Characteristics of a GREAT Written Application by Anne Simon


If you’ve been staring at a blank application form wondering what to write, nervous about how to describe your child, you’re probably not alone. Writing applications can be exciting once you get going, but its the getting started that can be so hard. We have real applications in Beyond The Brochure for this reason. Its great to see what an accepted family’s application looks like.


Beyond The Brochure co-author Anne Simon offers these essential characteristics of a great written application:

  • Create a family mission statement and make sure that everything on the application is reflective of this family message in some way
  • Be able to craft a positive and accurate picture of your child
  • Communicate something unique about your family and/or your child
  •  Describe what you can– and will do– as a participant member of the school community
  • Read the school’s mission statement.  Demonstrate that you understand the mission of the school and that you feel it is a great fit for your family and/or child
Anne Simon is the former head of Wildwood Elementary School and the former dean of the Crossroads Middle School. Her daughter, a veterinarian, is a graduate of Crossroads.


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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

6 thoughts to “Characteristics of a GREAT Written Application by Anne Simon”

  1. Your book and your discussion of family mission statements helped us immensely when it came to crafting our applications and guided us in keeping our essays short and to the point. The hardest one we did was actually for the school our kids now attend: we were only given 500 characters to answer each question! Summing everything up in just a few sentences was a real challenge!

  2. Question about volunteering/non-profit work. Is my family at a disadvantage if we’re not on any non-profit boards and if we do not we devote much time to volunteer work in the community? My husband has an extremely time-comsuming career, and up until my second child was born 2.5 years ago, I did as well. We financially support various causes throughout the year, and I volunteer on different committees at my kids’ preschool. Occasionally, I pitch in at Baby2Baby, but with a 2 and 4 year old, I barely have time for myself. I’m worried about how we will measure up to other families who have been active in their communities for years. Would love to hear your thoughts!

  3. Hi Anon, I think volunteering at Baby2Baby is a great thing to mention and your kids are still very young so its understandable that your time is devoted to them. But, I think it helps to mention how you’d like to help the elementary schools where you’ll be applying. Think ahead to how you can help when your child starts K and beyond. That’s what they want to know. Are you going to be willing to volunteer when your child is at their school? Of course!

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