In order to write an "attention getter" at the start of an essay assignment, students might use a quotation from a notable person, a shocking statistic, an open-ended question or a personal anecdote. The purpose of an attention getter, or hook, is to seize the attention of the reader and outline the context of what is to follow.
Quotations are particularly suited to essays of literary analysis, and in these instances may be sourced from relevant authors. They might also be a good way to start persuasive essays, perhaps referencing part of a famous political speech. Personal anecdotes are useful when the intention of the essay is to demonstrate the relevance of its topic in the lives of real people.