Preparing for College

Are Parent "Brag Sheet" Questionnaires Appropriate?

Question: My daughter's guidance department requires parents to fill out a long and detailed questionnaire about our child to "help" them write their college recommendation letters. It looks to me like they are saying they do not know our kids well enough to write a letter and want the parents to do their work for them. Is this really appropriate? Can they claim to be confidential letters without review OR input from the applicant or parent if they are heavily based on such questionnaires, as they tell us they are?

Requesting such "brag sheets" from parents (or from the students themselves) is a pretty common practice, and it's actually one I applaud. In many typical high schools, guidance counselors shoulder unwieldy loads, and it's impossible for them to truly know the majority of their advisees. And even in smaller schools--or in those where there is a stronger student/counselor relationship--it's still likely that even the most committed counselors may overlook the key points that you or your child would like a recommendation to include.

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