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The Brag Sheet

I’ve written here that you don’t need to send a resume with your college applications, that in fact you shouldn’t. I stand by that. It’s just that there’s a bit more to the topic. You don’t need a resume to apply for college, but you should have what’s called a brag sheet.

I wrote that you should still come up with a resume if you don’t have one, and this is not just preparation for applying to summer jobs and internships. Brainstorming towards a resume will give you the perfect material for assembling a brag sheet, which is indispensible in getting the best letters of recommendation. A brag sheet will also help you with your essays and your application as a whole.

So what is a brag sheet? Essentially, a brag sheet is a list of the three most important accomplishments or events or awards you can come up with for each grade of high school, and maybe for 8th grade if you feel like it. List the things that are most meaningful to you, regardless of their immediately apparent importance. A brag sheet should feel very personal, like a roadmap of your experience in high school.

What are you supposed to use this thing for? First of all, thinking through your accomplishments will help you immensely with your essays, providing you with potential topics as well as giving you some perspective on the last three or four years.

Second, bring a copy of your brag sheet—with your basic info at the top—to every meeting you have with a potential recommender. The brag sheet will impress and will lead to a much better, more specific letter.

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