our everyday life

How to Write a CV for College

by Susan Sherwood, studioD

The college application process is long and involved. For many institutions, you must submit an application, transcripts, an essay and letters of recommendation. A curriculum vitae is rarely required or necessary. However, students whose high school careers cannot be adequately represented on an application can use a CV to provide a fuller picture of their experiences, especially as they pertain to academics.

General Guidelines

The CV emphasizes your education and accomplishments. While a resume is usually limited to a page, a CV may run two or more pages, depending upon your experiences. Use headings with a consistent format for each section. The font and size of the text should be consistent throughout. Insert a header or footer with your name and page number on each page except the first. Within each section, list the entries in reverse order, starting with the most recent. When describing accomplishments, use partial sentences to make it easy for the reader to locate the important information. Write all sections in a parallel manner. For example, if you begin phrases with verbs in the first section, continue that throughout. Be sure to proofread the document more than once. In addition, find some experienced eyes to edit it.

Opening Information

At the top of the CV, center your name. Beneath that, left-justify the date you completed the document. While continuing to left-justify, list your address, phone number and email address.


Include your high school and college experience. Indicate the dates you attended, as well as the names of and location of the schools. List the specific degrees you received and the dates they were awarded.


This section contains any past work experiences that pertain to your application. Begin with the year and then identify the institution you worked for and the position you held. Include a short statement explaining your job responsibilities, such as “Math tutor for middle school students. Responsible for planning, teaching and assessing lessons.”

Honors and Awards

This is where you can list any pertinent awards you have received, especially in academics. Include the date, the awarding institution and the name of the distinction.

Publications or Creative Work/Presentations

Create separate sections for publications and presentations. If you have published any material that is applicable to your application, put it here. Begin with the most recent. Include the date, the publisher and the title of the work. In another section, include any presentations you have done. Identify the date, the name of the conference or setting and the title of the presentation.

Other Important Information

Start a new heading for each section you include. For languages, list any you know. Identity the format and fluency, such as “Conversational Spanish.” For affiliations, include any current or past membership in organizations related to your application. Indicate the dates and name of each group. For service and outreach, highlight any significant academic or community volunteer experiences. List the date, the organization and your position. Include a short sentence describing your work.


Identify the names of academic references, such as teachers or administrators who know you well. List their work phone numbers and email addresses as well.

About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images