How to Help Parents … Before They Make the Wrong Moves

Just days before the most recent Nov. 1 early application deadline, a friend, an independent educational consultant, emailed me.  One of her clients had asked a friend to review an essay for her son, who was working with my friend.

She wondered if I knew the outside reader; I did not. She also wondered if the outside reader was qualified; she was not.

I read the essay. And while I did not know this particular parent, I knew the essay was beautiful; the essay was done. The outside reader was not necessary.

  • The client’s friend was not a high school counselor.
  • She never worked in admissions.
  • She was not a teacher.
  • AND she was not a member of NACAC, a state affiliate, IECA or HECA.

She was a mom whose daughter had been admitted to this student’s first-choice school.

Sadly, this happens sometimes. But why?

My friend, the IEC, is a well-respected, sought after professional with decades of experience both inside a high school counseling office and as an independent educational consultant.

In this case, her client got scared and panicked. She was worried and was certain this mom – the mom who knew NOTHING about college admissions – knew something that might help her improve a college essay that was already done.

Her client was wrong. The friend wrote all over the essay, changed words and suggested the student add clichés. This review was simply not helpful. Just gibberish. The only thing the feedback did was confuse the young writer and make him doubt himself. That’s never good!

Has this ever happened to you?

We know parents sometimes take their kids’ essays and share them with the immediate world? Yeah, we know it’s a super bad idea.

But what can we do about it? How can you help control the process to avoid this?

When we started Wow, we did everything we could to tell parents to go away, trust us, and leave the essay guidance to the pros. But that was the wrong message.

Parents just want to help. They want to be part of the process.

So we fine-tuned the message and gave them a job to do, rather than telling them to go away.

We wrote a book just for parents like my friend’s client. It’s called How to Write an Effective College Application Essay, the Inside Scoop for Parents.

In the book, we explain what the essay is and how it fits into this crazy admissions industry. We also give advice on how to help their children with the essay, as well as guidance for how and when to step away.

We’d like you to have a copy. It’s our gift to you. Click here to get your e-Book and find out how you can also get a copy for every parent in your school or consulting practice.

What are your biggest college essay challenges? Email me:

About the Author

Kim Lifton is President of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communication company staffed by experts who understand the writing process inside and out. Since 2009, Wow has been leading the college admission industry with our unique approach to communicating any message effectively. The Wow Method is used to train professionals and teach students how to write college application essays, and grad school personal statements that get results.If it involves words, Wow can help.