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Juniors, Do You Know What a College Essay is?

By Kim Lifton
President
Wow Writing Workshop
Kim Lifton can get a story out of anyone writing an effective college application essay
Wow President Kim Lifton

What is a college essay, anyway?

Simply put, the term college essay refers to any piece of writing that a college requires as part of the admissions process. You might hear about personal statements, personal insight questions, supplemental essays or short answer questions. All of them refer to this type of writing.

Colleges use these essays to help select a diverse class from among the hundreds or thousands of applicants whose grades, test scores and extracurricular activities can make all of you look alike. Some schools also use essays for scholarship selection. The number of essays and their length vary, depending on the colleges you apply to.

Essays are generally fairly short, ranging from 50 words for a short answer question to 650 words for a personal statement. Read the instructions closely for word or character count.

Some schools ask for just one personal statement. The University of California, on the other hand, asks students to answer four personal insight questions; each response can be up to 350 words.

The majority of schools do not conduct interviews, so college essays become the only opportunity to share a student’s unique voice.

To learn more, order your copy of Wow Writing Workshop’s How to Write an Effective College Application Essay – The Inside Scoop for Students! Parents, don’t worry, we wrote a companion guide for you, too.

Wow is a team of professional writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. The Wow Method has been used by students to write application essays and resumes; by business owners to create blogs, websites and other communication materials; and by English teachers to improve student writing skills. We can even help you write a great poem or short story. If it involves words, we can help!

What’s the Cost to Win The National Spelling Bee?

Would you hire a $200-an-hour writing coach so your child could win the National Spelling Bee? Add it up – it might come close to the prize money by the time you are done. We’re not judging; we’re just observing and wondering just what it takes, and how much it costs, to win?

At Wow, we are writing coaches who teach college applicants and grad school prospects how to write personal statements that stand out — and we can help businesses and nonprofits improve the way they communicate using the written word.

We believe the secret to success in writing is communicating clearly so others can understand it. The secret to National Spelling Bee success is knowing how to spell words that are so hard and obscure that observing the competition can make the smartest person in the room feel inadequate.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Who uses those words anyway?” Do you wonder how many hours a night the participants spend reading dictionaries from beginning to end and studying the origins of words and their pronunciations.  And how would a kid prep for this competition?  Read this article from the Washington Post – you’ll find out many fork over $200 an hour for special tutors.  This. Is. Fascinating!

For now, we are going to stay away from spelling bees and stick to teaching strategic communications to businesses and nonprofits and the art of writing in one’s genuine, unique voice — using the words people use in everyday conversation. Good luck to the kids who really can spell anything. We do enjoy watching it (and keeping track of the words we can spell!)

Check out the Washington Post story:

The National Spelling Bee’s new normal: $200-an-hour teen spelling coaches

In the world of competitive spellers, Sylvie Lamontagne is known as a juggernaut. She placed fourth in last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, and ninth in 2015. Last summer, she traveled to California and won the Spelling Bee of China’s North America Spelling Champion Challenge, a contest for kids in the United States and China.

Now that the 14-year-old from Denver is no longer eligible to compete in this week’s National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland — which is televised on ESPN and often turns kids like Sylvie into momentary celebrities — she’s focusing on a new vocation: spelling bee coach.

Sylvie’s rate? $200 an hour.

Hiring coaches isn’t new. But bee aficionados say a recent surge in competition, and a tightening of rules meant to limit co-champions, has spawned a demand for younger coaches such as Sylvie: high-schoolers or college kids, months or just a few years into their bee retirement, who can pass along fresh intelligence on words to memorize and how to decode bizarre words based on their language of origin.

“As the spelling bee gets more and more difficult, there are people working harder and harder every year,” Sylvie said. “There are definitely people in the last couple years who are using coaches to get to the finals.”

Read the rest of the story here: 

College is Coming Soon … is Your Teen Ready for the Journey?

What to do NOW to prepare your child for college

By Kim Lifton

College Essay Expert Kim Lifton will show you how to help your child in Unstoppable Teen interview series
College Essay Expert Kim Lifton

Is your child ready for the college journey? Are you? What are you doing to help keep the peace at home during this unusually stressful time?

Today’s teens are under SO much pressure to succeed!   Every spring, parents call us in a panic, wanting help with the college essays because they are worried that their children will not get into college.

While the fear is unfounded, it often feels real. What’s more, the essay can make the process even more daunting, and it should feel like an opportunity, not a burden.

Writing an effective college essay is more important than ever, and doing it right does set students apart inside an increasingly competitive admissions business. But if students take the time to learn HOW to write it, from beginning to end, anxiety levels should decrease in your house.  We can help calm your teen, and you, during the college admission season. We wrote a book for you so you know how to get your child prepared, and we can teach your child  how to write that essay.

Our students get into their top choice colleges year after year; your child should too. To learn more about what it takes, check out my interview with Dr. Maggie Wray, a leading educational psychologist from Atlanta, for her 3rd annual Unstoppable Teens Online Interview Series.

I loved my interview with Dr. Wray. She asked fantastic questions! We talked about what the essay is, our new book for parents like you, why your child needs to write 1 or 10 essays, what admissions wants, and how to knock it out of the ballpark so admissions will notice your child.

3rd Annual Unstoppable Teens Online Interview Series
Helping parents empower their teens to excel in high school, college, and beyond!
 June 14-24

Please join me. Grab your FREE seat here. 

This online interview series was designed to help parents empower  teens with the skills they’ll need to get into a great college (get our NEW book, How to Write an Effective College Application Essay – The Inside Scoop for Parents, to learn how to help your child write a stand-out college essay), AND How to excel once they get there.

During this event, some of the top experts in education, college admissions, parenting, and psychology will be sharing their insights and strategies about how to help your teen…

  • Write outstanding essays (that’s me!)
  • Better grades with less stress
  • Ace their SAT and ACT tests
  • Find a college that’s a GREAT fit for them
  • Win more college scholarships
  • Successfully transition to life as a college student
  • Start thinking about career choices

…and so much more!

I’m honored to be one of the featured speakers on this series and am looking forward to sharing this information with you!

I’ll look forward to seeing you there! Thanks & best wishes.

 Kim Lifton is President of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communication and writing services company. Wow was founded by professional writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. The Wow Method has been used by students to write application essays and resumes; by business owners to create blogs, websites and other communication materials; and by English teachers to improve student writing skills. To reserve a space for the upcoming season, sign up now for one Complete Essay writing package.