hours of video lessons

I walk you through my favorite methods and resources for helping a group of students brainstorm and write compelling college essays.



Busy life? No problem. You’ll have access to the video recordings and course material forever.


or Pay-what-you-can

Limited budget? Pay-What-You-Can spots are available for CBOs and counselors working with low-income students. Fill out the pay-what-you-can form below to request a spot (orange button).

Meet Your Guide

Each year I help thousands of students and counselors around the world through my online courses, workshops, articles, products, and books. I also work privately with a small number of students each year.

In this online course, I distill the best and most effective college essay writing resources I have ever used.  I’ll personally walk you through how I guide students from "I have no idea what to write about" to "That's the best thing I've ever written."


Years of Experience in one course

Lessons and exercises geared exclusively to counselors that cover everything from choosing a topic to polishing a final draft. Plus bonus material to keep the momentum going after the workshop has ended.


PageS OF WorkbooK MAterial

The exercises and activities I use with my own students in PDF or web format, plus an online student guide you can share directly with your own students.



Take the course and try it out. Not happy? You'll get your money back.

Nothing to lose.

“The best workshop I've been to in 35 years in the profession." 

-B. Goleman, Independent Counselor

Want to take a closer look firsT?
Try the course free for 3 days here!



Watch from the comfort of your wherever.


The Role of the Facilitator (You)
What Are We Doing Here: A 5-Minute Exercise for Setting Workshop Goals and Intentions

Module 1:

How to Establish Rapport Quickly and Maintain Students' Interest for Hours

Four Great Warm-Up Exercises (aka Vulnerability Training)
The Essence Objects Exercise
The Values Exercise

Module 2:

How to Pick a Topic and How to Structure Any Type of Essay

The Four Types of Essays
Narrative and Montage Structure
A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the:
      Types A & C Essay
          The Narrative Essay / Feelings and Needs Exercise
     Type B & D Essay
          The Montage Essay Exercise

Module 3:

Step-by-Step Guide for Leading Different Types of Workshops

1-Hr Workshop
2-Hr Workshop
3-Hr (or Half-Day) Workshop

Module 4:

Everything Else You Need + Practicum

How to Make Sure Students Are Focused During Paired Work Assignments
How to Make the Most of Focused Writing Time
Important Differences for Workshops with 4 students vs. 40 vs. 400
Outlines for Full Day (5-8 Hour) Workshops, Multi-Day, and Multi-Week Workshops
How to Adapt This Guide in a 1-on-1 Setting in Your Private Counseling Practice

Workshop Testimonials

I’ve done a lot of webinars, and this was the best so far. The PDFs are great, as are the links. I’m printing all of it and will make a binder for reference.
— Jann Russell, 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
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


  • The entire How to Lead a Life-Changing Workshop course.

  • One year of access to the Essay Workshop in a Box: Premium Counselor Version, the workshop curriculum that serves as the basis of this course.

  • The Complete College Essay Guy Video Library. Over two dozen videos that I use with my own students to help them with their particular struggles.

  • The College Essay Guy Webinar Club for Students. Free webinars where I talk about writing personal statements, supplemental essays, and give feedback on student essays.

  • The private Facebook Support Community for Counselors. Share best practices and learn from hundreds of other counselors.

  • The student guide. Access for your students to the simple step-by-step student guide so you can walk them through the entire process. Includes all of the brainstorming activities, questionnaires, and exercises I use with my own students.

  • Lifetime video access. Over 6 hours of video and audio recordings that you can watch anytime.

  • Practicums. Get experience practicing using the tools and resources I cover throughout the course.

  • Q&A Sessions. I answer commonly asked questions and cover issues you might be having with your students. Having trouble inspiring them? Having trouble keeping them on track? I think I can help.


the Essay Workshop in a Box

Includes an entire year of access to the Essay Workshop in a Box curriculum, including:

  • Step-by-step lesson plans for counselors

  • 20+ videos led by me, Ethan

  • Dozens of lessons, worksheets, and brainstorming activities to help students through their most common essay struggles

  • Outlines for leading workshops over one, two, and three days, plus multi-week workshop guides.

  • Solutions to these common workshop struggles

    • How to keep your students focused and on task

    • Tips for adapting your workshop to any size group

    • How to use this workshop material in a one-on-one setting

    • Making the most of focused writing time

    • So much more I can't even fit it all on here.

  • Tons more. Read on here.


Ready to Join Me?

Pay in Full

Lifetime Access


6 Hours of Video Lessons + Guidebook

1 Year Access to the Essay Workshop in a Box

A Free Copy of my book College Essay Essentials

Designed for Workshops Anywhere Between
1-Hour to 3 full Days

The Do-It-Yourself Package

Access to all my Courses for Counselors


Part 1: How to Write a Personal Statement

Part 2: How to Write the College Application + Supplements

Part 3: How to Lead a Life-Changing College Essay Workshop

How to Answer the UC Application Prompts Course

1 Year of Access to the Essay Workshop in a Box

A copy of my book College Essay Essentials


Yes, it's actually

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 Pay What You Can spot.

Limited Pay-What-You-Can spots available for CBOs and public-school counselors working with low-income students. Click below to get a spot.


Got a Question?

I’d like to know more about the workshop before I commit--can you share more?
why should I take this course?

A few reasons:

1. Workshops are an incredibly efficient way of helping students write a first draft of a personal statement. It turns out that much of the college essay work can, in fact, be accomplished in a group setting. 

2. You're unlikely to find a course anywhere that addresses the particular concerns of leading a personal statement workshop, and you definitely won't find one that addresses the particularities in such a practical, detailed, and step-by-step way.

In this course, I’ll address:

  • How can I help 30 (or 300) students choose a great topic without having to meet individually with every single one?

  • Which parts of the college essay writing process can be automated, and which can't?

  • How can I keep students fully engaged and productive for several consecutive hours without getting bored or burnt out?

  • Why should I stop my workshop before 3pm?

  • Should I use music in my workshops, or not? If so, what music? (Spoiler: I'll provide playlists.)

  • How much time should I ideally spend on each exercise?

  • How can I help my students identify a solid structure--in about an hour--again, without having to meet individually with each one?

  • How can I help my students delve more deeply into themselves, especially if they've chosen a superficial topic?

  • How do I teach my students to revise their essays on their own so that when I get their first draft it's actually pretty decent?

  • Should students get feedback? When? From whom?

Do STUDENTS need the book? 

It's not necessary, but the course comes with a free copy for you, the counselor.  If you’d like to place a bulk order for your students, please go here.

AREN'T YOU giving a lot away?

Yes. Why? I want to help more students, and the best way I can think to do that is by helping more counselors.

What if I have another question?

Our FAQ page has you covered. Or if you can't find the answer there, shoot us an email.