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How To Open Your College Essay Or Personal Statement

Your personality and life experiences matter to your future college because they are a good indicator of whether you would be a good fit on their campus. Colleges ask for a “personal” statement for a reason. Whether you’re still brainstorming topics for your college essay or personal statement, or completing your final draft, you know your essay needs to stand out from the crowd.

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The former builds expectations and evokes curiosity, and the latter stimulates the imagination and creates a connection with the author. In both cases, you hit your goal of greater reader engagement. After you’ve done this storyteller exercise, write down the salient points of what you learned.

The Random Personal Fun Fact

While you are reading these essays, write down opening lines and sentences you feel are truly effective or clever. With a page of these inspiring sentences in front of you, try to rewrite your essay using these techniques and try a variety of opening lines. While the school you are applying to also has access to your list of activities and transcript, your essay is their only chance to get to know your personality.

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You know you need to “get creative,” but it is so hard to know what a college wants to see. You don’t have to write the introduction first, and you certainly don’t have to write your first sentence first. Instead, start by developing your story by telling it out loud to a friend. You can then work on your first sentence and your pivot. Now, I’m going to show you how these principles work for all types of first sentences, whether in college essays or in famous works of fiction.

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