The college essay your narrative
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The college essay: your narrative. Expository Writing. The Opening Paragraph. Admission Officers spend about 10 minutes on an application and about 3 of those 10 minutes on the essay

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The college essay: your narrative

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The college essay: your narrative

Expository Writing

The Opening Paragraph

  • Admission Officers spend about 10 minutes on an application and about 3 of those 10 minutes on the essay

  • The Anecdote – Most tried and true way to begin is to describe (show, don’t tell) an incident or event that relates to your main point

  • A Zinger – Humor, wordplay or some other creative twist (Essay 22 effectively uses punctuation to emphasize individual words!)

  • A Straightforward Statement – Sometimes it’s better to be simple than to attempt and fail and, if you have a lot of information to convey, straightforward openings can work well

The Flow

  • Pull back from the narrative to fill in background information

  • Beginning of an essay is the beginning of your conversation with the person reviewing your application

  • Balance between describing an experience and reflecting on it

  • Transitions are key and help clarify what is going on in your essay (i.e. your logic)

The Kicker

  • A final sentence that echoes the beginning or provides an unexpected twist

  • “Writing this essay has suddenly made me realize the gross unfairness of the college process, and inspired me to try to balance out the issue. From now on, every college rep, department head, and theatre professor I meet, I’ll simply request that in the interest of fairness, they remove their pants.” (Essay 71)

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