Despite education debates and rising costs, college graduates still earn over $30,000 more a year than those with a high school diploma. You want your application to stand out so you can get into your dream school.
There’s so much that goes into applying for college. And you may feel that you have everything under control and prepared. But what about your recommendation letters?
This is where a student brag sheet comes in. What is a brag sheet? Learn all this and more in this handy guide.
Keep reading to find out how to get the best recommendations for your college applications!
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What is a College Brag Sheet?
Not everyone writing your recommendation letter will know about your extracurriculars, the other classes you take, or even your grades. If you want to get the best recommendation letter, your recommenders have to know who you are on a more personal level. That can be hard to achieve when you’re one of the hundreds of students someone teaches.
A brag sheet is a document you can write and then send to the people writing your recommendations. In a way, you can think of it as a more personal resume.
The idea is to give your recommender ideas for things to write about. By giving them a more well-rounded picture of who you are as a person, they can confidently write glowing recommendations.
In a way, it’s just something to help jog the memory of the person writing your recommendation letter. Having a quick list of your awards and accomplishments means they won’t forget to put something in that would make you look more impressive.
Don’t forget, this can also be an important time to apply for scholarships. Not every scholarship is connected to your university application. Ensure you check the scholarship page of all your target schools to make sure you aren’t missing out on any additional funds.
There are tons of third-party scholarships out there as well. While you might think that you won’t qualify for any, there are scholarships out there for just about everything. There are even scholarships for those with red hair or who are a vegetarian!
Don’t miss out on all of these scholarships and apply early. You can use the same brag sheet you’re about to write to help your recommendation writers help get you scholarships too!
But What If I Haven’t Done Anything Yet?
That’s ok! Tons of people haven’t had the opportunity to do a lot before college. In this case, it can be a good idea to work backward.
Think of the qualities you have that you want your recommender to write about. Perhaps you want to be an editor, or writer, or literature major. If you’ve ever done something like NaNoWriMo, this can show the quality of dedication.
Maybe you’re a younger sibling or friend’s dedicated tutor. This can work for any number of programs. Things that you think are ordinary can become something special in a recommendation letter.
What to Brag About
First, give your contact information. After giving your name and details like an email or phone number to contact you for more information, it’s time to move on to the significant bits of the brag sheet.
Second, decide what information will make you look best and only list those items. If you have excellent SAT scores but a poor GPA, just list the SAT scores. In general, list your GPA, SAT/ACT (or any other applicable standardized test), and class rank.
Then, move on to your target goals. List out the schools you’re applying to and what major you intend to study for. Your recommender might be able to tailor their letter to match the insider information they possess. They might even know someone at one of your target schools and can help you by setting up interviews and giving you contacts.
Finally, list all the other information that makes you, you! Here’s a quick list of things you might include in your brag sheet. These would also make good headers during your formatting phase.
- Academic awards and achievements
- Other awards and achievements
- Extracurricular activities (sports, music, clubs, dedicated hobbies)
- Volunteer experience
- Any positions of leadership
- Work experience
- Additional information
In the additional information section, you can list out any extra factors or extenuating circumstances. For example, are you the first in your family intending to attend college? Things like this can be important for fleshing out your brag sheet.
Or, if your grades started poorly but showed improvement, or there was a noticeable dip, perhaps give a quick line about what you overcame: a death in the family or financial or personal troubles that you have recovered from. Give the sense that you are ready and able to achieve your college goals despite trying circumstances, if applicable.
If you’re someone who struggles with test anxiety, it’s essential to be prepared for college. But we’ve got you covered with these ten best tips to reduce your quiz and exam stress!
How to Make a Brag Sheet
In a way, a brag sheet can work as a checklist for your writer. When it’s appropriately formatted, they can go down the list and ensure they include details about everything you’ve included in your sheet.
In general, it’s a good idea to invest in a laptop before college. While it’s not recommended to take your class notes on a laptop, they are vital for writing up your essays – and this brag sheet. Check out our tips for choosing the best laptop for your school needs.
Now, let’s learn how to make a brag sheet!
Just like when you write an essay for a class, it’s important to identify yourself in the header. Especially if you’re handing in a physical copy of your brag sheet, things happen, and staples can be lost or broken.
If your name isn’t on the top of every page, your recommender may not be getting the whole story.
Each of your different accomplishments should usually go under its own header. Work experience is its own topic, as is volunteering. By using different titles, you can ensure your reader doesn’t accidentally skip over important information.
When it comes to your extracurriculars, volunteering, and work experience, list how long you did the activity. Consider making a chart for this section that clearly outlines you played soccer for all four years of high school and tennis in your senior year. If you’ve been playing the piano since you were five, be sure to include how many years you’ve played.
Similarly, for awards or one-off accomplishments, list the year you received the award. This can help a writer make a more impactful sentence. For example, “In 2021, not only did Jackson come second in a violin competition, but he also had one of his poems published in the school magazine.”
This sounds a lot better than “Jackson got second in a violin competition.”
Don’t just list your accomplishments; give a few details. For instance, if you have a sports award, your writer may not know how big a deal it is. Perhaps provide information on how many people you were competing against or how many years you trained for.
At the same time, don’t be too wordy. This sheet should serve as a quick refresher for the reader, not an entire life story. (Leave that for your application essay!)
A Brag Sheet Example
It’s probably a good idea for you to know how to write your brag sheet. Let’s see some quick examples for both formatting and writing your brag sheet!Intro Formatting Example
This is a quick list of how you should format your intro.
- Phone Number:
- Class Rank:
- SAT/ACT Score:
- Top Schools:
- Intended Major(s):
Description Formatting Example
Here are some description format options.
First, here’s an academic achievement section:
- Academic Achievement:
- Year Earned:
Next, a format for extracurricular activity:
- Extracurricular Activities
- Years Participated:
Finally, a look at formatting your volunteering:
- Volunteer Work:
- Hours Participated:
Below, we’ve provided two description examples for you to look at.
- Extracurricular Activity: Ice Skating; Years Participated: 10; Description: Junior Level, working towards coaching certification to coach while in college
- Other Awards: Ice Skating Regionals Bronze Medal; Year Earned: 2020; Description: Third in a group of 25 at the Junior level
What Else Should I Do to Prepare for College?
Now that you have your brag sheet completed and your application done, there’s still more to think about. Have you considered how you are going to pay for college? It’s essential to make sure you’re reaching your full potential.
And it’s easy to reach your full potential with our handy app. With Goodwall, you can start making connections to find scholarships. And while you’re in school, you can begin that networking right away.
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