College Apps and Brag Sheets

By Seema, age 16, California
Sweet Designs Featured Writer

Featured Gold Star Writer Bio

As children, we are always told to do well in school so that we can get into a good university. We are told to aim for Harvard, Stanford and Yale, but the reality is that doing well isn't always enough. Your parents forgot to mention financial aid, scholarships, brag sheets, and the tedious process of applying to college. At this very moment I am in the process of filling out my various college applications and calculating the cost of that four year private school that costs 50,000 dollars a year. I wish someone would have warned me about this earlier.

I started my applications late, after summer was over.

Rule #1: Start applying/writing your essays during summer break. As I am filling out various forms I am constantly dwelling on the past, telling myself things like, "I wish I'd tried harder" or "I wish my GPA were higher".

Rule #2: If you are reading this and you are in your sophomore, junior, or even freshman year, work really hard and try to earn that 4.0 GPA - it really helps. Some schools won't even look at your application if your GPA is below 3.7. Lastly, I was lucky to have been doing community service for five years at the local YMCA; it really boosts your chances of getting into the school of your dreams.

Rule #3: Get involved!! Whether it be in school or in some kind of community activity.

When applying to schools one is asked to fill out a "brag sheet". The brag sheet is a seven page packet in which you brag about yourself. The brag sheet isn't for colleges, but for your college counselors and those who will be writing your letters of recommendation. The brag sheet asks what school and community activities you participated in, what clubs you attended at school, your biggest achievement(s), something interesting about you and your family, your hobbies, and so on. This takes about a full day to fill out, and a couple more to look over and perfect all your mistakes.

When entering senior year, I decided to apply to art school. Contrary to popular belief, the process is still just as hectic. Art schools ask for a portfolio of 15-20 pieces, which I have been working on for about three years. Most schools (but not all) have some kind of a "challenge." A challenge is a vague prompt for which one has to make a certain number of pieces. The challenge is a mandatory part of the application process, and possibly the most difficult.

A common misconception is that grades and SAT scores don't matter for art schools. GPA and SAT/ACT scores account for about 50 percent of your admission. But in certain situations, if your art work is superb and you have poor grades, then your portfolio will outweigh your academic grades and tests.

I know many of you reading this may still be freshmen or sophomores, but it is important to know and get ahead in the tedious college application process. My advice is to find something you really love and spend your high school career excelling in whatever it may be. While applying to college may seem scary, remember that things tend to work out in the end.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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