Ethan Sawyer is a nationally recognized college essay expert and sought-after speaker. Each year he helps thousands of students and counselors through his online courses, workshops, articles, products, and books, and works privately with a small number of students. 

Raised in Spain, Ecuador, and Colombia, Ethan has studied at seventeen different schools and has worked as a teacher, curriculum writer, voice actor, motivational speaker, community organizer, and truck driver. He is a certified Myers-Briggs® specialist, and his type (ENFJ) will tell you that he will show up on time, that he'll be excited to meet you, and that, more than anything, he is committed to—and an expert in—helping you realize your potential. 

A graduate of Northwestern University, Ethan holds an MFA from UC Irvine and two counseling certificates. He lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, Veronica, and their amazing daughter, Zola. 

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Adapted from the intro to the book College Essay Essentials, available on Amazon

This may sound weird, but being the College Essay Guy is my dream job. Why? Not because, as a kid, I thought to myself, “I really want to be the College Essay Guy when I grow up.” In fact, I first studied to become a screenwriter (BS Speech, Northwestern), then an actor (MFA, UC Irvine), and then a counselor (UC Irvine). And when I considered all the things that I loved to do and that I’d trained for—writing, speaking, counseling—I realized that I’d uniquely equipped myself to become the College Essay Guy. So I created this really cool job for myself.

How? To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, I followed my bliss. I kept doing what I loved until I found myself in this place. 

But things really clicked for me when I realized how being the College Essay Guy actually brought together some of my core values, and I think sharing those with you here might help you understand why I’m the only person who could have written this book.



I love getting things done and I especially love finding ways to streamline my productivity. (It’s something I’m actually kind of obsessed with and my wife likes to joke that I can get done what three people get done in a day.) It’s why the word “essentials” is in the title of my book.


Patterns & Connections

I loved watching movies as a kid and the way stories helped me make sense of my world. And when I started teaching story structure to my college essay students, I loved how it helped them make sense of their worlds. But it wasn’t until I was introduced to narrative therapy that I really began to understand how powerful personal statement writing could be. Through narrative therapy, I discovered how I could re-frame events of my past and, in effect, re-author my identity. It was like learning a superpower. And guess what? You have this superpower too. It’s one that you’ll be upgrading as we work together.


So here’s what you’ll find in these pages: an efficient, practical process for helping you access your deepest story, recognize patterns and connections where you may not have, and generate insights that express how brilliant you are. Because you are.

But there’s one more thing I haven’t told you yet.

This process could change your life.

That’s right. The personal statement writing process can be empowering, therapeutic, and even life-altering. Why? To paraphrase Joseph Campbell once more:

A good life is one hero journey after another.
Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare?

And if you do dare, the dangers are there,
And the fulfillment, or the fiasco.

There’s always the possibility of a fiasco.

But there’s also the possibility of bliss.

Writing your personal statement is a hero’s journey. There are dangers. And there is the possibility that you might fail. But there’s also the possibility that, if you stick with it, something amazing might happen.

Do you dare?

If so, let's work together.