How to Use Anecdotes in a College Essay Introduction | Teen Ink

How to Use Anecdotes in a College Essay Introduction

October 2, 2022
By Anonymous

The introduction of a college essay is where you can include your personal anecdotes and tie them in with the topic at hand. So for example, if you were writing about how much you want to study abroad, but haven't had the opportunity yet, you could write about an experience where you travelled abroad and what it taught you about yourself.

Anecdotes are basically short stories that add depth and weight to your point. They don't have to be long either - in fact, they can often be just one sentence that relates back to the main point of your essay. But they can also take up a few sentences.

For example: I remember being on vacation in Spain last summer when my parents told me that we'd be moving back home this fall because my dad's new job was going well enough for us all to stay together again. At first, I felt scared to leave behind all of my friends and everything familiar about life here in Barcelona. But then I realized that there would be so many new experiences waiting for me back at home - like spending time with old friends who I hadn't seen in years or experiencing the American culture first-hand.

This example includes four sentences which talk about how the student traveled overseas and found her love for studying other cultures from it. She mentions her fear of leaving her friends in Barcelona but she realizes that she will make new friends as she adjusts to life back in America. It gives the reader a glimpse into her personality and some insight into the type of person she is. And that helps the reader get to know her better, even though she only included a few details about herself. In a common app essay, your introductory anecdote should help the admissions officers get a sense of who you are, not just by telling them facts (such as what your major is) but through anecdotes that reveal something more meaningful and personal about yourself. So, for example, you might use your introduction to say something about why you chose your school, and mention the location or the people in it that have made a difference in your life. If you're applying to multiple schools, these are good topics for differentiating between them instead of simply reiterating basic information about yourself. Once you've given some context and gotten the reader excited about who you are as a person, you can move on to stating your thesis statement or explaining what inspired you to apply in the first place!

Here are general tips to remember when including anecdotes in your college essays:

-Anecdotes should relate back to the main points of your essays. For example, if you are writing about how much you enjoy traveling and would like to do it while attending university, then it makes sense to include an anecdote related to travel somewhere in your essay.

-Include specific details related to the moment when you experienced this event/problem/etc., rather than vague descriptions that provide no real context. When you are providing detail, you should try to focus on the emotions you felt during the experience and any insights that came to you. These moments may have changed your perspective of the world and helped shape your values, which are things a college admissions officer wants to know about in order to see if you are a suitable candidate for their school.

-And finally, it's important that your anecdotes show that you learned something about yourself. What did you learn? How did it change your perspective of the world?

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