A step-by-step video course and curriculum on how to lead a life-changing college essay workshop.

This online video course provides counselors with everything they need to lead their students through a life-changing college essay workshop. With over 12 hours of video content it's the most comprehensive course of its kind. 

This course includes content geared specifically to counselors that answers frequently asked questions about leading a college essay workshop and provides solutions to the most common workshop struggles that counselors face.



You’ll watch the few video lessons, which you’ll have access to as soon as you register.


Complete a few homework assignments to build confidence and understand the structure.


Watch Recorded Q&A Sessions where I share best practices and discuss specific questions and essay workshop struggles.

Take your college essay workshops to the next level


hours of Lessons

You’ll get 6 hours of video lessons and 6 hours of recorded Q&A sessions with me that walk you through my favorite methods and resources for helping a group of students brainstorm and write compelling college essays.



Watch anywhere, anytime.

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


Years of workshop Experience in one course

The lessons and exercises in this course cover everything from helping your students choose 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.


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’ve led hundreds of workshops around the country and world and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you.

In this online course, I distill the best and most effective college essay writing resources I have ever used in my workshops.  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."

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

-B. Goleman, Independent Counselor



  • What Are We Doing Here: A 5-Minute Exercise for Setting Workshop Goals and Intentions


  • Four Great Warm-Up Exercises (aka Vulnerability Training)

  • How to Lead the Essence Objects in a Workshop Setting

  • How to Lead the Values Exercise in a Workshop Setting


  • Teaching The Four Types of Essays in a Workshop Setting

  • Helping students decide Narrative or Montage Structure

  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Structure in a Workshop Setting

    • Types A & C Essay (The Narrative Essay)

    • Type B & D Essay (The Montage Essay Exercise)


  • 1-Hr Workshop

  • 2-Hr Workshop

  • 3-Hr (or Half-Day) Workshop


  • 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 These Resources in a 1-on-1 Setting in Your Private Counseling Practice

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.

  • A 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 lessons, plus 6 hours of live sessions that you can watch live with more or anytime via the recording.

  • 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 one year of access to the Essay Workshop in a Box curriculum, including:

  • Step-by-step lesson plans for counselors

  • Dozens of 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

  • Tons more. Read more here.


Ready to Join Me?

Pay in Full

Lifetime Access


Watch Anytime

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

Payment Plan

3 Monthly Payments of


Watch Anytime

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



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 or pay-what-you-can.

Are you a public high-school counselor or CBO that works with primarily low-income students? 
Click below to request 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.