The fall special issue of Newsweek included an article, “Take Our Kids – Please” focusing on the trend of colleges and universities to accept letters of recommendation from parents. HWS were included in this article as one such institution and twins Caleb and Nathan Campbell were given as an example.
The article notes, “When twin brothers Caleb and Nathan Campbell applied to Hobart College, their mother, Carrie Whalen, quietly shared her insights with the school, ‘I didn’t want them to see the boys as a ‘twin’ package,’ she says. Admissions director John Young says her comments were ‘apt and right on the money’ – but, he says, Hobart would have taken both boys anyway.”
The photo of the Campbells used with the article was taken by Colleges’ photographer, Kevin Colton.
The full article follows.
“Take Our Kids – Please”
Nadine Joseph • Fall 2009 Edition
Caleb and Nathan Campbell
For all the trash talk about “helicopter parents,” a few schools are actually inviting parents to write letters of recommendation for their kids. David DeWitt, an admissions officer at Centre College in Danville, Ky., says some letters are especially helpful in explaining weak points in the applicant’s transcript by disclosing family problems a student might not confess and a high school often won’t divulge because of privacy laws.
All the same, kids don’t need to worry what their folks might say. “We don’t judge a student on the parent’s letter,” says Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke, where fewer that 10 percent of applicants’ parents send letters. But it’s good to have the option. When twin brothers Caleb and Nathan Campbell applied to Hobart College, their mother, Carrie Whalen, quietly shared her insights with the school, “I didn’t want them to see the boys as a ‘twin’ package,” she says. Admissions director John Young says her comments were “apt and right on the money” – but, he says, Hobart would have taken both boys anyway.
It’s therapy of sorts. “As stressful as this process is for students, we recognize that it’s also stressful for parents,” says Debra Shaver, admission director at Smith College. “It’s a way for parents to be involved.” And it beats shrink bills.