Most private schools require parents to answer prompts or fill in a questionnaire about their child. The parent statement is an introduction to your child taken from your perspective as a parent. The main idea is to provide a written statement about your child’s personality, interests, and strengths.
With two decades of experience in private school admissions, our educational consultants have deep knowledge of how to write parent statements for private schools that would differentiate your child and highlight strengths. This guide outlines a list of tips that will prevent you from making common mistakes in the Parent Statement section of school applications.
Provide specific examples
“What is unique about your child?” is the most common question asked in private school applications. Parents usually make a list of adjectives that best represent their child’s personality. However, without examples or anecdotes, these words have very little meaning and don’t give admissions officers a clear picture of what your child is really like.
So instead of describing your child as “intellectually curious,” describe a time when your child did extra research on a school assignment because they were just genuinely curious about the subject matter. If you want to share your child’s creativity, you can describe his artistic projects and how he is using them to develop his personality.
Begin the writing process well in advance
Many families will underestimate the time and thought it takes to complete these parent statements. We recommend brainstorming and writing several drafts of your statement before submitting it. Therefore, it is important to give yourself adequate time to decide what to write and how to structure the statements. Read on several parent statement examples so you can learn different techniques and how to best answer the questions.
Review your statement
When you have drafted your response, read it over and ask yourself, “This may describe my child, but does it describe other children?” If the answer is yes, it is too generic and does not differentiate your child at all. Provide specific examples and attributes that will make your child stand out. For example, instead of saying that your child has very good grades because he studies well, you can say that your child has excellent time management skills which is why he can focus on his studies. You may go on to describe the typical day of your child to show how there is a balance between his academics and extracurricular activities.
Describing accomplishments on an activities form
When identifying accomplishments, list only significant accomplishments that were recognized in school or other organizations. Cite contests or tournaments where your child won and received awards. It is better to list 1-2 significant accomplishments rather than list many that have less value.
Connect school values with your child’s accomplishments
Research and learn about the differentiating values of each school and provide specific examples of how your child displays and adds to those values. How can your child be a valuable member of the school? Admissions officers are looking for students who will be a good fit for the school culture and environment so it is important to show that your values as a family are aligned with those of the school. For example, if a school values community, demonstrate how your child and family are community oriented by stating specific activities you participated in or spearheaded that were helpful to the community.
Avoid writing about sports
Many students participate in at least one sport or is a members of at least one team. While participating in a sport develops many interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, it will not differentiate your child from the other children who also play different sports. An exception is if your child is excellent enough to be recruited for their sport or has won in prestigious national and international competitions. If it is not a unique experience, don’t talk about athletics.
Always stay positive about teachers and previous schools
While you have to show your interest in your prospective school, be mindful of how you talk about your previous school. Avoid negativity and instead highlight the strengths and how your school has helped you become the person you are now. When asked why you want to move to a different school, you may state what you hope to gain from the school you are applying to.
Recognize your child’s weaknesses and how to address the weaknesses
Admissions officers would also want to know about your child’s weaknesses. Be objective and honest. Describe the weakness but also explain how you are helping in addressing and finding solutions to help your child. Let them know that you are aware of your child’s shortcomings but you are trying your best to overcome them. For example, you can say that your child has difficulty in time management and that you are monitoring her daily activities through a calendar and making sure that the schedule is followed daily.
Why are parent statements important?
Parent statements are important because admissions officers need to know about your child’s personality and determine if they are a good fit for the school. They would also want to know about the dynamics of your family. How supportive are you as parents in helping your child become successful? What are your goals as a family? Do your values align with those of the school?
How long are parent statements?
Each school will have its own requirements but typically, parent statements are 500 – 1500 characters long. It is important to keep to the maximum requirement because admissions officers will not be interested to read very long paragraphs especially if the first sentences are not interesting enough.
How do I make my parent statement interesting?
A well-written parent statement is one that not only showcases your child’s positive attributes but is also compelling enough for admissions officers to read from start to finish. Write anecdotes instead of just plain narratives that describe your child because everybody loves reading stories. Read different parent statement examples to get ideas on how to write parent statements that are interesting.
Do I need help in writing my parent statement?
Yes, especially if you are not a strong writer. You may know your child well but if you cannot write about their strengths, weaknesses, and goals, you might lose your chances of admission. Contact us to learn more about our writing program.