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Luckily, being able to craft the perfect beginning for your admissions essay is just like many other writing skills—something you can get better at with practice and by learning from examples.
In general, college essays make it easier to get to know the parts of you not in your transcript —these include your personality, outlook on life, passions, and experiences.
Like all attempts at charm, you must be slightly bold and out of the ordinary—but you must also stay away from crossing the line into offensiveness or bad taste. The personal statement introduction is basically the wriggly worm that baits the hook to catch your reader.
How do you go about crafting an introduction that successfully hooks your reader? Teenagers hard at work on their college applications. You then pivot to an explanation of why this story is an accurate illustration of one of your core qualities, values, or beliefs.
The story typically comes in the first half of the essay, and the insightful explanation comes second —but, of course, all rules were made to be broken, and some great essays flip this more traditional order. What are the ingredients of a great personal statement introduction?
A vivid, detailed story that illustrates your eventual insight: To make up for how short your story will be, you must insert effective sensory information to immerse the reader.
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What details do you need to provide to put them in the story with you?
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What background information do they need in order to understand the stakes or importance of the story? Record yourself telling your story to friends and then chatting about it: What do they need clarified?
What questions do they have? Do they want to know more, or less? Is part of your story interesting to them but not interesting to you?
Later, as you listen to the recorded story to try to get a sense of how to write it, you can also get a sense of the tone with which you want to tell your story. Are you being funny as you talk?
Trying to shock, surprise, or astound your audience? The way you most naturally tell your story is the way you should write it. What is the story your essay will tell? What is the point about your life, point of view, or personality it will make? What tone will you tell it with?
Sketch out a detailed outline so that you can start filling in the pieces as we work through how to write the introductory sections. The former builds expectations and evokes curiosity, and the latter stimulates the imagination and creates a connection with the author. In both cases, you hit your goal of greater reader engagement.
This three-word sentence immediately sums up an enormous background of the personal and political. Wolf, my fourth-grade band teacher, as he lifted the heavy tuba and put it into my arms. It also does a little play on words: I live alone—I always have since elementary school. Why was he alone? Where were the protective grown-ups who surround most kids?
How on earth could a little kid of years old survive on his own? What are "old" hands? How has having these hands affected the author? There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.Your college application essay gives you a chance to show admission officers who you really are beyond grades and test scores.
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