How to Start a College Application Essay

When composing a college application essay you can quickly become overwhelmed at the importance of it all, after all your future rests on this one piece of literacy genius. I can tell you right now, people place far too much emphasis on what they will talk about and how to ‘sell themselves’ to be sure of getting in to the right college (or the college your parents want you to go to!

This daunting task can be made much simpler by take ONE simple step which comes way, way, way before you put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard as it is these days.

What is this magic step I hear you cry? It’s simple Learn how to start a college application essay.

Keep this thought in mind –

An admissions office will only take a couple of minutes per essay as they have thousands to read and score. Spend most of your time on your opening paragraph; this will get you the acceptance you were looking for.

Before you worry about convincing the admission officer that you are the right candidate and a worthy of a place at their college, you must first grab their attention by making your opening paragraph unique, exciting and about you. We look into each of these elements below.

Be Unique

Starting your college application essay by using a quotation from a famous scholar, poet or any historical figure may seem like a great idea. However you will be doing just all of your competition are doing, and by competition I mean the other students you are competing against for exactly the same college place.

Being unique starts by thinking outside of the box, how can you really capture the attention of the admissions officer in those first few precious sentences of the college essay?

A few tips;

  1. Try making up your own quote – you have been studying for years, you have your own mind, lets hear it.
  2. Disagree with a famous quote – everybody loves controversy and a difference of opinion. Be that person that tells it how it is and what you think. They will love it.
  3. Make a bold statement – This can tie in with the above, or be a simply be something that will provide that wow factor. Again, I can’t stress enough how important these first few lines are in capturing the attention of the essay reader.

Be Exciting

Think about the life experiences you have had, think of holidays or travelling. Nights out to remember, and some not so much! Think of family who have influenced you and friends whom have filled your life with all manner of experiences.

Now grab a pen and paper (yes we are going old school) and write all of those thought down. No matter how crazy or little they seem, chances are if you remember them they are worth remembering and possibly sharing within your college essay submission.

When understanding how to start a college application essay, you cannot go far wrong with an opening statement that hits with an impact.

“My time climbing to Mount Everest base camp, taught me more about myself in 2 months that I had learn in the past 18 years”

This simple sentence gives the reader a number of things.

  1. Tells about your travel experiences
  2. Shows you took the time to reflect upon your life
  3. Displays that you now know what you want, which is admission to their college!

About You

Most important of all, be you. This may seem like a cop-out but you would not believe the number of people who think they have to lie or pretend to be something or somebody they are not in a college essay.

Think about it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time there. Do you really want to start off on the wrong foot and be accepted into a college based on someone you have to pretend to be for the next few years? I know I don’t.

So relax, take your time and let the writing come to you. There’s plenty of time for editing and correcting AFTER you have the bulk of essay content.

Closing thoughts

  1. Always ensure you proofread and if possible have a friend (who is educated to a similar or higher level) proofread for you. You don’t want to be the dumbass that has misspellings and typos all over his essay. This wreaks of lack of effort and concentration, neither of which are attributes you wish to display in your college essay.
  2. Always ensure your work is original and don’t be tempted to copy essays from another student or from online resources. Colleges have become proficient at spotting these and some actually use computer powered scanners to look for plagiarism!
  3. If you are still struggling we would recommend you try some college application essay examples that are easily available online.

I hope that you found this article useful and you can learn more on how to start an essay by visiting the articles on the home page.