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Essay Tips: 7 Tips on Writing an Effective Essay

Basic Strategies on How to Start an Essay

❶Want General Expert Advice? There's a lot of meat to this question, setting up a philosophically interesting, politically important, and personally meaningful essay.

What Is the College Essay Introduction For?

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Purpose of an Essay

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.

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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.

You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:. 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. An insightful pivot toward the greater point you're making in your essay: Want to build the best possible college application?

Words are moving and changing; they have influence and substance. Download it for free now: It could simply be a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you wish to make. If you use a piece of startling information, follow it with a sentence or two of elaboration. Anecdote An anecdote is a story that illustrates a point. Be sure your anecdote is short, to the point, and relevant to your topic.

This can be a very effective opener for your essay, but use it carefully. Dialogue An appropriate dialogue does not have to identify the speakers, but the reader must understand the point you are trying to convey. Use only two or three exchanges between speakers to make your point. Follow dialogue with a sentence or two of elaboration. Summary Information A few sentences explaining your topic in general terms can lead the reader gently to your thesis. Each sentence should become gradually more specific, until you reach your thesis.

If the attention grabber was only a sentence or two, add one or two more sentences that will lead the reader from your opening to your thesis statement. Finish the paragraph with your thesis statement.

Conclusion The conclusion brings closure to the reader, summing up your points or providing a final perspective on your topic.

Essays can be crucial to admissions and scholarship decisions.

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State your thesis briefly and directly (but avoid making a bald announcement, such as "This essay is about"). It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday.

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Creating an essay that will engage a reader is a challenge that a lot of people face. You need to know how to encourage readers to keep reading. To do this, you need to set your essay off to a good start.

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For example, if your essay is about the benefits of legalizing same-sex marriage, start your essay with it. This is the traditional method, similar to the Toulmin method. You can start your essay by writing down clear facts shared by . The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and .

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In order to write a good essay paper, students should follow these guidelines when starting their essay 1. An interesting inquiry – when starting an essay ask a question that you will give an answer in the body of your paper, or ask a question that will get readers considering your theme. Argument Essay #4. Click Here to View Essay "A Deadly Tradition" (PDF Document) Sample Argument Essay #5. Click Here to View Essay "Society Begins at Home" (PDF Document) Sample Argument Essay #6.