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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
A Personal Statement from your Biggest Fan
Perhaps the greatest balancing act inherent in the college admissions game is that of weighing objective criteria (ie...grades), against subjective (ie...the personal statement). It's hard to put a spin on a low test score, but easier to sell a winning personality with the written word.

What so many students struggle with most is the process of finding their voice in a personal statement, and writing with genuine insight. This is often the point at which they enlist the adults in their lives-from family to admissions coaches-to help place themselves in an appropriate context. But what if those adults could play an even larger role?

For more than 20 years, Smith College, a small, women's college in Massachusetts, has invited parents of applicants to submit supplementary essays in support of their children's bids for a spot at the university. Smith counselors note that no one knows a child better than their parents, and that input from them helps to "provide texture" to a student's application.

Smith is a small school that has the resources to sift through these additional missives. Some might argue that having parents this involved in the application process is too far-reaching. But the premise is unique, and even provocative.

So for those of you applying to places that don't ask for letters of recommendations from mom and dad, consider this: how about trying to write your personal statement from their perspective? Arguably, no one knows you better. No one is better equipped to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. No one else, perhaps, knows how badly you want in to the school of your dreams. A long shot? Maybe. But what part of this whole process isn't?


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