Asking for Letters of Recommendation & References? Make a Brag Sheet
Last updated April 11, 2023
If you're planning on applying to college or for a job, you're most likely going to need letters of recommendation and/or references. The people writing letters of recommendation or providing references will be asked to speak about you - your experience as a student or employee, your talents, what you contribute to a class or job, and more. Colleges and potential employers use this information to make a more holistic and informed decision about admitting/hiring you, so it's important they have as much information as possible! That's where writing a brag sheet comes in. Here's everything you need to know about brag sheets - what they are, why they're important, and how to start writing yours!
What is a brag sheet?
A brag sheet is very similar to a resume - it showcases your accomplishments, experiences, leadership skills, extracurricular activities, and any employment or volunteer work you’ve done during your high school career. You will write your brag sheet on your own, and then share it with the people you're asking for references and/or letters of recommendation.
What can I use a brag sheet for?
Brag sheets are useful for a variety of purposes, but most often come in handy when you're 1) asking an educator or mentor to write you a letter of recommendation and 2) asking an old mentor, employer, or colleague to provide a job reference. By providing these people with your brag sheet, they can speak more clearly and accurately to your skills, talents, and accomplishments - important information that potential colleges and employers want to hear!
Creating your brag sheet
Starting from your first year of high school, brainstorm every experience or achievement that shaped who you are, or that you’re proud of from your high school career. You can write about any clubs, extracurricular activities, leadership, athletics, art, music, employment, volunteer experience, and AP, IB, or Honors classes that you've participated in throughout high school.
Once you’re finished brainstorming, start organizing your activities into categories
Take the list you’ve created and start organizing all the different activities into cohesive categories - leadership activities in one group, employment in another, clubs in another, academics in another, and so on.
Use these categories to create your story
Narrow down each category to 2 or 3 activities that had the biggest impact on you, and then use these activities to create your story. For example, if you did drama, you might describe your two favorite performances, and how those roles helped you grow as a person or an actor.
As you weave these groups of stories about your activities and accomplishments throughout your high school career together, a cohesive, compelling story that states what makes you unique will start to appear - and that’s your brag sheet! By creating a brag sheet, you’re helping your recommender understand your story - what you’ve done and how it’s shaped you - allowing them to give the best and most accurate recommendation!
Now that you have your brag sheet ready, reach out to your references in a professional way.
Want more tips on creating a brag sheet, asking for a letter of recommendation, or applying to college? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our college advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!