Wow’s 3 Best Pieces of College Essay Advice for Parents

College Essay Advice for Parents
Best College Essay Advice

Here is an excerpt from Wow’s book by Kim Lifton and Susan Knoppow, How to Write an Effective College Application Essay, the Inside Scoop for Parents; it includes three of our best pieces of college essay advice for parents.

Parents who have engaged their college-bound children in discussions about what matters to them and why (reflection!) tell us they are delighted by the results. They boast about seeing a whole other side to their children, along with a level of maturity. In the end, parents who are successful with this approach note that their children are more prepared for college than they had imagined.

At Wow, we really don’t believe you need to stay away, no matter how many college admissions experts advise you to keep your hands off everything because it’s your child’s journey, not yours. We’re in this together.

Before your child moves into the revision phase of the college essay, you might want to study our three-point mantra for reducing stress and increasing student confidence during the college essay writing process:

College Essay Advice for Parents
  1. Slow them down

    Our students come to us all the time with topic ideas. We tell them that’s the wrong approach. The essay topic is secondary; the subject (your child) is most important. Start them at the beginning, with reflection. A great topic will emerge more freely if your child starts in the right place.

  2. Offer encouragement

    Be supportive, not critical, like a cheerleader on the sidelines. When it comes time to start writing, encourage your child to use his or her own voice and words. No one needs superpowers to get into college. We give our students writing activities that help them hear their own voices and feel good about their word choices, and their final essays reflect that confidence.

  3. Be realistic

    Sometimes well-meaning parents (just like you!) expect more from an application essay than admissions officers do. Be kind. We know what colleges want. We get our information direct from the source. They don’t expect perfection from kids.

Whatever your parenting style may be, or how studious, motivated or engaged your child is about college, you might feel pressure to do more, rather than less. The pressure comes from outside forces you may not even recognize. If you follow our suggestions, we believe you’ll like working on the reflection process so much you’ll forget about the outside noise and trust yourself and your child.

Get the Best College Essay Advice

Have you read our book? It’s full of insight, tips and even explanations of every Common App prompt  for the 2018-19 admission cycle. Get yours paperback today on It’s just $9.99. We also wrote a companion guide for your child. 

About wow

Wow Writing Workshop is a strategic communication company led by writing coaches who understand the writing process inside and out. If your challenge involves words, Wow can help.

Since 2009, Wow has been leading the industry with our unique approach to communicating any message effectively. The Wow Method helps business and nonprofit leaders create better blogs, manage social media, develop websites and create other communication materials. We provide free college essay advice and resources to parents, while also teaching students to write college application essays and other personal statements, supplements, grad school personal statements, plus resumes that get results.

In addition to guiding clients from around the world, Wow’s founders, Kim Lifton and Susan Knoppow, have authored several books and collaborated on an award-winning PBS documentary, “No Ordinary Joe: Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness.” Kim and Susan speak to high school, parent and professional groups about the role of the college essay within the competitive admissions world.