Essay writing

Topics: Writing, University and college admissions, Short story Pages: 5 (2268 words) Published: March 16, 2014
Essay writing
Your reader is tired and easily bored. It’s the dead of winter and he is curled up in front of his space heater, drinking tea, trying to get through as many applications as he possibly can tonight before he starts all over again in the morning. Your essay is the 65th he has read today, and very few have been memorable.  He yearns to be entertained.  He wants to see something fresh and interesting.  He wants to appreciate a creative twist on the same-old essay prompts.  He wants something that reads well…like a mystery novel, a juicy gossip column, or at least a well-crafted feature in the Chicago Tribune. So punch it up.  One of the best ways to do this is to pay close attention to the first and last lines of the essay.  The first sentence or two, especially, is worthy of your careful consideration: give your reader some reason to sit up and take notice. - See more at: Your reader may scan your essay first, just to see if it’s worth reading carefully.  Again, these essays all begin to sound the same after a while.  So it’s natural to imagine your reader scanning it first to discern whether this is just one more formulaic piece about the happy poor people you served at the soup kitchen one evening, or about how you saved the big game by throwing the touchdown pass in the final seconds of the game.  Therefore, you can help your reader do the scanning by using some of those excellent writing devices you began learning in primary school.  Clear structure:  introduction, body, conclusion.  Strong paragraph form.  Clear transitions.  Chronological sign posts:  “first did this, then I did that, finally I did that other thing.”  You learned these techniques years ago:  now is the time to deploy them. Your reader does not have any inside information about your life.  So assume nothing.  If you’re writing about skiing, pretend your reader is an oboe player.  If you are waxing eloquent about physics, assume your reader prefers poetry.  Avoid using abbreviations or acroynms that may be perfectly clear to you and your friends, but may have no meaning beyond your circle.  To tell someone that you passed through the IC building to go the LRC in order to work on your EE is to use language no one except someone who follows you around day-to-day could understand.  Similarly, don’t assume that if you are writing your essay about model trains that your reader understands the difference between an STD and a HO gauge.  You have to assume that your reader is educated and happy to learn new about model trains, but don’t start getting technical on him or you’ll lose him (and he’ll doze off there in front of that nice, warm space heater…). Your reader really wants to like you.  Most students imagine admissions officers as really scary people.  But it’s not true.  Admissions folks are an interesting breed.  They generally love their jobs, and they enjoy learning about young people. They seem themselves as not as the evil gatekeepers who take delight in rejecting applicants with a villainous cackle as they scrawl a big “deny” across your file in frog bile.  Rather, they want to share their community with interesting people, and they are genuinely hunting for someone interesting like you.  So think of your reader as someone who is supportive and kind to young people. Thinking about the person who will ready your essay will help as you craft it.  Don’t assume too much of him, positively or negatively.  Just be compassionate and understanding.  Know where he is coming from.  This knowledge will help you structure your piece in a way that he will appreciate, and that will give him every reason to leap up out of his chair and cry, “finally, someone who understands me!” TELL A STORY

A Clear Plot Line
As mentioned, any good story has a beginning, middle, and an end.  Before you tell the story, you need to map out the essential...
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