YOU HAVE 30 or 300 KIDS.



You just can't do it all.


With the right tools and a little guidance.

They can do this themselves.




The Complete Guide to Leading a Life-Changing College Essay Workshop


My goal is to help counselors lead workshops that shift their students’ thinking about their own life stories in a way that is inspiring, purposeful, and fun. 

A great workshop will also save you tons of time.


I believe a workshop is the most effective and inspiring way to get students started on their college personal statement.

Here’s what’s included:



Step-by-step lessons for counselors that cover:

  • How to create a safe space that invites openness, vulnerability and creativity
  • Two activities to efficiently help your students find their deepest story
  • Two simple structures that will work for any personal statement (really)
  • A system for personally reviewing and approving essay topics for 100+ students in one day—and more, if you have help
  • Four ways to help students outline their essay
  • How to adapt this material to a one-on-one setting

And here’s the best part: You can lead the workshop yourself, co-lead it with videos from me, or have students guide themselves, depending on what will work best for your students and (honestly) how much time you have.



20+ videos and dozens of pages of lessons, worksheets and brainstorming activities to help students through the most common essay struggles, including:

  • How do I know which topic to choose?
  • How should I structure my essay?
  • Should I write about X in my essay?
  • How do I make my essay, like, deep?
  • How do I know if my essay is ready to submit?
  • Who should I ask to get help revising my essay? And when?
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More than 200 tips and Resources specifically for counselors, including:

  • 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.

follow-up RESOURCES to help students keep the momentum going after their workshop

  • Monthly follow-up webinars for students where I give direct feedback on essays
  • A Brief Guide to Tackling the Supplemental Essays
  • Guides to Writing Your Activities List, Additional Info Section, and College Resume
  • A Brief Guide to Preparing for College Interviews
  • Four Essential Qualities to Include in Your Essay
  • Tons more.

“You are awesome. The kids won't stop talking about you!”

— Amy, Counselor
I have never seen a more comprehensive, step-by-step, Do-It-Yourself “script” and “toolbox” in my 20+ years in the college admissions, test prep, and counseling industry. And I must admit, I have personally presented thousands of workshops and it makes me jealous thinking that I never prepared anything close to this to get myself ready or train others.  

Ethan set me up for success as anything I could think I needed, he provided – scripting, tools, resources, examples, worksheets and much more including best practices and strategies to running the workshop that best fit my district’s needs.

Heck, I even learned a few things about myself when I did my own “vulnerability training.”
— Anthony Russomanno, Capistrano Unified School District
I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to attend one of your workshops. Your generosity and enthusiasm for your work is beyond expectations. Your humble spirit shines clear. I am so excited to get back to my students and use your exercises. What a blessing you are.
— Belinda, Counselor
You provided me with the most useful advice I’ve ever received in this entire whirlwind process of college admissions. You helped me harness all these intangible ideas in my head and put them on paper. In a business that usually takes a very impersonal approach, you instead make writing a college essay very much an intimate process, which will help me not only with my application but really in the whole business of life itself.
— Elsa, Student


Ethan Sawyer is a internationally recognized college essay expert, sought-after speaker, and author of the best-selling book College Essay EssentialsEach year he helps thousands of students and counselors through his online courses, articles, guides, and books. He works privately with a small number of students. 

Ethan delivers workshops around the world on the college essay. His workshops range from 1-hour long to 1-week long and he has given workshops to groups of 4 students and groups of 400+ students.  

He's excited to share everything he's learned over the last 10+ years with the college counselors of the world.  


Gone are the days of repeating yourself, ad nauseum, with every single student. 

Workshop Options




An online, pre-recorded step-by-step workshop for students


1-Hour Workshop

  • Step-by-step Student Guide

2-Hour Workshop

  • Step-by-step Student Guide

3-Hour Workshop

  • Step-by-step Student Guide




A step-by-step guide for counselors on delivering a virtual or in-person essay workshop.


-Follow up webinars throughout the fall

-The Guide to leading a 1-Hour, 2-Hour or 3-Hour Workshop

  • Step-by-step Counselor Guide
  • Step-by-Step Student Guide
  • The CEG Complete Video Library
  • The private Facebook Support Community
  • The College Essay Guy Webinar Club
  • Additional outlines for leading:
    • Full-day workshops
    • 3, 4 and 5-day workshops
    • 6-week workshops




A five-part course for counselors, personally led by me (Ethan).


-Access to EVERYTHING in the free and premium versions.


  • 8 Hrs of instruction and training
  • Practicums to gain experience using the tools and resources in the guide
  • Video and audio recordings that you can watch anytime, anywhere
  • Collaboration with your counseling peers to help tweak your own workshop
  • Resources to help get your students inspired to write


Limited budget? Pay-What-You-Can spots available for counselors and CBOs working with low-income students.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I lead a workshop anyway?

It’s incredibly efficient. Early on, I learned that much of the process of brainstorming and finding a structure for a personal statement can be taught in groups. 

What are the main differences between the Free Student Version and the Counselor Version?

The Free Student Version provides a link you can give to your students so they can work step-by-step through the process on their own. The Premium Counselor Version gives you the student link (to share with students), but also gives you a Counselor Version of the The Essay Workshop in a Box that you can work through with your students, at a pace you determine, and with Counselor Notes and Tips throughout to help you make the workshop as productive and efficient as possible. The Premium Counselor Version also gets you:

  • A copy of my book College Essay Essentials
  • My Complete Video Library (these are the videos I actually use with my own students) 
  • The private Facebook Support Community (Collaborate and share notes with hundreds of other high school counselors on best practices)
  • The College Essay Guy Webinar Club (monthly webinars where I offer direct feedback on student essays)
  • Additional outlines for leading full-day workshops, 3, 4 and 5-day workshops, and even six-week workshops

What are the main differences between the Counselor Version and the Counselor Training Program?

  1. Metaphorically speaking, the PCV gives you a boat and a map; the CTP teaches you how to sail.
  2. The Premium Counselor Version (PCV) equips you with all the tools you need to guide students through a dynamic, life-changing workshop, while the Counselor Training Program (CTP) does that PLUS teaches you how to become a master workshop facilitator. 
  3. The PCV comes with one year of access to the materials; the CTP includes one-year of access to the PCV materials.

Got another question?

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