How to Lead a Life-Changing College Essay Workshop

A step-by-step video course and curriculum for helping counselors lead a life-changing college essay workshop for their students.

This live 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, including live Q&A sessions with me (College Essay Guy), 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.

What a gift you are to students and counselors! Thank you, Ethan, for "letting us in" to your thoughtful, deeply personal and inspiring world of writing the college essay. I now have a framework—and meaningful methods—to practice and share with rising seniors. I am grateful for you, your approach—and your craftsmanship.

— Jann Russell, Independent Counselor



  1. How to lead the best, most succinct college essay exercises I’ve ever encountered, many of which are in my book, College Essay Essentials.
  2. What order to lead them in and how much time to spend on each
  3. How to keep things moving while also creating an environment where students can feel more and more free to open up as the workshop progresses.


How can I help students identify their deepest story?
Are any topics off-limits? How much sharing is too much?
How can I help my students identify a solid structure?
How do I help my students revise their essays?
How can I help my students delve more deeply into themselves?
How can I teach students to be good editors for one another (so I don't have to do all the work)?
Should students get feedback? When? From whom?
How do I help students assess if they’ve written a solid essay (again, so I don’t have to do all the work)?



  • Access to the Essay Workshop in a Box: Premium Counselor Version, and membership in the CEG Counselor Club for a year, which includes:
    • The private Facebook Support Community for Counselors - Share best practices and learn from hundreds of other counselors
    • The College Essay Guy Complete Video Library - Over a twenty five videos that I use with my own students to help them with their particular struggles
    • A free copy of my book, College Essay Essentials
    • The College Essay Guy Webinar Club - Free bi-monthly webinars where I talk about writing personal statements, supplemental essays, or give feedback on student essays
    • Access to the simple step-by-step student guide to share with your students and help you walk them through the entire process yourself. Includes all of the brainstorming activities, questionnaires, and exercises I use with my own students.
  • Practicums to gain experience using the tools and resources I cover in the course
  • A bonus Q&A session to address commonly asked questions
  • Video and audio recordings that you can watch anytime

As a counselor I appreciate how I can 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




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 Lead the Best Brainstorming Exercises I’ve Ever Used

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

MODULE 2: How to Help Your Students Structure Their Essays

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 for Leading Different Types of Workshops

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

MODULE 4: More Tips for Leading Workshops

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

Course will also include practicum assignments, so you’ll get to practice using all the tools and resources.

In one sense, this is a user’s guide for College Essay Essentials, but it’s also something more, as the book was written for (and to) the individual student, and the workshop setting offers different challenges and opportunities.

Do you need the book? 
Although having copies of the book isn’t strictly necessary, it can certainly help, as you’ll see.

The course comes with a copy of the book for you, the counselor, but if you’d like to place a bulk order for students, please go here:

Am I 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.

Got a question?


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