Brag Sheets

When I was a senior in high school, somebody asked a very strange question. “What college are you going to?” I replied, “College? What’s that?” “It’s next four years of your education,” the same someone replied. “My what?”

Apparently I was supposed to be giving this some thought. Who knew.

Being from Illinois, I looked at U of I . . . you know, just because. It looked okay, but somewhat pricey, at least from my own naive point of view. Then someone mentioned Iowa State and their Computer Science department. For some reason, their out-of-state tuition was actually less than Illinois’ in-state tuition. Whelp, that seemed good enough to me. It was time to apply. Not really knowing anything about the process, I simply wrote them a letter:

Dear Iowa State,

Hey, like, you know, if you guys wouldn’t mind a whole bunch, what would you think if I went to your school? I can pay you and everything. Sound cool?


I got a reply back a month or two later:

Dear Charlie,

Yeah, that’s cool. Like, when can you be here? Just let us know.

Best regards,
Iowa State University

And that was that.

Now that my oldest child is a senior in high school, I’m starting to wonder at what point this process got so much more difficult. It’s like putting together a 3,000 piece puzzle, but without all the fun and excitement. One piece of this puzzle is called the Parent Brag Sheet. Basically, the parents fill out ten easy questions, then staff members at the school turn these into letters of recommendation. (Letters of recommendation? How come I never had those?)

So I grabbed the sheet and began to look over the questions. Holy crap. This looks hard. The questions are phrased in such a way that it’s already a dead given fact that your child is an overachieving genius and now you’re just touching up the finer points that distinguish your overachieving genius with your neighbor’s overachieving genius.

Here’s a sample:

  1. What do you consider to be your child’s most outstanding accomplishments?
  2. What are your child’s most outstanding personality traits?
  3. Please describe at least three occasions where your child saved the lives of ten or more people (per occasion).
  4. What sixteen adjectives would the Pope use to describe your child and why.
  5. Please describe how and when your child will cure cancer. Please be as specific as possible.

So you can see what I’m up against. If this kind of stuff keeps up, I may just have to find my old college application letter, erase my name and add hers, then just run with it. Clearly it’s a sure-fire winner.

4 Responses to “Brag Sheets”

Glenn said
October 22, 2010 at 8:59 am

I find, in the end, that money seems to be the thing Universities like most. Certainly they take enough from me for my son.

    Charlie said
    October 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    That’s funny you say that, because one of the actual questions was, “What do you feel like your child could bring to his/her college of choice?” And my first answer was, “Money. Lots of it. But that’s okay, because they like that.”

Biz said
October 20, 2015 at 9:42 am

I rolled the dice to hit a random blog post – sorry I missed this one!

    Charlie said
    October 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Congrats on being the second person to read this post!