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Seniors: Brag Packet

 

Welcome to your Senior Year!

When you apply to colleges and many scholarships, you will usually be expected to submit an application, a personal statement of some sort, a transcript, and a letter of recommendation. Although the first three items will provide a great deal of self-reported information and numerical data, only letters of recommendation can provide complete strangers with a “snapshot” of the unique attributes you share with others.

Letters of Recommendation:

The first step in getting your letter(s) is to decide who you would like to write it. Because your letter will often be read by one or several individuals who have the ability to forever change your life, you need to choose wisely. Begin your search by becoming familiar with EXACTLY what your application asks you to do. Far too many students complete college applications that only vaguely resemble the original instructions.  Pay attention to what type of letters you need for EACH COLLEGE. For example, you may be instructed to get two letters from a teacher and one from a counselor or one letter from a teacher and one from an adult who knows you well.

Remember to ask early. If you have a particular person you plan to ask, chances are that 100 other students will also ask…many of them probably already have. Because there is not enough time in the day to write as many letters as there are students, you could very well be denied a letter if you’re a procrastinator. A minimum time frame for any letter should be two weeks.

Deadlines for Letters of Recommendation from your counselor will be announced in the fall.

IMPORTANT!  Please understand that if your materials are late, your request for a letter of recommendation goes to the bottom of a very large pile of requests.
 
YOU MUST PROVIDE THE COLLEGE APPLICATION DUE DATES WHEN YOU RETURN THIS TO YOUR COUNSELOR.
 
The more you put into this document, the better your letter of recommendation will be...Together we’ll do our best to help you successfully complete the college application process!
 
 Brag Packet Questions-There are quite a few questions in this packet...  
You do NOT have to answer them ALL!
 
 IMPORTANT!  (You can answer all of these - or choose to answer the questions you feel will be MOST APPLICABLE to the colleges where you are applying but the first two questions are required)
 
 
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION:
First name,  Last Name (Prefer to be called _____ )                 Age                 Date of Birth
Email address that you will be using for your college applications.  (This email MUST be listed on your Naviance account as well).
 
1.  FIRST THINGS FIRST! One of the main things colleges are looking for is a way to see the real you - What wonderful, inspiring, distinctive character traits do you possess that the colleges would love to have on their campus?  Lots of students have an impressive resume and transcript, so how have you made an impact on someone else's life, on the community, etc.?  Tell us about the REAL YOU, the YOU that we want to get to know?  How are you INDIVIDUAL, INSPIRING TO OTHERS?
 
2.  BE A "MAVERICK"
Tell us about your independence and “maverick-ness”. I know it’s vague, but these are more personality qualities than they are specific criteria. To make it practical, really talk about how you made a hard decision, took a principled stand, or did something where you had almost no support from family or friends but you did it because you believed passionately in it. This could be that you run for student council president  when no one thought you could be elected. It could be the story of when you started your after school tutoring program and everyone thought you would failReally telling that story – of how you independently pursued your dreams against the criticisms of others – is something that colleges admire as a spirit in its students, and is something that every high school student has demonstrated at one point or another. Tell us about it, the better the story, the better our letter for rec. will be!
 
3. Describe your family.
a. Describe your family members. Explain who lives in your house. Give ages, names of siblings. List where siblings go to
school, including where they may have attended or currently attend college.
b. Discuss your father: where attended college, degrees earned, or any other type of education he received.  Detail his career choices, and where he works now.
c. Discuss your mother: where attended college, degrees earned, or any other type of education she received.  Detail her career choices, and where she works now.

d. How have each of your parents influenced you? What qualities of theirs do you admire?

 4. Areas of study: Discuss what you may wish to study in college. What are your career dreams? What are your areas of interest? It’s fine if these are just general.

 5. List all colleges to which you plan to apply, starting with your first choice school. Explain why you have selected each school. Why/how is it a good fit for you?  Be sure to list DUE DATES for each college you are applying to.

6. Describe yourself.
How would others describe you, your zest for learning, your moral character, your individual will to succeed?   Give a specific example/story of how you exemplify one (or more) of these qualities.This is the best way to explain your character to us, so describe your story in detail.
 
7.  Your High School Experience
a. Tell us about an academic interest or passion. What have you done that has been exciting and explain why.
b.  Describe your school-based extracurricular activities in detail.  How did these activities influence your life, your character? How did they help you mature?
c. Tell us about your athletic, artistic, student government, club or other UCHS involvement. How have you contributed to the UCHS community?
 
8.  Community Involvement
a.   Describe your involvement in your community, in the University City area, and beyond.What did you do for your  community volunteer hours? Tell exactly what the  task involved. BE SPECIFIC.  Why were these volunteer activities important to you? 

b. How have the above experiences helped you to be a better person and/or given you skills which you can use in the future?      

9.  Specific interests
a. Do you have a passion for something outside of academics? Is there one thing that is most important to you? Explain.  
b. How do you spend your free time/summers? Tell  about your hobbies and interests other than school or sports. Please write at least four full sentences.

d. Have you ever been employed, or are you currently working?  Describe your job-related experiences.

10.  Perspective
a.  Now as a senior, what have you learned about yourself since you began high school that has surprised or pleased you?
Describe what you have gained from your UCHS education. How are you different from that first day freshman year?
b. Ask one of your closest friends (not family) to describe you and your character. Ask them to be specific. Give their exact words in a quotation, and indicate who said it.

c. Get a quote about yourself from three staff members at UCHS.  Have them comment on your work ethic and contributions in the class, on campus, or playing field. These should be different staff members than those writing letters of recommendations for you. Give their exact words in a quotation. Ask the adults to send us the quote in an email.

11.  Personal Challenges

Are there any extenuating circumstances that have affected your academic performance? This could be a special family or financial situation, a learning disability, a blip in your academic record, etc. Describe your experiences, and how you have grown as a result.  Please explain with as much detail as possible.

12. Additional Information: 
a.  Is there anything else we should know about you that would assist us as we write your college recommendation?

b. What do you want your counselor to tell colleges about you? What aspects do you want to be emphasized? What is special or important? Why should colleges accept you?

PARENT INVOLVEMENT

We  encourage your parents to send us a letter about you, email is preferred.  Have them complete this questionnaire  and send it via email to your counselor.  SAME DEADLINES APPLY!

PARENT/GUARDIAN QUESTIONNAIRE-  CONFIDENTIAL

1. Name of parent/guardian answering this questionnaire:
2. Email Address... also make sure this email is listed in Naviance, (your student can add you to their profile) and is updated in your UCHS records.  We will need to contact you periodically.
3. Did you or anyone else in your child’s immediate family (i.e. siblings) attend college or graduate school? If so, please list the names of the college/schools.
4. What are your expectations and/or concerns for your child with regard to the college application process?
5. Given your child’s school experiences thus far, what kind of college environment do you believe would help him/her to be happiest and most productive? Please tell us what you feel would be optimal regarding: size, location, academic/non-academic offerings, academic intensity, religious or non-religious affiliation and other factors.
6. If you have any information about your child’s history thus far which you feel might be helpful for us to know (strengths and weaknesses; social, medical, academic development, etc.), please explain.
7. Has he or she faced any unusual challenges through the years at home or at school? How does your child handle setbacks?
8.  If your child has accomplishments, activities or hobbies which deserve special attention in our recommendation and which he or she might forget to mention, please describe in detail. (These might or might not be related to school activities. Remember, anything and everything is fine-especially if it helps to differentiate your child from others in a large applicant pool.)
9. Please brag for us so we can do the same in our recommendation for your child. What makes you proudest of him or her?
Again (we can’t say this often enough!), anecdotes are extremely helpful.

10. Are there any specific colleges/universities you would like your child to include in his/her application list? (It would be most helpful if you would list reasons for your choices.)

PLEASE SEND THIS QUESTIONNAIRE VIA EMAIL -  THANK YOU!