A step-by-step guide for turning the stress and uncertainty of writing your college essays into an easy-to-follow game plan.


Are you Struggling on your college essays and Application?

working on draft #8 of your Common App essay but still not feelin’ it?

or perhaps you’re wondering:

How do I know if I have the right topic for my main college essay?

How should I structure my essays so that I can stand out?

What if I don’t have anything “impressive” to write about?

How do I know if my essay is really ready to submit?

or MAYBE you’re asking…

How do I make my activities list impressive? I haven’t saved the world. I’m 17!

What about all of my supplemental essays??

How do I stand out on the extracurricular essay?

What should I put in that ‘why this college’ essay?


”HOW DO I write all of these well and still have good grades (and a life?)”

I feel you. I’ve helped thousands of students answer these questions.

But that’s why I’m here to say this:


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How to Apply to College compiles the most powerful lessons, exercises, and strategies that I've used one-on-one with my students in helping them write compelling college essays and craft a successful college application.

I deeply believe that every student has an amazing story (or two) inside of them that’s just waiting to be told.

And with a little brainstorming, some step-by-step guidance, and a touch of inspiration, you can create an application that helps you stand out and show colleges who you are, what you’re passionate about, and how you’ll kick butt and contribute meaningfully to the campus community when you arrive. (Yes, EVEN IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING IMPRESSIVE YET.)

This course answers the most common questions I’ve been asked in the last 15 years, plus tons more.


Here’s what one student said:

“I followed every step from your videos for the Main Personal Statement essay and my college advisor was wowed by my first draft. I made some small changes and now it's finished! I JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR THAT.”

-Teadora, 2018



How to Apply to College:
A Step-by-Step Video Course on Creating an Awesome College Application

step-by-step guidance


I’ll take you from from A to Z. You’ll get simple step-by-step instructions and exercises for every part of the college application.

sample essays for days


See me analyze dozens of awesome sample essays, learn what colleges are looking for, and find out how to write an inspiring essay that totally nails it.



Find out what matters to you most and how to write about it in an authentic and compelling way. You’ll use the same process I use with my one-on-one students.

worksheets & exercises


Use my 12 all-time favorite brainstorming exercises and downloadable guidebooks and spreadsheets to keep you on track.

SAVE TIME + bye-bye stress


I’ll show you how to save dozens of essay-writing hours with one simple exercise and how to cut your essay writing time in half.

Get INSPIrED + confideNT


Submit your application knowing that you’re showing college admissions a clear picture of who you are and what you stand for.

After going through the course, I think you'll be more inspired, efficient, and effective in your college essay writing.

As seen In

Watch Anytime, Anywhere

Of course you’re busy. You’ve got clubs to run and tests to dominate. #LikeABoss Finding time to write your college application essays ain’t easy.

My on-demand courses are there when you need them. Watch from home, work, or your favorite coffee shop. Wherever you have WiFi, you have College Essay Guy.

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HEar what other students said about THESE courses:

"I didn't know how to write an essay at all, but by taking this course now I really know how to write one. It encouraged me to think about the challenges I've faced in my life and their impact on me. The first exercise made me to go and look at my Scrapbook and photos and this really made me happy. This course helped me in writing an essay while bringing my memories back, which made me realize that I'm capable of reaching my goals and I'm strong."

-Ana, Student (2017)

"I came into this course thinking I was a hopeless case because I didn't have any harrowing tales of struggle. I tried just being really braggy in my essay, but I found a real focus in my last paragraph, where I talked about a topic that meant a lot to me. I had originally thought I shouldn't talk about that topic because it was such a GOOD experience for me and I thought it would be too shallow. I learned that I could talk about what I loved as an essay topic if I could infuse it with my values."

-Jordan, Student (2017)

"To say that the College Essay Guy has helped me complete a personal statement that I’m proud of would be an understatement; the webinar not only pushed me to be productive, but also vulnerable, and I learned more about myself in the process. Ethan is optimistic, enthusiastic, and honest throughout, and I will forever be grateful to him for making this life-changing course accessible to students like me who wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise."

Javaria, Student (2018)

The COurses:

How to Write A Personal Statement

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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


This online video course provides students with everything they need to write an amazing personal statement for college.

With over a dozen video lessons and awesome sample essays, it's the most comprehensive course of its kind.

Whether you're  using the Common Application, Coalition Application, or applying to one of the hundreds of public state colleges or universities, this course will give you the tools to write an essay that demonstrates your core values and how you'll make meaningful contributions to the college campus.

  • 25+ Step-by-step video lessons with accompanying PDFs

  • 15+ Sample essays from rock star students

  • 5 Brainstorming exercises I use with my own students

  • 2 Essay structures to choose from

  • A case study: a first draft, my feedback, and final draft

  • Covers the essays required by 620+ colleges


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

-Jonathan, Student (2017)




Lesson 1 - How Inspired Brainstorming Can Lead to an Inspired Application
Lesson 2- How to Create an Inspired Application in Half the Time
Lesson 3 - The Activities List, Additional Info, and 'Why Us?' Essay 
Lesson 4 - The Extracurricular Essay
Lesson 5 - Specific Supplemental Essays
Lesson 6 - Short Answers + More Specific Supplemental Essays
Lesson 7 - How to Make Sure an Application Is Doing Its Job
Bonus Lessons - The Rest of the College Application

how to dominate the rest of the application

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 the supplemental essays that most selective schools require.

It includes all the resources and exercises you need to tackle the application and includes recorded Q&A sessions in which I answer the most common questions about both the college application and supplemental essay-writing process.

  • 30+ Clear and actionable video lessons with matching PDF guides

  • 30+ Sample supplemental essays for tons of schools

  • A tip for saving dozens of hours writing your 30+ supplemental essays

  • A successful application mapped out from front to back


"I feel like I've learned how to crystallize my most important core values in a ridiculously small word limit, which is a unique skill I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I really feel like I've learned so much about myself. I think you'll come away from this course with a new outlook on both the college process and yourself."

- Sarah (2018) 


HOW TO ANSWER THE University of California Application Prompts


Session 1 – How to Choose Your Topics
Session 2 – How to Stand Out on Each of the 8 UC Prompts
Session 3 – Revising the First Draft
Session 4 – Taking Things to the Next Level
Session 5 – Ethan Workshops Student Essays

9 UC schools.
Let's do this

This course covers 8 writing prompts that all of the University of California School System requires.

Video Lessons with over 6 hours of content.

  • All 9 UC Schools use these prompts.

  • Teaches you everything you need to stand out on all 8 of the University of California prompts.

  • 48-Page Workbook

"After this course, I was amazed how the exercises and example essays helped me discover aspects of myself that I never thought I'd feel comfortable talking about. Now all four of my essays focus on different aspects of me which I'm proud of."
-Shazaib S, Student


Ready to take your application to the next level?


Monthly Subscription

$1 for the first seven days, then:


Includes access to:

Part 1: How to Write a Personal Statement

Part 2: How to Write the College Application + Supplements

Bonus Course: How to Answer the UC Application Prompts

Everything you need to complete your entire application.

Pay-as-you-go. Cancel anytime.


Meet Your Guide

Ethan Sawyer is a nationally recognized college essay expert and sought-after speaker. Each year he helps thousands of students and counselors through his online courses, workshops, blog posts, products, and books, and works privately with a small number of students. A graduate of Northwestern University, Ethan holds an MFA from UC Irvine, two counseling certificates, is certified in Myers-Briggs and hypnotherapy. He lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, Veronica, and their amazing daughter, Zola.




100% GuarAntee

We make it incredibly easy to cancel your subscription at any time.


We get it.

You want to check it out first and make sure it’s going to actually help you before committing.

Try it out for an entire week for just $1. Don’t like it? Cancel anytime.




Q: How is this different from your other courses?

It’s not! You’ll get access to my three signature courses for students but pay a low monthly subscription rather than paying for access for an entire year, so you can pay as you go.

Q: What’s included in the courses?

So much I can hardly begin here. Videos, exercises, lessons, workbooks, and sample essays galore. Check out the links above to learn more about each course.

Q: What happens when I finish my essays and don’t need the course anymore?

Once you cancel, you’ll no longer have access to the courses. It’s like Netflix (but for college applications.)

Q: I’m having trouble accessing my course! What should I do?

The FAQ page has you covered. Or if you can't find the answer there, shoot my team an email at [email protected] and our essay gnomes will get back to you in 1-2 business days.

Q: My family doesn’t have access to a credit card. Can I still take the course?

If you don’t have access to a credit card and still want to take the course, you can submit a pay-what-you-can request on the bottom of each course page.

Q: How do I cancel my subscription when I am finished?

If you've finished and submitted your essays (NICE!) or ever need to cancel your monthly subscription (which starts in one week), just follow these steps:

  • Log in to your account.

  • Click on your Avatar in the top right of the page.

  • Select Settings from the drop-down

  • Click Credit Card Info in the top right of the page.

  • Hit the Remove Card and Cancel All Subscriptions button.