To see how the introduction fits into an essay, let's look at the big structural picture first and then zoom in.
Even though they’re called essays, personal statements are really more like a mix of a short story and a philosophy or psychology class that's all about you.
After you've done this storyteller exercise, write down the salient points of what you learned. What is the point about your life, point of view, or personality it will make? Sketch out a detailed outline so that you can start filling in the pieces as we work through how to write the introductory sections.
In general, your essay's first sentence should be either a mini-cliffhanger that sets up a situation the reader would like to see resolved, or really lush scene-setting that situates your audience in a place and time they can readily visualize.
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. Find out more about Prep Scholar Admissions now: Here’s a weird secret that’s true for most written work: just because it'll end up at the beginning doesn’t mean you have to write it first.
This means that before you can craft your ideal first sentence, the way the short story experience of your life will play out on the page, and the perfect pivoting moment that transitions from your story to your insight, you must work out a general idea about which life event you will share and what you expect that life event to demonstrate to the reader about you and the kind of person you are.
If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, check out our guide on brainstorming college essay ideas.
The story typically comes in the first half of the essay, and the insightful explanation comes second —but, of course, all rules were made to be broken, and some great essays flip this more traditional order.
Now, let’s zero in on the first part of the college essay.