116: Who is Tutor Ted? (and Resources for Brainstorming a Personal Statement)


This is the first of two podcasts with Ted Dorsey, also known as Tutor Ted, who scored perfectly on the ACT, SAT, PSAT and runs a cool test prep company called (what else?) Tutor Ted.

Now, in the second part of this podcast he’ll show you how to improve your ACT score by 2 points… in just 20 minutes. But before we get to that, I thought it might be great to get to know Ted on a more personal level--and what better way, I thought, than to take him through the exercises I use with my students when we’re brainstorming personal statements. Why? Because I use some exercises that go really deep, really fast--as you’re about to hear.

So in part 1 of this episode you’ll hear Ted and I going through some of my warm-up exercises (which I actually call “vulnerability training” -- you’ll see why in a minute), so you’ll essentially get to see part of my brainstorming process in action.

Ted will do (on the spot!) a distilled version of the Essence Objects and Values Exercises, which you’ll be familiar with from Episode 111 of the podcast, or if you know my book or my website. Then you’ll hear me walk him through my #1 favorite brainstorm, the Feelings and Needs Exercise (which has been called the “20 minute therapy” exercise--again, you’ll see why once we get into it).

By the end you’ll know Ted a lot better and, even though we don’t talk about on this episode, you’ll see that Ted has some GREAT content for a college essay… were he to go back and write one.

I’ll say more about Part 2--How to Improve Your ACT Score By 20 Points--at the beginning of that episode. Right now, please enjoy Part 1 of this two-part episode with Ted Dorsey...


Who is Ted Dorsey? [:38]
Ethan walks Ted through three essay writing exercises [3:47]
Ethan plays the “I Love” Game [4:47]
Ted plays the “I Love” Game [6:19]
Ethan plays the second exercise: “If you really knew me” [7:51]
Then it’s Ted’s turn. [9:53]
The third exercise: Ethan plays the Essence Objects [14:21]
Ted describes his own essence objects [15:47]
Ted tells a story about one of his past students [18:20]
The fourth exercise: Values Exercise [21:19]
Ted’s top core values [22:50]
How creativity has been manifesting in Ted’s life [23:39]
Number five: the Challenges exercise [26:35]
Ted talks about the biggest challenges he faced and how they impacted him [26:45]
The feelings Ted felt along with these challenges [29:05]
What unmet needs went along with these feelings and how he met them [30:58]
What Ted learned from these challenges [35:45]
How Ted’s past challenges connect to his future road trip [36:54]