Some things to do before you meet Barak

Please do the activities on this page before you meet with me for the first time. Start at the top of the list and work your way down. Go in order.

If you have any questions, please let me know. You can text/call me at 206-696-2448, or email me.

– Barak

In case you’re wondering how you’ll recognize me

Please do these activities before we meet for the first time.


Answer some get-to-know-you questions.

(3–5 minutes)

Take about five minutes to answer these questions.

Do this before you do anything else.


    Get your EssayQuest account.

    (2 minutes)

    This is a link to our new online program, EssayQuest — this is where you’ll find step-by-step instructions for everything you’ll do as you write your essays.

    Go to EssayQuest and use the free coupon Barak gave you to register for your account. Do not pay for the program!! 

    We’re putting on the finishing touches on this program. You may find some typos, funny colors, and font issues. If anything isn’t working correctly or doesn’t make sense, use the chat bubble to let me know right away.  


    Build a strong foundation.

    (45 — 60 minutes)

    • On the Thank You page, follow the link for a new student — it will take you to the Welcome page.
    • On the Welcome page, watch the short video (if it’s up yet…we’re finishing it. It’s not too important since you’ll be working with me.)
    • Then, click the Foundation button below the video to get started.

    When you get to the Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey page, use this link to go to the VIA site instead of the one in EssayQuest.

    If you were on a 7 Secrets to Great College Essays webinar with me, you can skim through College Essays 101 and 102. Don’t skip it, but take the time to review it.

    You can also get to the Foundation: Get Started page from the menu.

    Please do all the activities in the Foundation phase:

    • take the VIA Strengths Assessment
    • read the complete College Essays 101 section 
    • Read the Write Like a Pro process page
    • Read the essays on the Read some more sample essays page


    be a Thinker.

    (45 — 60 minutes)

    In the Thinker phase, read and do the activities on these pages:

    • The main Thinker page
    • Find a bunch of Story Starters
      • Overview
      • Play with the Story Starter prompts
    • Write a TON of raw content
      • Overview
      • Write a bunch of crap 

    You can get to each of these pages from the menu or by clicking the next step button at the bottom of each page.

    Before we meet, have at least 10 Story Starters and write at least 3 blocks of raw content. We’ll talk about these in our first meeting.