We are going to talk about middle school, freshman, sophomore, and how you can start to prep your kids this summer for college with digital footprint tactics and well-rounded student resume advice.
Today we’re talking with Jordan Schanda, who is the founder of ScholarPrep where she helps students and parents prepare for the college and scholarship application process. Arvin Vohra is the author of Lies, Damned Lies, and College Admissions and the Founder of Vohra Method. Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a content marketing strategist and author of 3 HOW TO SUCCEED books for teens and young adults.
Stephanie Klein Wassink is a former admissions officer, longtime college consultant and founder of Admissions Checkup and Winning Applications. Crystal Olivarria helps busy parents who are struggling to help their child select a relevant career that is fun, fulfilling and financially rewarding at Career Conversationalist. Elisa Croft is one of the driving forces behind the content strategy at SafeSmartSocial and she helps her team make sure their properties shine online.
What should students talk about on their resume?
People should be specific and provide great details. What this does is it demonstrates your level of commitment so rather than showing or writing down that you played soccer or had soccer practice, be specific and say soccer practice Monday-Friday for two hours. It really helps people understand the depth of your commitment. –Crystal Olivarria, Career Conversationalist
How can students create their first resume?
Open a document and label it resume. Then make sure you back it up all the time. Literally, use resume format and start looking at the segments on a resume including looking at what college applications think. See how you can use your passions to fill out those forms. You will forget in four years how much time you spent on your activities and what you were involved with at each time in your life. –Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Author
One of the things that I care about the most is the fact that you are updating your student resume regularly, so everybody in your family should have a copy of it. Mom, dad, and students so you are always adding to it, ideally in a monthly basis. Stick it on the refrigerator so if something happens that day, update it, put it on the refrigerator. Remember the summer between 8th grade and 9th grade is considered high school. –Stephanie Klein Wassink, AdmissionsCheckup.com
How should students start to create a digital footprint that matches their resume?
When you are ready for your child to be online, a great app that kids really love is Instagram. An example of how to use Instagram to build a positive resume is to take pictures while volunteering, while running a 5K for a cause, while working on a group project (make sure you get permission from everyone in the group), etc. This is a great way to start creating a positive web presence and portfolio of your work, your passions, and your life that can be discovered by college admissions. –Elisa Croft, SafeSmartSocial
What are some ways students can stand out on their resume?
Figure out what your passion is and share it. Those scholarship committees and college application reviewers are really looking to find out who you are as a person, what interests you, and what you are passionate about. Starting early to think about what really drive you and what you are interested in, and then tailoring your involvement throughout high school is a great way to demonstrate that you are really committed to that passion or that interest. –Jordan Schanda, ScholarPrep
You have to think about it from the principal of diminishing returns, which means that having one more of a thing that you already have a bunch of isn’t that exciting. A school like Harvard, Yale Princeton, Stanford, they can fill their whole room with people with high AP scores who have done a bunch of pre-med applications, who have done a bunch of science research, who have played sports, who are class presidents. The way that we think about it is what can you do if your resume is boiled down to two words that is going to make you seem totally different than everyone else. –Arvin Vohra, Vohra Method
What should students avoid putting on their resume?
Obviously, you should be honest but what you do not have to do is tell your dirty linens. If you had a two week summer job once and it just didn’t work out for whatever reason, there is no reason to put that on your student resume and then have to make excuses. Sometimes things do not work out. –Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Author
When it comes to scholarships, one of the most important things is to be specific in naming things. Make sure you name the organization, what you did, how long you worked there, etc. You are trying to tell a detailed story in a short period of time with the least amount of words. –Crystal Olivarria, Career Conversationalist
What are your favorite student resume best practices?
Your interests should drive your resume and not your parents. That is an important thing because it really does come through if mom has pushed you and pushed you to a particular activity or if you have decided to do it and are excelling at it. You have to rank the things that you like to do in a specific order on most of the college applications so they should relate. They shouldn’t be ten disparate things, they should be kind of relating. For example, if you like to debate then maybe you have also done things like student council or Hero challenge. The things that you are interested in should usually be connected in some way. –Stephanie Klein Wassink, AdmissionsCheckup.com
Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Everyone else is doing two things: they are doing undecided and they are doing pre-med. If you are doing undecided, you are just passing up an opportunity to tell an exciting story. Undecided just isn’t that exciting. Decide on something, you can always change your mind. Don’t make your narrative pre-med because then you are putting yourself in the most oversaturated, most hyper-competitive group. Find some other story to tell that makes you stand out, not something that makes you part of the most competitive herd. –Arvin Vohra, Vohra Method