Great opening lines for college essays


What Is the College Essay Introduction For?

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.

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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.

Writing Quick Tip: The Opening Sentence

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: an idea that binds together some set of the unsolved mysteries in my mind.

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. 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.

In this pivot, one very painful experience of visiting a place filled with sorrowful memories is used as a way to think about "all the other times" the author had been to New Mexico. The previously described trip after the father's death pivots into a sense of the continuity of memory. 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: "I could not have done it without characteristic y , which has helped me through many other difficult moments," or "this is how I came to appreciate the importance of value z, both in myself and in those around me.

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. In this tongue-in-cheek essay in which Michaela writes about Stanley, a beloved cactus, as if "he" has human qualities and is her child, the pivot explains what makes this plant so meaningful to its owner.

Without having to "take care of him," Michaela "would never have invested so much time learning" about plant biology. She has a deep affinity for the natural sciences and attributes her interest at least partly to her cactus. 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.

This Personal Essay Will Get You Into Columbia

Olivia has spent the story part of her essay describing her father's background and their relationship. Now, she is free to show how without his influence, she would not be so strongly committed to "personal responsibilities, priorities and commitments. We can help. 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.

We've collected many examples of college essays published by colleges and offered a breakdown of how several of them are put together.

5 Great Opening Lines from MIT Admissions Essays

Now, let's check out a couple of examples of actual college essay beginnings to show you how and why they work. 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.


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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. The sentence is short but still does some scene setting with the descriptive "blue" and the location "from my mantel.

It dangles information just out of reach, making the reader want to know more: what was this an award for? Why does this definitively non-winning ribbon hang in such a prominent place of pride? In the intro, we get physical actions: "cover up the tip," "mounted the blocks," "looked around at the other lanes," "lifted my arms up," and "stood with her friends, wearing all her clothes.

Even though everyone can imagine the lap pool, not everyone knows exactly what the " freestyle" race is. Meghan elegantly explains the difficulty by describing herself freaking out over "swimming 20 laps in a competition," which helps us to picture the swimmer going back and forth many times. 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.

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Close to the end, she starts to think everything is going well "I looked around at the other lanes and did not see anyone. Everything builds to an expected moment of great triumph "I finally completed my race and lifted my arms up in victory to the eager applause of the fans" but ends in total defeat "I had finished my race in last place". This essay uses the time expansion method of pivoting: "But, I never dare to wipe away the memory of my seventh place swim; I need that daily reminder of my imperfection. 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. But it is fleeting, as the small, glossy, plastic tiles, perfectly connected to form my winning word, are snatched out from under me and thrown in a pile with all the disgraced, "unwinning" tiles as we mix for our next game of Bananagrams.

Words and communicating have always been of tremendous importance in my life: from silly games like Bananagrams and our road-trip favorite "word game," to stunted communication between opposing grandparents, each speaking a different Indian language; from trying to understand the cheesemonger behind the counter with a deep southern drawl I just want some Camembert!

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?

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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: "Words and communicating have always been of tremendous importance in my life. 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.

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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. Instead, start by developing your story by telling it out loud to a friend. Let your essay be an example of the quotation in practice, not a recitation of it. To take a tip from screenwriting, start the scene as late as possible and get out as early as possible — all killer, no filler.

Go to your bookshelf and pick out your favorite book.

great opening lines for college essays Great opening lines for college essays
great opening lines for college essays Great opening lines for college essays
great opening lines for college essays Great opening lines for college essays
great opening lines for college essays Great opening lines for college essays
great opening lines for college essays Great opening lines for college essays

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