Options for Listing Education on a Resume
Not sure how to list your college degree (or the college coursework you have accumulated if you didn't finish your degree) on your resume? How should you list your expected graduation date if you're an undergraduate student? What if you didn't go to college? How about if you've already graduated? Alternatively, what do you do if you haven't yet graduated but intend to complete your degree at some point in time?
Even if you didn't graduate, there are options for presenting your educational background in a positive manner. An entry-level resume will often present more educational or training information than would a resume for someone who has been in the workforce for many years.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience to prove your skills and capabilities on the job, it can be important to list any relevant college coursework, even if you didn’t graduate with a degree.
Here are a few options for including your education, as well as for mentioning credit you have earned for college-level work on your resume even though you didn't graduate.
How to List College Education on Your Resume
How you include education on your resume depends on when or if you have graduated. If you're a college student or recent graduate, your college education is typically listed at the top of your resume. When you have work experience, the education section of your resume is listed below your employment history.
How to List an Expected Graduation Date
If you have not yet graduated but intend to, you can list details about your college, including location and name, and then put "degree expected" and your anticipated graduation year.
College Student With Expected Graduation Date
Bachelor of Arts, degree anticipated May 2021
State College, Hamilton, Virginia
Current GPA 3.72
How to List a College Degree
Recent graduates should include their graduation date. If you have a high Grade Point Average (GPA), it can be included as well:
Recent College Graduate With GPA
B.A., Business Management, May 2019
Sycamore University, Sonoma, California
If it's been more than a few years since you graduated, you don't need to include your GPA:
College Graduate Without GPA
B.A., Business Management, May 2018
Sycamore University, Sonoma, California
How to List College When You Didn't Graduate
Whether you're currently working toward a degree, or have no plans to graduate, don't let a lack of a degree stop you from including your time spent at college or relevant details about completed coursework on your resume.
Your college classes, even without an earned degree, can help you meet an employer's educational requirements.
If you did not graduate from college, make sure that your resume does not indicate otherwise. Many employers will do a reference check prior to hiring someone. Any information found to be intentionally misleading will end your candidacy and is grounds for firing if you have been hired.
Option 1: List College Location and Details
There are a few different ways to include the fact that you attended college.
You can simply list the college and location:
You can also provide more detail. Include the years attended, the number of credits completed, and your GPA if it is very strong (3.5+):
Unionville University, 2015 - 2017
Completed 42 credits, GPA 3.8
You can mention the focus of your studies, if it is related to your employment objective, and the number of credits completed in that discipline:
Hannaford College, 2016 - 2018
Completed 36 credits, including 16 credits in business.
Option 2: Include Completed Coursework
Another option is to list some of your completed coursework that is related to the job for which you are applying.
Accounting 1 and 2
Marketing, Finance, and Human Resource Management
Option 3: Describe Projects
Yet another possibility is to actually describe any course projects which are related to your target job. This can be a good approach for candidates who don't possess much or any related work experience.
For example, a person who is aiming for a job with a focus on information technology might describe a programming project which involved the creation of a complex Excel database. If you received any recognition for the project, or an outstanding grade, you could also mention those.
Coursework in Information Technology
University of Florida, Talahassee, Florida
Relevant Coursework: Spreadsheet Applications Excel, Database Concepts, and Project Management.
Special Projects: Created a project budgeting template and performed comparative analysis of operating expenses in Excel.
Listing High School and GED on Your Resume
High School Students and Recent Graduates
If you're currently a high school student or just graduated, you can include your GPA and school activities and accomplishments in this section of your resume.
High School Student
Casleton High School, Castleton, VA
High School Diploma, anticipated in May 2021
Recent High School Graduate
Casleton High School, Castleton, VA
High School Diploma, May 2019
GPA 3.9, Honor Roll Each Semester
When You Didn't Go to College
If you didn't go to college or only took a few courses, you don't have to list them. Of course, you also have the option of leaving college off of your resume entirely, which becomes a better option as you gain valid, relevant work experience.
There are many things you can include on your resume besides college, to highlight and prove your qualifications for a job. Relevant coursework, awards, certifications, volunteer positions, and even clubs and hobbies can often be included appropriately in other sections of your resume.
If you don't have work or much other experience, you may want to list your GED or high school information on your resume. Otherwise, you don't need to include it. For example:
General Educational Development Certificate
Sonoma Central High School
Sample Resume With Coursework
This is an example of a resume that lists education. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample Resume (Text Version)
1234 Finnish Way
Provo, Utah 84601
Energetic, compassionate, and trustworthy caregiver dedicated to serving the needs of families and the elderly within home or adult community care settings.
- Caregiving: Cheerfully and capably provide assistance to elderly and / or disabled individuals in daily living tasks including eating, exercise / physical therapy, bathing and dressing, and taking medications.
- Communication: Fluent in both oral and written English and Spanish.
- Housekeeping: Willingly perform housekeeping duties including laundry, sheet changes, cooking, and light cleaning.
- Key Strengths: Friendly and upbeat personality, perceptive and responsive to others’ emotions and challenges. Hold a valid driver’s license, with a flawless driving record and personal transportation.
Coursework in Family Life (42 hours); 3.87 GPA
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Relevant Coursework: Human Development, Cross-Cultural Family and Human Development, Family Adaptation and Resiliency, Adult Development and Aging in the Family, Helping Relationships
FREELANCE ASSIGNMENTS, Provo, Utah
Provide focused care and companionship to elderly and / or disabled individuals in home care environments. Assist in the activities of daily living; manage and administer medications, prepare and feed meals, shop for groceries, and do housecleaning and laundry.
- The Susan Jones Family (000.123.1234 / email@example.com)
- The Dean and Janice Blake Family (000.432.123 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The Franklin Travers Family (000.321.4321 / email@example.com)
Remember the Basics
Your resume is probably the first impression that a potential employer is going to have of you. It’s a good idea to review resume writing tips to help you present the most important information about you in a way that stands out to hiring managers.
It’s helpful to carefully proofread your resume or have a friend proofread it for you before you send it off. This will help you catch any typos, and make sure that the layout looks good. You want to be sure as well that it’s formatted in such a way that it opens properly if you are emailing it with your application materials.
When You Land an Interview
You should also be prepared to discuss your college courses in your interview, when the time comes.
It’s a good idea, if applicable, to prepare for the question of why you didn’t complete your degree as well.
Remember to be honest and upfront, and cast your decision in the most flattering way possible, without placing blame or being negative.
The Bottom Line
LISTING EDUCATION ON A RESUME: How you list your education depends on your educational history and the degrees you have attained.
INCLUDING YOUR GPA: If the employer doesn't require it, you don't need to include your GPA if it's low or if you graduated more than a few years ago.
BE CREATIVE: There are a variety of options you can use to list your college education when you didn't graduate.