How to Compose an Outstanding College Admissions Resume

Think that resumes are only for those looking for a job?  Well, not exactly!  High school resumes are a perfect way for colleges to get a detailed glimpse of you in terms of your academics, accomplishments, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and work history.  They are also important in that they can help you to prepare for a college interview, supplement your scholarship applications, and give those who are writing recommendation letters on your behalf a sense of who you are, holistically.  Don’t know how to get started?  Follow these simple tips for creating a stellar college resume!

Make sure your college resume has the essentials

Your resume should include the following information: 

  • A header that includes your name, contact information, and email address;
  • Information about your high school such as the date of your graduation, weighted GPA, class ranking, and standardized test scores;
  • Any awards such AP honors and other achievements;
  • A list of courses, even those that you took during the summer or abroad;
  • Extracurricular activities;
  • Community service and involvement;
  • Work experience;
  • Hobbies; and
  • Special skills and talents, such as fluency in a foreign language or some other type of expertise.

Be concise

Pare down all of the activities you showcase to the ones that represent you best as a worthy college candidate. Also, make sure to not be too wordy and try and limit what you include on your resume to one to two pages, max.

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Advice for Student-Athletes to Thrive Academically


Student-Athletes have to constantly be on top of their game both on and off the field, which is no small task.  While sports to the student-athlete are extremely important, remember that student-athletes are students first, and they must maintain good grades in addition to optimally performing the sport of their choice in order to be successful and ultimately, play college level sports in the future.  So, keep in mind the following advice is to help student-athletes excel in all aspects of their athletic and academic lives, which will help pave the way for a successful future.

Play hard and learn hard

Apply the same discipline in the classroom as you do in your sport, knowing that you are at a great advantage as a student-athlete by already understanding what the results of hard work and dedication look like.  To help balance your responsibilities, treat your daily tasks as a full time endeavor by creating and sticking to a routine that allows you to successfully accomplish all of your daily goals, including doing homework, studying, practicing, eating, relaxing, and socializing with friends.  College coaches are only interested in recruiting players who can rise to the challenge and strike an appropriate balance between academics, athletics, and their social lives, so make sure to keep this goal at the very top of your list.

Coordinate with your teachers       

Being a student-athlete is something that takes time, patience, and diligence.  Treat it as such by working with your teachers to make sure you are succeeding in the classroom and continuing to be on top of your homework.  If you are struggling with a certain subject, ask your teacher to help you.  Why is this important?  Because college coaches expect students to perform optimally both on and off the field, and if you want to advance to college level sports, academics must be given equal weight to sports.

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Tips for Achieving the Ideal ACT Score

Like the SAT, the ACT is a standardized test that colleges across the United States use as an important factor in determining whether a student is eligible for admission.  So, if the first time you take the ACT you do not obtain your intended score, you will probably need to take the test again.  However, the good news is that it will likely become easier the second time around since you now know what to expect having one full test under your belt.  Moreover, ACT statistics demonstrate that most students who take the ACT more than once are able to increase their scores the most between the first and second administration.  So, if you have taken the ACT and are unsatisfied with your score, don’t give up, as there are several ways to dramatically improve it. 

Accordingly, the following are some helpful tips for improving your ACT score and an explanation of how you can achieve the gain that you are striving for:

  • Start preparing as soon as your first ACT test is over

If you did not reach your ideal score the first time taking the ACT, immediately start preparing for the next one.  The same day you took the first test, or soon thereafter, write down what you recall about the exam, including areas where you feel you had some weaknesses and/or lost time, and any distractions you may have experienced, etc.  Overall, any memories that you have about the test will become important to consider when you take the test again.

  • Know how to interpret your score

When you receive your score, which is typically available between two and eight weeks after taking it, your inclination is likely to view your composite score and quickly glance at your section scores.  However, it is highly recommended that you review your entire score report as a learning lesson for the next time you take the test.

For instance, you should definitely pay attention to each sub-score, which is a great way to identify weakness areas.  Also review the Detailed Results section of your report to learn which areas you scored the lowest.  This will give you the full picture as to where score improvements are needed.

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To-Dos – For Student-Athletes Preparing for College

College Preparation

All college bound students are required to take certain steps in order to complete the college search and application process. However, high school student-athletes face several additional steps if they want to play college level sports.  These are as follows:

Be clear about what level of play you aspire to

It is very important to be clear about your abilities and what division of college is realistic for you to pursue.  Talk to your coach to help you narrow down a list of colleges and choose one that is right for you based upon your skills and experience.

Attend a summer sports camp at your college of interest

Attending a sports camp at a college of interest is extremely important because not only does it expose you to college coaches, it also helps to give you a good feel for the campus. 

Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center

To be eligible to play Division I or II sports, you must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, ideally by the beginning of your junior year of high school.  The NCAA recommends that student-athletes register at the beginning of their junior year in high school, but many students register after their junior year. There is no registration deadline, but students must be cleared by the Eligibility Center before they receive athletic scholarships or compete at a Division I or II institution.  Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center website to learn more.

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How to Choose the College that Best Fits You

Choosing the right college is essential, as it will determine the next two or four years of your life after high school and even your future.  It is also a process involving certain steps that as early as freshman year of high school, students, student-athletes, and their families should start thinking about.  Keep in mind that by planning ahead and doing your homework, you are able to make more educated and well-rounded decisions when it comes time to select the college that is right for you.  So, to choose a college that best fits you, keep reading to learn more.

First and foremost, ask yourself what is most important to you, such as, where you want to attend college and what you ultimately want to become? From there, you can determine what types of colleges will enable you to reach your goals.  In light of your goals, important factors that you should think about when choosing the right college include the size of the college, location, distance of the college from your home, the availability of majors and types of classes, classroom size, student body makeup, campus atmosphere, sports programs, and the availability of extracurricular activities.

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Student-Athletes – Understanding Athletic Scholarships


After all the hard work both on and off the field, it eventually comes time for a high school student-athlete to reap the rewards.  Meaning, when searching for the right college, many high school student-athletes look to attend college using scholarship funds, whether athletic or academic based, or both.  In general, scholarship funds can be awarded to alleviate some or all college costs (called partial or full scholarships), and being eligible for them depends upon the type of scholarship pursued. Overall, being educated on all available scholarship options is crucial, as the more you know, the better chance you will have to obtain funding to help you and your family offset your college expenses.  So, to learn more about your scholarship options, consider the following, which provides student-athletes and their parents with answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding athletic scholarships and financial aid to help them make the most educated financial choices possible:

1) Do all colleges offer athletic scholarships?

While varying forms of scholarships are offered at all colleges and universities, only some award athletic scholarships. Specifically, only NCAA Divisions I and II, and NAIA and NJCAA colleges offer scholarships to incoming student-athletes, while the Ivy League and NCAA Division III colleges do not.  However, these colleges that do not offer sports scholarships can still financially assist academically qualified student-athletes through grant money and other forms of financial aid.  Keep in mind that the majority of athletic scholarships offered at NCAA Division I and II level colleges are known as “equivalency scholarships”, which means that they only are partial financial awards.  Notwithstanding, a student-athlete can still receive a full scholarship at the Division II level if they qualify.

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The Worst College Majors for a Lucrative Career

Whether the amount you pay for college ultimately ends up being worth it in the long run depends heavily on what you choose to study.  In fact, according to a 2015 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the difference in earnings between the highest and lowest paying majors is a whopping $3.4 million!  In this view, we felt that you should know what kind of future you can expect from a major before you invest thousands of dollars to get it.  Keep in mind that if your intended major is on our list, don’t fret, as we are not saying that you should not follow your dreams.  However, what we are saying is that you do so with your eyes wide open and understanding the risks associated with going down an academic path that may not be as lucrative as others.

Religious studies – while a spiritual-based occupation is certainly replete with rewards, don’t expect that they will come in a monetary form.  While the median starting salary for all majors is about $43,000, the average starting salary for a religious studies major is about $38,000. Moreover, there are limited job options for those who major in religious studies, and as such, the competition can be fierce among the jobs that are available.  As an alternative, consider majoring in philosophy, which still allows you to pursue religious courses but exposes you to classes that offer skills such as critical thinking and analysis required in a variety of different careers.

Exercise science – while exercise is undeniably good for your health, majoring in this field of study however, may not be good for your wallet.  Not only is the average starting salary extremely low (~$36,000), employers typically do not seek out potential employees who major in this field of study.  As an alternative, we recommend that you consider a major in physical therapy, occupational therapy or nutrition, which offer broader and higher paying job possibilities post-graduation.

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Important 4-Year College Statistics

2-Year and 4-Year Colleges

Public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, and colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees all fall into the category of four-year colleges and universities. Generally speaking, there are several advantages of attending a four-year college, including the ability to receive a well-rounded education, obtain a higher paying job in the future, and be prepared for graduate or professional school after college.  Overall, while a four-year college is not right for everyone, it can pave the way for a successful future, depending upon one’s specific academic needs and goals.  As such, consider the following information about four-year colleges, which can help you to determine whether this is the right option for you:

1) How many students are estimated to attend four-year colleges?

In Fall of 2017, it is estimated that approximately 20.4 million students will attend American colleges and universities, with about 13.4 million students attending four-year colleges. 

2) What is the average price for a four-year college?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2015-2016 academic year, the average price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board was $16,757 for public institutions, $43,065 at private not-for-profit colleges, and $23,776 at private for-profit institutions.

3) What is the most popular major at four-year colleges in the United States?

According to USA Today, the most popular major at four-year academic institutions is Business Administration and Management, which renders an average starting salary (with a bachelor’s degree) of $41,200 and a mid-career salary of around $70,700.

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Key Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right College

When searching for and selecting the right college, there are a number of key factors to consider to ensure that you choose the right one that fits you and your family’s needs.  Here are a few important points:

  • Academic reputation – academic reputation is one of the many things to look into when comparing colleges and their programs. For example, if a college is known for having a nationally recognized journalism program, it may be beneficial for you to take advantage of it since employers are likely familiar with the program and what it has to offer. This could ultimately lead to future job opportunities after graduation since employers may favor graduates who come out of a well-reputed program.
  • Availability of majors – one of the most critical decisions you will make either before or during college is which major to pursue. That is why it is important to choose a college that has a diverse number of available majors, especially if you are undecided or ambivalent about your current major of interest – as it will best support your long-term career objectives. How?  By having a large variety of majors, you will be afforded many programs to choose from if you are undecided or decide to change your major later on, meaning that you will not have to transfer to another college to find a major that best suits your interests.

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How Parents Can Help Students with the College Application Process

Tips for Parents_2

As parents, you want to see your son or daughter succeed. At the end of the day, where they ultimately decide to attend college is primarily their decision.  This is why the appropriate role of a parent is to provide guidance and support during the often complicated and sometimes disappointing college application process, yet letting their son or daughter lead the way.  To help you to provide the most effective role in assisting your son or daughter during the college application process, consider the following tips.

Purchase the Smart College Report – the Smart College Report is a centralized tool designed to help bring you and your son or daughter together so that you can have a family-oriented approach to tackling the college application process.  In other words, it provides a mechanism by which you can sit down at the table together, review the list of colleges that match your son or daughter’s preferences, and start to narrow down colleges that appear to have what your child is looking for.  Whether you have started the college application process or not, the Smart College Report provides everything you need to decide which college is ultimately the right one for your child, including detailed information on college costs, scholarship statistics, admissions information, tips on smart loan borrowing, and much more.

Create a reasonable timetable – this is a good place to take the lead, especially if your son or daughter tends to wait until the last minute to get things done.  That is why you should sit down with him or her, even as early as freshman year in high school, to go through a timetable of tasks, which should include purchasing the Smart College Report, reviewing the list of colleges that match his or her preferences, visiting colleges, planning on when to take the ACT or SAT, and starting the application process.

Discuss the money upfront – if you are only able to afford colleges that are limited to a certain financial range, be sure to discuss this with your son or daughter upfront so that you can manage their expectations and eliminate future disappointment.

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