A step-by-step video course for students on putting together a stand-out college application.

I'll guide you from a to z.



Discover what matters to you, 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 and show what gets you excited.



Craft an activities list that shows impact.



Present a complete picture of who you are and what drives you.



Manage your application and essay drafts with a whole suite of resources.



This video course offers a values-based approach to producing not only a stand-out Common Application, activities list, and additional information section, but also to answering the supplemental essays that most selective schools require.

Here you’ll find everything you need to tackle the application and includes Q&A sessions in which I answer the most common 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 an Application Is Doing Its Job


how to apply for college
how to apply for college
how to apply for college
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!
— Miles P.
Ethan Sawyer had a great sense of personality and was very helpful in guiding us in this stressful time of college admissions. He made sure to go over all our questions.
— Emily Guo
I really loved that we did this on Google docs and were able to see each and every one of your comments. Before this course, I would never have finished writing an essay, not to mention find my essay topic! Thank you for bringing out the creative side of me in my writing. Thank you for being so compassionate to provide access for everyone to this course. 😃 
— Yu Yan, Student

This Course Includes:



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 brainstorm topics and outline essays for the most commonly asked supplemental essay questions.



We'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.



Create an amazing application that you will be proud of.


Here's what a few students 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

Ethan was the finest mentor anyone could ask for.  He guided me and, more importantly, encouraged me to write the best college essays that I could possibly manage. His way of working was unique: his exercises and insights helped me perfectly incorporate my ideas in the essays. Never in any of our sessions did I feel stressed; rather he always made the path crystal clear and made me realize my most efficient plan of action. He inspired me. And as a college applicant, that’s all you really need to write great essays. Would recommend Ethan 100%!

- Swastid, Student

The past week, was more of a journey than a tutorial for my personal statement. Before the course, I was looking outwards for inspiration. Ethan taught me to find inspiration within myself, but best of all, he provided me the tools to put it on paper.

- Jonathan

This course has truly changed my life. I now feel that I am prepared to tackle my Questbridge essays, supplemental essays, and any other college essays to ensure that I've tried my best and hardest for my future. After all that this course has provided me with, saying thank you feels inadequate, but still – thank you so much, Ethan. You have truly changed my life and my perspective on writing a personal statement.”

– Amenna

You also had a simple way of explaining things, and had many resources in the PDF guide that I appreciated.


College Application help
Wherever and whenever you need it.

Ready to join me?

Course Overview

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 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 One Should (and Shouldn’t) Include in the 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

  • How to Write the "Diversity" Essay

  • How to Write the "Why X Major" Essay

  • And more!

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

  • How to Nail the The "Diversity" Essay

  • Coming August 2018: The U Chicago Extended Essay (as soon as prompts are released!)

Lesson 6: How to Make Sure Your Application Is Doing Its Job

  • Content is So 🔥 I Can't Even Describe it Here


Q&A Sessions: Ethan Answers your questions Live

  • Get answers to a wide range of questions from the general to the specific, including:

    • 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?

    • And dozens more.

  • Plus, I give feedback on everything to Activities Lists to several in-progress "Why us" essays.

The COURSE Workbook Includes

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

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

Let's complete your application together.


Meet Your Guide

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.

I distill the best and most effective resources I have ever found.  I’ll personally walk you from "I feel totally lost" to "I feel like I've submitted the best application I can."


Course Pricing Options

Pay in Full

Pay in full for access to the college application course


30 Video Lessons

45 Page Workbook

5 Bonus Modules

A Dozen Brainstorm Activities

Access for the entire application cycle for one price.

Payment Plan

4 monthly payments for full access to the college application course


30 Video Lessons

45 Page Workbook

5 Bonus Modules

A Dozen Brainstorm Activities

Access for the entire application cycle for one price.


Register for this course and get 50% off of my How to Write a Personal Statement course.

How? Register for this course and you'll be taken to the discounted offer.


Access is really important to 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 Pay-What-You-Can spot.

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We have a course just for you.


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

Got a Question?


+HOW DO I GET 50% OFF THE Personal Statement COURSE?

Register for the How to Write the College Application + Supplemental Essays course and you'll be taken to the discounted offer!

Note: This discount can't be combined with other offers.


As with all my courses and resources, I have some pay-what-you-can spots available for low-income students and high school counselors that work with low-income students or have little to no budget for professional development resources at their school. Just click the orange button above.

+What if I have another question?

My FAQ page has you covered. Or, if you can't find the answer there, shoot an email to my team: help@collegeessayguy.com.