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This means that before you can craft your ideal first sentence, the way the short story experience of your life will play out on the page, and the perfect pivoting moment that transitions from your story to your insight, you must work out a general idea about which life event you will share and what you expect that life event to demonstrate to the reader about you and the kind of person you are.If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, check out our guide on brainstorming college essay ideas.
Your essay's job is to entertain and impress this person, and to make you memorable so you don't merely blend into the sea of other personal statements.
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.
Before we talk about how to start a college essay, let's discuss the role of the introduction.
Just as your college essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions office of your target college, your essay's beginning is your chance to introduce your writing.
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.
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.
Now, let’s zero in on the first part of the college essay.
To see how the introduction fits into an essay, let's look at the big structural picture first and then zoom in.
Even though they’re called essays, personal statements are really more like a mix of a short story and a philosophy or psychology class that's all about you.