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How to Write an Education Summary on a Resume?

An education summary is the section on a resume where you list your degrees and relevant academic accomplishments.

It can be either the least or the most important thing on your resume.

It all depends on your degree and where you’re in your career.

This guide will show you:

  1. How to list high school education on a resume.
  2. How to list education on a resume with no degree. (Student / Dropout)
  3. How to put your education on a resume when you’re a fresh graduate.
  4. How to list education on a resume when you’re a seasoned professional.
  5. Example education sections from resumes written by people who scored a job at the world’s top companies.

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Professional summary example

1. How to list high school education on a resume?

If you never went to college, your resume’s education section is going to be pretty straightforward:

Resume Example Education Summary

See? There’s no reason to complicate it any further.

Unless you’re less than three years out of high school. Then you can add anything that shows off your skills and achievements:

  • Include awards, extracurricular activities, honors, or any work you had during high school.
  • Stay relevant. Only include things that pertain to a specific job opening. Keep an open mind and remember that transferable skills can also matter a lot.
  • Tailor your entire resume to the job description. Highlight any activities that illustrate the keyword skills listed there.

In the end, your high school education resume can look a bit like this:

Resume Example Education Summary

That’s it. This is really the furthest you should go in describing your high school education on a resume.

Before we finish, let’s take a look at least at some uncommon scenarios and see how you can put those on a resume too.

License or certificate in addition to high school

Resume Example Education Summary

Didn't graduate high school

Resume Example Education Summary

No high school, completed a GED

Resume Example Education Summary

Still in high school

Resume Example Education Summary

2. How to list education on a resume with no degree? (Student / Dropout)

If you’re a student, college dropout, or you’re taking a leave of absence, this part is for you.

You should always include even an unfinished education on a resume. Employment gaps always make hiring managers a bit suspicious. And that’s the last thing you want.

Just because you don’t have a degree yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t put it on your resume. All you have to do is emphasize that you’re still working towards attaining it.

The same holds true if you don’t plan on ever finishing your studies. After all, you put some effort into them. Even more importantly, you paid the tuition.

Yet again, listing even unfinished education is nothing difficult. There are only two ways you can go about it, depending on your situation:

Never finished your degree

Resume Example Education Summary

Student / Leave of absence

Resume Example Education Summary

3. How to list education on a resume as a fresh graduate?

If you’re a fresh graduate, you probably don’t have much work experience to put on a resume yet.

That’s normal. On the other hand, what you DO have is your degree. What’s more, in the past couple of years you’ve learned and achieved more things than you realize.

So don’t make your education section only about the degree. Use this space to include your most notable academic accomplishments. Otherwise, it might look unpleasantly hollow:

Resume Example Education Summary

If you’re a recent graduate, the education section should dominate your resume. Make it more elaborate than others and put it near the top, right above your work experience section.

  • Academic awards: e.g.  AP scholar, Duke of Edinburgh award, National Merit Award, President’s Award, school subject-based awards, etc.
  • Scholarships: e.g. athletic scholarships, scholarships for women, creative scholarships, etc.
  • Academic conferences and symposia: Don’t forget to mention the scope and name of the paper you presented at a conference.
  • Relevant student societies: e.g. debating societies or programming clubs. If you were on the committee of any kind of student society, include that too.
  • Dean’s list.
  • GPA: Only include if it was higher than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If your overall GPA was lower than that, mention your major GPA. Alternatively, mention your summa cum laude or magna cum laude.
  • Academic publications: This might not apply to you but if you have a PhD (or working towards it), you’re expected to include at least one publication.

If you worked really hard, your resume’s education section might ultimately look a bit like this:

Resume Example Education Summary

Few last tips:

  • The rule of relevancy. This applies to every other part of your resume: Always highlight the most relevant qualifications first. When in doubt, list them chronologically from the most recent to the least recent one.
  • Dates are optional. If you don’t want to disclose your age, you should know that you don’t really have to include any dates in your education section. But keep in mind that recruiters might sometimes view it with suspicion.
  • Coursework, theses, and awards. Since you should always tailor your resume to each job application, only list the accomplishments relevant for a given position.
  • Societies. If you were on the committee of a student society, this is the place where you can finally brag about it (a little). Activities like these showcase your soft skills and proactive attitude.
  • GPA. Only list your GPA if it’s higher than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If your overall GPA is lower than that, mention your major GPA instead.
  • Degree type. You can either spell it out in full (for example, Master of Arts) or use just an abbreviation like MA, BSc, PhD. If you’re yet to graduate, include your graduation date.

4. How to list education on a resume as an experienced professional?

In a way, this is the easiest scenario to work with.

Once you’ve become a seasoned professional, your education is far less important than at the beginning of your career.

Which means that you can get away with simply listing your degrees in a reverse-chronological order. And leave it at that.

Resume Example Education Summary

5. Education Summary Resume Examples

These professional summary examples were written by real people who got hired at the world's top companies. 

They're not exactly based on the how-to described above. At the same time, all these people scored high-profile jobs at their respective companies.

1

Sutherland — Software Engineer Resume Example

B-Tech in Computer Science 07/2010 – 05/2014

Mets Engineering College, Mala, Thrissur, India

GPA: 7.09/10.00
Relevant coursework: Computational Theory. Operating Systems. Compilers. Microprocessors. Cryptography, Database. Computer Networks.

Science Group 07/2007 – 06/2009

St. Thomas College Higher Secondary, Thrissur, India

Score: 87%
Higher secondary course containing main subjects as mathematics, physics chemistry and biology.

2

MI5 — Regulation Administrator Resume Example

BA Business Management and Social Policy (2:1) 09/2011 – 08/2014

University of Sheffield, UK

The course focused on:

  1. Business Management, how private for-profit organisations operate, including specialisations in corporate social responsibility and international business.
  2. Social Policy, how people engage with businesses, government and other institutions as citizens, consumers and employees, including modules on research methods and globalisation.

Leading to particular development of skills/experience building:

  • Skilled researcher and creative problem solver.
  • Highly developed social and cultural awareness.
A Levels 09/2009 – 06/2011

Bishop Ullathorne School, Coventry

Business A. Psychology A. Maths C.

3

Government of Canada — Digital Media Manager

Honours B.Comm, Marketing 09/2002 – 04/2005

University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Completed 4 year program in 3 years.
  • Graduated Cum Laude and in the top 15% of School of Management.
4

University of Kentucky — Research Intern

Psychology 08/2014 – present

University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Psychology provides a comprehensive platform to pursue careers in mental health care delivery, business, law, medicine, and education.

Neuroscience 08/2015 – present

University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Neuroscience provides an opportunity to engage in the in-depth study of neuroscience from a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective with extensive exposure to fundamental and applied aspects of neuroscience through classroom and laboratory interactions based in the College of Arts and Sciences and Medicine, including Biology, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Psychology.

Psychology 01/2012 – 07/2014

Jefferson Community & Technical College, Louisville, USA

Jefferson Community & Technical College is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

5

Warby Parker — Retail Experience Analyst

BA Philosophy 08/2015 – present

University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

  • Major in Philosophy. Major in Ethics, Society and Law. Minor in English.
  • Dean's List student during first, second, and third years.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.97.

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