Tuesday, January 5, 2016

5 Tips To Ace the JATP Parent Statement

It's time for you to open up the website to begin the application process. You look through the questions and unfortunately, your spouse is not around to see what you have unveiled. It's been several years since you have been asked to write anything that is longer than 50 words. These days the only time you are writing more than five sentences is when you are getting a little too excited about dinner and your Yelp review proves this.

The deadlines approach sooner than you can imagine and you keep waiting to be in the right mood to write the Parent Statement; after all, this is important enough to warrant your undivided attention. You do everything that you can to come up with the best and most honest portrayal of your child. If you are lucky, you know the art of writing and do not have to exert yourself like the other 95% of the population need to do. However, for most people, this task does not come as easily.

For most people who are driving around the streets of Atlanta, writing the Parent Statement is short of finishing off the final pages of your "Great American Novel". As soon as you hit the "Submit" button, all of your time and effort into putting in those key words (or 500 characters) will be scrutinized from now until the doors open again.

Here are my top 5 mistakes made when authoring the Parent Statement

1. Ask the most "Intelligent" Friend That You Know to Write About Your Child

Yes, this sounds like such a great idea doesn't it? Crowd sourcing from your more capable compatriots to bail you out of this... ordeal.  As I have my afternoon tea with clients I'll briefly glance through their Parent Statement and notice one thing: they didn't write it. It's rather comical because parents will tell me that, "Oh, my friend is an attorney and they helped me write it." or "Yes, my friend has a Ph.D in Political Science and they helped me come up with a few paragraphs." The fact of the matter is, you've given up and have taken the short course to the bottom of the pile.

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #1: Your "Intelligent" Friend is "Intelligent" in their own field. I would consult with them for information in that field and in that field only. If you decide to pursue them in matters that pertain to the Parent Statement, then proceed at your own risk.

2. Use Recycled Responses of a Friend's Failed Admission

"There's no way that they will compare my essay with one that was submitted five years ago!" Several years ago I saw the responses of a client who has a child that is now attending school at (Confidentiality). Like most parents, they had a difficult time knowing who their own child actually is. They asked a friend to help them with the Parent Statement and they did what many parents would do, cut/copy and paste. I asked the parents if their friend's child was accepted into the school that they had applied to. Their response was "no", my response was "Are you holding on to this for sentimental value?"

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #2: Don't use the recycled responses of your friend. There are so many ethical reasons why this should not even occur in the first place.

3. Have Your Spouse Write It During Their Lunch Break

"Sure honey, I'll finish this today during lunch:)". That's the text that would make any spouse happy, but would make a professional like me worry. Many clients have spouses that travel a great deal and may not have the time to talk to them about the Parent Statement. So a few days before the applications are due and here it is: all eight paragraphs. The only problem is: there are so many mistakes in the submission that it looks as if you rushed to turn it in like it was your Tax Extension "sans receipts".

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #3: Completing the Parent Statement during your lunch break is a half-hearted attempt that may not allow you to pass the "Parental Involvement" Requirement for most schools. If you think this is how all the parents act at the school that you are dreaming to send your child to,  you may be in for a big surprise.

4. Tell Your Child To Write It

It's disguised as a homework assignment that your child didn't know was due and cannot find it anywhere on Edmodo or the school's designated blog. So your angelic child spends months agonizing over something they cannot answer without offending you.

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #4: If you or anyone you know has done this, please give me a call. I've tried counseling parents on the fact that it's great to have your child be independent, but some tasks are made for you to complete, and you only. I support being a helicopter parent for a few things (safety of children so that they do not end up in another state for one or making sure that they are not posting egregious photos of themselves on Social Media) but having them write the Parent Statement for you and making them change it might be ...... #tacky.

5. Take Out Your Personal Statement From Graduate School and Substitute Your Name For Your Child

You have given up and know that as a successful professional, you have the keys to admissions because you've gotten through undergrad, graduate school and have awards on your wall to signify your contribution to your field. So you have your child turn into your "Mini Me". The only problem is: they are not you.

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #5: During this time, it's important to know that they want to know more about your child than.... you. Albeit, you are a significant individual in your child's life but I would not fabricate their accomplishments so that their file mysteriously appears at the top of the heap. If you think this might work, it won't.

6. Resorting to a Thesaurus to Upgrade Your Vocabulary

If the word that you are typing is a word that you have never heard of before, please do not use it. The sad thing is, there is a certain style in every individual's vernacular that is personalized. When parents have to take a thesaurus to use words that they have never heard of, the problem is that it may not be appropriate for what they are trying to say. Now  your family sounds like a collection of non-existent five syllable adjectives #TryingTooHard

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #6: Choose language that comes naturally to you. Keep it simple and think about what points you are trying to communicate.

7. Submitting a poor essay and thinking that you can just do it better next year

If you think that next year they are not going to compare your "Language Arts Worthy Creation", think again. The first idea that may pop into their heads is that you had someone write it for you the second time around.

Learning Ridge Pro Tip #7: Do it right the first time. If not, "The Ghost Of Parent Statements Past" might come back to haunt you.

If you or someone in your family needs assistance with the Admissions Preparation Process, please feel free to contact us to schedule an Opportunity Assessment: christine@learningridge.com or call (404) 964-8533.

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