How To Begin A College Essay

You already know how to write an academic essay: you start with an introduction, throw in a thesis statement, find about three paragraphs’ worth of evidence, and wrap it all up with a tidy conclusion…Now forget all that, because a successful college application essay is totally different.

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One of the most common struggles students encounter is resisting the urge to squeeze everything they’ve seen, done, and heard into their essay.

But your application essay isn’t your life story in 650 words.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Starting a college-level essay can be a bit tricky, especially if you don’t feel inspired or organized enough to articulate your thoughts.

But while enticing and intriguing are good, bewildering and unintelligible are not.

You might think you’ve read or heard the perfect opening someplace else—a book of sample essays, a speech, a line in your favorite movie, etc.Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay.How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique?If your essay is about persistence, explain how you personified that trait.Use your available space to give the necessary details. Some students try so hard to be creative, or to entice the reader with a sense of intrigue, that they sacrifice clarity.It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities.But that’s not nearly as scary as it seems, because you get to choose what to share and how to share it.Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas.He received his Ph D in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you.These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application.

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