About to begin working on your college personal statement?

You might be wondering:
 
How do I know what to write about?
Are certain topics better than others?
How do I show colleges what I care about?
How do I demonstrate my intelligence?
How do I structure my essay in a way that helps me stand out?
How do I brag in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m bragging?
How to do I make my essay, like, deep?
How do I end my essay?
How do I make sure my essay isn't boring?
 
The questions probably don't end there.

Writing a great college essay isn't like raising your GPA or boosting your SAT score.

So how do you really know when you've nailed it?

After 15 years of helping students write awesome college essays, I created a video course that has everything you need to write an inspired college essay.
 
How to Write a Personal Statement:

A step-by-step video course for students on writing an awesome college personal statement.
Join me as I lead the course live this summer.

Early registration ends May 1st.
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BRAINSTORM

Discover what matters to you and brainstorm potential essay topics.

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OUTLINE

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

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BRING TO LIFE

…your ideas and get inspired to write your story.

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STAND OUT

Learn how to focus on what helps you stand out from the crowd.

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SAVE TIME + STRESS

Write your essay in less time and with less stress.

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NAIL IT

Learn what colleges are looking for and how to hit the mark.

 

how the course works

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

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 your future college campus.

With over a dozen video lessons, awesome sample essays, a 45 page workbook, and tons of advanced techniques, it's the most comprehensive course of its kind.

COURSE MODULES

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.

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join me live this summer

First, you’ll watch a few video lessons, which you’ll have access to as soon as you register

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Then, you’ll complete a few assignments, like writing a first draft or meeting with your writing partner.

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Then, you’ll join the live sessions, where I’ll review student essays and answer your essay questions.

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LIVE SESSION TIMES

SESSION 1: BRAINSTORMING & STRUCTURING
JUNE 19, 4-6PM PST (7-9PM EST)

SESSION 2: STRUCTURING PART 2
JUNE 21, 4-6PM PST (7-9PM EST)

SESSION 3: REVISING YOUR ESSAY
JUNE 23, 4-6PM PST (7-9PM EST)

SESSION 4: advanced techniques
JUNE 25, 4-6PM PST (7-9PM EST)

 
Ready to join me?
 
 

"Hi Ethan - 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!"

-Tesa, Student


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With the aid of Ethan’s constructive feedback, I have learnt a great deal about myself as a person and as a writer. The Application process is so much more than a number on a paper, it is a journey of self discovery. As I continue to embark on this journey, I will always be thankful for all that I have learned during my time working with Ethan.
— Salasha D, Student
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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. Thank you!
— Julianne W, Student
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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

25+

VIDEO LESSONS

Watch the lessons wherever and whenever you want. You have access for a full year.

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.

1

GOAL

Craft an amazing personal statement.


"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 course seriously rocked!"

-Ava, Student


HERE'S A SNEAK PEEK INSIDE

 
 

Get started now
 
 

Watch The entire course whenever and wherever

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

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 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

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

I came into this course 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. 

-Ava, 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. 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

Thanks for the webinar. I have learned a lot since then. Getting to put my pen on writing my essays, just tears me up as I have to reconnect with my past, but I will get there. Thanks to Ethan and his team for leading us towards getting into college.

-Emily, Student

"I think this course really changed my life."

-Angela G, student

Ready to join me?
 
 

Detailed Overview

LESSON 1 - Brainstorming

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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 You Most

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

  • 106 Ways to Find an Essay Topic

LESSON 2 - HOW TO STRUCTURE your ESSAY

 
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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 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 your COLLEGE ESSAY

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  •  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

 LESSON 4 - Ethan gives feedback on real essays

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  • Ethan Workshops Student Essays and Gives Feedback

  • Analysis of Over a Dozen Real Student Personal Statements

  • Expert Feedback Including Comments and Notes for Revision on Google Docs

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

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  • 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

LESSON 6 - HOW TO BRING AN ESSAY TO LIFE

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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

LESSON 7 - Advanced Techniques: HOW TO TAKE your ESSAY TO THE NEXT LEVEL

how to apply for college
  •  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

THE COURSE WORKBOOK INCLUDES

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 (plus 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 »


"College Essay Guy is much like Batman or spider man. He is a super hero, with super powers. 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.  It's the perfect storm of lessons and personal feedback. Overall it has been a pleasure to work with Ethan, and all his creative material is conducive for anyone to be the College Essay Guy they wish to see in the world"

-Max K, Student


Register Here
 

PAY IN FULL

Instant access

$297

Learn to Brainstorm, Edit, Revise, and Add Style

Covers Everything for the Main Essay of the Common Application

Includes a year of access to:

1 Week of Live Sessions with Ethan this Summer

30+ Video Modules

40+ Page Workbook

Payment Plan

3 Monthly Payments of

$116/month

Learn to Brainstorm, Edit, Revise, and Add Style

Covers Everything for the Main Essay of the Common Application

Includes a year of access to:

1 Week of Live Sessions with Ethan this Summer

30+ Video Modules

40+ Page Workbook

 

REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE AND GET 50% OFF part 2 of my course, how to write the college application + Supplemental ESSays.

HOW? REGISTER FOR THis course AND YOU'LL BE TAKEN TO THE DISCOUNTED OFFER.


Are you a College Admissions Counselor?

We have a course just for you.


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 course?

Just click below to request a Pay-What-You-Can spot.


Want to finish your entire Common Application?

Take Part 2: How to Write your college application + supplemental essays

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.

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)

 

ARE YOU A LOW-INCOME STUDENT? DO YOU GET FREE/REDUCED LUNCH? YOU MAY be approved FOR THE MATCHLIGHTERS SCHOLARSHIP.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO GET COLLEGE ESSAY & application coaching.

 
 
 
Got a Question?

YOU MAY BE WONDERING (FAQ)

+WHAT IF I HAVE TO MISS A LIVE SESSION?

Don't worry. You'll have access to all of the video lessons, including recordings of the live sessions, to watch whenever and wherever you want.

+HOW DO I GET 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 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: [email protected].