“Barak, please help Jake write his college essay, I can’t deal with him,” my sister pleaded with me in the summer of 2009.

“Don’t know much about them, but sure,” I said.

It’s funny how we can stumble into things. For a few years, I helped kids I knew in exchange for coffee and muffins. In 2012, I made a website and registration form and started charging a little bit for my services.

By the end of that year I had mentored 27 students, had two other mentors supporting another 15. Just like that, I was in the college essay business.

And I knew I needed a process.

A five-session program for counselors, consultants, and teachers who want to delete stress, do what matters, and breathe.


This is an interactive course that will explore the secrets by guiding you through our own college essay wriing process. We’ll use our process to help you learn about the deeper issues with process design that most people don’t know exist or how to think about.

If you use other material (like CEG or WOW!), or are figuring out how you work with teens, this will help you understand what you’re doing and design a process and work with teens more effectively.

[[[need a benefit list, what’s included (like EssayQuest account, feedback forms, worksheets they can use to work with their own process, cost, etc)]]]

The complete course is $179.
We’ll never let finances get in the way, so be in touch if you need some help with that.

Sessions 1–3
Wednesdays April 24 and May 1; Thursday, May 16
[[[needs content]]]
will write your own common app essay as we go, will dig into the hows and whys

Session 4
June dates TBD
In this session you will: learn how to give easy, effective, and actionable feedback on college essays learn some of the coolest, slickest, and simplest writing and editing tricks you’ve ever seen

Session 5
July dates TBD
In this session you will: learn how to streamline and simplify the supplemental essay process for you and your students

The course is based on our Write Like a pro process, the framework in which everything we do takes place. I’ll guide you through activities in EssayQuest, our teen-tested program, and you’ll see stuff and such and whatnot.

This may look simple, and it is. But to get to just this level of conceptual clarity and developing the core activities took five years. Refining the process, sequence, and student experience took three more.

Learning outcome

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Learning outcome

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Learning outcome

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Learning outcome

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I’ve been exploring the seven secrets for over a dozen years

[[[rewrite this so it’s more of my story, with bio woven in. Make me sound like a friendly, fun badass.]]]

Imagine you’re starting from scratch and want to find a way to guide any student to their best college essay. What would you do? What would you need to know about college essays, storytelling, teenagers, writing, process design, neuroscience, linguistics, communication theory, instructional design, project management, and more?

Fortunately, I’d been geeking out on all of these areas for fifteen years before I stumbled on college essays.

Barak and a young man standing in front of a snow covered mountain. Caption reads, "exploring with Jay, one of my first students."

(Most of) the 7 secrets

  1. Build a strong foundation
  2. Create clear communication
  3. Implement a predictable process
  4. Develop an intentional mindset
  5. Provide actionable feedback 

(We’re saving the last two secrets for the course.)

You’ll explore the secrets, get curious about them, and discover what they mean for you and your work.

We’ll give you some tips and tricks, but mainly you’ll be learning how to bring these secrets into your world, so you and your students can work more efficiently, with less stress.

This is your adventure, your quest. I’m here to serve as your guide and mentor.

[[[update testimonials]]]

EssayQuest allows kids to meet the essay where they are and to accentuate their experiences through a formulaic approach that’s digestible and understandable.

For the kids it demystifies the personal statement.

Francisco Estrado

Uplift Luna High School (Dallas, Texas)

[The first year we worked with EssayQuest], the assistant director of admissions at the University of Connecticut told me they saw an improvement in our students’ college essays. What we did differently was that many of our students took part in workshops led by Barak and our staff.

We continue to have a good relationship [with EssayQuest], and it’s definitely benefitting our students and community.


Assistant Principal (former Guidance Chair), Norwalk (CT) High School

I’d been using well-known brainstorming exercises for years; frankly, students weren’t into them. This meant I was working harder to help students discover their best ideas and bring them to life. I was burnt out at the end of each essay cycle, so I felt like I couldn’t expand my practice.

After years of working in metaphorical “black and white,” EssayQuest is like entering technicolor!

Betsy Cadel

Founder, College Essay Helpers

[[[insert pricing, include $179 course, $500 get started for consultants. Mention don’t worry if can’t pay (or maybe, $79 if in first two years of practice?)]]]

If you don’t give the course an enthusiastic thumbs up, we’ll refund the tuition.

You got questions? We got answers!

Do I have to be at all of the sessions, or can I watch recordings?

We know not everyone will be able to join all session, so we’ll record them for you. If you can make it, you’ll have the chance to ask questions, engage with us, and get some coaching, 

How much time should I spend on activities between sessions?

Figure 1–2 hours between each session. 

If you’re like our students, you may enjoy the process so much you put even more time into it!

Will the course still be valuable if I don't do the activities between sessions?

Absolutely! But we bet you’ll want to do the work once you see how fun it can be.

Are you gonna try to sell me something?


But we will be using EssayQuest, which we license to schools, IECs, nonprofits, and others. We’ll stick around at the end of each scheduled session to share information about the program if you want to learn more. The time in the scheduled session is all for you.

Is this course compatible with other programs I'm using?


Even though we’ll be going through a process, the course is really about exploring how to streamline and enliven your experience with college essays, no matter what process you use. 

Can I share material from the course with students and parents?

We have tons of free resources you can share. To use the full EssayQuest program, you will need a license. 

My budget is tight. Can you make this more affordable?

Absolutely. Email Barak and let him know what works for you.

Is this like other training programs out there?

On the surface, sure. We all have a big picture process, and all guide you through some activities. We’ll share some of our tools approaches. 

But we’re diving far below the surface, bringing decades of academic and real-world exploration in process design, communication theory, linguistics, neuroscience (Barak likes to hang out with PhDs!), instructional design, and more. 

Our student become better writers and communicators and regularly share the difference working with us made years after graduating college. They learn at a deeper level as they’re going through the process of writing their essays. 

As you got through this program, you’ll learn the seven secrets at a deeper level as well. You’ll be able to take what you learn into all aspects of your work with students, and beyond.

WOW! This seems like a bargain compared to Some Other Guys. What gives?

Hehe. Couldn’t resist. Sorry!

We just have a different business model. We offer workshops, courses, and free resources to share knowledge and experience, and to help people learn about us. Our revenue comes from licensing EssayQuest to organizations and IECs.

We’re playing the game of No More Bad College Essays. That’s a big game and we need plenty of people to play with us! We’d rather have a lot of people paying a little, than a few people paying a lot.

You made it! Welcome to the end of the page.

Here’s a quick look back at where you’ve been:

  • This is an awesome program
  • It’s 5 days over several months
  • You’ll get this stuff…
  • You’ll get these benefits
  • Just $179 to register!

We have more to share!

Over the next few days, we'll send you College Essays 102, more sample essays, and activities to help you find stories you never knew you could write about.  

We want you to write your best college essay!

EssayQuest Page Source

Got it! Check your email!

At the NEACAC Conference?


Please come say hi at Thursday's exhibitor expo! 

And, join our founder Barak Rosenbloom and Brian Gallagher of the Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston for our Thursday 2:15 workshop, Seven Secrets for a Streamlined and Energized College Essay Process

We have great free resources to share. Leave your email and we'll send them along after the conference. 


EssayQuest Page Source

Are you interested in:

Got it! Check your email!