Brag Sheet and Recommendation Letters

Who to ask:
  • Teachers, counselors, mentors and supervisors who know you well.
  • Make sure you present a balanced picture. This means you may not want to ask two teachers from the same area of study (math, science, English, etc.) or activity.
  • Make sure you select the teachers who can present the strongest recommendation, and not necessarily the ones who are your favorites. Ask your potential recommender if he or she is "willing to write a favorable recommendation" for you.

When to ask:
  • ASK EARLY!! Give your letter writer AT LEAST THREE weeks notice before its due date. (This DOES NOT include vacation time - i.e. Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, etc.)
    • Give ample time for the letters to be written and mailed prior to a deadline. (Most letters are now uploaded and sent electronically.)
    • Be considerate. Remember, the more time your writer has, the better the letter will be. You do not want an angry recommender!
  • Provide the writer with envelopes addressed and stamped to each of the colleges, if the writers are to mail the letters.
  • Check back with the letter writers. Give them a gentle reminder before the deadline approaches, and then confirm that the letters were sent/uploaded.

What a letter of recommendation can say:

Consider ahead of time what you want the recommender to address in the letter. Print (check below) and fill out a brag sheet, and then set up an interview with your counselor (if he/she is doing your letter). Your letter may want to showcase:
  • What motivates you
  • Your potential for success
  • How you handle challenges and setbacks
  • How your ability matches your achievements
  • What sets you apart
  • What your peers have to say about you
  • Leadership abilities
  • Involvement in the community 
You must also complete a resume in Naviance that will complement the brag sheet.
Consider the difference between a COUNSELOR recommendation and a TEACHER recommendation
  • The Counselor should communicate CONTEXT: Where the student stands in relation to the high school & community.
  • The Teacher letter should describe the student as a learner, as a scholar. The teacher is often the only person who can write objectively what the student is like IN CLASS.
  • If your teacher recommenders want your counselor recommendation brag sheet, consider giving them your resume and the Teacher Brag Sheet Form below.
Don't forget: Say thank you. Regardless of whether you are admitted to a specific college, thank your letter writers for their work. The counselors and teachers are rooting for you and would love to be kept in the loop. Send them brief emails or stop by to let them know where you were accepted and/or where you decide to go. 
You can access the Counselor Brag Sheet and Resume in Naviance under tasks.