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About College Essay Unlocked

College Essay Unlocked is the brainchild of Columbia University graduate Cole Filipek, M.A. Watch the video to hear how he fell in love with the college essay in high school and eventually became a full-time coach.

Learn about the course

Credentials & Affiliations

Can I work directly with Cole?

Cole spends the majority of his time running College Essay Unlocked. While the course gives students everything they need write a highly competitive college essay, students occasionally opt for one-on-one coaching. Get in touch to learn more.

Parent and Student Testimonials 

A great number of Cole's students have been admitted to their ideal university. Here are some testimonials from parents and students:

“I just received an acceptance letter from Stanford. Thank you Cole for all your help with the the essays, and continuing to push me out of my comfort zone when we talk about poems. You have been a huge help.”

--WR, Stanford


“He used wisdom and patience to help Anashe's essay. I really appreciated Cole's focus on keeping the writing positive.”

--MB, mother of Anashe, UC Berkeley


“Our eldest son has been working with Cole since middle school — providing him with support in a number of areas including essay development, SAT prep, and the dreaded Common App personal statement. Over the years, Cole has encouraged our son’s independence as a learner and supported his weaknesses. In many instances, these areas evolved into strengths. Cole’s tutoring provide our son with needed guidance, insight, and sometimes blunt honesty that is challenging, if not impossible, for a parent to offer. With Cole’s help, our son son has grown into a gifted writer, a very strong standardized test-taker, and was last fall admitted ED-1 to his top-choice school.”

--CW, mother of JW


“My son really enjoyed working with Cole! We were a little late getting started with the college essay writing and SAT test prep process. But Cole gave my son a realistic and clear timeline to help get him going. His straightforward approach and honest feedback is just what we needed. I would highly recommend Cole!”

--AM, mother of JM


“Cole helped my daughter write essays for UCs and for financial aid. He also helped her prepare for the ACT. She got into UC Berkeley!”

--Nancy K


“Cole had a very positive impact on my daughter who was struggling to get started and express herself in a way that really conveyed her unique personality and spirit. He patiently helped her brainstorm several ideas and together they refined one into a polished essay that suits her to a "T." His optimism and encouragement gave her the momentum she needed.”

--Carolyn W, mother of LW


“Frankly, my daughter, who has ADHD, was lost during the application process. Cole helped her write amazing essays in addition to helping her improve her ACT scores.”

--Melinda E; AE committed to UCSB


“I am absolutely ecstatic, as I got into Berkeley with a declared major in Physics! Cole, thanks so much for your help with my personal statement.”

--David F, UC Berkeley


“Last November, I read great reviews about Cole Filipek while browsing online. After one phone call to him I was convinced that he would be the perfect coach to proofread and critique my daughter's essays before she submitted her college applications. She met him a few times and also connected through Skype. Cole is an amazing tutor and made sure my daughter worked diligently on her essays in a timely manner. She was less stressed and got into many top colleges. I highly recommend Cole because he is very professional, has a positive attitude, and loves his job.”

--Meera R; LR committed to Case Western


“In 2015, my daughter applied to many schools. We used several writing tutors before we met Cole. I only wish that Cole was the first tutor I contacted. They worked successfully together for many hours. He helped her brainstorm and edit her essays, and he made sure that her essays were top quality. With Cole’s help, she got into her top choice schools, including Georgia Tech, Case Western, and RPI.”

--AK, father of AK


“Cole has been a vital part of our son’s learning experience over the last 4 years. From the get go, Cole established a fantastic working relationship with our son and our family. Over the years, Cole has developed a keen understanding of our son’s learning strengths and challenges. He pushes our son to be a more thoughtful writer and he is helping him master a full range of topics including Spanish and Science in addition to English and History. Not only is Cole incredibly dependable, but he keeps our son focused on key learning priorities for the duration of their tutoring hour. We appreciate Cole’s direct communication style and how he challenges our son to invest more time and thought into his academics. As parents, we’ve come to rely on Cole’s sound advice about school selections and academic and extra-curricular choices.”

--Sarah L, mother of AL


“Cole worked with both my sons during the summer and fall of their senior years in high school. He relates very well to kids of that age, they looked forward to working with him, and the results were excellent. My eldest son was accepted at a number of "reach" schools, I think in large part because of his strong essays. Cole not only helped with the writing but also choosing topics and working toward a deadline. I have two more younger kids and will definitely have them work with Cole when they apply to school.”

--Kevin C