How to Apply to College
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How to Write the College Application + Supplemental Essays
I'll guide you from a to z.
Reflect on your core values, brainstorm essay topics, and get inspired to write.
Get step-by-step guides to outlining and writing almost every required supplemental essay.
Demonstrate intellectual vitality.
Craft an activities list that shows impact.
Present a complete picture of who you are and what drives you.
Stay organized and manage essay drafts with a whole suite of resources.
This course offers a values-based approach to producing not only a stand-out Common App, activities list, and additional information section, but also the supplemental essays that most selective schools require.
It includes all the resources you need to tackle the application and includes Q&A sessions in which I answer your questions about both the college application and supplemental essay-writing process.
Module 1 - How to Create an Inspired Application in Half the Time
Module 2 - The Activities List, Additional Info, and "Why Us?'"Essay
Module 3 - The Extracurricular Essay
Module 4 - Specific Supplemental Essays
Module 5 - Short Answers + More Supplemental Essays
Module 6 - How to Make Sure Your Application Is Doing Its Job
Bonus Modules - The Rest of the College Application
Detailed course syllabus below.
You'll develop a big picture strategy, brainstorm essay ideas, analyze applications that worked, and get all the tools for creating a compelling application.
Read great example activities list descriptions and dozens of inspiring example essays that do an awesome job, plus a few awesome sample college applications.
Complete activities in the workbook to help you brainstorm topics and outline essays for the most commonly asked supplemental essay questions.
You'll cover the most common supplemental essay topics required by hundreds of colleges, including those quirky essay topics required by the most highly selective colleges.
Students: Get three rounds of direct feedback from trained college essay specialists. (Optional)
Create an amazing application.
Live Course Details
LIVE STUDENT COURSE
Students: Join me live in June as I lead you through an intensive essay writing experience where we'll discuss essay topics and structures, I'll answer your questions, and provide feedback on student essays.
Registration closes June 9th (or earlier if all spots are filled!)
LIVE COUNSELOR COURSE
Counselors: Join me live in May for my brand new, comprehensive online training course as I offer tons of resources, answer your specific questions, and provide feedback on student essays.
Registration closes April 27th (or earlier if all spots are filled!)
What's the difference between the Student and Counselor version?
There's a big difference between creating an awesome college application yourself (as a student) and guiding someone else through this process (as a counselor). With this in mind, the counselor version includes content geared specifically to counselors that answers frequently asked questions and provides solutions to common struggles that counselors face.
Can't join live? Don't worry.
You'll get INSTANT ACCESS TO all of the video lessons and have recordings of all the Q&A sessions.
Start early + Get it done
Get a jump start before things get too busy this fall.
hold yourself accountable with Assignments between live sessions, plus the chance to work through the course with a partner.
Here's what a few people have said about this course:
At the start, to be completely honest, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. My ideas were scattered and I was writing about superficial topics to dodge the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to say. Your exercises really helped me actually realize what mattered to me, which in turn helped me get started on my essays because it was much easier to write about topics I actually cared about.
-Casey, Student 2016
THANK YOU! You are a wonderful teacher and your love for college essay writing is so apparent. You helped many of us connect with & write our deepest stories and for that I am very grateful. I'm really excited about the new tools I have to help my students write their essays. I loved this course so so much! :)
-Bekkah, High School Counselor 2016
This webinar gave me a fresh approach for how to structure student sessions. From brainstorming to revising a first draft, the tools and resources made available during this course were invaluable to me! It's exciting to be able to put these new techniques in action in order to help my students write the best personal statements possible. In addition, the opportunity to write my own personal statement was not only wonderfully cathartic, but it helped me connect more to the struggles my students often experience while writing. Thank you so much for a fabulous webinar!
-Chelsea, Independent Counselor 2016
You're an amazing teacher, and I can feel the passion you have for us. I really appreciate all the work you've done for us. Thanks to you I've been able to say what I've wanted to say about my life and show how it has impacted me. That's something that I've struggled to do in the past. So from the bottom of my heart, I just want to say thank you!
-Ulyana, Student 2017
One thing I thought you (Ethan) really nailed and got perfect was answering people's questions and providing feedback. You also had a simple way of explaining things, and had many resources in the PDF guide that I appreciated.
-Alex, Student 2017
WHAT TO EXPECT
Lesson 1: How to Create an Inspired Application and Supplemental Essays in Half the Time
- Sample Application: How Doing a Thorough Job on the Brainstorming Activities Can Set Up a Great Application
- A Relatively Quick and Totally Free Way to Figure Out Which of Essay Topics Overlap
- The Overlapping Game (or) How Doubling--or Tripling, or Quadrupling!--Essays for Multiple Prompts Can Yield a “Super Essay”
- A Sample Super Essay
- How to Write a Super Essay
Lesson 2: The Activities & Awards List, Additional Information Section, The "Why Us" Essay
- 5 Tips for the Activities & Awards List
- The Difference Between an Amazing Activities and Awards List and a Really Good One
- Activities You May Not Have Considered Including—But That Count!
- “Stretching the Truth” on the Activities List: A Cautionary Tale
- How to Up-Level the Activities and Awards List in Three Steps
- What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Include in Your Add’l Info Section
- How an Add’l Info Section Can Make the Difference in the Application
- The Complete Guide to the "Why us" Essay
- 3 Great "Why Us" Essays You've Never Read and Why They're Awesome
Lesson 3: The Extracurricular Essay
- The Difference Between a Regular and a “Super” Extracurricular Essay
- Eight Mistakes Students Make on Their Extracurricular Essays
- A Three-Step Process to Avoid All Those Mistakes
- How to Write an Amazing Narrative Extracurricular Essay
- How to Write an Amazing Montage Extracurricular Essay
- How to Apply These Approaches to Almost Any Supplemental Essay
- How to Write a Great "Community" Essay
- Three Great Sample “Community” Essays
Lesson 4: The supplemental Essays
- How to Write the Stanford “Idea or experience that makes you excited about learning” Essay
- How to Write the Stanford “Roommate” Essay
- How to Write the Stanford “What's meaningful to you and why?” Essay
- How to Write the "Create Your Own Class" Essay
- Four Tips for the Quotation Essay
- And others!
Lesson 5: Short Answers & More Supplemental Essays
- Six Techniques for Writing the 150-Word Extracurricular Essay
- Three More 150-Word Extracurricular Essays I Love, and Why
- The High-Flyer Method: How to Write a Next-Level 150-Word Extracurricular Essay If You Have a Perfect GPA, Test Scores, Ridiculous Extracurriculars and Have Nothing to Prove
- How to Make the Short Answers Awesome
- A Stanford-Worthy Set of Short Answers And What Makes Them So
- A Creative Take on the “Where Have You Lived” Essay
Lesson 6: How to Make Sure Your Application Is Doing Its Job
- Content is So 🔥 I Can't Even Describe it Here
Bonus Modules: The Rest of the Application
- 18 Tips for Creating a Great Video
- How to Create a Great College List
- How to Get Great Teacher Recommendations
- How to Prepare for and Nail the College Interview
- Demonstrated Interest: A Brief and Practical How-To Guide
- How to Turn the Common App Activities List into an Awesome Resume
Q&A Sessions: Ask Me Anything You Want
- Get answers to a wide range of questions from the general to the specific, including:
- Student Version:
- Should I use all of the word count provided for supplemental essays? How much should I write if a supplemental doesn’t list the word count or length?
- What if the advice I hear from people I ask for feedback conflicts? Or I disagree with them?
- Will I put off my reader by including religious or political activities on my activities list?
- How can I tell if an activity is worth putting on an application or not?
- What happens if you lie in your application?
- If I write about community in my personal statement, but the school I’m applying to already has a community supplement, should I write an entirely new personal statement?
- Dozens more.
- Counselor Version:
- What timeline do you use when working with students?
- Who should be accountable for which parts of the application? Who should be responsible? And what's the difference?
- My student's "Why Us" essay still isn't quite "there" yet. What would you suggest?
- What if someone else is giving a student that I strongly disagree with? What should I do?
- Dozens more.
- Student Version:
- Plus, I give feedback on everything to Activities Lists to several in-progress "Why us" essays.
The COURSE Workbook Includes
Plus: 36 Sample Essays and 3 full sample applications
- (3) Successful Sample Applications
- (4) Great “Extracurricular” Essays
- (2) Great Community Service Essays
- (2) Great “Community” Essays
- (2) Great “Intellectual Idea” Essays
- (2) Great “Roommate” Essays
- (2) Great “What Matters” Essays
- (2) Great “Quotation” Essays
- (2) Great “Create Your Own Class” Essays
- (4) Great U of Chicago Extended Essays
- (8) Great 150-Word Extracurricular Essays
- (3) Great Sets of Short Answers
- (3) Great “How I Spent My Summer” Examples
- College Essay Guy’s Complete Guide to the “Why us” Essay (20 pages)
- College Essay Guy’s Epic Activities Verbs List
A Dozen Brainstorming Activities, including:
- My Favorite Supplemental Essay Brainstorming Exercises
- Everything I Want Colleges to Know About Me
- The Feelings and Needs Exercise
- The Best Extracurricular Brainstorming Exercise
- The Elon Musk Exercise
- The “Why us” Research Chart
- How to Develop a Preliminary College List
- How to Organize All Your Essay Topics For Free
- List of Potential “Super” Topics from Past Students
- How to Write an Awesome Activities List
- Activities You May Not Have Considered Including—But That Count!
- How to Write the Additional Info Section
Counselor Pricing PWYC Available
Student Pricing PWYC Available
GET $100 OFF each WHEN you and a friend sign up (for a limited time.)
How? Once you've both registered, just email [email protected] and you'll EACH get a $100 refund.
COUNSELORS: WANT TO REGISTER YOUR STUDENTS AT A DEEPLY DISCOUNTED RATE?
Are you an administrator at your school district? Click below to inquire about registering a group of students at a discounted rate.
Are you a high school counselor or school administrator? Click below to inquire about registering a group of students at a discounted rate.
Each year I help thousands of students and counselors around the world through my online courses, workshops, articles, blog posts and books. I also work privately with a small number of students each year.
In this LIVE online course, I distill the best and most effective resources I have ever found. I’ll personally walk you through how I guide students from "I feel totally lost" to "I feel like I've submitted my the best application I can."
College Essay Guy is much like Batman or spider man. He is a super hero, with super powers. The power to write phenomenal college essays. That is not Ethan's only power however, the more you listen to him, his webinars and courses, the more you realize he is not Iron Man, he's Tony Stark, he's not Superman, he's Clark Kent. To channel your own Ethan Sawyer you don't need to be some unattainable being; you simply need to learn, work, and unleash your own superhero in your writing. Through his lessons and courses Ethan helps you discover your own super powers. You realize that to become a College Essay Person you need not to have been born with super powers, you just need to be human. It's the perfect storm of lessons and personal feedback. Overall it has been a pleasure to work with him, and all his creative material is conducive for anyone to be the College Essay they wish to see in the world.
Yes, it's actually
Access is really important for me. In fact, it’s at the heart of most everything I do, and it’s why so many resources on my site are free.
Can’t afford the suggested price? Just click on the orange "pay-what-you-can" button above and you can request a PWYC spot.
Want to finish your entire main personal statement, too?
TAKE THE How to write a personal statement COURSE.
Take my most comprehensive course to writing your main personal statement. Learn how to find the right topic, get step-by-step guides to structuring your essay, and get tips on how to bring your essay to life.
Module 1 - How to Find an Essay Topic
Module 2 - How to Structure the Four Types of Essays
Module 3 - How to Revise an Essay in 5 Steps
Module 4 - How to Make Sure the Essay is Doing Its Job
Module 5 - How to Bring an Essay to Life
Bonus Modules - Advanced Screenwriting Techniques
REGISTER FOR ONE COURSE AND GET 40% OFF THE SECOND ONE.
How? Register for the How to Write the College Application + Supplemental Essays course and you'll be taken to the discounted offer.
I loved working with you Ethan! It truly a pleasure getting to not only break down my life experiences and writing about them, but also talking to you about my life and how I wanted to portray myself. I really enjoyed the fact that we did everything on google docs because you could comment on my work instantly and everything was automatically saved. I also thought it was great to do the introductory exercises like the objects box and the 20 personal facts. I loved the adjectives worksheets and mind maps you shared with me, and seeing past student work was always helpful. -Colleen
What if I can’t afford it?
As with all my webinars and resources, I have some pay-what-you-can spots available. Just click the orange button above.