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10 Great Opening Lines from Stanford Admissions Essays

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❶When you are finished writing, you need to make sure that your essay still adheres to the prompt.

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

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What Is the College Essay Introduction For?
1. Get to know your prompt

A killer first sentence. Great first sentences are punchy. A lively, individual voice. Writing is for readers. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. Enchanted Prince Stan decided to stay away from any frog-kissing princesses to retain his unique perspective on ruling as an amphibian. No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly.

All colleges advise applicants to have their essays looked over several times by parents, teachers, mentors, and anyone else who can spot a comma splice. Your essay must be your own work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help polishing it. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar.

Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.

Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now: Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over of these plus some essay excerpts! The current Common App prompts are as follows:. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

If this sounds like you, then please share your story. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.

Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Universal Application, both of which Johns Hopkins accepts. I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them.

We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up. Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van. Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back. More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try.

Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised.

My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water.

My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people?

Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night. But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me.

I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt. Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival.

But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me. Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness.

My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence. It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why! I had never broken into a car before. You can also pick many incidences showing one aspect and use them to write your essay.

Each example you use in your essay you should relate to the experience you learned from it. The example to use should be relevant to bring out the story and quality you want the admission officers to know. They will help you write your introduction paragraph.

In addition, you can use each of the above strategies to write your introduction. When writing you essay you should describe to the admission officers what you did. Do not tell the admission officers what you did in the experience you are narrating. Now, check if any of them are particularly unusual, unique, memorable, entertaining or interesting. Problems that only you can have most likely are your most promising problems to start your college application essay.

Maybe your little sisters are all picky eaters another problem! This could be an excellent essay: Write about how you make fancy lunches for your picky little sisters. Could such an ordinary, everyday topic like making paperbag lunches get you into your dream school?

Then you can talk about how you handled that problem, including making these lunches and other meals. You can explain the steps you took to learn how to cook, and your defining quality of bringing creativity and personal responsibility to the process. Usually best to pick ONE quality in each essay to give it a sharp focus.

Can you imagine how you could start this essay sharing your daily morning routine of making creative sack lunches? I can picture the types of colorful details and snippets of conversation from those frantic mornings—which you could craft into an anecdote to show yourself in action and start your essay.

Maybe one sister demands peanut butter and pickles, and another that her sandwich is cut into six squares and the third only eats mini-carrots and homemade hummus.

Boy, are you a great big brother or sister!! Then you continue with the back story about your mom and why you were charged with this task, and drill deeper into how you handled it, and WHAT YOU LEARNED about yourself, others and the world in the process this is the all-important analytical, reflective part of your essay. So I hope my Brainstorm Guide has helped you have unveil some of your past problems to start your college application essay.

And that you start to get an idea of how you can use these to write about yourself to start your college application essay. Read my posts in this Jumpstart page and I promise this will start to make more sense, and even give you more ways to discover your best topic ideas. If you want a short book that takes you through this process one step at a time, check out my writing guide on Amazon: My online course , also available on this blog, does the same thing, but with a series of short videos and handouts.

Remember, if you can think of your past problems, you are bound to find a great topic to start your college application essay! Your email address will not be published. As a professional writing coach, I help students, parents, counselors, teachers and others from around the world on these dreaded essays! Learn about my in-person and online tutoring, editing, workshops, books, and online courses,

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Before we talk about how to start a college essay, let's discuss the role of the introduction. Just as your college essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions office of your target college, your essay's beginning is your chance to introduce your writing.

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Starting A College Application Essay College application essay is an important aspect of the application process into a school or college. Colleges have limited vacancies in the program, therefore, this is the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

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How To Start Your College Application Essay. Start jotting them down, but don’t worry just yet about writing a full-fledged essay. The college application essay writing process is an evolution, not a revolution. It will take time to . To Start Your College Application Essay (Copy and paste this list into Word/Google doc and print it out) Go down this list of problems and write down “times” you faced or dealt with this type of problem. Try to think of one big example and one small one. Often the smaller ones turn out to be the best ones.

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Jun 15,  · Now that it's summer, you've got time to write a great college essay. And to get your college admissions essay off to the right start, begin with a captivating opening line. Want examples? Here are samples from winning college essays courtesy of Stanford University. These are opening lines of admissions essays that the Stanford admission . It may be only words — or sometimes only words — but the admissions essay(s) portion of a college application can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. How you write your personal essay shows the admissions committee why you are different from other applicants.