How Do You Start A College Essay

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Opening Hook It’s important to draw your reader in from the very first sentence.

Take a look at some of these opening lines from college entrance essays submitted to Stanford University.

Even if you’re a natural writer, writing a college essay is still a daunting task.

Here’s a method for tackling the process and a few examples to inspire you.

This gets your creative juices flowing and helps you to uncover ideas you would not have considered otherwise.

There are only two rules for a free write: As soon as you’re done, read your free write over again.

By now, you should have an annotated prompt and a free write with a bunch of stars on it. Is there one essay idea that is more appealing than the others? All you have to do is tell a story that answers the questions you numbered in the prompt. Some essays show the author as the hero, but just as often a friend or family member actually winds up becoming the main focus of a student’s essay.

If no, try the same process with a different prompt. Whenever possible, try to answer these questions with stories from your life. At the end of the day, you need to be the main character.

By the end of the research and planning process, you’ll feel energized and ready to write about all this interesting stuff your research (or your brainstorming process, if your essay requirement is more personal) has uncovered. Your intro tells your reader what to expect from your essay.

Think of it as a brief roadmap that begins with an intriguing opening line, includes a quick summary of the topic and ideas you’ll present, and concludes with a thesis statement.


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