How To Begin A College Essay

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One of the most common struggles students encounter is resisting the urge to squeeze everything they’ve seen, done, and heard into their essay.

But your application essay isn’t your life story in 650 words.

It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities.

But that’s not nearly as scary as it seems, because you get to choose what to share and how to share it.

You already know how to write an academic essay: you start with an introduction, throw in a thesis statement, find about three paragraphs’ worth of evidence, and wrap it all up with a tidy conclusion…Now forget all that, because a successful college application essay is totally different.

Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application.But while enticing and intriguing are good, bewildering and unintelligible are not.You might think you’ve read or heard the perfect opening someplace else—a book of sample essays, a speech, a line in your favorite movie, etc.But don’t worry – with a bit of planning, research, and hard work, you’ll be able to start a variety of college essays in no time at all.An essay starts with an introduction, which will state your main points, hook the reader, and state your thesis, which is the point that you’ll be arguing in the essay.If your reader is one paragraph in and thinking, “I don’t have a clue what this student is talking about,” you’ve moved from arousing interest to creating confusion.It’s certainly possible and often effective to begin your essay with a description that piques interest without necessarily revealing exactly what the description is about. 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.If you want to know how to start a college essay, just follow these steps.Make sure you have a clear understanding of the assignment, choose an appropriate topic, define your audience, clarify the purpose of the essay, conduct the necessary research, and then formulate a thesis about your topic.

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