How to Write the Parent Statement When Applying to Private School

Three things you need to know

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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. This statement is an important part of the process, as it is your chance as a parent to provide the admissions committee with a personal introduction to your child. This statements allows you to share with the committee details about how your child learns best and what his or her interests and strengths are. Check out these three tips to help you write the best parent statement possible. 

Think About Your Responses

Many schools require you to apply online, but you might want to 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 how to answer 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. Think about your own observations of your child, as well as what you hope your child will get out of this private school experience. Go back and read report cards and teacher comments. 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.

Hiding information, like behavioral or disciplinary issues, health concerns, or academic testing, won't help your child be successful in school. Not disclosing appropriate information could mean that getting accepted at the school won't be a positive experience. You run the risk of placing your child in a negative situation at a school that can't adequately meet his or her needs. If your child is indeed not a good fit for the school at which you did not fully disclose pertinent information, you might find your child without a school mid-year and your wallet without the tuition dollars you have spent.

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.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski