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“Well begun is half done” is an adage that holds true especially in the case of a college essay. The more compelling the opening statement of a college essay is, the more interested readers are likely to be in the piece. 

Different types of essay introductions work differently. Depending on the type of the college admission essay an applicant opts to write, they can choose the most suitable opening statement for it.

Types of College Essay Introductions 

Following are some types of college essay introductions with examples that are effective when starting such an essay. 

1. Starting with a Quote

Picking a relevant quote that suits the college application essay topic is a good way to start the essay. The quote can be a statement attributed to a famous person or it can be from someone the applicant knows or the applicant themselves.

Starting a college essay with a quote, similar to the examples listed below, is a tried and tested method that actually works. 


  • “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” ― Aristotle
  • “Dad, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m gay.” ― Me on my 17th birthday 
  • “America’s healthcare system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” ― Walter Cronkite
  • “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” ― Mark Twain

2. Beginning with a Question

Beginning the college essay with a question is a sure-fire way of getting and retaining readers’ attention. A question intrigues readers and furthers their curiosity, making them want to continue reading. They are sure to be curious to know how the writer would answer the question or why the question is relevant enough to be used as an introduction.

Below are some examples of questions that make for a good introduction.


  • Why did the chicken cross the road? 
  • What is the purpose of life?
  • Is rap protest music? 
  • Do you know which is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

3. Sharing an Anecdote

Beginning an essay with an anecdote, especially in case of a personal statement, is a good way to arouse readers’ curiosity. An anecdote provides an applicant a chance to tell their story by sharing life experiences that shaped their personality or changed their worldview. Also, because an anecdote gives a peek into a person’s disposition, an applicant would be better off sharing an anecdote that reflects the strength of their character. 

Admission officers aim to better understand an applicant through an admission essay. The insights they gain from the essay help them recognize whether or not the applicant is a good fit for the college or university.

Following are some examples of anecdotes that can get readers interested in an essay. 


  • “As the plane shook violently, the pilot asked all of us to pray.” 
  • “I’ve dreamed of joining Carmel ever since the campus tour, and I know I’ll fit right in.”
  • “My 6-year-old brother was killed by a gunman who shot 18 other elementary school students on July 22, 1999.”
  • “My head spun just before I blacked out.” 

4. Writing a Good Essay Hook 

An essay hook, as the name suggests, is the opening sentence of an essay written with the intent to hook the reader. From statistical facts to personal anecdotes, anything interesting can be used as an essay hook.  Further, what serves as an appropriate hook depends on the type of essay one chooses to write. 

Below are some intriguing essay hook examples. 


  • “I couldn’t stand frogs as a kid. But all that changed when I rescued one, which eventually became my family’s first pet.”
  • “Online shopping is risky and isn’t as great as it seems.”
  • “The chainsaw murderer wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.”
  • “The Pacific Ocean’s average depth is 13,000 feet, making it Earth’s deepest water body.”

5. Using a Solid Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the closing sentence of the opening paragraph of an essay. It summarizes the essay’s main argument and gives the admissions committee a clear idea of what to expect from the piece. Since admissions officers may have to read thousands of college essays, the most practical thing to do would be to keep the thesis statement coherent and concise. 


  • “There are many reasons why polar ice caps are melting, and one of them is global warming.”
  • “To reduce teen pregnancy cases, it is important to educate not just young women but young men too.”
  • “Veganism is a fad and it won’t last long.”
  • “Cyberbullying is detrimental to mental health.”

6. Crafting Awesome Topic Sentences

A topic sentence is the opening sentence of a paragraph, with each new paragraph having its own. While a thesis statement is a summary of the entire essay, a topic sentence summarizes the content of a paragraph. Thus, every topic sentence is like a thesis statement for its paragraph.


  • “Poverty, in America, has many causes and effects.”
  • “Electric cars are better for the environment.”
  • “A hate crime is a crime motivated by discrimination.”
  • “Cattle rearing is one of the major contributors to global warming.”

Writing an engaging introduction is the best way to spark the reader’s interest. Catchy and witty introductions not only showcase a writer’s creativity, but they also create a sense of mystery that keeps readers interested in the essay. Beginning with an intriguing introduction is, therefore, the best way to ensure that a college essay stands out. 

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A good way to get readers interested in an essay is to have an impressive introduction.
A good way to get readers interested in an essay is to have an impressive introduction.