Experience and Background

Alison Bell and College Essay Support

I am a professional writer with more than 25 years of experience writing hundreds of articles for dozens of publications such as Parenting, Parents, First for Women, Baby Talk, Modern Bride, Fit Pregnancy, Home, Runner’s World, and American Baby. I am a former contributing writer to the Los Angeles Times’ “Then and Now” column, a former contributing editor and writer to Woman’s World magazine, a former columnist at Patch.com, and a contributor to mom.me.
I’ve also written in-house magazines, brochures, and other publicity materials for a variety of corporate clients including Hilton Hotels, The Gap, and Edison International. I currently work as the associate director of communications and marketing for a wonderful local non-profit, Hillsides, which helps 14,000 children in foster care and families in crisis throughout Southern California.
I am the author of a five-book children’s series, the Zibby Payne books, and 10 non-fiction books for teens.  I teach fiction workshops to children, and tutor students on creative projects and school essays. I have been a featured author at numerous writers conferences, including the LA Times Festival of Books, the California Reading Association’s Annual Conference and the Central Coast Book and Author Festival.
A few other career “stops” along the way: I’ve worked as a copy editor, technical writer, editor at TEEN magazine, an editor at a magazine about hospital gift shops (really!), a documentary producer, a reality TV segment producer/writer, and a social media strategist. If it can be written, I’ve written it! I graduated from Occidental College with a degree in comparative literature and studied comparative literature in a Ph.D. program at U.C. Berkeley. I am also currently pursuing a master’s in English at Cal State Los Angeles.
My extensive experience as a writer coupled with my teaching background have led me to college application essay coaching. I love working with students and cherish those “ah-ha” moments when students discover the essay topic or direction that feels right. It never gets old!