How to begin a college essay to get the reader's attention?

Your college essay shows the admissions officer something that your test scores and report cards cannot: who you are. This is why it is important that you get the reader’s attention immediately.


Begin with brainstorming, listing your strengths and your personality traits. This is a great place to begin especially if you are stuck.

First Draft

Don’t get bogged down by the due date or the brainstorming. Just start writing. After you have your notes, you should create the outline immediately and decide what items you want in your essay, what examples are best. If you can’t decide, then make multiple drafts and begin to narrow them down later. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is best to just let the creative juices flow and make sure your thoughts get on paper. You can fix any mistakes you make later and improve writing as you edit, but not now.

Divide and Conquer

As you write your first draft, put your essay in three parts. The first part is a single paragraph: the introduction. This is where you introduce the essay and the theme of the essay, grabbing the reader’s attention. The second part is multiple paragraphs and it is the body, which explains the main idea of your paper with examples to back it up. Finally, the third part is the conclusion. It is one paragraph that summarizes everything you’ve said.

Use Specifics

As you start writing the introduction, remember that time is of the essence and therefore, you need to be specific. Your essay needs focus, it needs to answer a question which relates specifically to your qualities, and then it should take a precise angle. Make sure that the things you include in your essay support your viewpoint. If your focus is on your teambuilding skills, you don’t need information on how you won MVP one year, unless you can relate it to your teambuilding skills.

Be Creative

Look for a creative angle. If you are trying to get into a conservative institution, angle your paper creatively about how your love of strict legal rules and UN participation bodes well for an institution which prides itself on adherence to rules and conservation.

Be Honest

And most importantly, be honest. Talk about what you think and feel, not what you think and feel the reader will want. Talk about something openly and honestly, something what changed you, an experience that made you who you are, or something that caused you to turn to this institution.