As admissions season heats up, we highly recommend that families begin drafting parent statements for the schools that require them. Not all schools require parents to write introductory statements about their child, but many do, and some even require the submission of a parent statement as a first step in the admissions process.
Many parents are confused about how to write a great parent statement. For most, it’s the first time that they’ve had to compose a formal piece of writing capturing their child’s unique personality. While the format of a parent statement might feel unfamiliar, try to keep in mind that you’re writing on a topic that you know best of anyone in the world: your child. Here are five tips to make sure your parent statement resonates with the admissions committee:
1. Quality over quantity.
You might have pages and pages worth to write about how amazing your child is, but admissions committees only have so much time to review each application. Some schools will stop reading if statements are overwhelmingly long. Keep your writing concise, clear, and to the point; 300 words that present a clear thesis about your child’s personality are always better than 500 words that ramble without a clear point.
2. Use anecdotes.
It’s easy to gush about your child and accidentally fall into generalities: they are so kind, so smart, so driven, etc. Your parent statement will make a more lasting impression if it shows rather than tells; use a story to illustrate an adjective. Your statement should include two or three academic or social experiences that demonstrate your child’s unique characteristics, abilities, or views of the world. Remember #1, quality over quantity: anecdotes don’t need to describe every single detail of the situation, but should provide a few sentences of context and details.
3. Don’t name-drop.
Some parents think that admissions committees are looking for every reason to admit a child who is connected to board members, alumni, or even celebrities. Not true! Name-dropping prominent figures might actually turn off admissions committee members. Your parent statement is a precious opportunity to provide your insider perspective on your child’s personality and development; it’s a waste to use that space to list names, no matter how impressive they might be.
4. Maintain consistency with the application.
Schools look for consistency across all parts of an application, including school reports or transcripts, teacher recommendations, student essays, parent statements, and interviews. Make sure that the child you write about in your parent statement is the same child that shows up for an interview. This is particularly important for high school applications; don’t write about a set of interests or characteristics that your child will (unintentionally or intentionally) contradict when they emphasize their own points of view in an interview.
5. Be honest and authentic!
Above all, write about how you truly feel about your child. A parent statement full of genuine love and respect for your child is always better than a statement that artificially focuses on achievements or skills. Do not feel as though you have to impress the admissions committee with the amazing things your child has done; instead, paint an authentic picture about your child’s unique personality, including any areas where they have an opportunity for growth. Remember not to overstate, either: a child who donates his or her toys to charity is not a “philanthropist,” just an empathetic kid who wants to give back.
Need more guidance on your parent statement? Admit NY maintains a full library of parent statement examples, and is always ready to advise on statements for your unique circumstances. Reach out to schedule a consultation today.