1. Education

How to Write the Parent’s Statement

Writing About Your Child on Private School Applications


Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start?

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Most applications to private school require parents to write about their children in the parent’s statement or parent’s questionnaire. The purpose of the parent’s statement is to add dimension to the candidate’s statement and to help the admissions committee better understand the applicant from the parent’s perspective. You should write this statement yourself, as it is your chance as a parent to provide the admissions committee with your close understanding of your child and let the committee know, as only a parent can, how your child learns best and what his or her interests and strengths are. Here’s the way to best complete the parent’s statement:

Think about your responses.

Many schools allow you to apply online, but resist the temptation to simply type a quick answer into the online blank and submit it. Instead, read over the questions and dedicate some time to thinking about them. It’s difficult at times to step back and consider your child in a somewhat objective manner, but your goal is to describe your child to people who don’t know him or her. Think about what your child’s teachers, particularly the ones who know him or her well, have said over time. You can even go back and read earlier report cards. Think about consistent themes that emerge from the reports. Are there comments that teachers consistently make about how your child learns and acts in school and in extra-curricular activities? These comments will be helpful for the admissions committee.

Be honest.

Real children aren’t perfect, but they can still be great candidates to private schools. Describe your child accurately and openly. A full, real, and descriptive parent’s statement will convince the admissions committee that you are being honest, and it will help them understand your child and what he or she offers. If your child has had a serious disciplinary action in the past, you may have to describe that situation. If so, be honest, and let the admissions committee know what happened. Again, the school is looking for a real kid—not an ideal. Your child will do best if he or she is at the school that fits best , and describing your child candidly will help the admissions committee decide if your child will fit in at the school and succeed. Children who succeed at their schools are not only happier and healthier but also stand in better stead for college admissions. Of course, you can describe your child’s strengths, and you shouldn’t feel the need to be negative--but everything you write should be real.

Consider how your child learns.

The parent’s statement is a chance to describe how your child learns so that the admissions committee can decide if your child is likely to benefit from being at the school. If your child has moderate to severe learning issues, consider whether you should reveal them to the admissions staff. Many private schools grant students with learning issues accommodations, or changes in the curriculum, so that these students can best demonstrate what they know. Students with mild learning issues might be able to wait until they are admitted to the school to ask about the school’s accommodations policy, but students with more severe learning issues might need to ask about the school’s policies about helping them beforehand. You may also have to do some research into what kind of resources the school offers to help your child—before he or she attends the school. Being open and honest with the school beforehand, including in the parent’s statement, will help you and your child find the best school at which he or she is most likely to be successful.

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