What Are Some Ways to Start a College Essay?

A good way for a person to start a college essay is to personalize the writing in a way that reveals something interesting or unique about themselves. Writers may also start out with a story or phrase that has personal meaning and relate it to the reason for selecting a particular college or career path.

Spend some time thinking about specific points or topics that need to be discussed in the essay and things that feel important to include. Create an outline containing a heading that summarizes each of those topics, using subheadings if necessary. Set the essay aside for a day or two and, while thinking about the topics in the outline during that time, jot down ideas or inspirations as they come to mind.

When sitting down to write again, try to incorporate the saved ideas by weaving them into a complete narrative or commentary. If the writing is not yet flowing, it may be helpful to read examples of other people's essays. CBS News Moneywatch has a list of ten great opening lines for college essays that were written by Stanford University applicants. Reading through them may offer the right inspiration to light a creative writing spark.