Preparing for College

Is Senior Year Too Late to Beef Up Resume?

Question: Do all college applications ask about community service or is it just extracurriculars? My son is very active in school... just not so much in the community. Is senior year too late to beef it up?

College applications ask students to list their most meaningful extracurricular, volunteer, and work experiences. This list can even include personal interests or hobbies that a student pursues independently, not just organized school clubs or community groups. So your son will have lots of wiggle room when it comes to deciding which of his undertakings to highlight.

Senior year is not necessarily too late to “beef up” a scrawny resume, but admission folks will look askance if a host of new endeavors emerge in 12th grade and seem suspiciously like application window dressing.

Your son may be better served by taking current activities to a higher or different level. For instance, if Scrabble is a longtime hobby of his, he could join a local club and compete in regional or even national competitions. If he’s always enjoyed film-making or creative writing, he could teach these skills in an after-school program that he founds himself in a local elementary or community center.

Most college admission officials are looking for commitment and longevity in activities rather than at the length of the list. So my advice would be for your son to add no more than one or two new ventures as a senior and, instead, focus on expanding his present undertakings.

(posted 4/6/2012)