The importance of having a solid college resume cannot be undersold, so what makes a great college resume? What ingredients create a real winner that will help you shine? We’re here to help you build a great college resume.

What are the Characteristics of a Great College Resume?

Efficient and Effective

While you don’t want to pass over something important or fail to highlight a meaningful experience or accomplishment, we also don’t want the resume to go on and on. It’s about quality, not quantity. A great rule of thumb is to keep your entire resume on one page. This will ensure that you are able to showcase who you are and what you’ve done, without things dragging out too much. Keep it informative, but efficient.


Think about the entire person that you are – academic, sports, performing arts, social engagements, awards, accomplishments, volunteer work. There are a lot of layers to the person that you are and they should all be represented on your college resume.


It should be intentional both in order and purpose. Not only should your resume be ordered specifically to highlight your unique abilities and talents, but the purpose behind it should also be intentional. Since a well-structured resume is flexible, it will also allow it to be used for multiple purposes ranging from college applications, scholarships, co-op and internship options, and even job interviews. The key is identifying and structuring the order to highlight the most relevant info for the purpose of use.

What Should the Order of My College Resume Be?

Here’s a quick break down of the order you’ll want shoot for:

Start with your bio and contact info. Make sure to keep it accurate and up to date.

Academic accomplishments are next. You’ll want to order these by grade as well as notating AP / Honor / College sections.

Extracurriculars should follow this.

Community service and involvement go after this. Then…

Awards and honors / Work experience / Interests / Major travel experiences. Things like work are not labeled by grade, but year.

Organization in your resume is huge, so make sure to follow this order for the best possible version of your college resume. For example: If applying for a certain type of scholarship, it’s appropriate to reorder to highlight those accomplishments and efforts first. Like a community service scholarship, for instance, would require you to reorder your community involvement at towards the top.

What Kind of Language Should I Use?

When writing your resume you want to use descriptive language and utilize power words. Curious what these are? We have a free list of descriptive and engaging words you can use as you build your resume. Just reach out to us anytime and we’ll send it over to you!

How Should My Resume Look?

While your resume should reflect who you are you want to make sure it looks both polished and professional. We encourage you to get an additional eye to look it over. When someone does look over your college resume, make sure that your proofreader is aware that this is a college resume, as they are much different than a typical job resume. Proofing and editing are essential. Make sure you look over the final version multiple times before submitting it.

Quick tip: Ask your proofreader to tell you what they have learned about you, any areas needing additional clarification or emphasis. It’s all about ensuring your audience gets the message you want the way you intend it to be received.

Combine each of these elements and you’ll have a recipe for a great college resume. Have questions? We’re always here to help. Reach out anytime!