Writing A Successful Parent Statement
Applying to schools for your child is a full-time job. Beyond the tours, interviews, planning and scheduling, parents need to tackle the Parent Statement portion of the applications.
Consider the questions asked in the Parent Statement early in the process so that you can think about these things as you tour schools.
You SHOULD put real thought and effort into why your family and the school are a match. You SHOULD NOT fret. With some advance planning and careful editing, you will craft a Parent Statement that brings your family to life for an Admission Committee.
I highly recommend parents begin by creating a list of all the traits you want to highlight about your child. Include attributes you are proud of, areas in which your child excels, and areas of growth.
Next, list the traits that draw you to each school on your list. This list could include a school’s physical spaces, people, or values, for a start. When possible, visit each of the schools before really diving into the questions. Absorb the feeling of the place and gain insight into what each school has to offer.
Look for overlap between your lists. These are the areas you want to highlight in your responses to the Parent Statement. How would your child benefit, and what would they bring to the school community?
If possible, both parents should contribute to the parent statements for a more well-rounded view. Google Docs is an excellent (and free) platform that supports multiple contributors. However, some parents have strong feelings against Google docs. In this case, I recommend finding a system that works for your family.
Copy the questions for each of the schools on your list. I suggest keeping a separate document per school so as to stay clear on which school you are writing about. Schools will ask for similar information in various ways, and I’ve found parents have the most success when they stay organized.
Community Service Experiences
Extracurricular Activities (including athletics, music, dance, art, etc.)
Next, brainstorm. Record thoughts and anecdotes for each question at every school. Be sure to note where questions from different schools may overlap.
Only after completing your prep work should you begin to write. The process will be much more focused and purposeful when you have done the work ahead of time.
Consider the following as you craft your Parent Statements. Focus your energy and create a compelling portrait of your child.
Highlight the ways your child and the school intersect. Anecdotes are a brilliant way to illustrate your points for Admission Committees. How will the best of each add to the other? Include specific examples.
Be honest and authentic. Paint an accurate representation of your family.
Look for overlap in questions from school to school. Make it easy on yourself by tweaking similar responses rather than start afresh.
Be consistent. Send a uniform message to the school so take care to not contradict yourself in your response.
Proofread and edit when you finish. And then Proofread and edit again!
Embellish the truth.
Write a novel. Be efficient in your word choices. If given a word count, stick to it!
Neglect to proofread and edit.
Wait until the last minute to begin thinking about the parent statement.
With a little effort and planning, your parent statement will clearly illustrate why your family would be a great addition to each of the schools on your list. Best of luck!