Building a High School Resume

Close-up of a womanʼs hand holding a pencil, writing in a notepad.

You’ve no doubt heard the question “What do you take part in outside of the classroom?” And how many times have high schoolers been told to make themselves “well-rounded?” Busy students juggle competing interests in sports, school, clubs, and work to build out a resume. But how does the high school resume play into applying for college?

So you’ve started to think about highlighting your experiences throughout high school. A student can define themselves with a high school resume not just by what they’ve participated in, but their passions, too. And those who’ve started their college application process will have listed activities, hours, and awards to help stress what they’ve accomplished.

Make a Plan

A high school resume doesn’t have to exist as the total of all the things you’ve done. But, it can be a living and breathing plan as to what sorts of things you’d like to do before you graduate. One way to stand out is to take part in programs that show a student is willing to go the extra mile. What would it mean to do research in STEM or to attend a short-term college level program? Not only are you gaining insight into a possible future course of study, but along the way you just might discover what a college has to offer.

As you’re planning, it’s important to ask yourself what sort of experiences are important to you. How you might benefit from them? There are a huge number of programs available to high school students that will let you experience college life. They could be in fields like STEM, the performing arts, and more. How about presenting a project with a world renowned researcher? Or receiving individual music lessons from a master in their field? Would you like to earn credit for your work, or are you interested more in academic enrichment?

Student performing on stage.
The NYU Touch

New York University provides over a hundred programs to high school students through the year. Some begin in the fall and spring, and many during the summer months. And with a little research, you can discover what motivates you. Study artificial intelligence through programs in our Tandon K-12 Center. Or take part in credit-bearing courses in filmmaking through the Tisch School of the Arts. Or, spend six weeks on-campus as a college student, attending classes with current NYU students and fellow high schoolers from around the world.

Whatever you may take part in at NYU, you’ll be certain to face a challenging program full of like-minded, talented individuals with a passion to learn. Top faculty and staff will guide you to new heights. Our students leave with portfolio pieces, college credits, and a personal connection to faculty and peers alongside an unforgettable program. All important parts of their high school resume.

Pulling It All Together

So think about making a plan now in the fall about what you might want to take part in this upcoming year. And start by asking the important questions: what interests me about this opportunity? Is this free, something that requires me to pay, or perhaps will pay me to participate? Will I earn college credit, or is this program about the academic experience? And how will I be able to take what I’ve learned to stand out from the rest of my peers? While not all programs are created equal, some might provide more value than others. And as a savvy consumer, you’re entitled to know how you’ll benefit from it. By taking the time to make a plan, do the research, and execute your goals, you’ll be well on your way to a sterling high school resume.

Andrew LaVenia is Associate Director of Operations for University Programs. When he’s not introducing middle and high school students to summer programs at NYU, he’s writing short stories or on the field as a part of the NYC Ramblers, the country’s oldest LGBTQ soccer league. He earned his BA in Psychology from Boston College and completed an MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at NYU.