When writing your college admission essay, it is absolutely crucial that you have an interesting beginning. The fact is that if you can't get the attention of the reader, your essay will be on the floor or in the trash before he even finishes the first paragraph. This can also be very difficult. Unlike a persuasive essay or other academic essays, the introductions to personal essays can vary quite a bit. There is no real formula. For this reason, much thought should go in to how you approach your introduction.
Always keep the following in mind as you are writing the introduction paragraph to your college admission essay:
1. Somewhere in the introduction there should be a direct answer to the question posed in the prompt.
2. Be yourself. Don't try to become someone you are not to please the reader.
3. Set up a narrative. Show how a unique personal experience sheds light on the question. Show a story.
4. Intrigue the reader. Make the reader want to learn more.
5. Use details that are unique to your situation and avoid vague generalities. This will make your situation sound more unique.
Beginning Your Intro Strategies:
There are many ways you can begin your introduction paragraph. These are just a few ideas that may give you some results. However, you should understand that there are so many more out there.
Some strategies you might want to try to begin your intro paragraph would be:
1. Word association- think of a word that is symbolic of your answer to the prompt. Spend some time free-writing about what that word means to you and try to relate that word to your story. See the example using the word "motion."
2. Quick-write- take five to ten minutes to do nothing but write about your topic. Do not stop writing for the whole time and let the writing flow without editing yourself. Just trust in the natural flow of what comes out of your writing. Then, go back and see if there is anything good that you can use.
3. Allusion- make an allusion to something from literature or history. Then compare that event to your own event, drawing on parallels that show how your event and the fictional/historical event thematically help reveal your point.
4. Description- in as much detail as possible, describe some object/person/place that is crucial to your narrative. Then be sure to explain how this relates to answering the prompt.
5. Metaphor- compare your situation to something else. For example, "Life can be like a lemonade. The sour stages often come before the sweet ones." Then draw the parallels between your metaphor and your story. This is even better if your metaphor is symbolically related to your narrative.