Write a Private School Admissions Essay That Will Stand Out - Delphi Boston Delphi Boston

Write a Private School Admissions Essay That Will Stand Out

Busy admissions season for private and independent K–12 schools is upon us! Keeping track of every open house, campus tour, interview, and test requirement can end up feeling like a full-time job. 

Year after year, more families are considering a private education for their children. This means that competition is getting more fierce. Some private schools only admit 10% of their applicants! You might already be stressing out based on that data. So it is important to keep a level head and do what you can to give schools the complete picture.

This is where your admissions essay comes in: One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your child’s applications for admission is to treat the information you’re submitting as separate data points. Instead, you have to think about painting a complete picture of the student and what makes them a top candidate for the school. 

Below are our top tips for creating a private school admission essay that will get your child noticed.

  1. Know what it is you want to say about your child and your family.

    What are the key messages you want to convey? The essay portion of the application process is an opportunity for students to share a part of themselves that the application committee might not otherwise learn. So be unique and try to think outside of the box!
  2. Keep personality in mind, and make sure it is portrayed.

    Think about the way you and your family see your child. How would their friends describe them? What are they most passionate about and what are subjects or activities that excite them? How can you show that they are a full, well-rounded student?
  3. Take the original question of the admissions essay and tell a story with it.

    At Norwood School in Bethesda, which accepts students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, the essay is provided by each applicant’s parents. “We ask parents to write an essay about their child, and what we look for and what we truly value are stories about a child,” said Mimi Mulligan, Assistant Head of School and Director of Admission and Enrollment Management at Norwood. “It’s the stories that have the power to reveal the uniqueness of a child, his or her personality, interests, and even quirks. We encourage our applicant families to relax when thinking about the essay and just tell us a favorite story about their child. Stories are fun to read and truly serve to bring an application alive and distinguish it from others.”
  4. Maintain a proper essay structure, and don’t forget to proofread!

    Your essay isn’t just an exercise to get to know your child; it’s also an evaluation of their writing ability. Maintaining the proper essay structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion is essential. Admission officers read more essays than you can count!

    So really work on hooking them with the intro. Get your child to read feature magazines and news articles, as well as the opening paragraphs of books to see how authors engage their readers.
  5. Cut the clutter, and get feedback from others.

    Once your child’s essay is complete, ask someone else to read it. Point out areas to your kid where they might have an opportunity to strengthen an idea or fix a mistake. This is not about rewriting the essay in your own words: Your child’s perspective is what matters most!

Storytelling alone will not place your child over the top if they aren’t already a competitive candidate. Regardless, it goes hand-in-hand with solid test scores and GPAs. Let these schools know how unique your child and your family are. Show them how your child and family will contribute to the school and the student body. Good luck!


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