Fill Your Resume with Activities that Matter


Students often have a lot more free time during the summer and they aren’t sure how to use these hours wisely. Often times, they will stay at home playing games on phones or computers, or meet up with friends to watch movies. While summer should definitely be a time to relax, there is a way to be smart about how some of your free time is spent, especially with college applications on the horizon.

Your resume, which will be highly important for college applications, is filled with extracurricular activities you did during the school year and summer. Many students list things like sports, musical groups, and school-based clubs such as DECA. All of these are fine and even important for creating the image of a well-rounded student. However, summer should not be a time to let your great skills languish.

A sad reality is that students will either spend time hanging out with friends or participating in summer employment instead of signing up for activities that could really make them standout in the application process. Below is a list of ways to spend your time wisely while still getting the most out of your summer.

1) Do research at a college or university.

Many colleges have programs for students to perform high-level research with a group of graduate assistants and professors. This is a perfect way to build a background in the sciences that go outside of the classroom and show how serious you are about choosing a medical or science-related field as a profession. Application season for these programs usually starts in spring, around February and March.

2) Volunteer at a business, hospital, or organization related to your desired career.

If you cannot do research, then try to stay local and help an organization related to your field. If you plan on studying medicine, try to shadow doctors or work volunteer hours at a hospital. If you hope to get into advertising, solicit companies to make an advertising campaign for them. Try what you can in your community with the goal of helping people and building your skills and background. You’d be surprised how receptive these places are to people who want to help for free.

3) Start a summer club or organization.

Sometimes the best way to do something is to lead the charge. If you can’t find a way to perform research or help a company, start your own group. For computer science students, you could imitate some of the greats that have come before you, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and run a computer club out of your garage (well maybe not in the Texas heat). For literature students, you can start a book club and maybe even host it at a local bookstore. Take initiative! Colleges love to see students who build something.

4) Take classes at a community college or for dual-credit.

This obviously does not relate to adding extracurriculars to your resume -- at least, not directly. If you take some of your basic classes -- such as history, government, economics, and health -- at a community college over summer, you can free up your schedule during the school year to be an active member in or leader of a club.

Regardless of what you decide to do, just make sure you are doing instead of hanging around the living room on the couch. Like it or not, “couch potato” is not the best job to list on your resume, even if you were pro at it.

(image credit: societyforscience.org)

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