Here's something every college freshman needs to do, even before arriving on campus: Create a resume.

Lesley Mitler

When I suggested my son do this early in his freshman year, he countered with all the usual excuses, from “What for?” to “Why do I need one now?” Frustrated, I offered to prepare his resume if he would commit to providing some basic information. When I gave him the completed document to review, he was shocked. He told me the resume was virtually empty, and he was absolutely correct. I told him he had three years to fill it up.

 Here’s the simple truth — most people, particularly young people, think high school activities and achievements ought to be part of their college resumes. They couldn’t be further off the mark. My son learned that he had to start participating in many more activities to have a competitive resume.  

To be sure, college isn’t only about preparing to get a job. But with the sky-high cost of university education, people are wondering whether the price tag is worth it. Especially since so many new grads have trouble getting that important first job.

So create that first resume before you start school so you can see exactly how much relevant information you have. Make sure to update it at the end of every semester, to include current coursework, activities and work experience. 

By the end of your sophomore your resume should start to look more robust, giving you a better opportunity for a coveted internship, fellowship or other relevant work experience.

Every day in August (and perhaps some in September, too), Campus Overload will feature a 300-word-or-less essay centered around one piece of #College101 advice for the Class of 2015. To participate, e-mail Jenna at