A high school resume can help your student find a major and a college.

A high school activity sheet or resume presents a student with clearer view of their high school career and accomplishments, and, more important, insight into their interests and skills. This list of not just their activities, but honors, awards and employment history is a tool that can help as they begin their college planning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinding possible majors The high school resume lists honor societies your student participated in, revealing where their academic strengths are. The same goes for the awards they received. Look to see if there is a pattern—science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), the arts, social sciences or the humanities, like English and history. Then talk with your teen about why they felt they did well in these areas. Ask what they liked and disliked. A student who was inducted into the Math Honor Society and received several awards in this area could consider a math major. But after a discussion, you might learn they really liked calculus, revealing more of an interest in engineering or science. Or maybe their math skills align better with business or finance.

Next look at the clubs your teen joined. Again, if they helped found the business/finance club or a premed group, it’s likely they will want to major in a related area. Kids who enjoy playing one or more sports can consider sports-related majors. Though sports management is popular among former high school athletes, there are many more options: athletic training, coaching, education, sports writing, sports marketing, broadcasting, exercise science, physical therapy, nutrition, communications, sports psychology, sports administration, among others. Arts-focused students should look further into related majors as well, including those that go beyond performance or design.

Don’t ignore any after school or summer jobs. A teen who enjoyed working the grill at a snack bar might want to pursue a degree in culinary arts or restaurant and hospitality management. If they liked tutoring their fellow students in science, a dual major in education and science might be a good option.

Digging deeper into what your student liked and disliked about their academics and extra curricular activities can help them find college majors.

Exploring colleges Once your teen has some possible majors in mind, they can consider colleges that offer these programs. But finding colleges involves more than just who has your potential major.

Reviewing the activity sheet, what extra curriculars did your student participate in the most? Which did they actually enjoy doing? Was there an activity or club they were part of for only a year, but wish they’d been able to stick with? Then they’ll want a college that presents the opportunity to continue with one or more of these.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor an athlete who doesn’t plan on playing at the NCAA level in college, they’ll want a school with club teams or a strong intramurals program. My daughter, a dancer, looked for colleges that had dance teams and/or dance classes open to non-majors.  The teen who worked stage crew for their high school musicals and liked hanging out with other theatre kids might want to find schools with at least one student theatre group. Same for kids who liked the camaraderie of marching band.

If your teen shows an interest in a particular career path, it’s not just that the college offers the major but the opportunities outside the classroom. Science students might want a premed club or the opportunity for undergrads to do research. A gaming club helps students interested in some aspect of video game design.

Your teen might look at their activity sheet and realize they never had the opportunity to pursue one of their interests. They’ll want to find colleges who can fill in some of these missing links, too. My daughter explored the field of fashion by joining the fashion student organization and minoring in fashion and retail studies at her college.

Take advantage of your student’s high school resume when helping them start their college planning. It can be a valuable tool in finding the right program and the right college.

Share your thoughts on using your student’s extra curriculars in college planning in the comments section below.