College Apps and Brag Sheets
By Seema, age 16, California
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
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.