Starting A College Essay

While we may not see it at the time…” You’d lose the person’s interest before you ever get to the good stuff. They’re stories, and stories need a beginning, not an introduction.Instead of writing a general introduction to warm the reader up to your topic, just start like this: “A pitcher’s mound can be the loneliest place in the world when you’re on it and things aren’t going well.” An essay that begins, “John F. Unless the quote was actually directed at you, your reader cares a lot more about what you have to say than they do about any famous person’s pithy words. Quotes can be effective when they’re actually part of the story, like, “I never should have taken the bait when my cousin said, 'I’ll bet you can’t ride down that hill on your bike without using your hands.' " Otherwise, use your own words.The introduction often isn't included as you are brainstorming your way through the outline for your paper.

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The first sentence is often the most difficult for any writer.

Don't let that blinking cursor thwart your efforts, though.

If your essay is about persistence, explain how you personified that trait.

Use your available space to give the necessary details. Some students try so hard to be creative, or to entice the reader with a sense of intrigue, that they sacrifice clarity.

They’re competing for an admissions officer’s attention, and you don’t want to lose your reader before your story ever really gets going.

Here are five ways not to open your essay, in other words, what's more likely to lose a reader’s interest.

Using a hook which also sets you up for a common thread throughout the essay is a great way to establish flow.

For example, if you're writing about the proliferation of 'everyday celebrity' you can use Andy Warhol's famous quote about 15 minutes of fame for an initial hook and then introduce the rise (and fall) of any flash in the pan celebrity.

There's no rule that says you have to write that all important first sentence first.

In fact, leaving that until later can be helpful since you may be knee deep in page 7 of your epic term paper when the perfect first sentence comes to you.


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