What is a Brag Sheet?
A brag sheet, basically, is a compilation of all your high school achievements from academic honors and merit to community service. It’s a way to highlight you, an outline of the person you are and the things you’ve accomplished. Think of it as a resume of not just your job experience, but your life experience as well.
Why is a Brag Sheet Important?
A brag sheet is important for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s an accumulation of all your hard work up until this moment. Not all college applications ask the same questions; some may focus on academics and others on extracurricular activities. In order to give a well-rounded version of yourself, add a brag sheet. It allows you to stand out and showcase yourself among the hordes of applicants. Plus, having names, dates, and specifics makes your claims more concrete.
Second of all, a brag sheet is an easy reference when it comes to applying for college or jobs. If you need to write a college entrance essay about the community service you’ve done, you have easy access to all the necessary information with your brag sheet. If you need to expound upon any academic rewards, you can refer back to your brag sheet. Make your portfolio more robust and meaningful by adding a copy of your brag sheet; think of it as another page of your resume.
Finally, a brag sheet is essential when it comes to getting a letter of recommendation. Teachers, community leaders, coaches, and other adults might know who you are and have an idea of your accomplishments, but they won’t remember specifics. Refresh their memories and give them something concrete to write about with a brag sheet. Plus, seeing a list of your passions can inspire their writing, giving you the best opportunity for a glowing letter of recommendation.
What Should I Include on a Brag Sheet?
Now that you know what a brag sheet is and why it’s so important to have one, you need to know what to include, which is—namely—everything: academics, extracurricular activities, sports, church and community, employment, and hobbies. Don’t shortchange yourself by focusing only on one area. Even if you do tend toward one thing like academics or sports, there’s more to you. Whatever you add, make sure to explain it thoroughly; admission boards need a good idea of what you did and the person you are, so don’t hold back.
Focus on awards, honors, your GPA, test scores, and other relevant information. Include admittance into National Honor Society, National Merit Standing, and other honors for outstanding academic work.
Extracurricular activities to add to your brag list include those connected to school such as math or science clubs, academic decathlons, student government, school newspaper, yearbook, drama clubs, band, choir, FFA (Future Farmers of America), FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).
Whether you did school sports or community-organized sports, add them to the list. Even a history of participating in noncompetitive, intramural sports can have a positive effect on college admittance boards.
Church and Community:
If you’re part of a church, add any youth group activities you participated in. Often these youth groups are involved in regular community service, which is a big thumbs up when it comes to standing out among college applicants. Also include any community groups to which you belong such as Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts, soup kitchens, and the like.
Any sort of employment, whether it’s during the school year or relegated to the summer months, is a sign of maturity and work ethic. Add in babysitting gigs, summer jobs, and internships as well.
While you undoubtedly have many hobbies, choose the most impressive. For instance, musical abilities, photography, writing, and athletics are all great additions to a brag sheet. Choose hobbies that are unusual or unique. Remember, you want to stand out as much as possible.
How Should I Format the Brag Sheet?
When it comes to formatting your brag sheet, there are several options such as list format and short answer format. In fact, you might want to make one of each depending on what you’re using it for. For instance, a short answer format can give a teacher or adult a great overview of you as a person when it comes to writing a letter of recommendation, whereas a college application might be limited on space and require more of a list format.
If using a list format, make sure you include what it is or the category (i.e. academics), the school year or date of the activity, a rough idea of the timeline (hours per week), your responsibilities and position. You can download a template, use a spreadsheat, or create a table in a word document.
Short Answer Format:
Another option is to list all of the above in a short answer format. For example: “What are your academic highlights?” with the answer immediately following. While this format can add thoughts and feelings, it can also be overwhelming on college applications. It does work well for introducing a letter of recommendation writer to your thoughts on a subject.
However, you can also use the short answer format to expand upon the list format with questions that highlight the experience and you as a person. For example, “What was a significant challenge you experienced in your community service?” or “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” The idea is to let the person—be it a teacher, college admissions officer, or potential employer—to get to know you in all your glory.
That’s It … Remeber, Be Professional!
While a brag sheet is just that—a place where you can brag about your qualities—you want to do it in a professional manner. Focus on the positive, don’t overdo it (you want it to sound believable), be thorough, and give it a polished look. This means no awkward formatting, no grammar or spelling errors, and no slang. You want what’s in the brag sheet as well as how it looks to advertise you as a great investment to a future college.