…by giving my essay a catchy opening line that doesn’t turn you away or bore you to tears.
See, I could have started this tip post with “Today I am going to tell you how to create a compelling essay opening,” but you probably would have skipped over something as drab as that. How about these?
It is the art of philosophical car washing that got me thinking about pursuing an MBA.
There are numerous ways to make a banana split cry.
…now THOSE are essays or personal statements I’d like to read!
Yes, you want an engaging opening for your admissions essay or personal statement, but you also want to make sure to avoid anything obvious or chock full of clichés.
A good essay opening is one that:
- …sets the tone. A serious essay should be introduced by a serious opening line. If an intro sentence makes you chuckle, on the other hand, then you can assume the essay itself it humorous as well.
- …raises intrigue. Your essay’s opening line should encourage questioning or engender curiosity. Like for our first example above, “What is philosophical car washing?” or “What is the art form of this activity like?” or, as per our second example above, “Huh?” And that’s okay too!
- …surprising, shocking, or suspenseful. Causing your reader to flinch, raise an eyebrow in surprise, jump with shock, or furrow her forehead from suspense is a good thing. That reader will want to read on.
Grab your readers’ attention so they will read your essay because they want to and not because they have to.
NOTE: If you can’t think of a catchy opening, but know what you plan on writing, feel free to write your essay first and add a catchy hook at the beginning of the essay once you’re done, or sometime along the way.
This essay tip originally appeared in our monthly newsletter Odds ‘N Ends. To ensure you don’t miss out on our valuable newsletter, sign-up today!