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Parent Recommendation Letter

seatonseaton Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited February 2011 in Parents Forum
Would anyone be willing to share a copy of a recommendation letter they wrote for their child for college? This is proving to be more difficult than I thought. I don't want it to sound too "gushy."
Post edited by seaton on

Replies to: Parent Recommendation Letter

  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,513 Senior Member
    For us, we were supposed to write about things that the school & GC wouldn't know about our kids that we thought were important and that would help the GC write a better recommendation for our kids. We wrote about our S overcoming adversity caused by chronic health issues and learning to study even with distracting health issues. He even was able to do calculus and physics in physician's waiting rooms. I also wrote about how overnight he created a program for one of specialists we saw to plot results that the MD had been trying to figure out how to do for decades.

    I think I may have also written about his lively love of knowledge and learning for the sake of learning, like reading the entire textbook after the class was completed because it had not been covered thoroughly and he wanted depth in the subject & voracious reading on-line and elsewhere.

    I know the school had no idea about these things because S would never have shared any of it and I thought it would be helpful for the GC to figure out how to include what he deemed helpful.
  • LoremIpsumLoremIpsum Registered User Posts: 3,501 Senior Member
    Under what circumstances would a parent write a letter of recommendation? Homeschooled child?
  • GeekMom63GeekMom63 Registered User Posts: 1,957 Senior Member
    There's a related thread going on in the homeschool forum. I second LoremIpsum; what is the purpose / goal?

  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,014 Senior Member
    There are few schools that ask for parent rec (Duke?). I wrote one for D1. I think I gushed, D1 cried when she read it. She still has the letter.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,513 Senior Member
    We were supposed to write a letter to the HS counselor, to help him write letters to the Us. Neither of our kids applied to schools who wanted letters from parents. The letter we wrote was supposed to help give more depth to our kids, outside of school. Not sure our kids ever saw the letters we wrote--we didn't show them but don't know if HS did.
  • parent56parent56 Registered User Posts: 7,658 Senior Member
    if i recall correctly..rochester gave the parent an option to write one..i didnt.. he was accepted without it
  • momofsongbirdmomofsongbird Registered User Posts: 1,236 Senior Member
    Unless it's for a homeschooled kid, to me this is akin to having a parent write a LOR for a job. How many of us couldn't/wouldn't write glowing (and biased) letters. Makes no sense to me and creates a really un-level playing field, imo.
  • megdogmegdog Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    I assume that the schools know that the parents will be biased and gushing. They can still find out useful information, I think. I wrote about how my daughter is my role model, even though she calls me her role model, and I gave reasons why.
  • TXArtemisTXArtemis Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    Some schools do ask for one--when my D applied to Smith, they asked. I was stumped, too, and finally decided to take the stack of books (not text books) by her bed and talk about what each one represented about her. Cheesy?! Yeah. But it was the vehicle I needed. Good luck!
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,332 Senior Member
    Our experience was like HImom's. We were asked to provide the GC with some anecdotes and/or descriptive adjectives about our child. Those became fodder for the GC LOR.

    I figured our parental job was to reinforce the general narrative of the teacher LORs from another perspective. For instance, one of the things that D1's teachers noted in conversations with us was how she'd take things she learned about in one setting, and applied them in another. In a history essay, she'd talk about the parallels between a historical event and something that was currently in the news. It seemed like a good bet that this kind of thing would be in any LORs. Also, some of the things D1 read out loud from her essays contained similar examples of her cross-disciplinary outlook on life. So I submitted an anecdote about how D1 was learning to drive at the same time that she was taking Physics. She punctuated every turn or stop with a discussion about acceleration and momentum.
  • LoremIpsumLoremIpsum Registered User Posts: 3,501 Senior Member
    D1 cried when she read it.

    I had tears in my eyes when I read my son's recommendations from his teachers and counselor. "Brilliant and driven," "best student of my career" with multiple concrete examples -- I know these recommendations need to be outstanding for top-tier schools, but I never expected them to be so over the top (he signed a waiver, but his instructors wanted me to see them anyway).

    Note: I had previously sent these instructors a "summary sheet" of accomplishments to jog the memory and make letter-writing less time-consuming.
  • ellemenopeellemenope Registered User Posts: 11,380 Senior Member
    The point of any recommendation letter for college is to tell the adcoms something about the applicant that can't be gleaned from the transcript, application and test scores.

    These are the questions that the counseling office asked us to answer to help them write their recommendations. Remember that it is more revealing to tell a story to illustrate your point rather than just give a long list of adjectives to describe your kid.

    1. What do you consider to be the outstanding accomplishments of your child during the past three or four years? Why did you choose these as most important?

    2. What do you consider to be his/her outstanding personality traits?

    3. If you had to describe your son/daughter in five adjectives, what would they be? Why did you choose these words?

    4. Are there any unusual or personal circumstances, which have affected your child’s educational or personal experiences?

    You should be able to craft a very nice letter using these paragraph prompts.
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,140 Senior Member
    OK, here's a parent recommendation I wrote. Be nice.

    After devoting a day to strolling the campus, touring the museums, chatting with a few students, and poking my nose into various nooks and crannies, I knew that this was the right place for S. On his application, S wrote three words that he thought his parents would use to describe him: "Carefree, stubborn, and joyful." I recall disputing his choices, but he argued that they were his own impression of how we would describe him. I would have chosen, "Inquisitive, outspoken, and steadfast"; all qualities that initially attracted him to xxx's Academic Program, and which should serve him well after he arrived.

    Throughout his life, S has demonstrated perpetual inquisitiveness, which has tended to lead him farther afield than most of his peers. To be sure, we have strongly reinforced this tendency, particularly by providing numerous opportunities to experience new cultures and environments. Nevertheless, S always seems to take these experiences a step further, exploring avenues I would never have dreamed existed. Sometimes those explorations cause him to wander far from the original matter at hand, but I remain gratified that he makes those choices, as opposed to walking a narrower path.

    We took a sabbatical year and traveled throughout the South Pacific on a trip that never seemed to exhaust S's endless 10-year old curiosity. One particular experience really drove home for me why we had decided to invest in this journey. On the first evening of a 4-day backpacking trip across the Fijian island of Viti Levu, we slept in the home of our guide's family. They lived in typical Fijian thatched bures, with grass mat floors and a small cabinet for all their belongings. My daughter surveyed her surroundings and declared, "Oh, they live in poverty." S proceeded to explain to her that these people were quite content and lived well off what they grew or traded with their distant neighbors. Despite their lack of possessions, they wanted for nothing. I still remember my amazement at his innate ability to draw his own conclusions entirely from his own experiences.

    S's fascination with new places, people, and customs was catalyzed by our sabbatical, but it also marked the beginning of his own struggles with Western culture's materialism. He clearly feels the pull of a simpler life but at the same time he is very much a typical teenager, trying to balance what he wants versus what he needs; and trying to justify those desires and make the best decisions for himself. S has definitely achieved that balance in how he chooses to spend his leisure time: surrounded by good friends playing soccer or Frisbee, or just lying at the beach. Add some music and he's in heaven.

    His thirst for understanding other cultures is inspiring. However, I am most taken with S's easy willingness to be outspoken. Time and again, I have experienced a mixed-age group discussion in which S was the only fully-participating teenager. Too often I take this trait for granted, until a student, teacher, or friend approaches me to tell me how impressed they were with my son's presence. To this day, S's elementary school teachers tell me how memorable he was, primarily because he was always willing and ready to engage them in a probing discussion. He would bring to xxx this unbridled enthusiasm for being an active participant in learning.

    I think of the opportunities that an xxxx education presents, and it seems right up S's alley. I can see the shine in his eyes and the excitement in his voice when he envisions having the ability to design a course of study that will give him the ability to fully explore his interests and passions; and to have like-minded students and teachers to help him channel and focus those dreams.
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,140 Senior Member
    And, here's another one to the same school:

    Three years ago, I responded to this same invitation for our son. I noted that after spending a day on the campus, I knew this was the right place for him. Now, through attending orientations and Parents Weekends, pick-up and drop-off visits, and S’s accounts of his experiences, I can state with even more assurance that this is indeed the right place for our daughter, R, as well. She possesses the traits that are so evident in many of the successful xxxx students I have met.

    I have always been deeply impressed with R’s adventurousness and confidence in herself. For example, at the age of 6, she proposed to hike with us across New Zealand’s remote and rugged 32-mile Milford Track instead of staying behind with an adult. She pulled it off too, delighting in the surprise of other hikers who always asked the same question, “Little girl, how did you get here?” And she has never looked back, continuing to find new adventures, such as deciding to leave the comfort of her home, friends and family for a high school exchange semester on a kibbutz in Israel. Upon her return, she announced that she was quitting the softball team and trying out for the school musical production (even though auditions had already occurred). They found her a small part, which in turn led to larger roles, and a year later, R won her school’s Best Actress award.

    I am also quite taken with R’s selflessness and desire to help others. At the age of ten she began volunteering at a week-long camp for handicapped kids, even though her friends were attending summer camps of their own. This past August, R completed her eighth year of participation. I’m also reminded of the day she arrived home, lugging a large case instead of her customary saxophone. R informed us that the high school band was long on saxes but short on horns, so she volunteered to play the French horn even though she had never touched a brass instrument before. She persevered through the year, becoming a passable horn player, and then returned to her favorite instrument when new students arrived to correct the imbalance.

    R has managed to combine both of these traits well, resulting in that less-definable quality of leadership. At the age of 14, she began organizing trips from our semi-rural location into Seattle via public transportation. A number of parents initially vetoed the idea, but relented when they discovered that R was involved. She is a woodwind section leader in the school band and wind ensemble, despite the fact that there are more accomplished musicians from which to choose. At R’s urging, her friends and acquaintances now staff the aforementioned summer camp.

    The end result is we have a daughter who seems to be involved and engaged in everything. I find myself constantly surprised and at times confused over where R is and what she is doing. I tend to think that she is spread too thin, but somehow everything seems to fall into place. She is excited by the opportunities that xxxx presents, and I feel confident that she will avail herself of those opportunities to the fullest.
  • redshoesredshoes Registered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
    To some of the earlier posts in this thread, there are schools that invite a parent letter of rec, e.g. U. Richmond, Hampshire, Holy Cross and Smith. I wouldn't send one unsolicited.
This discussion has been closed.