Most college applications will ask you to list some of your high school activities and write a short description for each. When you prepare your high school resume for college applications, you really want to make sure you have killer activity descriptions so the reader can appreciate what you did and what you took away from the experiences. One difficulty, however, is that you’re very limited in space. Usually, you’re only given 150-350 characters per activity. Here are a few tips for making your activity descriptions shine.
Activity Description Tip #1
The focus should be on you and your specific roles, accomplishments, takeaways, etc. Here’s a good test: If my friend who’s also in Science Bowl could have written the same description as me, that’s a good sign that my description isn’t personal enough.
Activity Description Tip #2
Use strong, active verbs: “organized, delegated, coordinated, etc.” Search “resume verbs” for help with this.
Activity Description Tip #3
Reflect! Your descriptions don’t have to be a 100% factual account of what you did. They can also include bits of reflection such as lessons learned, how you changed as a person, etc.
Activity Description Tip #4
Don’t state the obvious. Suppose I am on the swim team and I write something like: “Attended regular practices and swim meets.” That’s just a definition of what it means to be on a swim team. You can assume the reader already knows that. Instead, focus on your specific experience (roles you had, accomplishments, etc.).
Activity Description Tip #5
Lots of things count as activities. Sometimes we think that, in the college application context, an activity has to be in some sense “official,” perhaps connected to some kind of school or organization. That’s not true. Hobbies are activities. Responsibilities at home are activities. Lots of things count! If in doubt, talk to your college counselor.
In the end, the activity section of the application is an amazing opportunity to add depth and color to your college application. Be sure to take advantage!