add to your resume. Note that optional template areas appear in [brackets].



  • Candidate: Diploma, High School Name, City, ST | expected graduation date
  • [Select study areas or materials of interest]



Certification Name or Title, [Awarding Organization] | [Year]


Service Excellence Certificate, VCU Advanced Solutions | 2023

Add a key skills section to show how you excel in a learning environment. For instance, maybe you like to research a topic independently, or you prefer the stimulation of working in a group. On the other hand, perhaps you’re open to learning by various methods. Whatever your learning style, you can highlight it in your key skills section so admissions officers see how you’d apply yourself at their school. Below are some common keywords for college student resumes:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Creative problem-solving Critical thinking
Data gathering and analysis Data visualization
Efficiency improvement Group collaboration
Independent research Microsoft Office Suite
Process improvement Proofreading and fact-checking
Qualitative and quantitative analysis Reading, writing, and editing
Task prioritization Teamwork
Time management Work planning and scheduling

5. Consider adding personal hobbies or interests

You may have heard that hobbies and interests should be left off a resume. While this is often true for regular job seekers, it doesn’t apply to aspiring college students. Hobbies and interests can be a strong feature of your college application resume because they help show your all-around sense of curiosity. Feel free to highlight them in a separate section, typically toward or at the bottom of your resume.


Hobbies and Interests

Avid reader (six or more books per month) | Painting | Running

How To Pick the Best College Student Resume Template

For college applicants, a clear and straightforward resume template is usually best. Opt for a visual design that lets the admissions officer quickly review your most relevant information. Select a traditional resume font, and avoid any template with a colorful or elaborate design.

College Student Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Math College Student Resume Example
  • Computer Science Student Resume Example
  • Marketing Student Resume Example

Rob Smith 
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Columbus, OH 12345 |


Efficient and hardworking student with a strong interest in computer science. Draw on technical knowledge base covering UX design, JAVA, MySQL, and HTML. Demonstrated success objectively measuring software performance while participating in a rapid development cycle.

Key Skills 

  • Efficiency improvement
  • Group collaboration
  • Independent research
  • Technical troubleshooting
  • User experience (UX)


Graduate, AAE High School, Columbus, OH | August 2018 to June 2022
3.7 GPA | Top 10% of graduating class

Work Experience

Tech Support, XYZ Company, Columbus, OH | June 2020 to present

  • Quickly and professionally respond to various tech support tickets
  • Install hardware and software as needed to maintain systems
  • Work with managers to develop rapid response systems to major tech threats
  • Co-design and deliver educational materials to staff on proper tech use

Retail Sales Associate, Smith Clothing Company, Columbus, OH | August 2019 to May 2020

  • Gained strong foundation in positive customer relations
  • Operated cash register and balanced the till at end of day (EOD)


  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+
  • Network+
  • Nielsen Norman Group UX and UX Master
  • Security+

Frequently Asked Questions: College Student Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for college student resumes?-

For aspiring college students, good resume verbs will relate to the process of learning and discovery – think “explored,” “researched,” or “uncovered.” But there are various others you might use to describe your school, work, and other life experiences so far. The following list can help you find a good mix of action verbs for your college application resume:

Action Verbs
Adapted Analyzed
Balanced Calculated
Collaborated Conducted
Coordinated Created
Designed Determined
Developed Discovered
Earned Enhanced
Examined Explored
Found Improved
Increased Inquired
Investigated Maintained
Overcame Planned
Prioritized Ranked
Researched Resolved
Scheduled Studied
Synthesized Tested
Uncovered Won
How do you align your resume with each college application?-

The National Center for Education Statistics forecasts that total undergraduate enrollment will increase by about 9% (to nearly 17 million students) between 2021 and 2031. 

To optimize your resume for each college application:

1. Take cues from what you know about the school.
2. Refer to their website, brochures, notes from the campus tour, or any other information you’ve gathered on what the school is known for and what you’re most drawn to about it.
3. As you look over these materials, highlight words or phrases that are repeated or emphasized.

These terms can tell you what details you may want to feature in your resume profile or key skills sections (as long as they’re accurate to your experience).

For example, say you’re drawn to the college’s study-abroad program. Consider using your profile to showcase any travel or exchange programs you’ve done, along with your foreign language skills. With adjustments like these, you can make your resume more relevant to each college opportunity.

What is the best college student resume format?-

In nearly all cases, use a Combination (or Hybrid) resume because it’s easiest for admissions officers to learn about your pertinent skills and background. It’s also easiest for you to align with your goals.

With the Combination format, you focus on your most relevant skills and experience in your experience section(s) and an intro section. (This combination of experience and intro content is where the format gets its name.) Your resume intro should usually include a profile summary and key skills section, but you may also add a highlights or awards section. By carefully choosing the details for these intro sections, you can (a) position yourself for your desired school program and (b) give admissions officers a clear, quick view of what you offer.

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Jacob Meade

Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

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