Sari M Cicurel

When the Common App Goes Live Every Year, Anxiety Among the Nation's Parents and Future College Students Kicks Into High Gear


West Bloomfield, MI -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/08/2016 --Parents want to help their children get their best shot at admission to that dream school, the one that may not have been such a stretch when they went to college. They don't know how to help. And the mixed messages that come from colleges, high schools, books, TV and the Internet trigger confusion.

Wow Writing Workshop's Kim Lifton and Susan Knoppow just penned the first guide for parents that gives Mom and Dad permission to help their children write college application essays – and instructions for doing so without writing it or taking it over!

"We embrace the parents whose children are applying to college rather than pushing them away," said Lifton, president and co-founder of Wow, a national writing company based in Royal Oak, MI. "Parents tell us they are tired of being told to step away and back off. They want to help. There is a fine line between assisting and writing the essay for a child. However, we believe parents can play a critical role in the writing process."

The Inside Scoop for Parents clarifies the mixed messages that confuse parents and students and also defines the college essay within the holistic college admissions process. The book gives parents a job that will help their children write better, more meaningful application essays. The essay is the most daunting part of the application process for many students; when parents help the right way, the essays are more effective.

Admissions teams don't grade college essays with a rubric, but they say the best college essays answer the prompt and show insight into a student's character. At its core, the college essay is all about reflection; that's challenging for students because most 17-year-olds have very little practice with this type of thinking and writing.

How to Write an Effective College Application Essay: The Inside Scoop for Parents is short, easy to follow and gives parents simple instructions to teach their children how to reflect on their life experiences so their children are better prepared to write college essays that get noticed.

"I wish I had this guide when my oldest daughter was applying to college," said Debbie Logan, a professional editor from Bloomfield Hills, MI. "I sanitized my daughter's essays; I have no idea if that hurt her or not. I just wanted to help. I did not know how."

Rebecca Gold, of Word Gets Around Publishing, in Providence, Rhode Island, is about to put her third child – a rising senior - through the application process. She said the book was "very helpful and exceptionally well written."

"Even though I've been through this process already, I learned a lot, and I found this guide easy to understand and follow," Gold said. "Rather than telling me what to do, it helped me understand what my child needed to be successful in this process and what I could do to support him. The quotes from the college admissions people throughout the guide made it quite engaging, and in fact I read it cover to cover in one sitting, which is saying a lot for a reference book!"

Lifton said the book idea transpired after Wow advised a super-involved parent to step away and let the child write in private. The parent asked what she could do to assist her child and suggested she and her partner, Susan Knoppow, Wow CEO, give parents a job, a little guide, so they don't do the wrong thing – like write it for the child.

"There is so much bad information floating around in this industry that we wanted to give parents something useful," Lifton said. "There was nothing on the market that spoke directly to parents and gave them something useful to do to really guide their children. We're parents and teachers; we understood the desire to assist as teachers and as moms."

Colleges, high school counselors and other well-meaning adults do know what colleges want in an essay; few understand the college audience to teach them how to write the essays.

"It's a thinking task as much as it is a writing task," Lifton said. "It's not as hard as it appears, but it is not a simple task. That's why parents can support the process by helping their children reflect at the beginning. It is a critical role. Who else would go to the moon and back to help their child?"

Wow's guide gives clear instructions for assisting with the reflection exercise and provides tips for knowing when to step away and let the child work independently or seek out professional guidance.

"Like the students, parents need short, easy to follow directions and a lot of perspective," Lifton said. "A simple guide for parents will give Mom and Dad a roadmap for assisting their children in a healthy way. It minimizes the confusion, and the stress. When students come to us with the ability to reflect, they answer the prompts and write more meaningful essays that show insight."

About Wow Writing Workshop
Wow Writing Workshop, launched in 2009, is the leading national expert on the college application essay. Wow speaks at schools, conferences and college fairs. In September, Lifton will moderate a panel featuring the college essay at the largest industry conference – The National Association for College Admissions Counseling's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Panelists include admissions directors from Cornell, University of Chicago, Amherst and the University of California – Berkeley.

Wow works directly with students, and trains school counselors, English teachers and independent educational consultants who want to improve their essay-coaching skills. Wow also consults with business and nonprofit professionals, managing their biggest writing challenges, teaching them how to write, or taking on their projects themselves.

Parents can purchase the guide, How to Write an Effective College Application Essay – The Inside Scoop for Parents, on To read it, download the appropriate Kindle App for the electronic reading device of choice (any smart phone, tablet or computer.) lifton&qid=1469732051&ref_=mp_s_a_1_1&sr=8-1

For more information: 800-497-WRITE or email Wow at