If you keep sitting in front of your screen and don’t know whereto start your college paper, your experience isn’t unique. Agreat introductory paragraph is the main key to making yourassignment stand out, so you need to learn how to start a collegeessay. Basically, writing, the best beginning of this paper isjust like other academic writing skills because it’s somethingthat you improve with enough practice and by learning fromperfect examples. You need to learn the following things tosucceed:
- What makes a perfect college essay introduction;
- How this paragraph should be structured;
- How and why essay examples work and what you can learn fromthem.
Why Colleges Want Admissions Essays
In most cases, college papers make it much easier to get familiarwith the parts of your individuality, such as:
- Background experiences;
- Your life outlook;
You need to write for a very specific audience that includesadmission officers who read many essays of this kind. So, themain task of your college essay is to impress or entertainreaders, thus making you remarkable instead of blending into amajority of other papers.
The Role Played by College Essay Introductions
What is the purpose served by the introductory paragraph ofcollege papers? To write the best one, you need to be familiarwith the role that it plays. Just as a college essay is a greatchance to introduce yourself to the admissions committee of yourtargeted colleges, the beginning of your paper is a great chanceto introduce this piece of writing to the audience. Anintroductory paragraph of your college paper is the best hook tograd readers’ attention. The more eager and awake the targetedaudience, the more likely you’re to achieve your academic goals.How to start a college essay to hook all readers successfully?First, you need to know how to structure it correctly.
Structuring the Introduction of Your College Essay
To understand how an introductory paragraph fits into this paper,you need to get an overview of its basic structure. Although thisassignment is called an essay, it’s more a mix of a philosophypaper and a short story that covers your personality. This meansthat you need to start with a short and good story aboutsomething unusual, arresting, and important that happened in yourlife. However, your story shouldn’t necessarily be aboutsomething unusual and important in a grand scheme. Pick only aspecific moment that stands out as something defining in any way.For example, it can be an explanation of how you come to be thisway or why you’re the way you are. The next step is pivoting to abrief explanation of why your personal story serves as abrilliant illustration of some of your core values, qualities,and beliefs. This story should come in the first part of yourcollege essay, while its insightful explanation follows it.
The Main Elements of the College Essay Introduction
What are the key ingredients of a perfect introductory paragraph?Make sure that your essay introduction contains the following:
- The best first sentence. It should serve as an effective hookthat grabs readers’ attention and whets their appetite for yourpersonal story.
- A detailed and vivid story that illustrates your personal andeventual insight. It should contain excellent sensory informationand have an immersive quality for the audience.
- Your insightful pivot toward the main point that your collegeessay makes. This important element connects your short storywith other paragraphs that explain the lessons taught.
Effective Tips on Writing Your College Essay IntroductoryParagraph
The main secret is that you don’t need to write the essayintroduction first. It’s impossible to determine the best firstsentence and know how to start a college essay until you figureout the following elements:
- The story that you will tell readers;
- The main point that this story will make;
- The background history, maturity level, and trait about yourevealed by this paper.
It’s advisable to work on this assignment in a reverse order.Completing it will become a much easier task once you figure outits content and determine how it starts. Before writing the bestfirst sentence, you should work out an overall idea about thelife event that you want to share and what it will demonstrate tothe audience. If you have any problems with a topic choice, trybrainstorming possible ideas. You also need to learn how to workbackward on the introduction, thus moving from bigger elements tothe smaller ones. It’s necessary to start with the first sectionof your college essay and hone a pivot sentence and the firstone.
Helpful ideas and Tips
In a standard college paper, an introductory paragraph takes thefirst part and it introduces the short story that illuminatesimportant character traits, key experiences, steps toward yourmaturity, and moments of personal transformation and transition.Once you choose a great topic that you prefer to highlight in anintroductory paragraph, there are some effective approaches tomake it into the best story.
Try the storyteller style because it’s quite popular andeffective. Imagine yourself sitting with other people and tellingthem any personal story. What do they need to know for your storyto make sense? What background information is needed to put theaudience in this story with you? What details they need tounderstand its importance or stakes?
Record yourself telling the chosen personal story to friends.What can they clarify? What are their questions? Are there anyparts of your story that don’t make sense? Do they want to learnmore? Is there any uninteresting or boring piece in your essayintroduction?
After listening to this recorded story, you will get a bettersense of how to write it and choose the right tone. You need todetermine if you want it to be surprising, shocking, funny, etc.Think about the most natural way to introduce this story at thevery beginning of your college essay.
After finishing this storyteller exercise, write down all salientpoints. What is the story that your paper will tell readers? Whatis the main point about your personality or life that it willmake? What is the best tone to work with? Write a detailedoutline to start filling in different parts.
Writing the First Sentence
The first sentence of your essay introduction should be lushscene-setting to situate all readers in the time and place thatthey can visualize or a mini-cliffhanger to set up a particularsituation that they want to see resolved. This sentence isimportant because it excites people’s curiosity and builds theirexpectations, while the second one stimulates their imaginationand creates a strong connection with you. In each case, youachieve the main goal of a greater reading engagement. Thesebasic principles work with any type of introductory sentences,and they can help you determine how to start a college essay:
- Lines of quoted direct speeches;
- Counterintuitive statements;
- Punchy short sentences with a grabby detail;
- Making the rest of your paper a flashback;
- Lessons learned by you from a particular personal story;
- Direct questions to the audience;
- Adjective-rich and lyrical description of settings.
For example, to avoid falling into any generalizing when startingyour paper, ensure that you create a strong debate or argumentwith a counterintuitive sentence. To work the best, questionsshould be specific enough, post any surprising hypothetical, andcome out of the main field.
Writing Your Pivot Sentence
It’s a place in your college essay where you need to go fromminor to major: from the life experiences that are described indetail to the bigger points that they illustrate about yourpersonality. In most cases, pivot sentences are placed in the endof an introductory paragraph. They are necessary to indicate thatyou move from one essay part to another. It’s also an effectiveway to keep all readers updated on where they’re in your argumentand essay flow. There are different methods that can be used todo it, such as the following:
- Expanding a time frame. You need to gesture out from aspecific life experience that you describe.
- Linking a described personal experience with others. Draw acertain parallel between a specific life event and other similarevents.
- Underlining and extracting a given value or trait. Use thedescribed experience to demonstrate its significant role indeveloping other key attributes.
Write an introductory paragraph of your college essay that willhook all readers and make them want to learn more.