Summarizing university on my CV
April 21, 2005 7:42 AM   Subscribe

CV/resume advice: I've just completed four messy years at university and I'm not sure how to summarize it for employers.

Here's what happened (university names changed for no particular reason):
2001-2002: First year at University of Cheadle, went fine
September 2002: The course rapidly changed direction and I decided to transfer to a different university
January 2003: Started at Kendal University
2003-2004: Went fine, completed enough modules to get a BSc Ordinary Degree.

At this point I should have stopped. Instead, I worked out that I could just about get an Honours Degree if I stayed on another year. But then, between an administrative screwup by the university (not bad enough to win any appeal, sadly), my general laziness, and realizing just a few weeks ago that I'd miscalculated how many modules I needed to take and it was too late to add more, it just didn't happen. So I'm still getting an ordinary degree.

So, would it be acceptable to omit the final year, and gloss over the transfer, and just say:

Sept 2001-May 2004 Kendal University
BSc Media Technology
[Skills learnt]

Or would an employer consider that misleading? (This is in the UK, btw)
posted by cillit bang to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would just leave it at:

BSc Media Technology
Kendal University 2004
posted by TurkishGolds at 7:45 AM on April 21, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, I should mention I'm graduating this year with the award I could have left with last year.
posted by cillit bang at 7:59 AM on April 21, 2005

Leave out all the mess and DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT in interviews. The degree is all that matters.

If asked about the time, simple mention you were taking some additional coursework and may pursue an advanced degree at a later time.
posted by cptnrandy at 8:04 AM on April 21, 2005

I agree with the above two posts. Mention the school you completed the degree in, the year and the degree. That's it, that's all.
posted by furtive at 8:41 AM on April 21, 2005

In the U.S., at least, when you're interviewing for jobs, they only want to hear about the degree you actually got. I'd just follow TurkishGolds' suggestion, but, however, put the actual year you graduated, rather than skipping that final year. When they call your university to check your degree, it will be a red flag if the university gives a different date than you did. On that point, if you're not sure what date your school will give, ask. There's no harm in asking.

And, by the way, is it customary in the UK to include start dates for university? There's no particular convention in the U.S., and no one questions you if you don't include the year you started. Just a thought; I have a number of friends who took five or more years to finish college, and no one can figure that out from their resumes.

A number of my friends have done something similar. Our local community college is a popular place, saving people thousands of dollars over full university for those core courses; my friends would go there for the cores for two years, transfer to another university, and then only use the university as their academic institution, leaving the community college years out. It's important, though, to note that they didn't actually GRADUATE from community college; they simply completed their core courses there before transfering to another school. You must include any school you actually graduated from on your resume.

You can choose to include any special school you attended, say, for a semester abroad or special coursework, on your resume, but it's not required.

I recently saw a good example of this (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

University of State
Bachelor of Arts, 1999
Major in Philosophy

University of Different State
Master of Arts, 2002
Concentration in Philosophical Applications

Private HoityToity University
Semester Abroad, 2003
London, England
Coursework in European Philosophy

YMMV, however, and you might want to see if your career services office can help you out with your CV.
posted by MeetMegan at 8:47 AM on April 21, 2005

I had a similar story (but with 3 schools in 4 years) and for the first two schools, I just put down the dates I attended and my major; as far as I can tell it never hurt me. I don't recall ever being asked about it, but if was, I said something along the lines of "it wasn't a good fit for me so I looked at other schools." In the US, at least, many students change schools at least once or have gaps in their post-secondary education, so it is not that note-worthy here.
posted by TedW at 9:51 AM on April 21, 2005

You must include any school you actually graduated from on your resume.

I disagree. You should include any school that's relevant. I don't include my high school. A resume doesn't have to include everything about your life. As I gain more professional experience, I'm constantly squeezing other things out.

I would probably not include my computer support jobs if I were looking for work in my (creative) field right now. I definitely wouldn't include the physics internship I had in college or the summer I worked as a Blockbuster Video clerk. So why include irrelevant university stuff.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:43 AM on April 21, 2005

Response by poster: In terms of start date, I believe it's conventional to tell your life story (=Curriculum Vitae) more or less, which means saying what you were doing for consecutive periods of your life. Any gaps will be brought up at interview (or that's what we're told - I've never had one).

Thanks all.
posted by cillit bang at 2:51 PM on April 21, 2005

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