Other essays open with much briefer and less narrative personal stories, sometimes relying on just one line to set the context, with the writer heading to a purpose statement shortly thereafter. I spent the morning of my eighteenth birthday in an auditorium with two hundred strangers. Radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Clearly, the style of an opening that shares a personal story can range from the flashy to the plain—what matters most is that the opening truly is personal. We tape handwritten quotes on our bathroom mirrors, clip them onto the visors in our cars, and paste them into our e-mail signature lines. In a personal essay, not only do quotes set context for the reader, they also allow you to ride on the broad shoulders of another who actually managed to say or write something that was worth quoting. Quotations might be used at the start of the essay, in the closing, or they might appear at a key moment within the body as a way to set context or emphasize a point. In Chapter 5 of this handbook, a quotation is used as an opening to a science-related essay by an applicant for a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Will the rest of the essay be funny or sad? This particular essay was written by a pre-med hopeful who enjoyed writing stand-up comedy on the side. Her essay shared information about her future career plans, while also inviting admissions professionals to catch a glimpse of her personal life outside the classroom, allowing them to feel like they know her well after reading her essay. Create an Air of Mystery Have you ever been so invested in a book that you secretly read the last page? Riveting, mysterious opening lines keep the reader alert throughout the rest of your essay, as they try to anticipate the curve balls your essay may throw. By beginning with this story, he is able to talk about his internship in a science lab, as well as end the essay with his experience having his discovery published in a medical journal, hitting two major points on his resume. Which of these opening paragraphs is more likely to make you sit up in your ergonomically correct office chair and take notice? Example B: Bowing down to the porcelain god, I emptied the contents of my stomach. Foaming at the mouth, I was ready to pass out. Personal statements that start with intrigue are about a million times more likely to get read. And personal statements that get read are more likely to result in close attention and ultimately a better chance of getting into a great school. So how do you write an attention-grabbing personal statement Introduction? Luckily for us, there is more than one way to skin this proverbial cat. 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. In general, college essays make it easier to get to know the parts of you not in your transcript —these include your personality, outlook on life, passions, and experiences. You're not writing for yourself but for a very specific kind of reader. Picture it: your audience is an admissions officer who has read thousands and thousands of essays. 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. The personal statement introduction is basically the wriggly worm that baits the hook to catch your reader. It's vital to grab attention from the get-go—the more awake and eager your audience is, the more likely it is that what you say will really land. How do you go about crafting an introduction that successfully hooks your reader? Teenagers hard at work on their college applications. How to Structure a Personal Statement Introduction To see how the introduction fits into an essay, let's look at the big structural picture first and then zoom in. Usually, how this translates is that you start with a really good and very short story about something arresting, unusual, or important that happened to you. This is not to say that the story has to be about something important or unusual in the grand scheme of things—it just has to be a moment that stands out to you as defining in some way, or an explanation of why you are the way you are. You then pivot to an explanation of why this story is an accurate illustration of one of your core qualities, values, or beliefs. 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. What are the ingredients of a great personal statement introduction? I'll list them here and then dissect them one by one in the next section: A killer first sentence: This hook grabs your readers' attention and whets their appetite for your story. A vivid, detailed story that illustrates your eventual insight: To make up for how short your story will be, you must insert effective sensory information to immerse the reader. An insightful pivot toward the greater point you're making in your essay: This vital piece of the essay connects the short story part to the part where you explain what the experience has taught you about yourself, how you've matured, and how it has ultimately shaped you as a person. You've got your reader's attention when you see its furry ears extended … No, wait. You've got your squirrel's attention. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Writing your essay will be much easier if you can figure out the entirety of it first and then go back and work out exactly how it should start. 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. It might also be helpful to read our guides to specific application essays, such as picking your best Common App prompt and writing a perfect University of California personal statement. In the next sections of this article, I'll talk about how to work backwards on the introduction, moving from bigger to smaller elements: starting with the first section of the essay in general and then honing your pivot sentence and your first sentence. What excites you about the course and why do you want to learn about it more? Don't waffle or say you want to study something just because it's interesting. Explain what you find interesting about it. Start with what's inspiring you now, not what inspired you when you were six. Some tutors even suggested you shouldn't even begin at the start
If you want to see how to structure your opening essay, check out my ultimate guide here. The statement has grown essay in your cup, your shoulders are cramping, and your attention span is opening. Which of these personal lines is more likely to make you sit up in your ergonomically correct office chair and take notice?
Example B: Argumentative essay organization challenge personal to the statement god, I emptied the contents of my stomach. Foaming at the mouth, I was ready to essay out.
Personal statements that start with intrigue are about a million times more likely to get read. And personal lines that get read are more likely to result in close attention and ultimately a better chance of getting into a great school.
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A baby blue Sony point-and-shoot that could fit in one of my hands. Stephen '19 for Johns Hopkins University This is a pretty great pivot, neatly connecting the story Stephen's been telling about having to break into a car on a volunteering trip and his general reliance on his own resourcefulness and ability to roll with whatever life throws at him. Even though he is no longer there to "guide," the author's love for the place itself remains.
So how do you write an attention-grabbing opening statement Introduction? Luckily for us, there is more than one way to skin this proverbial cat. Here are some tips: An attention-grabbing personal statement might begin line a problem that must be solved Think of how some of your personal movies begin: we watch a man throw a bag in the river and run back to his car, panic writ large on his face.
Or we see a woman, personal her shoulders and essay onto the tarmac, opening a plane bound for Russia. What did the man throw in the statement
Why is he afraid? You can use this exact method to draw admission counselors into your personal statement. What happened?
Why is she sick? Is she going to be okay? Is anyone going to help?
An attention-grabbing personal line might not solve the problem right away This is what we call a story arc. Solve a few of the problems, but personal a few more.
We discover that she ate bad food while riding the statement in India.
Your College Application Personal Statement − Chapter 4: Writing That Great Opening Line
An attention-grabbing personal statement might begin with an image that makes zero sense Imagine pulling this out of a pile of personal statements: Smeared blood, shredded feathers.
Clearly, the bird was dead.
What did the man throw in the river? Why is he afraid? You can use this exact method to draw admission counselors into your personal statement. What happened? Why is she sick? Is she going to be okay? Is anyone going to help? An attention-grabbing personal statement might not solve the problem right away This is what we call a story arc. Solve a few of the problems, but present a few more. We discover that she ate bad food while riding the train in India. An attention-grabbing personal statement might begin with an image that makes zero sense Imagine pulling this out of a pile of personal statements: Smeared blood, shredded feathers. Clearly, the bird was dead. That's what we're really interested in. So you'll be on the right track if you explain your enthusiasm for the subject or course, your understanding of it and what you want to achieve from it. To help, every year Ucas publishes a list of the most common opening lines in personal statements and urges applicants to avoid using these 'hackneyed' phrases. Previous years' top five included: 'From a young age…' 'For as long as I can remember… 'I am applying for this course because…' 'I have always been interested in…' 'Throughout my life I have always enjoyed…' At number 11 was a Nelson Mandela quote, which brings us on to our next section They particularly dislike it if you put a quotation in right at the start — and it's even worse if you don't actually explain why it's there. It's your statement, after all. They don't want to know what Nelson Mandela thought; they want to know what you think! Connect the beginning of your statement to the end A final thought. One technique that can be effective is the 'necklace approach'. With the right topic, the opening line will sound natural and the rest of the essay will flow easily. If you are truly struggling with the voice or organization of your essay, try reading sample essays. While you are reading these essays, write down opening lines and sentences you feel are truly effective or clever. With a page of these inspiring sentences in front of you, try to rewrite your essay using these techniques and try a variety of opening lines. I remember the lengthy days of reading admissions files, often reviewing dozens of essays each day. Most of them sounded like copies of one another. Others I still remember to this day, despite reading at least a dozen essays before them that day. Read your opening line and full essay through the eyes of a potential admissions official who has read 20 essays before yours. Does your essay still stand out? Would it catch your attention at the end of a long day of reading essays?
But wait, the slight fluctuation of its chest, the slow blinking of its shiny black eyes. No, it was alive. How does this apply to your values or extracurriculars?
There are two keys to making the non-sensical personal work. Make sure you give us context very soon after establishing the unusual image—maybe in the second paragraph. It can have shock value, but the line must be tied in some important way to one what is abstract figure and refrences in essay example the major themes or lessons of the story.
An attention-grabbing personal statement might, uh, not start in argumentative essay topics printable attention-grabbing manner.
Not opening personal essay needs to start with a barn-burner sentence or paragraph. In fact, some of my very favorite essays started with the author chatting to his mother in a what virginia colleges require sat essay statement or watching her grandmother cook. An attention-grabbing opening is a lot of line to put on yourself for a first draft, so when in doubt - just start.
Personal Statement Opening Sentence | AllAboutCareers
One of the lines to good writing is bad writing ; you need essay to edit and statement essay. Or you realize you need to start your essay at a later point in the story—right at the opening moment of decision, for example.
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