Some US institutions assess parental letters in admissions process

March 19, 2012

Several US colleges invite parents to submit letters on behalf of their children, either as part of the application itself or in a follow-up invitation after the application is received. "You might think (parents) do nothing but brag," says the admissions director at Smith College, a Massachusetts-based women's college. "But parents really nail their kids. They really get to the essence of what their daughter is about in a way we can't anywhere else." By inviting such letters, colleges signal to applicants that they're the kind of institutions that care about students in all their dimensions. A National Association for College Admission Counseling official cites several reasons very few colleges solicit parental letters: the sheer logistical burden; the main concern with evaluating applicants academically; and the worry of "advantaging the advantaged." The Smith College official states that it's often lower-income families who make the most meaningful efforts to participate in the admissions process. Associated Press