Moving beyond academic discourse

Early on: Jaideep Gupta explains why it is important to start building a profile right from one's school days

Moving beyond academic discourse
The CV or curriculum vitae is a formal document that lists an individual’s merits, achievements, awards, and recognitions. Earlier, a CV was used by individuals while applying for jobs; but now, it has become an important prerequisite for college admission process. Hence, CV building has become an essential part of student life today. CV building is an ongoing process that helps students enhance their skills and gain knowledge in the field of their interest along with earning certificates for the same.

In the past six years, the number of students graduating from Class 12 has doubled, and the number of students scoring more than 90% has increased by 600%. This indicates the drastic increase in competition. However, the number of seats available in colleges and universities has not increased at the same pace. Because of this changing trend, the number of applicants applying each year has also increased, and admission officers are finding it extremely difficult to evaluate students merely on the basis of their marks.

To overcome this setback and to pick the best students from the pool of applicants, admission officers at various top universities and colleges have come up with different ways of evaluating students. For example, a student might have to go through a group discussion and case study presentation followed by a personal interview, before finally getting through to his or her dream college. Today, students are valued holistically, and not just for their marks. Hence, the co-curricular and extracurricular activities that a student indulges in are also important. International universities give 30% weightage to CVs while processing a student’s application.

Catching up on the same trend are Indian universities and colleges that look for students who have done things beyond academics. Over 60% of Indian universities today ask students one key question — “How have you demonstrated interest in the field that you want to study?” One important point that students should note here is that they won’t get much time to discuss their achievements, and hence should be well-prepared to impress the admission officer in 10 minutes or less.

The college roadmap

There are over 10 broad categories that students can explore to build their CV. They are academics, summer enrichment, career focused, work experience, co-curricular achievements, extracurricular activities, special skills, unique interests, online certifications, and papers & conferences. While most students only focus on co-curricular activities, there are also students who tap into their hidden potentials and explore their inner talents that go beyond regular academics. This way, students get more in-depth knowledge of their preferences and will also have enough information to decide on a course of action.

A good time to start building the CV is  when the students are in Class 9. Then they won’t be burdened with academic pressure. It would give them ample time to explore various career options and to switch over if they feel that their interests and career options don’t match. Given the plethora of opportunities the students have, the sooner they narrow down on career choices, the more beneficial it would be for them. A great way of exploring these career options and getting clarity is through short-term courses. Students can take up online courses to understand the fundamentals. One advantage of taking online courses is that the student can space it according to his or her convenience. If a student wants to learn more about the subject, then he or she can take up a summer programme.

Another important thing to note here is that students must make sure that the activities they take meet their end goals and be in alignment with their career options. By doing these courses, a student not only gains more knowledge and insights, but will also have an edge over others. This will enable him or her to stand out while applying for colleges, and help with post-college success.

While it is important to take up these activities, it is also imperative that the student focuses on regular academics. The whole point of building an impressive resume would be moot if the student doesn’t focus on his or her grades. And that is precisely why the activities pertaining to building a CV should be carefully planned.

(The author is founder & CEO, Univariety, Hyderabad)
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