How to Write the Parent Statement for Private School

Three things you need to know

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Most applications to private schools require parents to write about their children in a parent’s statement or by filling out a questionnaire. The purpose of the parent's letter is to add dimension to the candidate’s statement and help the admissions committee better understand the applicant from the parent’s perspective.

Parent statement is your chance to provide a personal introduction to your child and share details about how your child learns as well as what their interests and strengths are. The following are a few simple steps that will help you write an effective parent letter.

Think About Your Responses

It can be difficult to step back and consider your child objectively, but you need to do exactly that. Think about what your child’s teachers have said over time, particularly the ones who know them well.

Reread report cards and teacher comments. Think about consistent themes that emerge from the reports. Are there comments that teachers have consistently made about how your child learns and acts in school and in extracurricular activities? These comments will be helpful for the admissions committee. 

Consider also your own observations of your child as well as what you hope your child will get out of their private school experience.

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 show the admissions committee that you are being honest, and when they will read about the amazing sides of your child, they will be more likely to believe them.

If your child has had serious disciplinary actions or other issues in the past, describe them. Let the admissions officers know what happened and draw positive lessons from it. The school is looking for a real kid—not a perfect pupil.

Showing that your child and your family are capable of dealing with setbacks might be even more valuable than presenting a flawless picture. Of course, describe your child’s strengths and don't only feel the need to be negative—but everything you write should be truthful.

Also, helping the committee members understand your child with their strengths and challenges will help them make the best decision for everyone. Your child will be most successful if they attend the school that fits them best, and describing your child candidly will help the admissions committee decide if the school and your child are the best fit for one another. Children who succeed at their schools are happier and healthier and stand in better stead for college admissions.

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 they are likely to benefit from being at the school. If your child has moderate to severe learning issues, reveal them. Many private schools grant students with learning issues accommodations or changes in the curriculum, so that they 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 should 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 they attend the school. Being open and honest with the school will help you and your child find the school where they can be happy and successful.

How to Organize Your Letter

Parent statements for private schools are typically composed of three parts: description of your child, description of your family, and the alignment of your values with the school values. The first two or even all three may be blended together, as through descriptions of your child, the nature of your family and your values will come through.

Sometimes, school websites offer useful prompts to guide your letters, and if that is the case, you should definitely make use of them. Some of the frequent questions are:

  • What do you hope for your child to accomplish with the help of our school?
  • Has your child ever had any intellectual, emotional, or behavioral evaluations? If so, describe their contexts and results.
  • In what situations does your child thrive? Describe your child as an individual, with their hopes, values, goals, aspirations, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Has your child been through any adversity? Describe the context and how they navigated it.
  • What has your role been in your child's education?
  • Does your child require any academic or other support or accommodations?

Ideally, your letter would respond to these questions as thoroughly, yet as succinctly as possible.

The simplest way to go about this is to choose three to five aspects of your child's personality that you would like to highlight and compose the statement around them. Include illustrative anecdotes that will also portray a little about your family life. If it comes naturally to you, feel free to make these funny or quirky, as you are ultimately trying to stand out from the rest of the applicants.

As mentioned, you should also make a point of familiarizing yourself with the school's values and objectives and show in your letter how connected these are to your family. The more natural this is the better. All in all, as long as you provide the admission officers with an honest snapshot of your family and your child's nature and potential, your letter will hold its ground.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski