Starting An College Essay

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To make sure that the admissions committee does more than just skim through yours, you’ll need an opening that grabs their attention. Of course, before you can write your hook, you’ll need to know what you’re writing your essay about in the first place.

It's important to know, because if you put your reader to sleep in the first few sentences, well... Create intrigue, excitement or suspense, so your reader will be excited to learn how your story turns out. (You're breaking through the starting gate, tearing apart your bedroom, discovering a fossil.) Mental action or conflict is similar — something interesting is happening, but it's something you're thinking about.

Zzzzzz…So how do you make your first paragraph interesting? Here's the secret: Just know three solid writing techniques and choose the one that's best for you. (You're making a decision, attempting something out of your comfort zone, taking a chance.)Here are examples of first sentences that start with action: -- "My body tenses, the anticipation prying doubts from my head, forcing me to tighten my grip and lock my jaw in preparation.

Asking a question at the beginning of your essay can activate your reader’s critical thinking and get them hungry for the answer that you won’t offer until later.

Try to come up with a question that is broad enough that they won’t know the answer right away, but specific enough that it isn’t a generic hook that could work on just any college essay.

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