Brag Sheet Guidelines for Parents and High School Seniors
Perhaps one of the lesser-known components of the college application process is the brag sheet.
Parents and students tend to know about essays. Many have heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. They know applicants need to design a resume to submit with their college application. But the “brag sheet” tends to elude many parents and students until someone suddenly brings it up in conversation during the child’s senior year of high school.
So, what exactly is a brag sheet, and why is it necessary? Here is everything students and parents need to know.
Brag Sheet vs. Resume: What’s the Difference?
A college application resume is a formal component of the enrollment process that students may submit with their application. A brag sheet may never make it into the hands of college admissions committee members.
Instead, a brag sheet is most often provided to the teachers, high school counselors, and mentors who write letters of recommendation for students. As the name of the document suggests, the brag sheet is an opportunity for students and parents to “brag” about student successes and the qualities that make them standout applicants for a college.
How a Brag Sheet Can Improve Letters of Recommendation
The brag sheet can be helpful to both students and letter writers.
In many cases, students and parents will never read the letters of recommendation, and not knowing what is written about them can make students uneasy. A brag sheet provides families with an opportunity to personally highlight students’ accomplishments, extracurriculars, and goals as suggestions to a letter writer of what they might include showcasing the young person’s strengths to college admissions. A brag sheet gives students peace of mind that letter writers have the information they feel is most important.
Brag sheets can be particularly useful for high school counselors who are often asked to write dozens if not hundreds of letters of recommendation each year. Providing a brag sheet when asking a counselor for a recommendation can help remind them of individual accomplishments. Some schools or counselors even provide a brag sheet template to make the process more uniform.
A great letter of recommendation can improve a student’s chance for admission, so experts say a brag sheet is worth the time. Schools weigh components of a college application differently, but according to collegevine.com, students can expect an average breakdown of 35 percent academics, 30 percent extracurriculars, 25 percent essays, and the final 10 percent includes consideration of recommendations, interviews, and other factors.
Students can never know what small detail will push their application to the “admit” pile, so they should take advantage of every opportunity to make their application shine.
Should I Include a Brag Sheet with the College Resume?
In most cases, a brag sheet should not be included with a student’s resume for college. While the resume may be a component of the college application, a brag sheet is a supplemental document designed to help letter writers recommend students for admission. It will not be formally submitted with a college application.
However, if a student is invited to an admissions interview, it’s a great idea for them to give the panel or the interviewer a copy of a brag sheet upon entering the meeting. It can help guide the conversation to preferred topics.
What Should a Brag Sheet Include?
There is no specific list of information, and brag sheets vary in format.
Reviewing brag sheet templates used by North Carolina schools and families may help give students an idea of what to include in their brag sheet, especially if their high school did not provide a template for them. Consider this parent brag sheet template from Cardinal Gibbons High School or the template Apex High School Counselors request from students and their families.
In general, a brag sheet might include any or all the following:
- Grades, GPA, academic information
- Extracurricular activities
- Volunteer and community service activities
- Work experience
- Honors and awards
- Future career goals and aspirations
- What the student plans to study in college
- Personalized statements and responses from the student and the parent to thoughtful questions and prompts. Those prompts can include:
- Three adjectives that describe the student
- A brief paragraph that explains why the student is a good candidate for the school
- Circumstances or hardships the student has overcome
- Other relevant information the student wants a letter writer to know about them.
If students or their families have questions or feel confused about what to include in their brag sheet, talk to the people writing their letters of recommendation about what information would be helpful for them.
For more helpful information about planning, applying, and paying for college, visit https://www.cfnc.org/.