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The 10 Most Important Tips for Writing the Perfect Common App Essay

MGM Films

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CRAFT YOUR OPENING

 Once you’ve figured out your story, take time to think about how to open your essay. Use these early words to grab your reader’s attention, pull them into your unique world, and make a great first impression. Aim to open with energy, conviction, mystery, suspense, wonder, humor, and/or boldness.

Sample openings:

-There is no better feeling than the excitement and exhilaration of running the ball down the field; it is that fleeting moment of weightlessness, even godliness, when you fly past opponents through sheer strength or cunning dexterity.

-Standing barefoot on the white sand, surrounded by my extended ohana, I mimic the graceful sway of my cousin’s hips.

-Weathered, beat up, an octagonal stick with a sand-papery feel; six feet tall, like me, but with a stiff white scoop and malleable net; just holding it fills me with adrenaline and joy.

-On the day I was born, I won the lottery.

-I am going to be the general manager of the New York Yankees.

-When I lie awake in the middle of the night, I think about shoes. 

-Dear Mom, it’s been six years since I last saw you, and so much has happened.


Topics: Life
Tags: personal statements, common app, applying to college, college admission essays, sparknotes college, college 101, crushing the common app, common app essay, common app essay prompts

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About the Author
Chelsea Dagger

Since 2010, Chelsea Dagger (known in real life as Chelsea Aaron) has been SparkLife's sweatiest editor. She's currently working on a how-to-kiss guide for teens, and when she's not conducting smooch-related research on her life-size Joseph Gordon-Levitt cardboard cutout, she's eating pancakes, stocking up on industrial-strength deodorant, and destroying everyone at Harry Potter trivia. (EXPECTO PATRONUM!)

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