A comprehensive video course for counselors on guiding students through writing a great college personal statement.

This online video course provides counselors with everything they need to help their student write an amazing personal statement for college. With over 10 hours of content, including Q&A sessions with me (College Essay Guy), it's the most comprehensive course of its kind. 

This course includes content geared specifically to counselors that answers frequently asked questions and provides solutions to common struggles that counselors face.


Help your students discover what matters most, brainstorm essay topics, and get them inspired to write


Get step-by-step guides to outlining and writing the personal statement.


Grow your student's ideas into a unique and powerful story of who they are.


Learn how to bring in color and detail and make your student's essay shine.


Help your students navigate the essay writing process in less time and with less stress.


Learn how to help your students write a personal statement that hits the mark.

Course Overview

Module 1 - Brainstorming
Module 2 - How to Structure Each of the Four Essay Types
Module 3 - How to Revise an Essay
Module 4 - Ethan Gives Feedback on Real Essays
Module 5 - How to Make Sure an 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.

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My favourite part [of the workshop] was outlining the essay. I also liked all the PDF’s and recorded sessions so I could listen on my own and repeat parts as needed.

— Colleen Reed, Counselor
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
Ethan you are so approachable and fun to listen to. You care deeply about your work and the students. You are an inspiration.
— Susan, Counselor

Let's get your students' essays done together.


Watch the lessons on your own time.


Sample essays

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



...use the Common App and the Personal Statement to help your students apply to them all



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




Help your students craft an amazing personal statement.



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“Ethan Sawyer’s Personal Statement Course is proof positive that we all have something to learn — as long as we find the right teacher. I have been a college counselor for almost 25 years and have worked with many students on many essays. Taking Ethan’s course added to my toolbox and will make me a better resource for my students and a more insightful and effective counselor overall.”

-Lisa S. Independent Consultant

“Ethan Sawyer, "The College Essay Guy," has everything you need to learn to be a dynamic, innovative and skilled essay coach. His approach puts students at ease, during what is a really stressful time, by allowing them to relax and open their minds to what matters the most to them. This ultimately provides insights that will help the student discover a compelling topic for their personal statement. He provides concepts clearly and gives coaches the tools needed to take a student from idea to execution. It was a game changer for me.”

- Betsy C. Independent Consultant

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“I love that Ethan approaches college essays from the perspective of a screenwriter, helping students to craft a compelling narrative based on their own life experiences. His brainstorming exercises are extremely helpful for students to find their unique stories and a specific focusing lens. He has made essay help available and affordable through his book and website so that all students can be guided through the process.”

- Amanda S. Independent Consultant

Here's what other counselors have said about this course:

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

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

This course 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 course!

-Chelsea, Independent Counselor

As a counselor I appreciate how I can replicate (or try really hard to replicate) your sessions because you’ve outlined and scripted it all. We need scripts until we embed practices and make them our own.
Ethan, you are so completely thorough; I love that!

-Sunita Takhar, Counselor

Ready to join me?


LESSON 1 - Brainstorming with your student

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  •  How to Develop a Menu of Essay Topics in About 15 Minutes

  • A 5-Minute Exercise for Discovering What Matters to Students Most

  • The Five Brainstorming Exercises I Use With My Private One-on-One Students

  • 106 Ways to Find an Essay Topic


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  • 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 Your Student Has No Idea What They 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 Your Students Haven't Experienced Challenges and Don't Know What Their Future Looks Like

  • The Difference Between a Boring Essay and a Stand-Out Essay


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  •  Three Questions to Ask Before Revising a 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

LESSON 4 - Ethan gives feedback on real essays

  • 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


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  • Three Questions to Ask Students 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


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  •  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


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  •  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


(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 Students Most

15+ Awesome Sample Essays
(With 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.

"Listen to the Essay Guy! He has practical, useful tools for all college bound students to stand out among the crowd"

-Suzanne, Counselor  

Want to join me?

Pay in Full

The Personal Statement Course


25+ Video Lessons

40 Page Course Workbook

15+ Sample Essays

Over 10 Hours of Content Including Q&A Sessions

Bonus Modules with Advanced Techniques

Designed Specifically for Counselors

Payment Plan

3 Monthly Payments of


25+ Video Lessons

40 Page Course Workbook

15+ Sample Essays

Over 10 Hours of Content Including Q&A Sessions

Bonus Modules with Advanced Techniques

Designed Specifically for Counselors



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. 

Do you work for a CBO with minimal budget? Public high-school counselor with few resources for professional development?
Click on the orange button below and request a Pay-What-You-Can spot.

Want to help your students finish the entire Common Application?

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

Learn how to help students write killer supplemental essays, craft an awesome activities list, and create a compelling application. Read sample essays activities lists and successful college applications.

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)

Got a Question?


+What if I Still can’t afford it?

As with all my courses and resources, I have some pay-what-you-can spots available for 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.

+Can I use your materials with my students?

Absolutely! All that we ask is that you leave the logo and website on the materials. You can find more information here.

+What if I hate the course? Can I get a refund?

Sure! If you purchased and completed the course, ebook, product, or service within 30 days and feel that it did not help you, then you can receive a 100% guaranteed, no-questions-asked refund.

+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.