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Essays can be crucial to admissions and scholarship decisions.
What Is the College Essay Introduction For?

What does "discovering" ice entail? How does he go from ice-discoverer to military commander of some sort to someone condemned to capital punishment? To work well, your question should be especially specific, come out of left field, or pose a surprising hypothetical. How does an agnostic Jew living in the Diaspora connect to Israel? This is a thorny opening, raising questions about the difference between being an ethnic Jew and practicing the religion of Judaism, and the obligations of Jews who live outside of Israel to those who live in Israel and vice versa.

There's a lot of meat to this question, setting up a philosophically interesting, politically important, and personally meaningful essay. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe? The lesson you learned should be slightly surprising not necessarily intuitive and something that someone else might disagree with. Perhaps it wasn't wise to chew and swallow a handful of sand the day I was given my first sandbox, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The reader wants to know more. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina. Did he draw the right conclusion here? How did he come to this realization? And let your first sentences soar like the Wright Brothers' first airplane! This is the place in your essay where you go from small to big—from the life experience you describe in detail to the bigger point this experience illustrates about your world and yourself.

Typically, the pivot sentence will come at the end of your introductory section, about halfway through the essay. I say sentence, but this section could be more than one sentence though ideally no longer than two or three. So how do you make the turn? This is called signposting, and it's a great way to keep readers updated on where they are in the flow of the essay and your argument. Here are three ways to do this, with real-life examples from college essays published by colleges.

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. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.

If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay. Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement.

Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay. Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas? Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay.

Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position.

Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together. Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction.

The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. The compare and contrast essay. This type of essay will ask you to compare and contrast two topics and to show how they are similar or different.

For example, an essay analyzing all of the similarities and differences between living in New York City and Los Angeles is a compare and contrast essay. Are you writing for your professor, for your classmates, for experts in your field, or for people who are new to the subject? If you're writing for experts in the field, then you don't have to define basic terms and can use a more advanced vocabulary, but if you're writing for people who don't know much about the topic, like analyzing a film for readers who haven't seen it, then you'll have to give more basic details.

If you're writing a research paper on a topic that may be esoteric or unfamiliar to your readers, then you'll have to explain the research you've found in great detail. What is your purpose in writing the essay? Is it to inform, to entertain, to persuade, to define, to compare and contrast, to analyze, to synthesize, or to tell a story?

Knowing your purpose right away can help you frame your argument and reach the right people in the right way.

For example, if your goal is to persuade people, you'll have to develop a logical argument with compelling main points that convince your readers to see your point of view.

If your goal is to compare and contrast, then you'll have to be knowledgeable about the differences and similarities of two topics. If your purpose is to inform, then you'll have to thoroughly study a topic and help your readers understand it better. Tone is another important aspect of writing a successful college essay.

For most essays, your tone should be professional, detached, and informative. If you use too much biased language to try to convince your research, then you won't sound authoritative.

If you use slang or write in the first person, then you won't sound professional. But if you're writing a personal essay for a course on writing a memoir, for example , then you'll get to use more comfortable, informal language.

Your tone is your attitude toward the subject you're presenting. Is your tone detached, amused, slightly cynical, suspicious, or more passionate? Whatever the tone is, it has to be appropriate to the subject matter. If you're writing an essay about stem-cell research, for example, your tone should be objective and detached; if you were writing an essay about online dating, you could take a more amused or playful tone.

Though it may be fun to jump right into an essay without knowing exactly what you're talking about, the best thing you can do is to do your research first so you build a solid foundation for your thinking. Get the texts you need, take notes, and read them until you feel that you've mastered the topic and have enough information to write an essay or formulate an argument. Make sure that the materials you use are credible and come from established professionals. Don't do your research on Wikipedia.

Take enough notes to be comfortable with the subject. Know what makes an appropriate thesis statement. Once you've done your research, you'll need to write a thesis statement, which will be the central argument or point that you'll be making throughout the paper. Though you can outline some basic ideas first or find several main ideas that stand out to you, you should not begin writing the essay without a clear idea of what your thesis statement should be. One example of a thesis statement is the following: Write a thesis statement.

Write a thesis statement that makes an argument clearly and precisely and which can be argued. You can't write a thesis about how unicorns exist because you can't prove that, and you can't write a thesis about how smoking is bad for your health because that can't really be argued.

Instead, pick an interesting, relevant argument to your subject matter and pick at least two or three specific details to help you argue your point. Here are some examples of different thesis statements: Once you have a thesis statement, you should create an outline that will serve as the roadmap to the rest of your paper, which will help you know exactly what to put in each paragraph. This will make your thoughts logical and organized and will keep you from getting overwhelmed or changing your mind halfway through the paper.

The outline should include the introductory paragraph, the body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraphs, citing as much specific evidence as possible. Here's an example of an outline of an essay with the following thesis statement: The introduction is comprised of three parts:


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As a start, here are 13 introductory strategies accompanied by examples from a wide range of professional writers. 13 Introductory Strategies State your thesis briefly and directly (but avoid making a bald announcement, such as "This essay is about").

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Let’s say I’m writing an argumentative essay about why American people should start eating insects. Argumentative Essay Outline Section 3: Refuting Opponents’ Arguments If you’re looking for some ideas, check out these argumentative essay examples.

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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. How to Start a College Essay Perfectly. Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 4, AM. College Essays. Writing your essay will be much easier if you can figure out the entirety of it first and then go back and work out exactly how it should start.

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How to start an essay: the opening sentence. By Ali. Category: Academic Ten minute research – if you’re putting off starting your essay, get going here. Got a great way to start an essay? Ever tried out what you thought was a great way only for your tutor to scribble red-pen comments in the margin? Let us know in the comments. You’ve been staring at your blank computer screen for what feels like hours, trying to figure out how to start your analytical essay. You try to choose between writing the introduction first or .