High School Resume - How-To Guide for 2024 [11+ Samples]

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Whether you’re preparing your college application, applying for an internship, or looking for a part-time job, you’ll notice that every single place is asking for your resume. 

You sit down, work on your resume for an hour, trying to come up with what you can include.

And all you end up with is the name of the high school you’re attending.

“What gives?” you wonder.

“What else can I add to my resume, when I have zero work experience?”

That’s a more than valid concern and it’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article! 

We’re going to tell you exactly what to write so that your resume is as convincing as any other (even with zero work experience). 

  • What to include in a high school resume
  • 4 Free high school templates you can use
  • A real-life high school resume example
  • FAQ on high school resumes

Let’s start with the question you’ve been repeatedly asking yourself:

What to Include in My High School Resume?

At the end of the day, resumes are about showing an employer that you are the right person for the job. 

You want to show you’re a competent, passionate, and responsible individual, with the right skills to get the job done.

Well, work experience isn’t the only way to convince recruiters of that. 

Instead, you can focus on the following sections:

  • #1. Contact Information - This is where you write down your personal and contact information (no surprise there) like first and last name, phone number, e-mail address, or links to other profiles.
  • #2. Resume Objective - In 3-4 sentences, you should be able to describe your career goals and aspirations as well as list your skills.
  • #3. Education - As you probably guessed, this is where you list your education history and relevant certifications.
  • #4. Extracurricular Activities - These include participation in high school clubs, competitive events, and volunteer work.
  • #5. Projects & Gigs - You can mention relevant projects you have participated in, as well as any internships.
  • #6. Work Experience (optional) - If you don’t have any work experience, you can mention apprenticeships or volunteer work instead.
  • #7. Languages - Language skills are always a plus for your application.
  • #8. Hobbies & Interests - These offer some insight into your personality and can show that you’re passionate and interested in the industry.

As you can see, there’s a lot that can go into your resume to make up for the missing work experience. 

Now, we’ll dive into each of these sections in detail and teach you how to do each of them right!

So, let’s start with:

#1. Contact Information

The contact information isn’t too hard to pull off.

Here’s what you need to include here:

  • First and Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address

Make sure to use a professional email address , something like: [email protected]. Using your middle school [email protected] account will not leave the right impression. 

#2. Resume Objective

A resume objective is a 3-4 sentence statement of your skills, achievements, and career goals . 

Think of it as a short summary of why you’re applying for this specific position and why you’d be a good candidate for it.

You should try your best to link this summary to the role you are applying for. 

For example, if you’re applying for a position as a sales associate, you should make a point of your good social skills, proficiency in math, and teamwork skills.

Let’s have a look at a concrete example of a resume objective for this case:

Hard-working, responsible high school student looking to contribute a positive and collaborative attitude in the retail field. Math-oriented individual with good attention to detail.

#3. Education

In a typical resume, this comes after the work experience section. 

For a high school resume, though, you’d want to do it the other way around, since you want to put more focus on your academic achievements.

This section will most probably consist of only one entry: your high school education. 

Here’s how you can format your education section:

  • Name of the Degree
  • Name of the Institution
  • Years Attended
  • GPA (if above 3.5)
  • Honors (if applicable)
  • Relevant Courses

High School Diploma (Honor Roll)

AB High School

09/2015 - 06/2019

  • Relevant courses: AP Calculus, Statistics, Leadership

#4. Extracurricular Activities

Now, this section could be one of your biggest selling points. 

Even if you have a not-so-special GPA, extracurriculars can turn your resume around. These activities are typically school-related, like participation in clubs or student societies. 

Involvement in such, especially in leadership positions like club president or team captain, shows you are sociable and active in your pursuits. 

When listing your extracurricular activities, you should format each entry like this:

Student Body Treasurer

Student Government, AB High School

  • Managed the student council’s funds and expenses, kept financial records, and worked with the president and vice president to create budgets and allot funds for clubs and events.
  • Participated in organizing student activities like dances, spirit weeks, community service, and fundraising movements and assemblies.

#5. Projects & Gigs

Here you can mention (or even link to) any independent projects you’ve worked on - something you’ve done on the side, unrelated to academics. 

This could be a personal project, small business or startup, side-gig, blog, etc.

Such activities add a lot of value to your resume. They show you’re a self-starter and that’s a quality that’s very much appreciated in any role and industry.

Neighborhood Book Club 

2019 - Present

  • Founded a local book club, initially for my friends, and later for all the teenagers of my neighborhood.
  • Prepared a monthly book calendar for the club, combining trending, relevant, and classic books.
  • Organized weekly meetings to discuss the progress on the books and our thoughts upon finishing them.

#6. Work Experience (Optional)

If you have some work experience, awesome! Here’s how you’d format it on your high school resume:

  • Company Name
  • Dates Employed
  • Achievements & Responsibilities

Sandwich Artist

Joe’s Sandwich Emporium

06/2020 - 09/2020

  • Prepared several types of sandwiches for customers.
  • Promoted new products on the menu directly to customers.
  • Worked with the cash register.
  • Interacted with dozens of customers on a daily basis.

If you don’t have any work experience, though, worry not! You can always replace it with another “Other” section.

Volunteer work, for example, is another great addition to your resume. If you also have any informal work experiences like babysitting or dog walking, you should include them in the section. 

Even if you didn’t get a paycheck out of that work, such experiences show you are skilled and reliable. 

For example, an entry for volunteering experience can look like this:

Educational Team Member

Save the Children

2018 - Present

  • Assisted in giving weekly art history and drawing lessons to children at the local orphanage
  • Helped organize visits at local museums and art galleries

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#7. Language skills

Are you bilingual or can speak another language apart from your native one?

Make sure to mention it on your high school resume!

Wherever you might be applying, you can rest assured that they’re going to appreciate your language skills.

Even if you’re applying for a job in the service or retail industry, proficiency in an extra language or two is going to give you an advantage over other applicants, especially if you write your CEFR level , and can back up the claim in conversation.

Who knows when some foreign customers will come in and your knowledge will come in handy!

With that scenario in mind:

Be mindful not to exaggerate your skills, as lying on your resume can only get you in trouble.

#8. Hobbies & Interests

It might feel like you’re just filling up some space, but actually, the hobbies and interests you list on a resume can be significant, especially if you don’t have a lot of extracurriculars or work experience.

You need something to hint as to who you are as a person and employee, and listing hobbies and interests will do that for you. 

They also show that you are an engaged individual and well-rounded applicant. 

However, you should be selective with what you mention here. 

Listing 6+ hobbies will end up having the opposite effect - it will look like you’re just throwing in some random words, hoping some of them will be impressive. 

A good strategy is to look for hints on the job ad i.e. if they are looking for a team player, mentioning a team sport as one of your hobbies is a great idea. 

Keep in mind, though, that you should also avoid hobbies that don’t add to your profile as a candidate.

E.g.: your gaming hobby doesn't make you a better candidate for the role of a sales manager.

4 Free High School Resume Templates

So we’re all done with theory at this point. 

There’s one thing left for you to do: sit down and start preparing your resume. 

To help you with that, we’ve gathered 4 free resume templates , perfect for a high school resume. 

All you have to do is pick the ones you like best & get started with your resume!

#1. Simple Resume Template

simple resume template high school

This versatile template works for all kinds of applicants - from those with plenty to those with zero work experience. 

The neutral colors emphasize information over flashiness and the structure is easy to follow.

#2. Professional Resume Template

professional resume template high school

This next template is an all-time favorite of ours. 

Unlike the first template, the Professional one is formatted into two columns. It’s simple, yet stands out with its blue accent color (which you can change into any color you like). 

#3. Modern Resume Template

modern resume template for high school

The Modern template adds something more to the traditional resume look. There is a faded design in the background and some of the sections are boxed by large brackets.

It’s a template that stands out without being too loud or wild. 

#4. Creative Resume Template

creative resume template for high school

If you’re applying for a position in a creative field (marketing, design, etc.), this is the template for you. 

It uses accent colors and has a bold header that makes a statement. 

High School Resume Example

As important as picking the right template is, the content of the resume is what’s going to seal the deal. 

Here’s one example of a high school student resume, so you can get a clearer idea of what it should look like!

high school resume

High School Resume FAQ

If you still have some questions regarding your high school resume, check out the FAQ and our answers below:

1. How can I write a high school resume with no work experience?

As a high school student, it’s more than normal for you to have no work experience. This shouldn’t scare you. 

There’s a lot of activities you can add to your resume that can substitute work experience.

Extracurricular activities, like participation in school clubs, projects, and gigs, are a great indicator of your skills and personality. Any informal work experiences should also be mentioned.

As long as you are showing the recruiter that you are capable of doing the job, your resume will be just fine without a work experience section.

2. How long should a high school resume be?

When it comes to high school resumes, the answer is undebatable: one page. 

A 2018 eye-tracking study showed that recruiters spend about 7 seconds skimming a resume before deciding whether to discard it or not. 

A 2-page resume will be simply excessive. 

Heck, even if you’re a professional with 10 years of work experience, we’d still recommend sticking to 1 page.

For more on resume length best practices, check out our article.

3. What’s the best way to make a high school resume?

An important and time-consuming part of making a resume is getting the formatting right. 

This means meticulously editing a Word or Google doc in order to get the right typeface, font size , line spacing, margins, etc.

What we’re getting at here is, if you’re making your resume manually, it can take you hours…

And then you make a tiny change on your layout, and your resume starts spilling into the second page!

Want to save time and effort?

Just use a resume builder ! The formatting is done for you, and all YOU have to do is fill in the resume!

Key Takeaways

That pretty much covers all you need to know about writing a high school no-experience resume . 

Quite simple and doable, right?

Finally, here’s a recap of what you should keep in mind when writing your high school resume:

  • Instead of work experience, talk about extracurriculars like school clubs, personal projects, or gigs.
  • Use sections like education, hobbies & interests, and languages to emphasize your skills and give an idea of your personality.
  • Grab the recruiter’s attention with a concise resume objective that clearly highlights your top skills and career goals.
  • Keep your resume at a maximum of 1 page.

And finally, good luck with your job search!

Related Resume Examples

  • No Experience Resume
  • Internship Resume
  • College Resume
  • Research Assistant Resume
  • Students and Graduates Resume
  • Teacher Resume

Suggested readings:

  • The Complete Guide to Remote Work [W/ Tips & Tricks]
  • 101+ Achievements to List On Your Resume [In 2024]
  • The Ultimate Guide to Job Hunt - Land Your Next Job in 2024

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High School Graduate Resume Example

how to make resume for high school graduate

Whether you’re a current college student or a full-time member of the workforce, writing a resume as a recent high school graduate can be a challenge.

But even without a lot of work experience or a college degree to bolster your candidacy, you can highlight your skills and qualifications to differentiate yourself from the competition and impress the hiring manager.

What to Include in Your Resume

Your goal is to recognize and highlight the experience that you do have and tie it to the requirements as listed in the job description . For example, you might not have held a formal position as a manager, but perhaps you’ve trained new workers at your after-school job and helped your supervisor balance schedules and make deposits. Demonstrating responsibility and leadership qualities may help make up for the lack of an official title.

On the other hand, maybe you have little in the way of paid job experience but a lot of volunteer work on your resume. Don’t just match apples to apples.

Dig into your experience and abilities and focus on what you can do for a prospective employer.

Here are some of the experiences and activities that can be included on your resume:

  • Academic projects
  • Community activities
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Formal work experience
  • Informal work experience (babysitting, lawn mowing, etc.)
  • Internships
  • School activities
  • Volunteering

How to Apply to Jobs as a High School Graduate

Don’t assume that you’re not qualified for the job, just because you lack some of the ideal requirements listed in the job description. Hiring managers tend to list the skills, experience, and qualifications that they’d hope to find in the perfect candidate.

But, the reality is that this person might not exist. Further, the best person for the job might be someone who doesn’t have all of the requirements but has other things to recommend them, such as a positive attitude, the ability to learn, and excellent communication and people skills .

Unless you lack the essential skills for the job, it’s usually worth it to apply.

The only thing you have to lose is your time. Plus, the more you apply to jobs, the better you’ll get at writing resumes and cover letters , participating in job interviews , and networking your way into new opportunities.

If you’re a high school graduate who’s currently working on a resume , the following example, which includes both volunteer and work experience, will help you get started. Remember to customize your resume for your experience and for each job application.

This is an example of a resume for a high school graduate. Download the high school graduate resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

High School Graduate Resume Example (Text Version)

Keith Jones 999 Main Street Pittsburgh, PA 10003 Home: 555-555-6543 Cell: 456-555-7654 kjones.applicant@email.com

CAREER OBJECTIVE

Soon-to-graduate honors English major, with a solid history of work, academic, and extracurricular experience seeks entry-level management position with a top firm.

CORE QUALIFICATIONS

  • Member of a number of academic honors societies.
  • Held leadership roles in several athletic, academic, and school-related organizations.
  • Received several honors and a promotion at a part-time job.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

JOE’S CAFE, Southampton, PA Barista, Fall 2020-Present Was selected employee of the month twice for efficient, friendly service.

  • Promoted to barista September 2020.

BERKSHIRE COUNTY PLAYHOUSE, Berkshire, PA Assistant , Summer 2020 Coordinated rehearsal and performance schedules for the cast and crew of three one-week productions over one season.

  • Created and managed social media accounts for the playhouse to market shows and activities.

STUDENT TUTORS AT WASHINGTON, Southampton, PA Tutor , September 2019-May 2020 Instructed elementary school students on how to apply mathematic and scientific concepts to their homework assignments.

  • Coordinated a weekend trip to the Philadelphia Zoo and designed a packet of math and science questions related to the animals and exhibits children encountered there.

EDUCATION Bachelor of Arts in English (May 2021: Projected Graduation Date); GPA 3.9 XYY University, Pittsburgh, PA Dean’s List Every Quarter; Fulbright Scholar (Oxford University); Lead Roll “The Music Man,” Spring 2020

George Washington High School (June 2017); GPA 4.0

  • French Honors Society, National Honors Society, National Merit Scholar; Varsity Soccer Team Captain

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16 High School Student Resume Examples Created for 2024

Stephen Greet

High School Student Resume

  • High School Student Resumes by Experience
  • High School Student Resumes by Role

High school is one of the best times of your life, but it can also be one of the most difficult when looking for your first or second job. You’ve got to fill out applications, prep for interviews, and write your resume.

Using ChatGPT for resumes  is a cool idea, but can still feel daunting and overwhelming. We’ve all been there, and up until now, there hasn’t been a good resource for high schoolers to help  craft compelling resumes or student cover letters .

We’ve analyzed countless high school resumes to discover  what would get students job interviews in 2024 . While you may want to start with a simple  resume outline , keep reading to find 16 high school resume samples (plus writing tips) that are jam-packed with essential techniques and tricks.

or download as PDF

High school student resume example with 2 years of experience

Why this resume works

  • If you choose to use a template, make sure you adjust the  resume’s formatting  so that your text is big enough to read with one-inch margins on the side.
  • However, you should write your bullet points like you would for a job. Highlight any responsibilities and accomplishments relevant to the job you’re applying for now.
  • For example, if you’re looking for a job in sales, emphasize your ability to work in groups and create a good customer experience.

High School Student No Experience Resume

High school student no experience resume example with no experience

  • If you don’t have work history, include projects and volunteer work instead. Treat them like a job and write bullet points according to your responsibilities.
  • Make sure you start every bullet point with active verbs, and always double-check for typos. You’ve got this!
  • Include your unique skills, your desired position, and the company you hope to work for to make your objective stand out from the rest!

First Job High School Student Resume

First job high school student resume example with 2+ years of experience

  • To remedy that problem, add a  skills section on your resume  to give hiring managers an important overview of your strengths.
  • To really highlight your abilities, incorporate the same skills in your work experience, too. Demonstrate how you used your skills to better your workplace, and you can’t go wrong!
  • Adding stylistic elements like color and different fonts can help you show a bit of your personality (and make your resume more fun to read). 

Experienced High School Student Resume

Experienced high school student resume example with 2+ years of experience

  • Remember, your resume is a highlight reel, so you need to include what’s most important (like your achievements and relevant metrics). 
  • You can adjust your layout, font sizes, and margins, but keep it easy to read. 
  • Use a bit of color and some fun fonts, provided it still looks professional. You’ve got this!

High School Senior Resume

High school senior resume example experience with project experience

  • This statement must align with the potential employer’s needs, proving you understand the job requirements and have gone the extra mile to address doubts about your capabilities. As for experiences that might have prepared you for the job, workshops and volunteering programs you’ve participated in are prominent candidates.

Out of High School Resume

Out of high school resume example with project experience

  • Leisure activities range from soccer, hiking, drawing and sketching, robotics, and photography to journalism. But how do they fit in the picture? Well, a penchant for drawing and sketching could reflect creativity and an eye for detail, while journalism stints could hint at strong communication and critical thinking.

High School Graduate Resume

High school graduate resume example with newspaper and photography experience

  • Right from the first line of the career objective, you can see the candidate’s passion and willingness to work in this field. Notice how Serai’s love for photography is clearly backed by a previous project for a school newspaper.
  • These details will be perfect when Serai’s ready for the AI cover letter generator to bring her application to perfection.

High School Student Scholarship Resume

High school student scholarship resume example with volunteer and project experience

  • Your high school student scholarship resume should vividly show your positive contributions to noble causes, such as offering ADLs to seniors, and emphasize your impact on society.

High School Student College Application Resume

High school student college application resume example with 1 year of work experience

  • Ensure your high school student college application resume shows your practical and classwork achievements that emphasize your grand vision to make a positive contribution to society.

High School Student for College Resume

High school student for college resume example with 3 years of experience

  • Before hitting “submit,” always  check your resume  for typos and other minor errors. It’s amazing what you can miss during your first few reviews.
  • A good GPA can demonstrate, at least in part, your willingness to work hard. We’d recommend including your GPA only if it’s above 3.5, but anything above a 3 is a good average.

High School Student for Customer Service Resume

High school student for customer service resume example with 4 years of experience

  • Including projects, volunteer work, or club memberships is a great way to add value to your resume.
  • Your resume should focus on your abilities and other activities you’ve engaged in that will show your value.
  • Read the responsibilities and qualifications to look for key skills and tasks. Then, incorporate some of those skills and responsibilities into your high school student customer service resume.

High School Student Internship Resume

High school student internship resume example with 3 years of experience

  • For example, if the job description lists responsibilities like writing and analyzing data, include “written communication” and “data analysis” in your skills section.
  • One easy way to customize your resume is by focusing your  resume skills  on things that apply to the internship. 
  • Make sure you keep your resume professional and to the point. You don’t want to include anything too personal about your beliefs, religion, politics, or personal information.
  • For example, you can list “volunteering at local church,” but avoid saying “fasting every weekend.” It doesn’t show off relevant skills and is a bit too forward for a resume.

High School Student Office Worker Resume

High school student office worker resume example with 5 years of experience

  • Good projects include anything that demonstrates your leadership abilities or desire for knowledge. Senior projects, personal blogs, or even being on a sports team are all good examples to include!
  • Add work experience directly under your contact information and name, then add any relevant projects if you’re low on space. 
  • While there are plenty of  resume writing tips , your resume should be as unique as you. Don’t get so caught up in what you think you “should” do that your resume is bland and cookie-cutter. 

High School Student Sales Resume

High school student sales resume example with 6 years of experience

  • Numbers demonstrate your value, and they’re useful tools for the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software that hiring managers use to sort through job applicants.
  • Trust us, and incorporate metrics into at least 80% of your bullet points!
  • For example, you know that different  resume templates  can change your resume’s appearance, but different templates can also stretch or streamline your content. 
  • Mess with multiple templates to see what your content will look like—you may find a template that allows for more room, or one that allows you to highlight your skills better.

High School Student Athlete  Resume

High school student athlete resume example with 4 years of athletic experience

  • Think of a time you proved you were the MVP on your team—Did you lead your team to a championship? Perhaps you made the game-winning shot in a crucial, nail-biting game?

High School Student Music Resume

High school student music resume example with 4 years of music experience

  • When you include hobbies like songwriting or your interest in classical music in your high school student music resume , it conveys to your recruiter that you’re super dedicated and passionate about your craft.
  • You can also include hobbies that are different, too. For example, if you enjoy experimenting with new recipes from around the world, that can show you’re ready to give new genres a whirl or that you understand that music—while art—is still supposed to be fun and adventuresome.

Related resume guides

  • Entry Level

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Didn’t Graduate High School Resume Example

Kick-start your career & learn creative tricks to use in your resume with our free, highly instructive Didn’t Graduate High School resume example. Use this resume example for free or alter it with ease in our powerful resume maker.

Milan Šaržík — Certified Professional Résumé Writer

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Didn’t Graduate High School Resume Example (Full Text Version)

Nils clasen.

Performance-driven and dedicated entrepreneur with a proven track record of success in developing and leading a successful technology startup, experienced in all aspects of business management. Possess a strong attention to detail and accuracy, exceptional analytical and critical-thinking skills, and the important ability to work and perform well under pressure and in fast-paced environments.

Work experience

  • Founded a company which specializes in the development of software applications that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to help different organizations to automate their processes and operations.
  • Managing and coordinating all aspects of a business, including marketing, finance, and strategy development.
  • Creating annual business plans, hiring and training new personnel, and representing the company at various industry events and conferences.
  • Identifying and communicating with potential clients and business partners and performing any other necessary duties.
  • Clients include Netflix, IBM, Samsung, BMW, Audi, etc.

Dropped out to pursue entrepreneurship

Clubs and Societies : Business Club, Debate Society, Fitness Club

Volunteering

Certificates.

Milan Šaržík — Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Milan Šaržík, CPRW

Milan’s work-life has been centered around job search for the past three years. He is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW™) as well as an active member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Careers Coaches (PARWCC™). Milan holds a record for creating the most career document samples for our help center – until today, he has written more than 500 resumes and cover letters for positions across various industries. On top of that, Milan has completed studies at multiple well-known institutions, including Harvard University, University of Glasgow, and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

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Social Sciences Student University Student Business Development Special Education Teacher Entrepreneur / Business Owner Investor Humanities Student Startup Student Internship Natural Sciences Student Consulting Instructor

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Graduate School Application Tips & Advice

Graduate School Application Tips & Advice

Applying to graduate school can be both exciting and a little overwhelming. You’re making a decision that could advance your career or allow you to dive deeper into a subject area that fulfills your personal goals, but you’re also making a significant investment of your time and finances.

With proper research, a clear head, and confidence, however, you can find the perfect program and submit an application that the admissions committee will be hard-pressed to reject.

Are you thinking about applying to graduate school? Here’s what every prospective student needs to know.

Tips for Applying to Graduate School

1. find a program that aligns with your goals ..

Finding the right graduate program can sometimes feel like the hardest part of the process. It’s important to find the right program for you, and with different degrees and certificates popping up at universities across the country, there are likely dozens of options available to you.

Write down the most important features of your ideal program before you begin your research. For example, do you want a full-time, on-campus experience or a flexible, online environment? Do you want research-based coursework or a program with experiential opportunities integrated into the curriculum? Once you have your list of non-negotiable features, you can kick off your research.

Learn More: How to Organize Your Grad School Search

After you’ve explored a range of programs, consider your career goals and how each program can help you achieve them. If you’d like to hone your skills to work in a specific focus area of a broader field, for instance, a program that offers a concentration or certificate aligned with those skills can be beneficial. On the other hand, if you’d like to have flexibility in your chosen career, pursuing a broader degree program that can be applied across various functions may be better suited to your needs.

Investing in this research upfront will help you find a graduate program that is right for your specific goals and allow you to feel more confident in your choice when it comes time to complete and submit your application.

2. Ask questions . 

The old-school idea that the admissions office is a scary room filled with judgment is a falsehood. Today, graduate school admissions counselors are here to help guide you through the application process process. They want to be there to support your educational journey. If you have any questions, ask . Don’t worry that your interactions with the admissions team could impact your application. If anything, your interactions will only help improve your application before review and help demonstrate your sincere interest in the program.

Many colleges and universities offer online resources where prospective students can find information about the application process and requirements. Getting in touch with an admissions counselor, though, may be the most efficient way to find answers to specific questions you might have. Engaging with them will also give you a chance to get to know the school better and decide if what they offer is really the right fit for your needs. 

Consider This: Admissions counselors are well-versed in the logistics of application requirements, individual programs, and financial aid and scholarships . If you have specific questions, be sure to reach out to them for the clarity and insight you need at any step of the process.

Prospective students should not be afraid of contacting faculty, either. If there’s a particular class you’re interested in taking or a lab you hope to work in, contact the faculty member in charge. Ask about that faculty member’s research and pose any questions about the degree program that you might have. You may have a better chance of standing out during the admissions process if you express interest early.

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3. Understand the timeline.

Although the application process varies by college or university, the vast majority will require you to submit your transcript, letters of recommendation, professional resumé , and statement of purpose. Your transcript alone could take weeks to be delivered and processed, so don’t wait until the last minute to start applying.

In an effort to avoid procrastination, consider developing a calendar of deadlines. Map out when you need to apply to each of your desired schools and the specific requirements for that program. For example, if you need to submit your undergraduate grades, create a to-do at least a month before the application deadline that reminds you to order your transcript.   

4. Update your resumé.

Before sending your resumé, make sure it’s optimized for your grad school application . In general, your experience should be listed in chronological order, starting with your current position, and described in bullet points using action-packed verbs, such as “achieved,” “improved,” “launched,” “negotiated,” or “trained.” Quantify any achievements and show your results, whether it’s the number of people you’ve managed, dollars you’ve raised, or articles you’ve written.

To help your resumé align with your grad school application, be sure to tailor it to the program you intend to pursue by showcasing your skills, highlighting relevant experience, and including your professional achievements.

5. Write a strong statement of purpose.

While some might think that a statement of purpose —or personal statement —is an afterthought during your application review, many admissions committees, consider it one of the most important components of your application. The statement of purpose can make or break your application for admission.

The key to crafting an impactful statement of purpose is to not get caught up in what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Use this opportunity to tell the committee more about who you are and your background while also explaining specifically what you hope to get out of the program. Be sure to address the unique features the school offers that interest you most.

For Example: If you plan to apply to Northeastern, you might consider highlighting experiential learning as the unique feature that interests you about your program. In this case, you might explain that you’re excited to tackle real-world projects in your desired industry and learn from faculty who are experts in your field of study.

No matter where you apply, a strong statement of purpose should include:

  • Insight into what drives you, whether that’s professional advancement, personal growth, or both
  • The features about the school that appeal to you most
  • Your expectations of the degree program and its potential impact
  • Authenticity and a clear picture of what makes you unique

6 . Choose appropriate references .

Letters of recommendation are another piece of the application process that helps elevate your application for admission. When it comes to asking for letters of recommendation , carefully consider whom you’re contacting. You want to choose someone who knows you well and can speak to your strengths. 

Reach out to a professor you regularly interacted with who can detail your academic accomplishments and describe why you were a standout student. You can also ask a former supervisor who’s working in a field that aligns with the graduate program you’re pursuing. No matter your choice, make sure it’s someone you know in a professional or academic capacity—not a friend or family member—who will to provide a positive recommendation representative of your character. 

You can typically provide either a professional or academic recommendation in support of your application, but programs have specific requirements around who is writing the recommendation and what the content needs to address. Research what each program requires before you coordinate your references.

When asking for a recommendation, provide your chosen reference with as much information about your request as possible. The more insight you can provide, the better your recommendation letter will be. Include in your first outreach:

  • The name of the school you’re applying to
  • The degree you’re pursuing
  • Why you want to enroll in that specific program
  • Your resumé

Make sure you keep your timeline in mind as you embark on these communications, especially if you reach out to a professor. It’s likely your letter isn’t the only one he or she needs to write, so be respectful of their time by giving as much notice as possible. Four weeks is ideal. 

7. Proofread your materials before applying.

You could be a perfect fit for your desired program, but if you submit materials that are riddled with spelling and grammar errors, the admissions team might dismiss your application before ever digging into it. Triple-check your materials and make sure that when you do press send, you’ve included all necessary documentation and hit all deadlines set in place by the university.

It’s easy for an individual to unknowingly overlook their own mistakes, so it can also be helpful to ask a friend to review your materials before you submit them, as well. Reading your materials out loud to yourself can also help you spot potential mistakes.

Though this may seem like a lot of effort, remember: Your application is the first impression you will make on the university, and it’s important to put your best foot forward.

8. Be true to yourself .

Of all the tips for applying to graduate school, the most important is being true to yourself. Being perfect is not the recipe for admission; admissions committees want to know the real you and understand your ambitions. Whether you’re a working professional hoping graduate school can bring you to the next level of your career or a recent graduate looking to further master your chosen skill, just be yourself, and you’ll start off in the right direction.

Applying to Northeastern’s Graduate Programs

If you are interested in applying to one of Northeastern University’s 200+ online, on-ground, or hybrid graduate degree and certificate programs , there are various resources available to help you along the way. 

First, it is important to understand the application process and requirements. Specific application requirements vary by college and degree, so be sure to explore the admissions information for your desired program before getting started. In general, however, the application requirements for Northeastern’s graduate programs include:

  • A completed online application 
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools you’ve previously attended
  • A statement of purpose that details your goals and interest in the program
  • One to three letters of recommendation (varies by program)
  • Your updated professional resumé or curriculum vitae 
  • Your official GRE, GMAT, or LSAT test scores (if required)
  • A non-refundable application fee 

Additionally, international students who are non-native English speakers must submit proof of English proficiency in the form of TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo test scores, though the minimum scores vary by program. Students who do not meet the minimum requirement for these scores may also apply to the university’s Global Pathways program .

As always, students who intend to apply to a graduate program at Northeastern should also research the application deadlines for their program of interest. Be sure to set a timeline for yourself and avoid procrastination to ensure that you’re able to submit all of the required materials on time.

The faculty and admissions team at Northeastern are always available to help prospective students throughout this journey, and prospective students are always encouraged to reach out to ask questions and get personalized advice . Whether you need information about selecting the right program, the application process, program-specific requirements, financial aid, or anything in between, the admissions team is here to help.

The First Step Toward Grad School Success

Once you’ve made the decision to further your education and pursue a graduate degree or certificate, submitting your application is the first step toward being a successful graduate student. 

No matter where you choose to apply and ultimately attend, there are countless resources available to help you throughout the process. 

To learn more about the specific schools and programs you are interested in, it’s always best to start by reaching out to admissions teams and faculty to get to know what makes them unique and ask any questions you might have. Building these relationships early on will help you find a program that fits your personal and professional goals, and can ultimately help you through the process of getting accepted to a program that’s right for you.

Are you interested in applying to graduate school? Explore Northeastern’s degree and certificate programs , and contact us for personalized advice.

This article was originally published in August 2017. It has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.

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About shayna joubert, related articles.

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Advanced degree holders earn a salary an average 25% higher than bachelor's degree holders. (Economic Policy Institute, 2021)

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IMAGES

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VIDEO

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    Top 10 Skills For A High School Graduate Resume. Academic Excellence: Showcase your strong academic performance, including a high GPA and any honors or awards you've received. Mention specific subjects in which you excel. Critical Thinking: Highlight your ability to think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions.

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    Finding a job is never easy, even more so for high school graduates for the lack of professional experience. A resume for a high school graduate is thus one of the most crucial elements. It can reflect a job applicant's value, strengths, and background. As most fresh high school graduates have few work experiences, designing a top-notch high school graduate resume is the first thing to nail ...

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    A high school student that showcases the ability to be organized and detailed is going to stand out among the competition. If you can use a good high school resume template, this will help with the structure. 2. Creating Your Resume Objective. The resume objective is one of the most misunderstood sections of a resume.

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    Again, emphasize leadership; if you're the president of your school's community service club, for example, state your position and explain how you manage and run the club and the activities you perform. You might, for example, describe how you organized a food drive at your school. 6. Awards and honors. Awards help prospective employers see ...

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    Step 2: Create a heading with your personal information. At the very top of your resume, you need to include: Your name (usually in a larger font size) Your address. Your email address. Your phone number. You can also include a sentence summarizing your background and stating your objective. Don't write "resume" in the heading - just ...

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  25. Tips for Applying to Graduate School

    3. Understand the timeline. Although the application process varies by college or university, the vast majority will require you to submit your transcript, letters of recommendation, professional resumé, and statement of purpose.Your transcript alone could take weeks to be delivered and processed, so don't wait until the last minute to start applying.