Parent Statements

How To Describe Your Child In A Parent Statement

How To Describe Your Child In A Parent Statement
September 26, 2022

Admissions season in New York City has officially begun, which means parents are feeling the intensity of organizing school applications. For many parents, one of the most daunting aspects of applications is writing parent statements. 

At Admit NY, we receive many questions about how to describe your child in a parent statement. As we discuss in our comprehensive guide to writing a parent statement here, many parents wonder how they can possibly encapsulate their child’s entire personality into a few paragraphs. It seems impossible to convey the full extent of your adoration in a simple essay! 

Much like any writing project, the best thing to do is to sit down and start writing. Don’t worry about perfectly-crafted sentences or strategic phrasing; just get some thoughts down on the page, and edit from there. We specifically recommend that parents start out in a style that mimics journaling; jot down a few thoughts in response to questions like these: 

  • Who is your child as a student? 
  • Who is your child as a community member? 
  • Who is your child as a son/daughter? 
  • Who is your child as a sibling (if relevant)? 
  • Who is your child as a member of your extended family (if relevant), i.e. as a grandson/daughter, niece/nephew, etc? 
  • Who is your child as a member of activities - i.e. as an athlete, artist, coder, performer, etc.? 

Begin by focusing on adjectives: as a son, your child is “loving.” As an athlete, your daughter is “fierce.” After you’ve brainstormed a few adjectives, related to any of the above prompts, start developing examples that back up those adjectives. When you think of your child as a “fierce” athlete, what moment(s) comes to mind? 

After you’ve developed a basic idea of how to describe your child in a parent statement, it’s time to edit, edit, edit. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you refine your essay: 

  • Quality over quantity. You could probably write pages and pages about how amazing your child is, but admissions committees only have so much time to review each application. In fact, some schools will stop reading if statements are too long. Keep your writing concise and to the point. 300 words that offer a clear description of your child’s personality is better than 500 words that might offer more examples, but comes across as rambling.

  • Show rather than tell. Here’s where those anecdotes come in: every time you make an assertion about your child’s personality, back it up with a story. Remember, these stories can be brief: you don’t need to lay out the full context behind an anecdote. Just share the basic gist, as long as it demonstrates the trait that you’re describing. Ideally, these anecdotes are a blend of moments that happened at school, in extracurricular activities or out in the world, and at home.

  • Be genuine and honest. It’s very easy to see right through an essay that focuses too much on the child’s accomplishments, particularly if those accomplishments are exaggerated. Listing a resume is not how to describe your child in a parent statement! Share genuine love and respect for your child, and don’t be afraid to share areas where they have an opportunity to grow. 

Still stuck? Check out our full sample parent statements. We have one for parents of younger kids, and one for parents of older kids. Notice how these examples offer a clear description of what the child’s personality is like, while sharing genuine anecdotes that bring that description to life. Often, reading about someone else’s child helps illuminate how to describe your child in a parent statement. 

If you’re feeling stressed about parent statements, or the admissions process in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to Admit NY. We’re leading admissions consultants in New York City, and we’ve helped hundreds of families like yours discover how to describe your child in a parent statement. Get in touch here to learn more!