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Articles / Applying to College / Is Senior Year Too Late to Beef Up Resume?
Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | April 6, 2012

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)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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