The Brag Sheet holds immense value when it comes to crafting college recommendations for your child. It is an opportunity for you to shed light on their exceptional qualities, allowing their true brilliance to shine through. As the one who knows your child best, you have the power to emphasize their strengths and provide invaluable insights.
It’s important to understand that high school counselors often face overwhelming caseloads. In many public schools, the student-to-counselor ratio can be staggering, exceeding 500:1. While some questions on the Brag Sheet may seem elementary, counselors simply lack the time, resources, and opportunities to develop a deep personal understanding of each student. Moreover, college admission counselors recognize that a high school counselor’s perspective can offer valuable insights into a student’s life. This is precisely why filling out the Brag Sheet with accuracy and detailed information holds tremendous significance.
TIP: Be Brief. Be Bright. Do not write a novel.
The Brag Sheet serves as a tool for your student’s counselor to provide a comprehensive portrayal of their life inside and outside the classroom. Your counselor seeks and appreciates engaging anecdotes that vividly depict your child’s experiences. They aim to paint a captivating picture for admission counselors, and you have the opportunity to provide them with a vibrant color palette. Be truthful in your responses, but also focus on highlighting the positive aspects. Remember, your counselor is searching for direct quotes to include in the recommendation letter, so offer them a range of dynamic options!
TIP: No Negative Nelly Comments!
Now, let’s explore some common questions you may encounter on the Brag Sheet:
- How has your student grown and matured over the last four years? Has your child displayed an upward trend in their grades while embracing more challenging coursework? Are they participating in a summer internship? Do they hold a leadership position in a club that has imparted important life lessons? Can your student now advocate for themselves in the classroom, even if they struggled with it before? Are they taking advantage of additional academic opportunities? These examples demonstrate a commitment to academics and personal growth throughout high school. Additionally, think beyond the classroom. Has your child assumed greater responsibilities at home, caring for grandparents or younger siblings? Maturity can also encompass personal growth, such as overcoming social or emotional challenges and “breaking out of their shell.” Highlighting such transformative shifts in your child’s journey is undeniably noteworthy.
- What are your student’s greatest accomplishments over their high school years? Is there a particular achievement inside or outside the classroom that deserves recognition? Provide contextual details and background information. It’s not just about your child being “elected to a position in student government”; it’s about them running a positive and progressive campaign during a demanding junior year. Remember, accomplishments are not limited to academic achievements or awards; they can also encompass triumphs in overcoming real-life challenges.
- What words best describe your child? It’s time to delve into your thesaurus or revisit the personality profile you have. Give considerable thought to this question. Your child is multifaceted, so choose words that reflect their diverse qualities. When counselors complete Common App forms and other documentation, they often summarize your child in a few words for the admission committee. Provide them with a range of exceptional options!
- Did your child face any challenges or circumstances that may have affected their educational journey? Life presents us with various twists and turns. But, be careful here…for example, COVID was inconvenient for everyone- so do not pontificate on that unless your family’s situation was different. If there is something the college NEEDS TO KNOW, provide context to help your child’s counselor understand the impact these experiences have had on their life. However, there is no need to exaggerate a situation solely for the purpose of answering this question. If your child hasn’t faced any significant challenges, there’s no obligation to respond.
- Anything else you’d like to share? Utilize this space to shed light on aspects of your child that others may overlook. Highlight their contributions through volunteerism or team participation, showcasing how they can be an asset to a college community. Perhaps there are hidden qualities that others rarely see, such as devotion to family, patience with others, or humility regarding accomplishments. These underlying facets of your child’s character are undoubtedly worth mentioning.
Ultimately, you possess invaluable insights into who your child truly is and what makes them extraordinary. Ensure that your child’s counselor, as well as potential admission counselors, have the opportunity to truly understand and appreciate your child’s remarkable qualities. Give them something to use…and remember, everyone, is in a time crunch, so be brief and to the point.
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