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What Is the College Essay Introduction For?

❶It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. But one day this fall, Dr.

5 College Application Essay Topics That Always Work

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A Strong College Application essay Will make you stand out from the crowd.
1. Get to know your prompt

What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter. Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you. Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow.

Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable.

As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers. Our College Admission Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school. Connect with our featured colleges to find schools that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.

We know that great scores take work. That's why we design our courses to be efficient, targeted and strategic so you make the most of every minute you spend prepping. Our experts know how to design lessons based on how you're learning. We love our teachers, and so will you. Teach or Tutor for Us. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.

Privacy Terms of Use Site Map. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.

How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time.

Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

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Yes, I love saving money! No thanks, I'll pay full price. In this pivot, you gesture out from the specific experience you describe to the overarching realization you had during it. Think of helper phrases such as "that was the moment I realized" and "never again would I. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. 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.

It's a double bonus that he accomplishes the pivot with a play on the word "click," which here means both the literal clicking of the car door latch and the figurative clicking his brain does. But in that moment I realized that the self-deprecating jokes were there for a reason.

When attempting to climb the mountain of comedic success, I didn't just fall and then continue on my journey, but I fell so many times that I befriended the ground and realized that the middle of the metaphorical mountain made for a better campsite. Not because I had let my failures get the best of me, but because I had learned to make the best of my failures. Rachel Schwartzbaum '19 for Connecticut College.

This pivot similarly focuses on a "that moment" of illuminated clarity. In this case, it broadens Rachel's experience of stage fright before her standup comedy sets to the way she has more generally not allowed failures to stop her progress—and has instead been able to use them as learning experiences.

Not only does she describe her humor as "self-deprecating," but she also demonstrates what she means with that great "befriended the ground" line. It was on this first educational assignment that I realized how much could be accomplished through an animal education program—more, in some cases, than the aggregate efforts of all of the rehabilitators.

I found that I had been naive in my assumption that most people knew as much about wildlife as I did, and that they shared my respect for animals. Maloney '07 for Hamilton College. This is another classically constructed pivot, as J. The widening of scope happens at once as we go from a highly specific "first educational assignment" to the more general realization that "much" could be accomplished through these kinds of programs.

In this pivot, you draw a parallel between the life event that you've been describing in your very short story and other events that were similar in some significant way. This state of discovery is something I strive for on a daily basis. My goal is to make all the ideas in my mind fit together like the gears of a Swiss watch.

Whether it's learning a new concept in linear algebra, talking to someone about a programming problem, or simply zoning out while I read, there is always some part of my day that pushes me towards this place of cohesion: Aubrey Anderson '19 for Tufts University.

After cataloging and detailing the many interesting thoughts that flow through her brain in a specific hour, Aubrey uses the pivot to explain that this is what every waking hour is like for her "on a daily basis. And her pivot lets us know that her example is a demonstration of how her mind works generally. Our return brought so much back for me. Dad haggling with the jewelry sellers, his minute examination of pots at a trading post, the affection he had for chilies.

I was scared that my love for the place would be tainted by his death, diminished without him there as my guide. That fear was part of what kept my mother and me away for so long. Once there, though, I was relieved to realize that Albuquerque still brings me closer to my father.

Even though he is no longer there to "guide," the author's love for the place itself remains. In this type of pivot, you use the experience you've described to demonstrate its importance in developing or zooming in on one key attribute. Here are some ways to think about making this transition: My true reward of having Stanley is that he opened the door to the world of botany.

I would never have invested so much time learning about the molecular structure or chemical balance of plants if not for taking care of him. Michaela '19 for Johns Hopkins University. Without having to "take care of him," Michaela "would never have invested so much time learning" about plant biology.

By leaving me free to make mistakes and chase wild dreams, my father was always able to help ground me back in reality. Olivia Rabbitt '16 for Connecticut College. In Olivia's essay about her father's role in her life, the pivot discusses his importance by explaining his deep impact on her values. Olivia has spent the story part of her essay describing her father's background and their relationship. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service.

We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.

We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. A great pivot is like great parkour—sharp, fast, and coming on a slightly unexpected curve. A blue seventh place athletic ribbon hangs from my mantel. Every day, as I walk into my living room, the award mockingly congratulates me as I smile. Ironically, the blue seventh place ribbon resembles the first place ribbon in color; so, if I just cover up the tip of the seven, I may convince myself that I championed the fourth heat.

But, I never dare to wipe away the memory of my seventh place swim; I need that daily reminder of my imperfection. I need that seventh place. Two years ago, I joined the no-cut swim team.

That winter, my coach unexpectedly assigned me to swim the freestyle. After stressing for hours about swimming 20 laps in a competition, I mounted the blocks, took my mark, and swam. Around lap 14, I looked around at the other lanes and did not see anyone. However, as I finally completed my race and lifted my arms up in victory to the eager applause of the fans, I looked up at the score board. I had finished my race in last place.

In fact, I left the pool two minutes after the second-to-last competitor, who now stood with her friends, wearing all her clothes. It dangles information just out of reach, making the reader want to know more: Why does this definitively non-winning ribbon hang in such a prominent place of pride?

In the intro, we get physical actions: We basically get a sports commentary play-by-play here. Even though we already know the conclusion—Meghan came in 7th—she still builds suspense by narrating the race from her point of view as she was swimming it. She's nervous for a while, and then she starts the race. This essay uses the time expansion method of pivoting: The rest of the essay explores what it means for Meghan to constantly see this reminder of failure and to transform it into a sense of acceptance of her imperfections.

Notice also that in this essay, the pivot comes before the main story, helping us "hear" the narrative in the way she wants us to. Everyone is too lazy to take out a dictionary or even their phones to look it up, so we just hash it out. And then, I am crowned the victor, a true success in the Merchant household.

Words and communicating have always been of tremendous importance in my life: With the first sentence, we are immediately thrust into the middle of the action —into an exciting part of an argument about whether "biogeochemical" is really a word.

We're also immediately challenged. Is this a word? Have I ever heard it before? Does a scientific neologism count as a word? Since the whole essay is going to be about words, it makes sense for Shaan to demonstrate his comfort with all different kinds of language: This essay uses the value-extraction style of pivot: The danger of this kind of pivot sentence is slipping into vague, uninformative statements, such as "I love words.

But the essay stops short of giving so many examples that the reader drowns. I'd say three to five examples is a good range—as long as they're all different kinds of the same thing.

Several keys offer a good chance of unlocking a door; a giant pile of keys is its own unsolvable maze. The college essay introduction should hook your reader and make her want to know more and read more.

You can t hen work on your first sentence and your pivot. Wondering what to make of the Common Application essay prompts? Thinking of applying to the University of California system? Working on the rest of your college application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying.

We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:. Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? How to Start a College Essay Perfectly. Anna Wulick May 4, 8: 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.

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.

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See an example of a college application essay, with a point-by-point critique.

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A college essay is an important piece of a college application and an opportunity for students to show an admission committee what makes them a good candidate. College Application Essay – Facilitating the Application Process | Education Professionals – The College Board. How to Start a College Essay Perfectly. Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 4, 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, Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar.

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personal statement, admission essay, application essay. We offer custom writing and editing services to assist in developing your personal statement for college, graduate school, law, and medical school. Check out these sample college application essays to see what a successful college application essay looks like and stimulate your own creativity. How can you separate yourself from the competition successfully? By crafting an excellent application essay.