Activity Marketing

High school seniors, let's talk about how to present your out-of-classroom activities to your prospective colleges in the most effective and convincing way. I'm talking about what I call your “annotated activities list." Some call is a resume; others call it a “brag sheet" (I never cared for that term, though). Anyway, the goal is to enhance your college applications with the best-possible presentation of all that you do and have done during your high school years.

You may have noticed the word “Marketing" in my title up above. That's really what you're doing by making the effort to present your extracurricular activities in the most appealing light possible. The material that follows may seem strange to you at first, especially if you have been told that a conventional approach to this task is the best, if not the most prudent way to do this. If that's the case, then be sure to read all of the instructions here carefully before you begin to create your annotated list. You may have done a resume that looks like the “Before" (UNannotated) activities list that I present below. Now, though, I suggest that you concentrate on the “After" list I'll show you. Also, please pay attention to the common mistakes I call out.

You can actually think of your activities list as a kind of resume. Your prospective colleges are the same as an employer with whom you're trying to secure a job. Instead of saying, “Hire me!" you're really saying, “Admit me!" The parallels are the same. So, let's take a look at the rationale behind the annotated activities list.

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