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College application resume

College application resume or academic resume is included in thestandard package of documents for admission to the master’s ordoctoral programs of most universities. However, this type ofresume differs from the professional resume that is used to finda job.

What is the difference between an academic resume and an ordinaryresume?

An academic resume is a generalizing document of professional,academic, and non-academic achievements of the applicant. Theresume must demonstrate the readiness of the applicant to studyat the university.

If the main purpose of the professional resume is to receive aninvitation for an interview, the purpose of the academic resumeis to strengthen the candidate’s main application andadditionally emphasize those qualities that the members of theadmissions committee want to see in the candidates.

In addition, an academic resume is characterized by thefollowing:

  • It is not limited to one page – two pages are quiteacceptable
  • It makes the main emphasis on the academic achievements ofthe applicant.

Otherwise, the academic resume is very similar to a professionalresume:

  • The information is presented in reverse chronological order
  • You should indicate your name and your contact information
  • You should include the names of organizations and departments(departments or faculties), as well as names of posts.
  • You should list the main duties and achievements.

The sections of the resume can vary, as in the professionalresume.

How important an academic resume is

Your academic resume is important for two main reasons:

  • With its help you simplify the task of the admissioncommittee, presenting the most important aspects of your academicand professional experience (it becomes clear what and when youwere engaged in and how you used your time).
  • Most often, your resume is the first document that theadmissions office reads to make an impression of you. So, yourgoal is to make the right first impression.

Main sections of the academic resume

Main sections of the college application resume include:

  • Education
  • Professional experience
  • Research experience
  • Publications and presentations
  • Professional affiliations
  • Honors and awards
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Skills


The section about education is the most important because on thebasis of it you can immediately get an idea of whether thecandidate has the necessary qualifications for admission to theselected academic program.

In this section, you need to list the universities, in which youstudied, the qualifications you received there, and the mostimportant of the courses you listened to. If the candidategraduated with honors, then this fact must be indicated. You canspecify the Grade Point Average (GPA).

Professional experience

Many postgraduate programs prefer candidates who have at leastsome practical experience obtained outside the university, evenif they enter a magistracy or doctorate immediately afterreceiving their first higher education.

Here you can list internships, practices, and any otherprofessional experience that directly relates to the chosentraining program. Not relevant professional experience isdescribed briefly.

More attention should be paid to positions that required the useof managerial or technical skills and skills, which areespecially appreciated in the selected postgraduate program. Forexample, conducting surveys, statistical data processing,experience with a large amount of information, etc.

Research experience

The experience of research activity is always a great advantagewhen entering both the magistracy and doctoral programs.

If a candidate has experience of research activities, forexample, he had the practice in the laboratory, worked as anassistant at the department, then these facts are indicated inthis section of the resume.

For each position, the research skills that have been developedare listed, including laboratory procedures, statisticalanalysis, computer programs, archival research, and the like.

Publications and presentations

Candidates who have scientific publications and reports atscientific conferences can list them in this section.

Professional affiliations

Here, you need to list scientific, including student,associations and councils, in which you were or are a member of.Various public associations in this section are not specified.

Honors and awards

Various kinds of awards, especially academic ones, such as grantsand scholarships are highly appreciated in the academicenvironment. Therefore, for this, there is a separate section ofthe resume, which first lists academic awards, and then otherrelevant honors in other areas.

Extracurricular activities

In this section, you can list various social and volunteeractivities, activities in the student council, etc. Particularemphasis should be placed on the activities that contributed tothe development of skills valuable to graduate school such asleadership skills, time management, etc.


Here, you can separately list the skills that were not previouslymentioned in other sections, such as knowledge of foreignlanguages, computer programs, etc.

This is especially important if these skills are valued on thechosen academic program.

Depending on the candidate’s experience and the chosen program,additional sections can be added to the resume, such as “Teachingexperience”, “Certifications”, and others.

Things to avoid in your resume

There are some things you need to avoid when preparing youracademic resume:

  • Typos and grammatical errors. Your resume, which you submitto the university admissions office should be grammaticallyperfect, without a single misprint and error. You don’t want tobe seen as illiterate or not at all interested in studying at theuniversity. One of the selection criteria is your knowledge ofEnglish, so the resume shows your literacy and Englishproficiency.
  • Lack of specific information. Many students think that themore they say, not even on the topic, the better. But this skilldoes not need to be applied in writing a resume. Your resume mustbe extremely precise and concise.
  • The problem of universal summaries. Remember, you mustaddress each resume to a specific university. Avoid universality,namely a document that is suitable for all occasions. Analyze theenrollment requirements of each university, think about how topresent the information in such a way as to show your interestand that you are fully suited to the program.
  • Appearance of the resume. All people without exception payattention to the appearance. Especially it concerns theappearance of the documents, on which your future depends. Payattention to the font, align the text around the edges, use thetab instead of the space bar. An incorrect and badly designedresume first creates the impression that the student cannot usethe computer at all, and secondly, it’s just unpleasant to read.
  • Purpose of the resume. At the beginning of each resume, abrief goal should be set out, for what purpose you wrote it andprovide it for a review by the university. Avoid phrases such as“to receive higher quality and prestige diploma”, there is noneed to prove to the university that it is prestigious. Writethat your desire is to gain knowledge of the program, which willhelp in future to be competitive in the labor market.
  • Characteristics of personal qualities. Very often resumeshave a standard set of qualities, which, according to thestudents, attracts attention. Yes, indeed, words likehardworking, detail-oriented, and proactive really attractattention, but 100 other students indicate the same qualities,and it does not make you special. Show in the resume that youlike to work in a team, but do not write empty words, if youcannot confirm them by actions, find your own feature.

Things that will make your resume more appealing

Including these sections in your resume will help you emphasizeyour strengths and prove you are an active, smart, andcommunicative person.

Charity and volunteer activities

Only significant projects should be described. For example,raising funds for an orphanage, organizing language courses formigrants, creating websites for non-profit organizations, workingas an interpreter at a conference, etc. It is important to pointout that all these services were provided on a voluntary basis.

The availability of non-academic publications

As a rule, many young scientists like to share interestinginformation with their colleagues and friends, making out theirresearch in small scientific articles, which later becomeavailable for viewing and discussion online, in a personal blog.Such platforms, of course, cannot be compared with thepublication in a scientific journal, but they testify to theactive life position of the candidate.

Speeches as guest

Here you can include all non-academic speeches as an expert inany field. For example, you were invited to one of the schoolswith a request to tell about your own experience in preparing andpassing the TOEFL exam or on entering a foreign university. Thisinformation will only play into your hands, since itcharacterizes you as an active person who wants to shareexperience and knowledge.

Appearances in the media

Quite often young scientists are invited to various news orthematic TV and radio programs, where they act as experts in acertain matter. Participation in one of these meetings is worthmentioning in the event that the program is really worthy andechoes the academic activity of the applicant.

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