118: Who is the College Essay Guy?

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This is part three of my four-part series with Ted Dorsey (aka Tutor Ted). On the last two episodes I interviewed Ted, while on this episode (and on the next one), Ted turns the tables on and interviews me. On this episode Ted just wanted to give folks a chance to get to know me better, so we discussed:

  • How I ended up as the College Essay Guy (Spoiler: that wasn’t the plan)
  • What applying to college was like for me
  • How I learned the importance of asking good questions
  • Why I never tell students to “write in their voice”
  • How I believe writing your essay can actually change your self-image
  • What it’s like working with me one-on-one


How I came to be the College Essay Guy [1:44 ]
Surprising similarities between Ted and my stories [4:58]
My earlier days applying to college [5:12]
If I had gotten admissions help at 17… [7:16]
How I learned the importance of asking good questions [7:50]
How I use the Essence Object Exercise [10:44]
How writing your essay can change your self-image [11:40]
“What is your story?” and other bad questions to ask students [13:47]
Why telling students to “write in their voice” is bad writing advice [14:25]
Two great stories about awesome students I worked with [15:54]
My approach to working with students one-on-one [21:11]
The importance of picking a great essay topic [27:28