How to Apply to College

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Part 1

Scroll down to learn more.


How to Write a Personal Statement

25+

VIDEO LESSONS

Watch the lessons on your own or via the live option (see below). 

15+

Sample essays

Read inspiring sample essays and learn why they work so well.

620+

colleges

...use the Common App and the personal statement you write in this course will work for them all.

100%

GUARANTEED

If you're not completely satisfied with the course, get a full refund within 30 days.

 

3

ESSAY REVISIONS
from Prompt.com

Students: Get three rounds of direct and detailed feedback from amazing and trained college essay specialists. (Optional. Additional fee of $40/revision)

1

GOAL

Craft an amazing personal statement.

Course description

This online video course provides students and counselors with everything they need to write (or help their student write) an amazing personal statement for college.

The counselor version of the video course provides all the tools and resources needed to help your students write inspired college essays.

With over 10 hours of content, including Q&A sessions with me (College Essay Guy), it's the most comprehensive course of its kind. 

HERE'S A SNEAK PEEK INSIDE

COURSE SYLLABUS

Module 1 - Brainstorming
Module 2 - How to Structure Each of the Four Essay Types
Module 3 - How to Revise Your Essay
Module 4 - Ethan Gives Feedback on Real Essays
Module 5 - How to Make Sure Your Essay is Doing Its Job
Module 6 - How to Bring an Essay to Life With Details and Color
Bonus Modules - Advanced Techniques

Detailed syllabus below.

 


STUDENTS: Get 50% off when you register for the Personal Statement Course. 

How? Register for the How to Write a Personal Statement course and you'll be taken to the discounted offer.


Live Course Details

How to help your students write a personal statement
(Counselors)

May 1 - 15
 

Counselors:  Join me live in May as I lead you through an online training course, answer your specific questions, discuss best practices, and give feedback on student essays.


Registration closes April 29th (or earlier if all spots are filled!)


How to write a personal statement
(Students)

June 16 - 22
 

Students: Join me live in June as I lead you through a live essay writing experience where we'll discuss essay topics and structures, I'll answer your questions and give feedback on student essays.

Registration closes June 9th (or earlier if all spots are filled!)

What's the difference between the student and counselor version of the courses?

There's a big difference between writing something awesome yourself (as a student) and helping someone else write something awesome (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

Here are just a few of the questions I answer on the counselor version:

  • What do I do when a student shows up to an initial one-on-one essay session with an essay draft? With no essay draft? 
  • What's the line between supporting and enabling a student (i.e. how much help is too much)?
  • What are my core counseling values and are they actually aligned with the way I'm leading my sessions with my students?
 
 

“THE BEST WORKSHOP I’VE BEEN TO IN 35 YEARS IN THE PROFESSION.”


-B. Goleman, Independent Counselor

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.

Ask me anything.

got questions?

Ask me anything on the live Q&A Sessions.

 
 

Here's what a few people have said about this course.

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 signed up to take Ethan's course to learn some specific strategies in helping my students write better essays and hopefully, enjoy the process along the way. I learned amazing strategies PLUS so much more! The questions that Ethan asked us, as his students writing essays for our college applications, were invaluable in looking deep within ourselves and putting ourselves "out there" on paper, to speak from our truest selves and share our deepest stories. Ethan has a very special talent in teaching from his heart and it was apparent in every step of his class. I am grateful I had the opportunity to participate!

-Heidi, Counselor (2016)
 

I came into this webinar 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 after working with my writing partner and having Ethan workshop it in the session, we 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)

 
 
For the first time in my eight years of college counseling, I am beginning to get a handle on how to assist my students with the essay writing process. I am extremely grateful to be given tools that I can both relate to and apply with my students. I will listen to Ethan present every time I am given the opportunity — he is that good!!!
— Valerie J, Private School Counselor
 
 
Your mission to provide equitable access to the best courses on essays is what got me to where I am today, from the pay what you can system to my frequent talks with my Matchlighters counselor. You gave me the tools I needed to change my life. For that, my family, friends, and myself thank you for the bottom of our hearts.
— Ali, Harvard University, Class of 2021
 
 
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!
— Jordan H, Student

Ethan provided me with valuable techniques and skills that I was never taught in my graduate education. These will be absolutely essential when helping my students with writing their personal insight questions during application season!

-Danielle, High School Counselor
 

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 R, Student


 

I came into this webinar a bit grumpy that I had sacrificed all my week nights for college essay writing, but once I got into it I felt like I hit my groove, and, with your help and advice, really got inspired to write. If I hadn't taken this course, there is no way I would have a) found my topic b) started to write yet or c) completed a pretty darn solid draft. So thank you!!! This webinar seriously rocked!

-Ava, Student (2016)

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)


COURSE OVERVIEW

LESSON 1 - Brainstorming

 

  • How to Develop a Menu of Essay Topics in About 15 Minutes
  • A 5-Minute Exercise for Discovering What Matters to You Most
  • The Five Brainstorming Exercises I Use With My Private One-on-One Students
  • 106 Ways to Find an Essay Topic
 how to apply to college

LESSON 2 - HOW TO STRUCTURE THE ESSAY

 how to apply for college

 

  • The Only Two Structures Needed to Write an Essay
  • The Four Types of Personal Statements
  • How Most American Films Are Structured (and How to Use it to Write an Essay)
  • How to End an Essay If You Have No Idea What You Want to Do in the Future
  • A List of Challenges Students Should Consider Including in the Application
  • A Step-by-Step Outline for an Essay About Overcoming Challenges
  • What to Do If You Haven't Experienced Challenges and Don't Know What Your Future Looks Like
  • The Difference Between a Boring Essay and a Stand-Out Essay

LESSON 3 - HOW TO REVISE A COLLEGE ESSAY

 

  • Three Questions to Ask Before Revising Your First Draft
  • Which Sentences Are (Probably) the Most Important to Revise First
  • Case Study: A Sample First Draft, My Actual Feedback, and How the Final Draft Turned Out
 how to apply for college

LESSON 4 - Ethan gives feedback on real essays

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  • Two Eighty Minute Sessions
  • Analysis of Over a Dozen Real Student Personal Statements
  • Expert Feedback Including Comments and Notes for Revision on a Google Doc

LESSON 5 - HOW TO MAKE SURE AN ESSAY IS DOING ITS JOB

 

  • Three Questions to Ask That Can Bring More Values (and Information) Into an Essay
  • How to Know If the Essay Is Insightful
  • Three Ways to Show Vulnerability in an Essay
  • Tips for Writing a Well-Crafted Essay
  • How, Whom and When to Ask for Feedback
 how to apply for college

LESSON 6 - HOW TO BRING AN ESSAY TO LIFE

 how to apply to college

 

  • How to Grab the Reader’s Attention
  • One Great Way to Demonstrate Intelligence in an Essay
  • How to Brag without Seeming Like It's Bragging
  • How to Make an Essay, Like, Deep
  • How to End an Essay in a Powerful Way

LESSON 7 - HOW TO TAKE AN ESSAY TO THE NEXT LEVEL

 

  • Advanced Technique 1: How to Use Setup and Payoff to Build Suspense in an Essay
  • Advanced Technique 2: How to Bring More Authenticity to an Essay
  • Advanced Technique 3: Techniques for Turning a Difficult Experience into Something Beautiful
  • Advanced Technique 4: How to Create an Ending That’s Surprising but Inevitable
  • Advanced Technique 5: Four Qualities of an Amazing Essay
 how to apply for college

THE COURSE WORKBOOK INCLUDES

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A BRAINSTORMING ACTIVITY WORKBOOK
(IN PRINTABLE PDF or Google doc)

  • The Five Brainstorming Exercises I Use With My Private One-on-One Students
  • How to Develop a Menu of Essay Topics in About 15 Minutes
  • A 5-Minute Exercise for Discovering What Matters to You Most

15+ Awesome Sample Essays (With live analysis by me)

PLUS, THESE BONUS resources:

  • A List of Potential Topics if Writing the Challenges Essay
  • Revising the Essay: A Five-Step Guide
  • An Accountability Agreement (for Working With A Partner)

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Who is College Essay Guy?

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, articles, 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.

Learn more about Ethan »


"From tearing apart my essays multiple times over the one-week bootcamp, to helping me find value in the UC Essay everyone told me not to submit (the spongebob memes and tacos one if you recall), to truly helping transform my personal statement into something that is ME, I'm immensely grateful."

-Ali, Harvard University, Class of 2021


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Work at your own pace.

Watch the videos as many times as you want.

Learn what to write about and how to outline, structure and revise your essay . . .

. . . and best of all, how to bring your essay to life.




 
 
 

Students finish the course with a compelling and memorable personal statement.

Counselors get all the tools they need to help their students through the writing process.

Watch and work from anywhere. You’ll have access to the videos for a year.

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You de-stressed the essay writing process by making feel that we could relate to you. Rather than being stressed about writing my essay, I was excited for the sessions, and actually looked forward to finding my topic and then writing it. You are extremely knowledgeable and passionate, and it definitely shows. I am very appreciative. Thank you!!

-Julianne W, Student

 

Ready to join me?

 

 
 

STUDENT VERSION

$297

Student Pricing PWYC Available

COUNSELOR VERSION

$597

Counselor Pricing PWYC Available


"I THINK THIS COURSE REALLY CHANGED MY LIFE."

-ANGELA G, STUDENT  


Counselors: Want to register your students at a deeply discounted rate?

Are you a high school counselor or school administrator? Click below to inquire about partnering with me and enrolling a group of students at a discounted rate.

Are you an administrator at your school district? Click below to inquire about partnering with me and enrolling a group of students at a discounted rate.


Yes, it's actually
pay-what-you-can.

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.

Got a question?

The FAQ page has you covered. Or if you can't find the answer there, shoot my team an email: [email protected]

 
 

Want to finish your entire Common Application?


Take the How to Write your college application + supplemental essays course the following week.
 

Learn how to write killer supplemental essays, craft an awesome activities list, and create a compelling application. Read sample essays activities lists and successful college applications, then learn how they were developed.

Take it live right after the How to Write a Personal Statement course, or watch the videos whenever you want.

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 (7+ Bonus Lessons)


YOU MAY BE WONDERING (FAQ)

STUDENTS: How do I get the 50% off the College application + supplemental essays course?

Register for the How to Write a Personal Statement course and you'll be taken to the discounted offer!

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

What if I Still can’t afford it?

As with all my webinars 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: [email protected].