If students have not already put together a résumé of activities, summer or after-school employment, plus athletic and academic achievements, now is a good time to begin the process before the demands of school set in. While this will be a work-in-progress, with new items being added as the senior year progresses, the more that can be done sooner means less pressure and stress later.

Creating a résumé serves multiple purposes. For one, students can bring it with them to a college interview; often it breaks the ice between interviewer and student, and allows for readily available topics of conversation about which the student will be comfortable conversing.

In addition, all college applications have a section where one is asked to list extracurricular activities. Using the résumé as a source for this prevents the student from having to rethink their activities each time they are faced with the various application platforms.

It’s important for a student to learn to consider what they do outside of the classroom as valuable, and a résumé validates this. After all, how they choose to spend their free time says a great deal about what they value, and what excites their creative imagination.

Compiling a résumé leading into their senior year—seeing activities in black and white—can also help a student figure out what they might want to spend more time pursuing. Colleges love to see sustained interest in a hobby or interest; the résumé can point one in the right direction.

If a student does not have anything to put on a résumé, then perhaps it’s time for a discussion about how they might benefit from doing activities which may be outside their comfort zone. Colleges like to see well-rounded candidates—active in a sport, or engaged in their community, or excited about a hobby—and if the specter of creating a résumé is what motivates one to get out there and get involved, then it’s a win-win proposition.