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Asking for Letters of Recommendation & References? Make a Brag Sheet

Last updated October 10, 2023

Whether you’re applying for a job, a scholarship, or to college, you will most likely be required to submit letters of recommendation or references. Letters of recommendation and references, written by individuals you have previously worked with in an academic or professional setting, can highlight your skills, experience, and qualities that make you a great candidate for the opportunity you’re applying for.

Because letters of recommendation and references are important supplements to your applications, it’s important to give your recommenders as much information about your strengths, skills, and experiences as possible so they can write you the best, most accurate recommendation possible. That’s where a brag sheet can come in handy! Here's everything you should know about brag sheets– like how they work and how to start creating yours!

What is a brag sheet? How can my brag sheet help my recommender?

A brag sheet is similar to a resume. It’s a place where you can list all of your accomplishments, work and academic experience, leadership skills, extracurricular activities, and employment and volunteer history. Simply put, it’s a high-level overview of all of your relevant experience that your recommender can look at when they’re writing you a letter of recommendation or providing a reference for you.

How to create your brag sheet

Brainstorm

Starting from your first year of high school, brainstorm, write down, and organize your achievements and experiences into categories. These categories can include things like:

  • Academics
  • Leadership
  • Employment
  • Extracurriculars/clubs
  • Awards received
  • Volunteer experience
  • …and more!

Shape your story

Narrow down the experiences in each category to two or three activities that had the biggest impact on you, and then use these activities to create your story. For example, if you are in the drama club at school or act in local theater productions, you might describe your favorite performances, how these roles have helped you grow as a person or an actor, and what your experience was like balancing school with an extracurricular activity. As you weave these stories about your activities and accomplishments throughout high school together, you will have a cohesive, compelling story that shows what makes you unique. That’s your brag sheet!

Send your brag sheet

When someone agrees to write you a letter of recommendation or provide a reference for you, be sure to send them any and all important information about the opportunity you’re applying for. This can include things like what the opportunity is (a college application, a scholarship, a job, etc.) when they will need to submit their letter of recommendation or provide their reference, and when you can expect to have a decision. In addition to all of this information, send along your brag sheet and let your recommender know that they can contact you if they have any questions. Be sure to share your appreciation with them for their willingness to make time for you!

Want more tips on creating a brag sheet for your letters of recommendation or references? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our college advisors. 

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