Summer College Checklist #4: Develop Your Brag Sheet & Info Packets for Recommenders

Imagine that you are in charge of a team. You’ll have to choose your members from a pool of people whom you’ve never met personally.

You want a team that will deliver the best outcome possible, obviously. Each individual’s ability level is important, but if the group itself doesn’t gel and its members don’t work well with one another, individual ability can only carry the overall effort so far.

Of course, in their applications, your prospective teammates have performed well in their previous experience, in environments you’re not familiar with. They also all have great things to say about themselves: they’re effective leaders, they collaborate well, they work hard, they’re resilient and learn quickly.

But...can you take their word for it?

That’s the reason that many colleges require letters of recommendation from applicants: they’re looking to establish credibility. A third-party adult who knows not only the quality of your academic work in a specific subject but also how you carried yourself in and out of class can give admissions readers a lot of assurance and clear perspective on your character.

However, it’s a lot of work writing those recommendation letters in the fall...especially if you’re an “in-demand” teacher with a reputation for writing great letters. The majority of high schools do not compensate or allot teachers time to write recommendation letters. They’re doing it on their own time.

What does that mean for you?

Make your recommenders’ job as easy as possible. Many high schools assign students to complete a “brag sheet” or questionnaire that helps provide detailed information and context to recommenders.

The more time and care you put into that document, the more content your recommender has to work with.

So: which of your personal qualities would have the most impact if they were relayed to admissions by an adult?

We hope this is a useful primer to the Summer College Checklist! We're here to help your student feel motivated and supported as they gear up for college application season and senior year.

If you're looking for personal support with college applications, check out our summer intensive workshop Carve Your Own Path, and don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions!