Learn to write winning college essays for top schools
Online course where you learn how to go from "What do I write about?" to application essays that boost your chances.
I've helped 200+ students get into top schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and MIT. I can help you too.
"I can't thank you enough for this course! I have only completed around 30% and it has already helped me so much!" - Aarushi Arora
How will you make your application essays stand out?
If your answer is "I don't know," then that's a problem. Because your essays matter, a lot:
→ Fact #1. Only 1 in 5 students have "strong" college essays.
At Harvard, only 21% of students who applied got rated a "2" or higher (out of 5) on their "essays" section (a.k.a. "personal qualities").
That means even for students applying to Harvard, 4 out of 5 students have "weak" essays.
→ Fact #2. Your essays are more important than letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and interviews
According to a recent survey from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), your essays are the 5th most important factor.
After you grades and test scores, your essays are easily the most important factor in your application.
→ Fact #3. College essays are completely different from high school essays
Successful colleges essays are not...
- Academic essays
- "Analytical" essays
- "5-paragraph" essays
- Creative writing, like short stories, poems, or novels
The best college essays are instead...
- Honest and authentic tone (speaking from the "I")
- Explore ideas, not just "what happened"
- Informal, but polished
- Reveal something new about yourself
Everything needed to write outstanding essays that boost your applications
And not just "good enough" essays, but truly outstanding essays that will be remembered by admissions officers...
Here's how the program works...
Step-by-Step Video Lessons
Learn how to write amazing college essays from scratch.
You'll get over 40 videos and over 6 hours of high quality content.
Learn mistakes to avoid, clichés and overused phrases, my best writing tips and tricks, and so much more.
Learn by example as I walk you through how to write every type of college essay: Common App, UC, supplemental, and more.
Unlimited Support & Communication
You'll have direct access to me, your dedicated essay coach, 7-days-a-week.
Ask unlimited questions via email, text, or chat.
Whether you have questions about brainstorming, writing, or editing, I'll be there to help.
Your journey to exceptional college admissions essays won't be alone — I'll walk you through every step of the process.
Worksheets & Student Action PlanNever again wonder: What should I do next?
You'll get access to all my actionable tips, advice, and mistakes to avoid in one place.
- Lists of overused phrases, clichés, and mistakes to avoid
- Tips & tricks to easily improve your writing quality
- Step-by-step guides on each type of college essay
230+ Essay Examples with AnalysisLearn what actually works for T-20 colleges
Dive into the admitted essays database and learn from over 230 essay examples from real students.
Over 50 personal statements and hundreds of supplements to become inspired and learn what it takes to write a winning essay.
From schools like Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, and dozens more...
Plus, you'll learn exactly what made the essays work, what didn't work, and how you can apply the same strategies to your writing.
Join our students who have earned acceptances to schools like...
Start writing essays that will make a difference
I designed this course so you can go through it at your own pace.
As soon as you register, you'll get access to the full step-by-step course, plus all the downloads, essay examples, and bonuses.
Watch this free preview of the course:
Where I share my 4 Rules for Outstanding College Essays (and why they're so important).
You'll learn exactly how to:
- Write unique essays, not cookie-cutter
- Following a formula is not the way to write a winning essay. I'll give you the tools and understanding to write a genuine essay that will help you stand out, without being gimmicky.
- Stand Out with "Wow" Essays
- I’ll help you avoid cliché topics. In fact, I’ll share a huge list of overused topics I’ve uncovered from reading thousands of essays.
- Beat procrastination & writer's block
- Get started early and learn how to write great essays quickly and efficiently. I'll share tips and tricks to help you get started, save time, and stay motivated.
- Understand What top colleges Seek
- All your essay questions answered. College essays can be confusing and overwhelming. By understanding what makes great essays, you'll be able to write your own with confidence.
- Brainstorm Your Best Ideas
- Want to get ahead? You'll be able to complete your applications early, and you'll have time to focus on other parts of your application.
- Press "submit" with confidence
- Wondering when your essays are "good enough"? You'll learn how to evaluate essays like an admissions officer so you can press "Submit" with confidence.
What parents are saying:
(Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of students and parents.)
Everything Your Student Will Learn...
These 40+ step-by-step videos cover every type of college essay, from your personal statement (aka Common App essay) to supplemental essays, UC essays, and more.
Week 1: 🧠 Understanding
- 1Everything You Need to KnowStart here! Welcome and course overview, plus tips for getting the most out of this program.
- 2Student Success StoryA real story of how a student took their essays from good to great, and the results paid off.
- 3What is the Purpose of College Essays?What's the purpose of your college essays? What are admissions officers looking for? And how much do they matter? I'll answer these questions.
- 4What Do Great Essays Have in Common (The 4 Qualities)I've read thousands of essays over the years. And the best essays all have these 4 key qualities in common. Learn the foundation of what makes outstanding college essays.
- 54 Tips for Working Smarter, Not HarderWriting your essays is often the most time-consuming part of applying to college. I'll show you how to save tons of time in the essay process, while still writing your best essays possible.
- 6What Should Your Essay Be About? (Important Advice)This one piece advice will unlock a new perspective that'll turn your essays from good to great. I'll answer the question: What should my essays be about?
Week 2: 💡 Brainstorming
- 1How to Choose a Unique TopicLearn how to choose a great essay topic and what really makes a unique essay. I'll give you 7 pieces of advice for choosing an amazing essay topic.
- 2What If No Tragedy or Big Accomplishments?In this lesson I'll address the common misconception that you need a "tragedy" or "big accomplishments" in order to write a great essay. I'll share why you definitely don't need these things and what to do instead.
- 310 Best Brainstorming Questions (Step-by-Step)Now I'll share a step-by-step brainstorming method for finding your essay topic, including my 10 favorite brainstorming questions and a foolproof brainstorming method.
- 4Why Failure Makes Successful EssaysI'll share a final key piece of advice about choosing great topics, which is that your topic must deal with change. You need conflict, challenge, or failure, of any size, and I'll share why this makes for successful essays and how to use it.
- 57 Types of Essay Topics to AvoidJust as important as knowing what to write about, is knowing what not to write about. In this lesson, I'll share 7 categories of essay topics that are trickier to write about and help you avoid these common pitfalls when starting out.
- 6How to Structure Your Essay (Every Type of Structure)How should you structure your essay? While there's no one-size-fits-all, I'll share every type of essay structure possible (seriously!) and how to go about finding your best essay structure.
Week 3: ✍️ Writing & Revising
- 1How to Write Powerful Stories (The Right Way)Using stories is a crucial part of your essays, but students often use write stories completely wrong. I'll share the best way to craft powerful stories and avoid these common pitfalls.
- 2How to Write Your First Drafts (Step-by-Step)Now let's write your first drafts, from start to finish. I'll share a step-by-step method you can use to write first drafts, as well as a real example of what that process might look like.
- 3How to Revise & Improve Each DraftOnce you've written your first draft, where do you go from here? I'll show you how to make each draft better than the last, starting with the most common pitfalls to avoid when revising, as well as a step-by-step revising method.
- 410 Tips and Tricks to Easily Improve Your WritingLooking to boost your writing quality without much extra effort? I'll share 10 actionable tips that'll easily improve your writing for college essays.
- 58 Common Writing Mistakes & Pitfalls to AvoidMistakes are good, because they teach you what not to do. I'll share the most common writing mistakes I see students fall into, and how you can avoid them in your essays.
- 6How to Make Your Essay "Deep" (12 Techniques)Want to create those "wow" moments to impress admissions officers? I'll show you how to write "deep moments" in your essays that give you goosebumps when you read them.
- 76 Ways to Show Personality & Create VoiceHow do you show personality in your essay? Your voice is a key part of making a connection with admissions officers, and I'll show you 6 actionable tactics to show your personality authentically without being cliché, over-the-top, or gimmicky.
- 8How to Use A Metaphor to Bring Your Essay To LifeThere's few writing tools more powerful than a unique metaphor. I'll show you a step-by-step method to come up with brilliant metaphors that impress admissions officers.
- 9How to Write a Powerful Hook (7 Strategies & 4 Mistakes to Avoid)How should you start your essay? Your hook is one of the most important parts, and I'll share 4 mistakes to avoid in your beginning, the secret to an amazing hook, plus 7 types of hooks you can try out.
- 10How to Write a Memorable Ending (9 Tips & 4 Mistakes to Avoid)Want to leave a memorable impression with your essay? I'll show you how to craft an impactful, resonating ending that stays with the reader. I'll share 4 mistakes to avoid and 9 tips for an outstanding ending.
Week 4: 📝 Editing
- 1How to Edit Your Essay to Perfection (Step-by-Step)Learn how to edit any essay to perfection. I'll share a step-by-step editing method so you can edit like a pro and improve your writing.
- 2How to Cut Down Words (Or Add More)Trouble meeting the word count? I'll show you easy ways to cut down words or add more words to meet the word count. I'll share tons of actionable tips and phrases you can cut out.
- 37 Ways to Make Your Essay "Flow" BetterMaking your essay "flow" will help it read more better and show yourself as a strong writer. I'll share 7 actionable tips for improving your essay's flow without much extra work.
- 427 Essay Mistakes to Edit OutHere's a huge list of common mistakes you should edit out of your essay. This is my ultimate list of essay mistakes to avoid when editing and how to fix these common problems.
- 517 Grammar Do's and Don'tsWondering what you're allowed to do grammar-wise? And what you should do? This is my complete grammar guide for college essays with simple, actionable rules to follow.
- 6How to Get Feedback On Your Essay (The Right Way)How should you ask for feedback? How many people should you ask? And how should you ask? I'll answer these questions and provide you with a system to get the most helpful feedback from anyone you ask.
- 7How to Test Your Essays (The Ultimate Checklist)This lesson has my huge 150+ point checklist that you can review before you submit your essay. Plus, I'll show you step-by-step how to evaluate your essays from an admissions officers perspective.
Week 5: 🏫 Supplements
- 112 Tips for Writing Outstanding SupplementsWant to make a strong case for yourself with your supplements? I'll share my 12 favorite tips for writing outstanding supplemental essays for any prompt.
- 2How to Write "Why This College?" SupplementsWhy us? essays are one of the trickiest to get right. I'll share a step-by-step guide for writing these types of supplements, as well as the secret to writing an outstanding answer (with real examples).'
- 3How to Write "Why This Major?" SupplementsWriting Why this Major? essays doesn't need to be hard. I'll share tips and strategies for approaching this prompt, plus a step-by-step guide you can follow.
- 4How to Write "Diversity" SupplementsThe next most common supplement is the "Diversity" essay. Even if you don't think you have a "unique identity", I'll show you how to answer this supplement in a strong way that makes a case for yourself.
- 5How to Write "Community" SupplementsThe final most common supplement is the \"Community\" essay. I'll show you exactly how to answer this prompt in a way that makes a strong case for why you'll be a great addition to their community.
- 6How to Write Your Short Answer SupplementsShort answers are often the most fun to write. I'll share some tips for writing your short answers and mistakes to avoid, plus some examples of my favorite short answers.
- 7How to Write Amazing UC Personal Insight QuestionsApplying to the UCs? I'll share general tips for writing your UC Personal Insight Questions, what the UCs are really looking for, and a step-by-step guide to writing your PIQs.
- 8How to Write Each of the 8 UC PIQs (Step-by-Step)Now, I'll dive into each UC PIQ prompt and give specific advice for answering each one. I'll cover each prompt 1-8 and help you decide which ones to answer and how to answer them.
Make every essay another reason to admit you
This course covers every type of college essay you'll need to write, including:
Common App Essay
Write an amazing personal statement, step-by-step, that admission officers will love and remember.
University of California Essays
Write incredible Personal Insight Questions (PIQs) that make you stand out from the 100,000+ UC applicants.
Write amazing supplements that convince admissions officers you're a perfect fit for their school.
- Why This College
- Why This Major
- "Diversity" Essays
- "Extracurricular" Essays
- Short Answers
Plus... Take the Stress Out of Applying to College
You'll also get full access to all my best college admissions resources, including exclusive bonuses like...
100+ Brainstorming Exercises
Everything needed to brainstorm great topics—for any prompt.
My 154-Point Essay Checklist
This ultimate editing checklist will make sure your essays are ready to submit.
My Ultimate College Application Planner
Stay organized and on track throughout the college admissions process. This planner covers every step from start-to-finish
Every Student Has a Story.
I'll Help Tell Yours.
Here's everything you get when you join The College Essay Workshop:
- Video Lessons
- Step-by-step guides to writing every type of college essay. Watch the lessons wherever and whenever you want.
- Types of Essays
- Learn how to write amazing essays for your...
- Personal Statement
- "Why Us" Essay
- "Why Major" Essay
- "Diversity" Essay
- "Community" Essay
- Short Answers
- UC Essays
- Satisfaction Guarantee
- If you're not completely satisfied with the course, you can get a full refund within 30 days. No questions asked.
- Downloadable Worksheets & Guides
- Save tons of time by using our cheatsheets and guides. You'll get access to all of them.
- Essay Examples
- Read inspiring sample essays and learn why they work so well. Get full access to the Essay Library with expert analysis.
- Full Course Access
- 1 year
- Get full access to the course for a full year. You can watch the lessons as many times as you want.
2023-24 College Admissions Season
The College Essay Workshop
Learn to Brainstorm, Write, and Revise ALL Your College Essays.
Have Top-20 Worthy College Essays.
What you'll get
- 40+ video lessons (6 hours)
- 230+ essay examples
- 25+ downloadable guides
- Unlimited customer support + Q&A
- Bonus #1: The Ultimate College Application Planner
- Bonus #2: The 154-Point Essay Editing Checklist
- Bonus #3: My Ultimate List of Brainstorming Questions
- Plus more bonuses...
"[Ryan] played a key role in my son getting admitted to his dream school" - Gokul Rajaram
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
At Essays That Worked, we want you to be completely satisfied with the products we provide. If you’re not happy with your purchase, you can request a full refund within 30 days of your purchase. No questions asked.See our refund policy →
I believe that everyone should have access to the best college admissions resources possible. That's why I offer a pay-what-you-can (PWYC) option for my course. If you're unable to pay the full price, please fill out the form below.
Can't afford the full price? I'd still love to have you in the course.
What Is EssaysThatWorked.com?
My name is Ryan Chiang, and I'm the founder of EssaysThatWorked.com. Since 2018, I've helped students write their best application essays possible for top-20 schools.
My website features over 200+ successful essays from admitted students at top-20 schools. I've created dozens of free resources, guides, and videos to help families navigate the college admissions process.
I've worked with hundreds of students and parents to apply confidently with their best essays possible. Will you be next?Learn more about Ryan →
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is this for?
The College Essay Workshop is ideal for high school students applying to undergraduate colleges or college students transferring to a new college.
I designed this program with top-20 colleges in mind, because more selective schools place more emphasis on essays in admissions.
How does it work?
You'll get full access to 40+ video lessons that you can watch at your own pace. With over 6 hours of content, these videos provide a step-by-step guide and advice for writing strong essays of any type.
Along with the lessons are downloadable worksheets to help you summarize the key points and apply them.
You'll get direct access to me to ask questions about your essays and get general advice via email, text, or chat.
Does this include essay editing?
No, but you'll have unlimited communication with me through email, text, or chat. I'll respond within 24-48 hours depending on the day of the week.
I can answer questions, provide general feedback on your essays, or help you brainstorm ideas.
While this doesn't include in-depth editing, I can point you in the right direction and give general impressions on your essays.
What type of payment do you accept?
You can pay using credit/debit card or PayPal.
You can choose between a one-time payment or 4 interest-free payments using PayPal's Buy Now, Pay Later.
Will this get me into top-20 colleges?
I cannot guarantee admissions success as it depends on many factors, many of which are out of your and my control.
This course will, however, help you write essays I believe are worthy of acceptance to the most selective colleges.
Essays are not the only factor in admissions, but they're an important one if you want your best chances.
What kinds of essays does this cover?
This will give you the tools to write outstanding college essays for any type of prompt, including:
- Personal Statement (a.k.a. Common App essay)
- Supplemental Essays
- "Why Us?" Essay
- "Why This Major?" Essay
- "Diversity" Essay
- "Community" Essay
- Short Answer Questions
- UC Personal Insight Questions (#1-8)
What if I decide it’s not for me?
No problem. You can get a full refund, no questions asked.
If you're not completely satisfied with your purchase, I'll refund your purchase fully within 30 days of purchase.
See our refund policy for more info.
How will my student get access?
If you're a parent purchasing The College Essay Workshop for your student, you'll receive an email with a link to access.
You'll also be able to enter your student's email address and I'll send them a link which they can use to access the program.
Who made this and why?
Ryan Chiang, Founder of EssaysThatWorked.com.
I've helped hundreds of students earn acceptances to their top-choice colleges by having genuine, compelling essays. To date, EssaysThatWorked.com has published over 200 essays from admitted students.
I believe any student can improve their college outcomes by writing strong essays and that the best way to do that is by learning from examples of successful essays.
If you have any questions about the course, feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to help.
What if I still have questions?
You can schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me to ask any questions you have about the course.
Just click here to schedule your free consultation.