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11 Tips for Writing the College Essay

Outline What You Want to Cover
Use the brainstorming process. Make a list of all the ideas you want to include--don't rule anything out. List everything you can think of. Then go back over the list and check off or circle the major points you want to cover.

Work on the Opening Paragraph
Think of lots of different ways to begin. There are many approaches that can be used. Warm up by using a meaningful quote or definition. Starting off with a rhetorical question that fits your situation is also a good way to get started. You might open your essay with a detailed description of the setting of an important experience you've had so that readers feel they were really there.
Pick the opener that best draws the reader in with an unusual, entertaining, or thoughtful hook in beginning.

Compose a Rough Draft
Use the outline you created to address each of your key points--as if you were having a conversation with someone. Try to be personal and, if it comes naturally, add humor. Concentrate on content, use descriptive language, and give clear examples. Imagine that you're talking to a close friend when writing your essay. This technique should help the real you shine through. Remember, a rough draft doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be a start.

Next: Review >>

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