The Ivy Coach Daily

August 3, 2023

Parent Recommendation Letters for College Admission

Parent Recommendation Letters For College Admission
Smith College previously asked parents to write letters of recommendation on behalf of their children (photo credit: MonsieurNapoléon).

Previously Published on April 21, 2012:

Did you know that a couple of colleges used to offer applicants the option of submitting letters of recommendation from parents or guardians and that one still does? That’s right — parents or guardians. A little over ten years ago, we at Ivy Coach lamented how Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and the College of the Holy Cross all offered applicants the option of submitting letters of recommendation from those who raised them.

Parent Letters of Recommendation Were Ridiculous

It was a rather ridiculous optional submission for applicants. After all, isn’t just about every parent or guardian going to say their child is the smartest, the kindest, and the most engaging? Isn’t the optional submission the equivalent of Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond lobbying an interviewer to give her son, Robert, a job? Who is really going to take this sort of recommendation seriously?

Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Holy Cross Eliminate Parent Letters of Recommendation

So it’s little surprise that in 2023, there is no trace of the previous optional parent/guardian letter of recommendation on the admissions homepages of Smith, Mount Holyoke, or Holy Cross, though Holy Cross seems to still strangely offer the option to parents after their children submit applications. At two of these three schools, such an admissions criteria — even if optional — didn’t withstand the test of time. As it turns out, college admissions officers at Smith and Mount Holyoke likely didn’t feel there was much to be gleaned from learning that Serena always picks up her dirty laundry off the floor when asked. No kidding.

Good Riddance to Parent Letters of Recommendation

Such letters also offered an advantage to students whose parents/guardians were from privileged backgrounds. These parents/guardians could likely write more eloquently about their children, and what made them tick, which certainly doesn’t hold up in the post-Affirmative Action climate we now find ourselves in.

So good riddance to parent letters of recommendation. We have a feeling these kinds of letters of recommendation won’t be popping up again in the college admissions process — nor should they. And Holy Cross, get with the times and get rid of these letters!

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