About William Bryant, PhD

I’ve been a writer, editor, and educator for over three decades. I’ve worked extensively with student writing, gaining a deep understanding of the “college-ready writing gap” and its causes. Before launching BetterRhetor, I spent ten years in test development at ACT Inc., lastly as Director of Writing Assessments. While at ACT Inc., I oversaw the redesign and development of the current ACT Writing Test. My PhD in American Studies (University of Iowa, 2006) gives me an interdisciplinary orientation; I believe that foundational knowledge, critical thinking, and strong communication skills are the keys to student success, regardless of major or career choice. Along with my wife, Becky, I co-founded our educational publishing & services company, BetterRhetor, in 2015 as a vehicle for addressing the “persistent problems” in education I feel most passionate about. If you’re an educator or parent deeply invested in education and where it’s headed in the U.S.—let’s connect, via any of the links below. You may also enjoy my American Educator blog, where I frequently take a look at education, equity, democracy and how they work together.

If you could tackle One problem in education, what would it be?

For myself, my wife, and our company…it’s college readiness

Far too many students leave high school either thinking that college isn’t for them or else unprepared for college-level academics once they get there.

It’s a persistent problem that has serious consequences for students and families, and for society as a whole.

Research shows that competent writing is the SINGLE most important academic skill for students entering college, across majors.

BetterRhetor’s mission is to help ALL students who want a college education achieve their goal, no matter their income or background.

For more about BetterRhetor, and the short- and long-term problems in education we feel most passionate about tackling, please visit here.


Contact Me


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American Educator Blog

Getting Smart Articles

Research Gate Profile


American Educator Blog

Connect on LinkedIn

Research Gate Profile

Getting Smart Articles

Get My free College-Ready Writer Checklist!

Learn the key skills to teach your high schooler(s) BEFORE they arrive at college:

College-Ready Writing Essentials has taught me that persuasion is not just what you write, but how you write it. You must adapt your writing technique to your audience to optimize your reach and rhetoric—by implementing different tones, language, styles, attitudes and examples of Logos, Pathos and Ethos. Perhaps I could use this newfound knowledge to persuade my future employer to improve working conditions for example, or perhaps when convincing colleagues to vote or petition for a change in the workplace. Thank you, Dr. Bryant, for putting in the level of effort that you did. I appreciate it very much.

William W.

Prior to taking this course I did not have the best writing skills. I was very incompetent when it came to grammar or rhetorical devices. The number one thing that College-Ready Writing Essentials has taught me is there are multiple writing styles. This allowed me to realize if I laid out the issue, gave background, and stated my perspective with evidence, then I could also persuade my audience. I do not have to copy someone else’s style or paper because my writing is good enough.

The second most important thing College-Ready Writing Essentials taught me is that writing takes time; there are so many steps that go into creating a successful paper. Prior to taking this course, my research assignments would take me maximum a week. After taking this course, I realize that all those papers were still in the development stages. In my eyes, the final essay I wrote for College-Ready Writing Essentials has been the only paper that has evolved into being a completed piece. The college readiness writing helped me understand how to develop my essays for the future. No essay is complete after the first draft; sometimes it even takes two or three revisions.

Omar M.

College-Ready Writing Essentials provided me with multiple new challenges I hadn’t seen in previous English courses, but I was able to use each of these challenges to further my abilities in the subject. I believe that the most important things I learned from this course are as follows: First, I learned what makes an argument effective. This allows me to make my own arguments much more substantial. Second, I learned that an argumentative essay doesn’t necessarily need to follow a certain layout. Third, I learned how to convey my thoughts to my peers in a professional, respectful manner. The multiple peer reviews helped me to accomplish this. I believe that these lessons will be my biggest take-aways from this year, and they are what I will most likely be using the most in the future. I would like to thank you for all your help.

Phillip N.

I have learned a lot and immensely enjoyed the topics within College-Ready Writing Essentials. I found the lessons straightforward and engaging to follow. At the beginning of my first college semester, I felt challenged with my workload, and I am proud of what I produced. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos have already begun to take an increased presence in my writing, and I have started to see the changes and benefits the lessons in this course have taught me. I can’t wait to use the information I have gathered and implement it in my future assignments and projects.

Greyson C.

The most important lessons I learned from College-Ready Writing Essentials were how to put together an academically persuasive essay, how to properly research a topic, and how to use the material I gathered to structure an essay. I also learned that using good ethos, logos and pathos will help me to connect and persuade my audience. These elements can lend to my trustworthiness as the audience reads my essays. I will use these lessons in the future… for research findings, cover letters, and essays or presentations. These lessons will help me communicate to my audience so that they will understand me and take me seriously.

Gunnar S.

I was low-key ready to give you a co-teaching credit for as much as I leaned into your work. Five Stars. Extremely satisfied.

Matt B.
Teachers Pay Teachers

I appreciate the dedication and effort Dr. Bryant put into his students, as well as the curriculum—[College-Ready Writing Essentials]—that he created himself. This was a very valuable experience for me.

Luca M.

Homeschool moms want curriculum that can be used independently by their students without much help, especially at the high school levels. College-Ready Writing Essentials delivers exactly that—top-notch instruction without any hassle for mom.

Abby Banks
Making Room 4 One More

I would just like to say that College-Ready Writing Essentials has been one of the best English courses I have ever been enrolled in. It was much more fun and informative than anything high school provided.

Tejas D.

The unique beauty of College-Ready Writing Essentials is in its approach. There are no assignments like, ‘Write a 1,000 word persuasive essay on (insert boring subject student doesn’t care about here).’ …I highly and wholeheartedly recommend College-Ready Writing Essentials for high school writing. You will find it easy to follow, enjoyable for the student, and helpful in understanding the quality and expectation necessary for college writing success.

Shannan Swindler
Captivating Compass

If you are seeking a well-researched program to help your student learn the academic skills needed beyond high school, College-Ready Writing Essentials is an excellent program. The level of detail is spot on for each step of the writing process.

Laura O'Neill
Day by Day in Our World

Before taking this class, I had already done a good amount of work with rhetorical analysis in my AP English Language and AP English Literature and Composition classes in junior and senior year of high school respectively…but I remember being afraid I’d never really understand rhetorical analysis. I feel College-Ready Writing Essentials has benefited me greatly, as I can now confidently define, describe, and use examples of some key concepts like Ethos, Logos and Pathos when speaking to other people (something that was certainly missing from my prior experiences!).

August V.

Having taught HS English and then a college freshman writing class, I saw the vast difference (and lack) of writing abilities from students coming from several different states. I would say 1 out of 30 had skills that only needed honing. I would highly recommend parents and schools getting on board with College-Ready Writing Essentials—college is an investment and this is a great way to protect the investment you are about to make.

Christine Mitcheltree
Curriculum and Instruction Support Specialist, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16

One of the most valuable aspects of College-Ready Writing Essentials was the focus on the writing process. I appreciated the emphasis on prewriting and brainstorming, as well as the importance of revision and editing. By going through the various stages of writing, I was able to produce more thoughtful and well-organized essays…and I felt more confident in my writing abilities overall. I also appreciated the feedback I received on my writing from Dr. Bryant and my peers, which helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and improve my work.

Lisa P.

I feel that I learned a lot about writing skills while writing my essay. College-Ready Writing Essentials allowed me to pick a topic that was entirely up to me which I enjoyed a lot. It allowed me to write about something that I not only know a lot about, but something I am passionate about… I think this is the best thing to go for when writing a persuasive argument because you are trying to persuade someone of something that you actually believe, not just something you have to force yourself to believe. It makes it more realistic to implement tools such as Ethos, Logos, and Pathos and allowed me to learn how to use them properly. Overall, College-Ready Writing Essentials helped me to understand how to argue and structure my essay a lot better, and also helped me to understand the process of writing an essay from planning, research, and drafting to finalizing.

Donovan S.

College-Ready Writing Essentials has been a pleasure for me, providing me with the opportunity to improve my writing and communication skills. The lessons have been incredibly beneficial and what I have learned will undoubtedly be valuable as I move forward in my academic and professional career. I appreciate the feedback Dr. Bryant provided throughout, which helped me to identify my strengths and improve my writing. Thank you for an excellent learning experience.

Katrina D.

College-Ready Writing Essentials helped a lot. Without College-Ready Writing Essentials it would take longer, and I wouldn’t have been able to write thoroughly. In particular, it was beneficial to explain through examples. I spent about an hour and a half a day reading College-Ready Writing Essentials lessons daily, looking at examples, and doing assignments. I felt proud to see essay completion gradually, even though it was difficult because it was a considerable amount of understanding and doing tasks.

Junhee C.

There are so many amazing resources within this very thorough course. For any student (or adult) who is looking to strengthen their skills in writing and research, this is definitely a wonderful resource…College-Ready Writing Essentials doesn’t just teach writing but also an understanding of how each part of an essay works…We aren’t just tossing words and phrases around. It’s so much deeper than that.

Jennifer King
A Peace of Mind

College-Ready Writing Essentials goes beyond the mechanics to help students understand such things as the expectations for college-level writing, the importance of critical thinking, how to express their own ideas based on information and research, how to present arguments, the importance of taking into consideration what a course instructor will be looking for, and how to work with peers…College-Ready Writing Essentials offers [high schoolers and homeschoolers] who are unable to participate in a college-prep level writing class, the opportunity to receive excellent instruction…I highly recommend.

Cathy Duffy

College-Ready Writing Essentials has helped me envision how exactly I will communicate and persuade my audience in the future, whether it be in classes or at a company. I may be presenting to a potential customer for a future employer, or I might be writing an important document for those positioned above me. Regardless of what exactly my work is, being a valuable employee will require an extensive amount of good communication. This course has helped me gain confidence and a significant amount of knowledge to help.

McKenna P.

Throughout College-Ready Writing Essentials I learned several important lessons about writing, including the importance of clarity, conciseness, and organization. I also learned the importance of understanding my audience and tailoring my writing to their needs and expectations. I discovered that persuasion is a crucial skill in many professional contexts and that it requires careful consideration of the audience, the message, and the context. Overall, I believe that this course has prepared me well for the challenges of professional writing. I have learned important skills and techniques that I can apply in various contexts, and I feel confident in my ability to communicate effectively with others.

Preston W.

I thought College-Ready Writing Essentials was extremely thorough. It covered everything a student heading off to college would need to know about writing. I love the fact that we have lifetime access…If you have a student heading off to college, or if they just want to become a better writer, I highly recommend this online writing course! I promise your student will not regret it.

Monique Gilkison
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

College-Ready Writing Essentials was a useful tool which helped me create my essay because it helped me stage the essay and approach it with a new tactic as previously, I would simply start drafting my writing. I had never used a program like College-Ready Writing Essentials before, and with its assistance, I was able to correctly organize and construct an essay that was effective in its aim, to generate a significant persuasive essay in a college-level class.


Dr. Bryant’s course, College-Ready Writing Essentials, was extremely helpful, and allowed me to get a much better idea of where my strengths and weaknesses are in writing. I greatly appreciated the encouragement and his personalized feedback.

Wynonna S.

College-Ready Writing Essentials has given me the tools, from the initial brainstorming phase, to the actual writing stage, that I needed as an academic writer. It was like a teacher taking you by the hand, through each step of the writing process, and allowing your writing potential to unfold. My feedback-peers have noticed an improvement in my writing. I’ve become more calm when approaching my writing process, and more clear with regards to choosing my topics. I highly recommend taking Dr. Bryant’s program. It will boost your self-confidence.”

Fatima A.

Analyzing rhetoric, quite frankly, is something that I am rather glad I received the opportunity to learn. It was not something I went over in high school, and I think that my ability to analyze arguments suffered because of that fact. Understanding the differences in ethos, pathos, and logos contributes to my own skills as a writer and a debater, due to the fact that comprehending why arguments work the way they do is instrumental to those abilities.

Maximiliano L.

I feel that the resources provided in College-Ready Writing Essentials were high quality and educated all of us as students about literacy very effectively. I liked the lessons as they weren’t too long and the assignments gave us a good look at how we were supposed to be doing it. College-Ready Writing Essentials was helpful for me to formulate my essay because it really broke down the writing process and I got to see exactly how every step along the way was executed with quality. I don’t think that I have ever had a lesson on how to write an essay in such detail as this one.

Christian J.

I cannot stress enough how helpful Dr. Bryant’s personal feedback was for A. If you are like me, it can be hard to help guide and teach your child/student through the complete process of writing and give feedback. Having Dr. Bryant’s feedback really completed the program for me as it gave A. ideas and suggestions for improving her personal writing. This was so valuable!

Kathryn Cummins
Cummins Life

College-Ready Writing Essentials focuses on substance and understanding, not just a final writing product. This is the kind of college preparation students need most. In college, students learn to develop a broader perspective and see the bigger picture. I think College-Ready Writing Essentials is a great stepping stone to that.

Clerissa Vickery
ELA Teacher, Elbert School District #200, Colorado

College-Ready Writing Essentials is an excellent intensive course that would be very suitable for a high school senior, or motivated high school junior, or for a summer preparation course for a high school graduate. It is not light or casual, but takes a serious approach to building the necessary skills for students who want to be well prepared for college academics.

Kym Thorpe
Homeschool Coffee Break

I found this resource to be very beneficial, especially in terms of improving my research techniques and enhancing my ability to evaluate and interpret resources. Finishing College-Ready Writing Essentials was a tremendously beneficial experience that improved my writing abilities and gave me a clearer understanding of how to successfully communicate my views through writing.

Bong G.

The quality of writing I produced exceeded my own expectations. I would not be one bit embarrassed or against posting my writing in a journal… I spent hours researching, writing, and editing my writing in order to produce a piece of writing that I am proud of. I was also able to provide a helpful hand to my classmates in editing and giving advice toward a better formed piece of writing.”

Cole B.

I completed all 25 lessons in a timely manner and I am very proud of achieving that goal. College Ready Writing Essentials was really helpful; last semester I failed COM122 and I believe this was due to the professor not explaining things properly and of course being new to university, I did not seek help earlier as I should have. Dr. Bryant clearly explained and laid out what was expected for each lesson. It helped with understanding each part of the essay and working on them individually made it less overwhelming. I felt like my performance was excellent. I was able to complete all lessons and produce a clear essay.

Andon H.

This class opened my eyes to new possibilities.

Bradley M.

I truly do believe this course is worth every penny.

Nicole Cole
Some Call It Natural

The thing I’m most excited about is finally seeing a change in my writing capabilities. I’ve felt for the longest time that my writing ability has been kind of stagnant even throughout high school and multiple teachers…I think I finally started to understand the steps to take in order to write at a higher level than I previously had…Coming out of high school I was always caught on the idea that there is a formula to follow in order to create a good essay and that if you stray from that formula in any way it just hurts your writing…I now realize that this is not true and it really made the essay easier to plan and carry out. I liked the way that College-Ready Writing Essentials walks you through each step of the entire process and provided examples. It really is very straightforward and almost foolproof.”

Luke S.