Yet more on parent essays

<p>A popular topic on the board these days! I, too, am wrangling with these beasts and, at the moment, I have not come out ahead. </p>

<p>About how long should each essay be? I don't know if, per answer, Admissions is expecting a few sentences or a couple of pages! I'm guessing that the norm would be 2-3 paragraphs - a page at the very most? We have a lot to say, but I wonder if including it all would make the AO's eyes glaze over. </p>

<p>Right now I have a couple of pages per answer! The kids are given guidelines (i.e., "write no more than 500 words here"), but the parents aren't.</p>

<p>I think it’s safe to say that you need to trim it down. I think Tolstoy would blush at how verbose I can be, and even I wouldn’t throw down answers that are so long.</p>

<p>Don’t overshadow your child’s application. Let them come to know your child through other lenses – like your child’s lens…and the lens of trained educators (their peers).</p>

<p>Give the initial reader time to read the essays your child writes.</p>

<p>Even a full page per prompt might scare away an admission reader, who may end up thinking that the parent has issues or might be difficult to “manage” if they admit that applicant.</p>

<p>I would think of it as adding some “flavor” or “texture” to the application – a seasoning added to a meal served. Enrich the application with your insights, don’t dominate it.</p>

<p>Thanks, D’yer! Well said.</p>

<p>I may be wrong, but I think the parent essays are the least important part of the whole application. They are optional for some schools (e.g. Exeter?). If you have to write them, talk your kid up in a humble way :), show the school that you are ready to let go, (i.e. you won’t be a “helicopter parent”) and that you are not some nuts thinking an ivy league admission is garanteed by attending the school. Don’t expect parent essays will boost your child’s chance of getting admitted, but they can mess things up if you are notcareful. So, yes less is more.</p>

<p>@2kids: If you want, I can send you a sample from our attempt last year.</p>

<p>Very good advice…good to read this as I too am in the process of writing parent essays.</p>

<p>^^ Re #5, thanks 7dad, a PM would be great! </p>

<p>He is not applying to HADES, as that is not the right fit, even though he is very bright & capable, so it makes his process a little different than many on this board.</p>

<p>Anyone else on how long an average parent response should be for each question? I know it will vary on circumstances, but would you say that a good rule of thumb is maybe half a page, ideally less?</p>

<p>I have to agree that the parent’s essay should be no longer than the student’s, and so I’d follow the guidelines that are provided.</p>

<p>I would agree - another way to think of this is to multiply that essay by the number of applicants and it really serves to highlight how large that pile can get just by itself. Brief is better. I would say no more than a page or so, beyond that it might be skimmed or simply overlooked for expediency.</p>

<p>I don’t think any of the responses I wrote (aren’t there about 4?) was longer than a single paragraph. Somewhere between 4-6 sentences. That appears to have been sufficient. </p>

<p>Just dug them out. 3 under 250 words. 1 just under 300 words.</p>

<p>My parent essay for Thacher was one page long. I focused primarily on my son’s core personality traits, the weak as well as the strong. I used a couple of specific examples/stories to illustrate my points. While I’m sure that our affection for him and the good place he occupies in our family was clear, it was not a fawning “wonderful this and wonderful that” paean. It was more “this is the kind of kid he is day to day and what you’re likely to see on campus.”</p>

<p>I think parent essays have an important impact if they’re fact based. For small schools like Thacher where community is everything, the essay offers important insight into family dynamics and personality, one of several valuable predictors of community behavior.</p>

<p>I just tried to stay within the confines of the character limit on the on-line form; do they still have those? That meant that my answers were 1 to 3 paragraphs in length.</p>

<p>2kidsnoanswers: I would agree that around half a page should be adequate - definitely not more than a full page, in my opinion.</p>

<p>Very helpful answers, everyone - thank you.</p>

<p>And yipes, classicalmama! I wonder if the common app has a character limit this year. I can just envision trying to hit ‘send’ on the parent answers at the 11th hour & finding that my carefully written piece won’t fit! Or worse, truncated…</p>

<p>Also can definitely see how a gushing ‘my kid is just so wonderful’ parent essay would carry less weight than an essay that gives a factual, balanced, informative picture of the student that helps the AO decide if the kid would be a good fit for that particular school.</p>