Introducing An Essay

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Nine stitches and thirteen years later, while I no longer attempt to be stronger than steel or faster than a speeding bullet, I still find myself testing my limits, mental and physical.”This applicant takes a similar approach:“I am an addict.

I tell people I could stop anytime, but deep inside, I know I am lying.

Starting with a concrete image helps the reader to grasp your point more immediately.

For example, this applicant begins to describe her favorite places to think:“While eating Cheerios, my eyes wandered from the yellow giant cardboard box, to the white plastered ceiling, with shades of dawn in muted colors, and back to my bowl of cereal.”This is probably not a particular episode, since the applicant frequently uses the kitchen table as a thoughtful refuge.

Such a paragraph might include something such as the following: “My journey toward college has been shaped by a variety of experiences, including academic studies, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities.” The reader knows that you are going to talk about these things and is most likely muttering to himself, “Get to the point.”A general rule to follow is this: Move your most compelling experience to the forefront, and structure your essay around it.

Here are some approaches you can take for your college essay introduction: You don’t need to restate the essay prompt.If there is something unique about yourself that is also relevant to your essay, then by all means start with that!You’re up against hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants, so whatever makes you stand out from the crowd is going to work in your favor.This applicant lets the reader know the setting—his French class—even though he never explicitly states the location of the story.He paints a vivid picture in the reader’s mind while incorporating the element of mystery, as the reader wonders what further action will occur, as well as what the point of this anecdote will ultimately be.I need to listen to music, to write music, to play music every day.I can’t go a whole day without, at the very least, humming or whistling the tunes that crowd my head.Consider this applicant’s introduction:“I can’t tell you in which peer group I’d fit best because I’m a social chameleon and am comfortable in most; I will instead describe my own social situation and the various cliques I drift in and out of.”This applicant writes what starts out as a potentially engaging introduction, but the paragraph immediately loses the reader’s interest by telling him what the applicant is going to write about.Now consider the applicant’s second paragraph:“My high school’s student body is from a part of town that is much more diverse than the rest of the city, and the city as a whole is more diverse than most of the state.If you open with something like, “I want to go to college to learn and achieve my goals,” this will just waste the reader’s time.Don’t start your essay with something generic and unnecessary.


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