There are tons of forms to fill out when you apply to a private school. Whether you do it online or by hand, you still have to give lots of thought to what you and your child are writing. This is especially important when it comes to The Candidate Statement. Let's look at a couple of schools' forms and see what they require.
Chatham Hall calls its Candidate Statement an 'Applicant Response
' and specifies up front that the form is "To be completed by the Applicant without assistance." That's true of just about every school to which you will apply. The school wants to get to know each applicant. It wants to understand what makes her 'tick'. Absolutely resist the temptation to guide or correct your child's answers on this form. The admissions staff will know if you 'fix' things anyway.
Chatham Hall wants to know about your child's activities. It asks whether she rides or not and if she plans to ride at the school. Most schools with equestrian programs will want to know if the applicant is a rider. There are several more questions which are fairly straightforward. Then comes the essay. Your child must choose from three questions or prompts. Her answer can be as long or short as she wishes. What are they looking for? They want to see if she can frame a thoughtful response to the question she has chosen. They want to know if she can organize her thoughts and develop them in a detailed manner. This kind of admissions question shows the staff something most standardized tests cannot do: it shows what kind of a writer she is and how good a critical thinker she is.
Much the same sort of questions as you found on Chatham Hall application appear on the Shattuck-Saint Mary's forms
. Once again the essay question offers three prompts. This school gives your child a bit more guidance about length by suggesting that she write about 250-500 words. But notice that there are no lines either for the essay or the questions before that. You definitely will want to have her practise how to write neatly in a straight line. Placing the questions and the essay over a ruled pad such as a legal pad is one way to accomplish that. The operative instruction is "Complete this form carefully and legibly in your own handwriting." While good penmanship is a scarce commodity these days, this is one school which seems to value it. Make sure that your child does her best.
The Hun School calls their applicant form The Applicant's Questionnaire
. The order is slightly different from the schools above but essentially the same information is requested. Part II contains the essay. The Hun school gives your child this instruction, among others: "Please focus on content rather than length." The emphasis is on quality of thought and expression as opposed to ramblings.
So, there you have it. An overview of The Candidate's Statement. Think of this part of the application as having the same purpose as a photograph except that you are showing the admissions staff how you think as opposed to what your face looks like.