As your senior year rolls around and talk of recommendation letters is in the air, you may hear your teachers ask you for a brag sheet. Your first thought — Huh? What’s that? Well, ask no more! In this article, we’ll do a deep dive on what brag sheets are, what goes in them, and how to craft one that is both succinct and specific.
What is a brag sheet? What goes in one?
In simplest terms, a brag sheet is nothing more than a resume for students. It does exactly what it says — brags! The thought of boasting about your accomplishments may seem awkward, but this is your chance to put your achievements and awards in one place so that your teachers and potential college admissions officers can easily review them.
There is a lot of information that you should include on a brag sheet. This includes the following:
- Contact Information: List your name, email, phone number, and home address.
- The Numbers: Include a section with your GPA, class rank (if your school has a ranking system), and test scores (if you have them), such as those from the SAT, ACT, PSAT, Subject Tests, and/or AP exams.
- Coursework: It may be beneficial to list the courses that you have taken in high school to showcase the level of rigor that you have previously handled.
- Awards: List all of the awards or honors that you have received in and out of the classroom. This includes A-honor roll, Student of the Year, National Merit, and additional awards for individual sports, fine arts, clubs, or out-of-school organizations.
- Leadership Roles: List and briefly describe the leadership roles you have had in and out of the classroom, whether you were the officer of a school club, captain of a sports team, or leader of a religious youth group.
- Extracurricular Activities and Community Service: List and briefly describe all of the activities in which you regularly participate outside of the classroom, such as any clubs, sports, or other ventures. Whether you routinely sell cookies as a Girl Scout or volunteer weekly at your local food bank, this is the place to include these things! Make sure to list how many years you have been involved in the activity, as well as how many hours per week and weeks per year you spend on each activity.*
- Jobs and Internships: List and briefly describe any jobs and/or internships you’ve had. Make sure to list how many years you have been involved in the job or internship, as well as how many hours per week and weeks per year you spend on it.
- Special Skills: If you have any unique skills or certifications that are not listed above, feel free to list and briefly describe those as well! Such skills may range from being CPR certified to earning your Private Pilot License.
Remember to cater your brag sheet to you and your accomplishments. If you have never had a job or an internship, that’s okay! Likewise, if you have only participated in one or two community service activities, don’t feel pressured to list more. The most important thing is that you remain honest and true to yourself.
*Depending on the platform that you use to apply to colleges, you may need to list your specific activities (including extracurriculars, community service, jobs, and internships) in order of importance and include a very short description of each, alongside a description of how many hours you have spent per week or year on that activity.
What is the benefit of a brag sheet?
Many teachers ask for a brag sheet when they are writing recommendation letters so that they can reference your prior accomplishments or gain a better understanding of who you are outside the classroom. Information about what you do in your free time, in which clubs you are most heavily involved, and what leadership experience you possess can help your teachers add context to their discussion of you in their recommendation letters.
Brag sheets can also come in handy on college applications. Though colleges may not ask you to submit the brag sheet itself, you can certainly reference it when filling out your applications. Having a list of all of your achievements on hand will make completing your applications much more convenient!
How long should my brag sheet be?
This is a very common question, but the answer depends entirely on how much you have to say! Many students feel like they have to write a certain number of pages for their brag sheet to be complete. Rather than fretting about filling up space, however, you should focus more on including what is important to you and what you think your teachers and/or college admissions officers may benefit from knowing. What matters more is quality — not quantity!
What are some tips for creating a brag sheet?
The five golden tips that I find come in handy most often are as follows:
- Add to it as you go. You may find that trying to remember all of your high school accomplishments at the start of your senior year is nothing short of a challenge. To make your brag sheet as comprehensive as possible, be sure to add to it as you achieve different things, whether that be winning an award or joining a club. This way, you can avoid forgetting to write about important activities that you simply couldn’t recall years later.
- Format it appropriately. Though brag sheets are typically flexible in formatting, you should aim to use a widely accessible font (such as Times New Roman) in a decent size (most people prefer a 12 point font). Avoid including pictures, color, or anything else that may distract readers from the descriptions of your activities.
- Keep it recent. A brag sheet that you’re sending to your teachers for your college applications should generally only contain your accomplishments and activities starting in the ninth grade. This means you should refrain from discussing all of your middle school accomplishments, unless there is something that you believe your brag sheet would be incomplete without.
- Stay succinct. Use bullet points rather than complete sentences when describing each activity or honor.
- Don’t hesitate to write down small accomplishments. Even if you don’t think certain attainments are a big deal, it doesn’t hurt to include them on your brag sheet just in case! Even getting awarded Student of the Month, for example, says something valuable about you and your character.
Although creating a brag sheet may seem like a tedious task, in the end you will likely be grateful that you made one. By organizing all of your endeavors into a personal, precise, and presentable format, you will not only help your teachers write your recommendation letters, but you will also make your own life a little easier when it comes time for college applications. With that being said, it’s time to get writing!