The brag sheet is an integral piece of the college application process, and yet it’s not talked about often enough.
For many, its exact role in the entire operation is unknown. However a brag sheet serves a very specific and important purpose: helping recommenders write a recommendation letter.
Students generally have little control over their recommendation letters beyond who they choose to write them and the relationships that warrant them being written.
This can leave them feeling anxious, as they want to make sure the letter touches upon all the things they feel colleges should know.
So how can a student make sure a teacher knows what they really want to share? The answer is a brag sheet.
What Is a Brag Sheet?
Not to be confused with a resume for college applications, the brag sheet is specifically for people writing letters of recommendation.
The goal of a brag sheet is to benefit the student and make the writing process as simple as possible for your recommender. It might include something specific about the class a student took with a teacher or details of a project.
It’s one of the biggest opportunities, as the title implies, to brag about yourself. You get to list your various accomplishments over the years and tell people what makes you a unique and special person.
There are various formats for brag sheets, some will be filled out by parents, supplied by your school counselors, or the student may need to create one on their own.
There will often be various specific questions, perhaps about experiences in the class a recommender teaches, but also questions about the student’s goals and aspirations.
Teachers want to know what the student would like to do in the future and what personal qualities demonstrate they’re capable of fulfilling that vision.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand exactly what goes into a brag sheet to result in the best possible recommendation. And it’s best to tailor the brag sheet to the person writing the recommendation.
What Should I Put in a Brag Sheet?
A brag sheet template is fairly simple and easy to follow. The exact formatting may differ for each school, but there are still key pieces of information everyone should include:
- Name and contact information
- GPA and class rank (if available)
- Test scores (PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP)
- Top school choices
- Any honors or awards
- All extracurricular activities (with your position)
- Potential majors
- Possible careers or goals
- Previous or current employment of any kind
- Any additional notes or information you would like to include
The goal is to give the recommender a better idea of the person you’re striving to be on your application. So any information listed should fit into the theme and narrative you want the application to follow.
When Do I Use a Brag Sheet?
While the main purpose of a brag sheet is to help guide a teacher’s recommendation letter, it still has many other uses.
When attending an interview for a college you apply to, be sure to bring your brag sheet and hand it to the interviewer. It will give them a quick overview of your hobbies, what kind of student you are academically, and where you see yourself in the future.
Not only will it show them the best parts about you, but it may also lead to some deeper conversations — as they won’t need to waste time asking about basic information you were able to cover in your brag sheet.
Another use is during the general process of filling out your application and writing essays.
Trying to think of a topic for essays can be difficult and feel overwhelming.
Use the brag sheet as a way to get two things done at once. Beyond just filling it out for your teacher, the brag sheet can also get you thinking about what you’ve done during high school. This can translate well into an essay and what type of message you want to get across when writing.
Having a completed brag sheet before starting your essay will significantly help in the organization of your thoughts.
What Does a Brag Sheet Look Like?
Although the specific formatting of a brag sheet may differ with each school, it’s important for your brag sheet to be formal and easy to follow.
Make sure to have an area to list your extracurriculars, broken down by each grade, and have each piece of information separated from the rest so they can be read clearly.
Before submitting your brag sheet, have someone else read it over and run it through a spell check to catch any last-minute mistakes.
Here are several brag sheet template examples to help get your mind thinking.
The brag sheet’s goal is to eliminate some of the stress involved in an intense part of the college process.
Hopefully, understanding how a brag sheet can be maximized to reach its full potential can turn some of the stress into confidence and relief.
Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.
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