How to Begin an Essay: 13 Engaging Strategies

ThoughtCo / Hugo Lin

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

An effective introductory paragraph both informs and motivates. It lets readers know what your essay is about and it encourages them to keep reading.

There are countless ways to begin an essay effectively. As a start, here are 13 introductory strategies accompanied by examples from a wide range of professional writers.

State Your Thesis Briefly and Directly

But avoid making your thesis a bald announcement, such as "This essay is about...". 

"It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday...." (Michael J. Arlen, "Ode to Thanksgiving." The Camera Age: Essays on Television . Penguin, 1982)

Pose a Question Related to Your Subject

Follow up the question with an answer, or an invitation for your readers to answer the question.

"What is the charm of necklaces? Why would anyone put something extra around their neck and then invest it with special significance? A necklace doesn't afford warmth in cold weather, like a scarf, or protection in combat, like chain mail; it only decorates. We might say, it borrows meaning from what it surrounds and sets off, the head with its supremely important material contents, and the face, that register of the soul. When photographers discuss the way in which a photograph reduces the reality it represents, they mention not only the passage from three dimensions to two, but also the selection of a point de vue that favors the top of the body rather than the bottom, and the front rather than the back. The face is the jewel in the crown of the body, and so we give it a setting." (Emily R. Grosholz, "On Necklaces." Prairie Schooner , Summer 2007)

State an Interesting Fact About Your Subject

" The peregrine falcon was brought back from the brink of extinction by a ban on DDT, but also by a peregrine falcon mating hat invented by an ornithologist at Cornell University. If you cannot buy this, Google it. Female falcons had grown dangerously scarce. A few wistful males nevertheless maintained a sort of sexual loitering ground. The hat was imagined, constructed, and then forthrightly worn by the ornithologist as he patrolled this loitering ground, singing, Chee-up! Chee-up! and bowing like an overpolite Japanese Buddhist trying to tell somebody goodbye...." (David James Duncan, "Cherish This Ecstasy." The Sun , July 2008)

Present Your Thesis as a Recent Discovery or Revelation

"I've finally figured out the difference between neat people and sloppy people. The distinction is, as always, moral. Neat people are lazier and meaner than sloppy people." (Suzanne Britt Jordan, "Neat People vs. Sloppy People." Show and Tell . Morning Owl Press, 1983)

Briefly Describe the Primary Setting of Your Essay

"It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the condemned cells, a row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages. Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars, with their blankets draped round them. These were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two." (George Orwell, "A Hanging," 1931)

Recount an Incident That Dramatizes Your Subject

"One October afternoon three years ago while I was visiting my parents, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She had just poured me a cup of Earl Grey from her Japanese iron teapot, shaped like a little pumpkin; outside, two cardinals splashed in the birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. “Please help me get Jeff’s pacemaker turned off,” she said, using my father’s first name. I nodded, and my heart knocked." (Katy Butler, "What Broke My Father's Heart." The New York Times Magazine , June 18, 2010)

Use the Narrative Strategy of Delay

The narrative strategy of delay allows you to put off identifying your subject just long enough to pique your readers' interest without frustrating them. 

"They woof. Though I have photographed them before, I have never heard them speak, for they are mostly silent birds. Lacking a syrinx, the avian equivalent of the human larynx, they are incapable of song. According to field guides the only sounds they make are grunts and hisses, though the Hawk Conservancy in the United Kingdom reports that adults may utter a croaking coo and that young black vultures, when annoyed, emit a kind of immature snarl...." (Lee Zacharias, "Buzzards." Southern Humanities Review , 2007)

Use the Historical Present Tense

An effective method of beginning an essay is to use historical present tense to relate an incident from the past as if it were happening now. 

"Ben and I are sitting side by side in the very back of his mother’s station wagon. We face glowing white headlights of cars following us, our sneakers pressed against the back hatch door. This is our joy—his and mine—to sit turned away from our moms and dads in this place that feels like a secret, as though they are not even in the car with us. They have just taken us out to dinner, and now we are driving home. Years from this evening, I won’t actually be sure that this boy sitting beside me is named Ben. But that doesn’t matter tonight. What I know for certain right now is that I love him, and I need to tell him this fact before we return to our separate houses, next door to each other. We are both five." (Ryan Van Meter, "First." The Gettysburg Review , Winter 2008)

Briefly Describe a Process That Leads Into Your Subject

"I like to take my time when I pronounce someone dead. The bare-minimum requirement is one minute with a stethoscope pressed to someone’s chest, listening for a sound that is not there; with my fingers bearing down on the side of someone’s neck, feeling for an absent pulse; with a flashlight beamed into someone’s fixed and dilated pupils, waiting for the constriction that will not come. If I’m in a hurry, I can do all of these in sixty seconds, but when I have the time, I like to take a minute with each task." (Jane Churchon, "The Dead Book." The Sun , February 2009)

Reveal a Secret or Make a Candid Observation

"I spy on my patients. Ought not a doctor to observe his patients by any means and from any stance, that he might the more fully assemble evidence? So I stand in doorways of hospital rooms and gaze. Oh, it is not all that furtive an act. Those in bed need only look up to discover me. But they never do." ( Richard Selzer , "The Discus Thrower." Confessions of a Knife . Simon & Schuster, 1979)

Open with a Riddle, Joke, or Humorous Quotation

You can use a riddle , joke, or humorous quotation to reveal something about your subject. 

" Q: What did Eve say to Adam on being expelled from the Garden of Eden? A: 'I think we're in a time of transition.' The irony of this joke is not lost as we begin a new century and anxieties about social change seem rife. The implication of this message, covering the first of many periods of transition, is that change is normal; there is, in fact, no era or society in which change is not a permanent feature of the social landscape...." (Betty G. Farrell, Family: The Making of an Idea, an Institution, and a Controversy in American Culture . Westview Press, 1999)

Offer a Contrast Between Past and Present

"As a child, I was made to look out the window of a moving car and appreciate the beautiful scenery, with the result that now I don't care much for nature. I prefer parks, ones with radios going chuckawaka chuckawaka and the delicious whiff of bratwurst and cigarette smoke." (Garrison Keillor, "Walking Down The Canyon." Time , July 31, 2000)

Offer a Contrast Between Image and Reality

A compelling essay can begin with a contrast between a common misconception and the opposing truth. 

"They aren’t what most people think they are. Human eyes, touted as ethereal objects by poets and novelists throughout history, are nothing more than white spheres, somewhat larger than your average marble, covered by a leather-like tissue known as sclera and filled with nature’s facsimile of Jell-O. Your beloved’s eyes may pierce your heart, but in all likelihood they closely resemble the eyes of every other person on the planet. At least I hope they do, for otherwise he or she suffers from severe myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), or worse...." (John Gamel, "The Elegant Eye." Alaska Quarterly Review , 2009)

  • 'Whack at Your Reader at Once': Eight Great Opening Lines
  • What Is a Compelling Introduction?
  • How to Structure an Essay
  • Hookers vs. Chasers: How Not to Begin an Essay
  • Development in Composition: Building an Essay
  • Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs
  • How To Write an Essay
  • How to Write a Good Thesis Statement
  • How to Write a Great Essay for the TOEFL or TOEIC
  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
  • How to Develop and Organize a Classification Essay
  • 6 Steps to Writing the Perfect Personal Essay
  • A Guide to Using Quotations in Essays
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • The Introductory Paragraph: Start Your Paper Off Right

ways to start an intro essay

Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction

ways to start an intro essay

'I'd like to recall the day I nearly burned myself in flames in my automobile while going 250 mph and escaping the police'. – Thankfully, we don't have a story like that to relate to, but we bet we piqued your interest.

That's what we refer to as an efficient hook. Fundamentally, it's an attention-grabbing first sentence that piques an audience's interest and encourages them to keep reading. While writing an essay, a strong hook in essay introductions is essential.

Delve into the article if you're wondering how to start an essay with a strong introduction. This is the ultimate guide for writing the parts of a introduction paragraph from our custom dissertation writing service to engage your readers.

Introduction Definition

The introduction paragraph, to put it simply, is the first section of an essay. Thus, when reading your essay, the reader will notice it right away. What is the goal of an opening paragraph? There are two things that an excellent introduction achieves. It initially informs the reader on the subject of your work; in other words, it should describe the essay's topic and provide some background information for its main point. It must also spark readers' interest and persuade them to read the remainder of your article.

To provide you with essay writing services , we only need your paper requirements to create a plagiarism-free paper on time.

How Long Should an Introduction Be

Typically, there are no strict restrictions on how long an opening paragraph should be. Professional essay writers often shape the size of it with the paper's total length in mind. For instance, if you wonder how to make introduction in essay with five paragraphs, keep your introductory sentence brief and fit it inside a single section. But, if you're writing a longer paper, let's say one that's 40 pages, your introduction could need many paragraphs or even be pages long.

Although there are no specific requirements, seasoned writers advise that your introduction paragraph should account for 8% to 9% of your essay's overall word length.

And, if you place an order on our coursework writing services , we will certainly comply with your introduction length requirements.

What Makes a Good Introduction

All of the following criteria should be fulfilled by a strong opening sentence:

  • Start your introduction on an essay with a catchy sentence that draws the reader in.
  • It needs to include baseline information about your subject.
  • This should give readers a sense of the main argument(s) that your essay will address.
  • It must include all necessary information on the setting, locations, and chronological events.
  • By the end of your introduction, make a precise remark that serves as your essay's thesis.

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph

So, what should be in a introduction paragraph? The introduction format essay has three sections: a hook, connections, and a thesis statement. Let's examine each component in more depth.

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph

Part 1: Essay Hook

A hook is among the most effective parts of a introduction paragraph to start an essay. A strong hook will always engage the reader in only one sentence. In other words, it is a selling point.

Let's now address the query, 'how to make an essay introduction hook interesting?'. Well, to create a powerful hook, you can employ a variety of techniques:

  • A shocking fact
  • An anecdote 
  • A short summary

And here is what to avoid when using a hook:

  • Dictionary definitions
  • Generalizations
  • Sweeping statements that include words like 'everywhere,' 'always,' etc.

Once you've established a strong hook, you should give a general outline of your major point and some background information on the subject of your paper. If you're unsure how to write an introduction opening, the ideal approach is to describe your issue briefly before directing readers to particular areas. Simply put, you need to give some context before gradually getting more specific with your opinions.

The 5 Types of Hooks for Writing

Apart from the strategies mentioned above, there are even more types of hooks that can be used:

  • A Common Misconception — a good trick, to begin with, to claim that something your readers believe in is false.

Example: 'Although many falsely believe that people working from home are less productive – employees who get such work-life benefits generally work harder.'

  • Statistics — Statistical facts may provide a great hook for argumentative essays and serious subjects focusing on statistics.

Example: 'A recent study showed that people who are satisfied with their work-life balance work 21% harder and are 33% more likely to stay at the same company.'

  • Personal Story — sometimes, personal stories can be an appropriate hook, but only if they fit into a few brief sentences (for example, in narrative essays).

Example: 'When I had my first work-from-home experience, I suddenly realized the importance of having a good work-life balance; I saw plenty of the benefits it can provide.'

  • Scenes — this type of hook requires making the readers imagine the things you are writing about. It is most suitable when used in descriptive and narrative essays.

Example: 'Imagine you could have as much free time as you wish by working or studying from home—and spend more time with your loved ones.'

  • Thesis Statement — when unsure how to do an essay introduction, some writers start directly with their thesis statement. The main trick here is that there is no trick.

Example: 'I strongly believe there is a direct correlation between a healthy work-life balance and productivity in school or at work.'

Part 2: Connections

Give readers a clearer sense of what you will discuss throughout your article once you have given a hook and relevant background information about your essay topic. Briefly mentioning your main points in the same sequence in which you will address them in your body paragraphs can help your readers progressively arrive at your thesis statement.

In this section of your introduction, you should primarily address the following questions:

You may make sure that you are giving your readers all the information they need to understand the subject of your essay by responding to each of these questions in two to three lines. Be careful to make these statements brief and to the point, though.

Your main goal is gradually moving from general to specific facts about your subject or thesis statement. Visualize your introduction as an upside-down triangle to simplify the essay writing process. The attention-grabbing element is at the top of this triangle, followed by a more detailed description of the subject and concluding with a highly precise claim. Here is some quick advice on how to use the 'upside-down triangle' structure to compose an essay introduction:

  • Ensure that each subsequent line in your introduction is more focused and precise. This simple method will help you progressively introduce the main material of your piece to your audience.
  • Consider that you are writing a paper on the value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In this situation, you may start with a query like, 'Have you ever considered how a healthy work-life balance can affect other areas of your life?' or a similar hook. Next, you could proceed by giving broad factual information. Finally, you could focus your topic on fitting your thesis statement.

Part 3: The Thesis Statement

If you're unsure of the ideal method to create an introduction, you should be particularly attentive to how you phrase your thesis statement.

The thesis of your work is, without a doubt, the most crucial section. Given that the thesis statement of your piece serves as the foundation for the entire essay, it must be presented in the introduction. A thesis statement provides readers with a brief summary of the article's key point. Your main assertion is what you'll be defending or disputing in the body of your essay. An effective thesis statement is often one sentence long, accurate, exact, unambiguous, and focused. Your thesis should often be provided at the end of your introduction.

Here is an example thesis statement for an essay about the value of a proper work-life balance to help you gain a better understanding of what a good thesis should be:

Thesis Statement Example: 'Creating flexible and pleasant work schedules for employees can help them have a better work-life balance while also increasing overall performance.'

Catchy Introductions for Different Essay Types

Although opening paragraphs typically have a fixed form, their language may vary. In terms of academic essays, students are often expected to produce four primary intro to essay examples. They include articles that are analytical, argumentative, personal, and narrative. It is assumed that different information should appear in these beginning paragraphs since the goals of each sort of essay change. A thorough overview of the various paper kinds is provided below, along with some good essay introduction samples from our argumentative essay writers:

Narrative Introduction

  • The writer of a narrative essay must convey a story in this style of writing. Such essays communicate a story, which distinguishes them from other essay types in a big way.
  • Such a paper's hook will often be an enticing glimpse into a specific scene that only loosely links to the thesis statement. Additionally, when writing such an essay, a writer should ensure that every claim included in the introduction relates to some important moments that have significantly impacted the story's outcome.
  • The thesis in narrative writing is usually the theme or main lesson learned from the story.
Narrative introduction example: 'My phone rang, and my mother told me that Dad had suffered a heart attack. I suddenly experienced a sense of being lifted out from under me by this immaculately carpeted flooring. After making it through, Dad left me with a sizable collection of lessons. Here are three principles that I know dad would have wanted me to uphold...'

Still Can't Think of a Perfect Intro?

When assigned to write an essay, students end up with a ton of questions, including 'How to structure an essay?', 'How to choose a good topic?'. Here at EssayPro, we employ only the best essay writers who are committed to students’ success.

Analytical Introduction

  • Analytical essay introduction format is another popular type. In contrast to a narrative paper, an analytical paper seeks to explore an idea and educate the reader about a topic.
  • Three important facts that support the analytical premise should be included in the middle section of the introduction.
  • A well-researched and well-thought-out claim will form a wonderful thesis because the main goal of this paper is to study the topic and educate readers. It's crucial to remember that this assertion shouldn't initially have any real weight. Although it will still be theoretical, it has to be articulated practically.
Analytical introduction example: “... Hence even though presidents, CEOs, and generals still have their daily schedules full of economic crises and military conflicts, on the cosmic scale of history humankind can lift its eyes up and start looking towards new horizons. If we bring famine, plague, and war under control, what will replace them at the top of the human agenda? Like firefighters in a world without fire, so humankind in the twenty-first century needs to ask itself an unprecedented question: what are we going to do with ourselves? What will demand our attention and ingenuity in a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world? In a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world, what will demand our attention and ingenuity? This question becomes doubly urgent given the immense new powers that biotechnology and information technology are providing us with. What will we do with all that power? ...” Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari

Persuasive Introduction

  • To persuade readers of anything is the sole goal of persuasive essay writing. This may be accomplished using persuasive strategies like ethos, pathos, and logos.
  • A hook statement for this paper may be anything from a fascinating fact to even comedy. You can use whatever technique you choose. The most crucial advice is to ensure your hook is in line with your thesis and that it can bolster further justifications.
  • Generally speaking, a persuasive essay must include three supporting facts. Hence, to gradually lead readers to the major topic of your paper, add a quick summary of your three arguments in your introduction.
  • Last, the thesis statement should be the main claim you will be disputing in this paper. It should be a brief, carefully thought-out, and confident statement of your essay's major argument.
Persuasive introduction example: 'Recycling waste helps to protect the climate. Besides cleaning the environment, it uses waste materials to create valuable items. Recycling initiatives must be running all around the world. ...'

Personal Introduction

  • The final sort of academic writing that students frequently encounter is a personal essay. In principle, this essay style is creative nonfiction and requires the author to reflect on personal experiences. The goals of such a paper may be to convey a story, discuss the lessons that certain incidents have taught you, etc. This type of writing is unique since it is the most personal.
  • Whatever topic you choose can serve as the hook for such an essay. A pertinent remark, query, joke, or fact about the primary plot or anything else will be acceptable. The backdrop of your narrative should then be briefly explained after that. Lastly, a thesis statement can describe the impact of particular experiences on you and what you learned.
Personal introduction example: 'My parents always pushed me to excel in school and pursue new interests like playing the saxophone and other instruments. I felt obligated to lead my life in a way that met their standards. Success was always expected on the route they had set out for me. Yet eight years after my parents' separation, this course was diverted when my dad relocated to California...'

Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction Paragraph

You now understand how to do introduction and have specific intro example for essays to help you get going. Let's quickly examine what you should and shouldn't do during the writing process.

  • Keep the assignment's purpose in mind when you write your introduction, and ensure it complies with your instructor's requirements.
  • Use a compelling and relevant hook to grab the reader's attention immediately.
  • Make sure your readers understand your perspective to make it apparent.
  • If necessary, establish key terms related to your subject.
  • Show off your expertise on the subject.
  • Provide a symbolic road map to help readers understand what you discuss throughout the post.
  • Be brief; it's recommended that your introduction make up no more than 8 to 9 percent of the entire text (for example, 200 words for a 2500 words essay).
  • Construct a strong thesis statement.
  • Create some intrigue.
  • Make sure there is a clear and smooth transition from your introduction to the body of your piece.
  • If you're looking for a custom writer , request assistance from the EssayPro team. We know how to write a term paper along with many other types of essays.

Don'ts

  • Provide too much background information.
  • Use sentences that are off-topic or unnecessary.
  • Make your opening paragraph excessively long.
  • Keep some information a secret and reveal it later in conclusion.
  • Employ overused phrases or generalizations.
  • Using quotation marks excessively

Now that you know what is in the introduction of an essay, we recommend reading the information on how to critique an article to gain more academic insight.

If you are still struggling with that, keep in mind that you can always send us your request to get professional assistance from our law essay writing service .

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Readers' Corner

How To Write An Essay Introduction: A Step-by-Step Guide

Table of contents, determine your essay statement:, hook the reader:, provide overview and preview:, crafting your outline:, edit and revise:, conclusion:.

Writing a strong introduction is one of the most important parts of crafting a polished essay. The opening paragraph sets the tone for your argument and piques the reader’s interest right from the start. This article will break down the step-by-step process for writing an effective essay introduction, including determining your essay statement, hooking the reader with an attention-grabbing opening, providing an overview of the essay, and revising your writing. Relevant examples will be provided for each step to illustrate how it can be implemented. By following these guidelines and examples to write essay introduction, you’ll be well on your way to starting your essay off strong.

The foundation of any solid academic paper or essay comes from having a clear, focused statement. Your statement should present the central argument you will explore and prove over the course of the essay. It conveys the perspective or conclusion you have reached regarding the topic at hand and contains the key points or ideas you will analyse in your body paragraphs.

For example, let’s say the topic is police brutality in America . A weak statement might be:

“This paper will discuss police brutality.”

This statement is too broad and does not take a clear stance. A stronger statement could be:

“This paper argues that systemic racism within American police departments has led to disproportionate violence against people of colour and proposes policy reforms such as mandatory de-escalation training, community oversight boards, and bans on chokeholds as ways to promote racial justice and restore trust in law enforcement.”

This statement is clearer, narrower, and takes a definitive position that can be supported over the course of the essay. It outlines the key points that will be analysed in the body paragraphs. Some tips for crafting a strong essay statement include:

  • Narrow your topic to a single, manageable claim rather than a broad topic area. Ask yourself what specific point you want to make or prove.
  • Keep your essay statement concise – usually one sentence that is between 10-15 words. Short, sweet, and right to the point is best.
  • Use definitive language that takes a stance rather than presenting both sides. State your perspective overtly rather than hinting at it.
  • Include elements that will structure your essay, such as key terms, concepts, individuals, events, or works that you will analyse in depth.
  • Place the statement at the end of your introductory paragraph so readers have context before your central argument.
  • Check that your statement gives a sense of direction for the essay by tying back to the prompt or guiding question if one was provided. Make sure any contents or claims mentioned in the statement are logically argued and proven over the body paragraphs.

With conscious effort focused on these strategies, you can craft a crystal clear statement that sets an achievable roadmap for your essay’s structure and analysis. It’s the linchpin that holds everything together.

Now that you have identified your central argument, the next important element is hooking the reader right away with an engaging opening sentence. Your essay introduction only has a few short lines to capture attention and establish a compelling tone – so make them count!

For example, in an essay analysing the themes of power and corruption in George Orwell’s Animal Farm , you may begin with:

“While on the surface a simple fable about barnyard insurrection, George Orwell’s Animal Farm contains deeper parallels to the corruption of the Russian Revolution that have cemented its status as a classic of political satire.”

This opening directly references the subject work and piques curiosity about its deeper significance. Another essay, on debates over police funding, may start with:

“In June of 2020, as national protests against police brutality erupted across America, the Minneapolis City Council made a bold claim – they would dismantle the police department entirely.”

This current events reference establishes relevance while surprising readers on where the introduction may lead. Some other attention-grabbing techniques may include:

  • Quotes, statistics or facts: Drop an interesting snippet of evidence right off the bat to surprise and intrigue readers.
  • Rhetorical questions: Pose an open-ended query to make readers think and get them invested in the topic.
  • Vivid scenarios: Paint a picture with descriptive details to transport readers visually into your world.
  • Counterintuitive claims: Challenge conventional wisdom in a thought-provoking manner from the start.
  • Relevant anecdotes: Share a brief personal story that builds empathy and relevance.
  • Current events: Reference a newsworthy development to show timeliness of discussion.
  • Humour: Start off on a lighter note if your tone allows for a bit of levity to capture smiles.
  • Definitions: Clarify how you are using important terms in an original way.

The goal is to pique natural human curiosity by teasing just enough context without giving everything away. Make readers want to lean in and keep reading to learn more. With practice, you’ll develop your own signature style for captivating opener sentences tailored to your voice and content area.

After generating initial intrigue, use the next couple lines of your introductory paragraph to offer readers direction about where you aim to lead them. Provide a brief overview of key facts and background necessary to establish context for the topic. You can state the main themes, schools of thought, influential figures, opposing viewpoints or any other defining characteristics that help orient readers. Moreover, it’s helpful to give a quick preview of how the remainder of your paper is structured by stating the main supporting points and ideas you will expand upon in subsequent paragraphs. This overview transitions the reader smoothly into the body while retaining suspense about which evidence or analyses might surprise them along the way. You can also state the main themes or ideas that will structure your paper by saying something like:

“This paper examines three prevailing schools of thought on the debate, analyses the flawed assumptions behind popular arguments, and ultimately argues that sustainable policy reforms are necessary to make progress.”

A quick preview helps transition the reader into the body of the essay while retaining suspense about how your unique analysis and evidence will unfold. It gives them direction without revealing all your cards.

For a humanities essay on morality in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, an overview may be:

“This essay explores how Steinbeck portrays the human need for dignity and companionship through the lens of 1930s migrant work. It analyses the complex relationships between George, Lennie, and other characters to ultimately argue Steinbeck uses their plight to comment on the dehumanizing realities of the Great Depression.”

Providing a lightly detailed synopsis serves as a useful roadmap and entices continued learning without “spoiling” your full analysis and argumentative strategies still to unfold. It gives structure without giving everything away too quickly. Try to keep this final sentence of your introductory paragraph under 2-3 concise sentences for optimal impact and flow.

As highlighted in the previous sections, it’s crucial your introduction tightly links back to your overall essay’s content and fulfils its signposting purpose. That’s why outlining both your introduction as well as the overall essay structure simultaneously is advised. Determine the flow of ideas for your body paragraphs first so the introduction can adequately mirror that intended progression and put forth clues about what’s to come without fully revealing your hand. Some tips for outlining:

  • Jot down your main points, analyses and support in note form in whatever sequential order makes the most logical sense based on how the evidence flows together.
  • Assign each chunk of information a corresponding letter or number to use as headings to structure the physical writing later.
  • Consider how long you want each body paragraph or section to be – aim for Uniformity but allow flexibility if needed.
  • Fill in any gaps where transitions between ideas may fall flat by inserting more research or brainstorming.
  • Note sources and direct quotations or examples you plan to incorporate with their corresponding place in the outline.
  • Leave space after each point to type out the full paragraphs once you begin physically writing up the essay.

For example, an outline analysing political themes in Shakespeare’s Macbeth may group as:

I. Introduction

Statement: Shakespeare uses…to critique early modern politics etc.

II. Royal Misconduct

A. Ambition

  • Quotes on Lady Macbeth’s speech
  • Examples of Macbeth’s soliloquies

B. Ethical Failures

  • Scene of murdering Duncan
  • Banquo’s ghost

III. Downfall of a Leader

A. Isolation of a Tyrant

  • Macbeth’s madness
  • Example of the witches’ final prophecies

B. Fall from Grace

  • Macduff’s return
  • Scene of final battle

A carefully mapped outline lays the essential roadmap for your essay and ensures each new section builds cohesively upon the last. Returning to review your essay introduction paragraph against this master plan before finalizing it is a great way to guarantee it delivers on signposting duties effectively.

Like any other part of the writing process, allow time for careful editing and revising your introduction. The advice of trusted writing consultants or professors can highlight areas where clarity or flow could be improved. When editing:

  • Evaluate the strength and focus of your statement. Revise as needed.
  • Check introductory paragraph follows a logical progression from start to finish.
  • Ensure any defined terms, names or background are clearly explained at first mention.
  • Evaluate your opening sentence – is it still an effective hook or could a stronger technique be swapped in?
  • Trim any excess wordiness that does not directly serve orienting the reader.
  • Proofread spelling, grammar punctuation to eliminate issues that break reading flow.
  • Consider reworking sentence structure for variances and eloquent phrasing.
  • Have your introduction mimic the organization and tone of the essay to follow.

Evaluate whether it successfully previews your paper’s substantive content and leave enough for the reader to discover on their own. Getting constructive outside eyes on your introduction is invaluable for perfecting its impact and quality prior to submission. Keep refining until you’re proud of each elegant, cohesive element!

In conclusion, crafting an introduction is as much an art as a strategic process. With practice and conscious attention to these elements, your opening paragraphs can set the stage for a strong essay that grabs reader attention from the very start and invites them into your perspective. Remember – determination of a focused statement that ties back to the essay’s key aims, hooking curiosity with an intriguing lead sentence, orienting with context and previews of what’s to come, and allowing time for revision will set your work up for success. Following these guidelines for writing an effective introduction lays the foundation for proficient academic and professional communications. Continue challenging yourself to develop your signature voice and writing excellence.

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ways to start an intro essay

How to Start a College Essay to Hook Your Reader

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What is the purpose of the college essay introduction, tips for getting started on your essay, 6 effective techniques for starting your college essay.

  • Cliche College Essay Introduction to Avoid

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Have you sat down to write your essay and just hit a wall of writer’s block? Do you have too many ideas running around your head, or maybe no ideas at all?

Starting a college essay is potentially the hardest part of the application process. Once you start, it’s easy to keep writing, but that initial hurdle is just so difficult to overcome. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you jump that wall and make your essay the best it can be.

The introduction to a college essay should immediately hook the reader. You want to give admissions officers a reason to stay interested in your story and encourage them to continue reading your essay with an open mind. Remember that admissions officers are only able to spend a couple minutes per essay, so if you bore them or turn them off from the start, they may clock out for the rest of the essay.

As a whole, the college essay should aim to portray a part of your personality that hasn’t been covered by your GPA, extracurriculars, and test scores. This makes the introduction a crucial part of the essay. Think of it as the first glimpse, an intriguing lead on, into the read rest of your essay which also showcases your voice and personality. 

Brainstorm Topics

Take the time to sit down and brainstorm some good topic ideas for your essay. You want your topic to be meaningful to you, while also displaying a part of you that isn’t apparent in other aspects of your application. The essay is an opportunity to show admissions officers the “real you.” If you have a topic in mind, do not feel pressured to start with the introduction. Sometimes the best essay openings are developed last, once you fully grasp the flow of your story.

Do a Freewrite

Give yourself permission to write without judgment for an allotted period of time. For each topic you generated in your brainstorm session, do a free-write session. Set a time for one minute and write down whatever comes to mind for that specific topic. This will help get the juices flowing and push you over that initial bit of writer’s block that’s so common when it comes time to write a college essay. Repeat this exercise if you’re feeling stuck at any point during the essay writing process. Freewriting is a great way to warm up your creative writing brain whilst seeing which topics are flowing more naturally onto the page.

Create an Outline

Once you’ve chosen your topic, write an outline for your whole essay. It’s easier to organize all your thoughts, write the body, and then go back to write the introduction. That way, you already know the direction you want your essay to go because you’ve actually written it out, and you can ensure that your introduction leads directly into the rest of the essay. Admissions officers are looking for the quality of your writing alongside the content of your essay. To be prepared for college-level writing, students should understand how to logically structure an essay. By creating an outline, you are setting yourself up to be judged favorably on the quality of your writing skills.

1. The Scriptwriter

“No! Make it stop! Get me out!” My 5-year-old self waved my arms frantically in front of my face in the darkened movie theater.

Starting your essay with dialogue instantly transports the reader into the story, while also introducing your personal voice. In the rest of the essay, the author proposes a class that introduces people to insects as a type of food. Typically, one would begin directly with the course proposal. However, the author’s inclusion of this flashback weaves in a personal narrative, further displaying her true self.

Read the full essay.

2. The Shocker

A chaotic sense of sickness and filth unfolds in an overcrowded border station in McAllen, Texas. Through soundproof windows, migrants motion that they have not showered in weeks, and children wear clothes caked in mucus and tears. The humanitarian crisis at the southern border exists not only in photographs published by mainstream media, but miles from my home in South Texas.

This essay opener is also a good example of “The Vivid Imaginer.” In this case, the detailed imagery only serves to heighten the shock factor. While people may be aware of the “humanitarian crisis at the southern border,” reading about it in such stark terms is bound to capture the reader’s attention. Through this hook, the reader learns a bit about the author’s home life; an aspect of the student that may not be detailed elsewhere in their application. The rest of the essay goes on to talk about the author’s passion for aiding refugees, and this initial paragraph immediately establishes the author’s personal connection to the refugee crisis.

3. The Vivid Imaginer

The air is crisp and cool, nipping at my ears as I walk under a curtain of darkness that drapes over the sky, starless. It is a Friday night in downtown Corpus Christi, a rare moment of peace in my home city filled with the laughter of strangers and colorful lights of street vendors. But I cannot focus. 

Starting off with a bit of well-written imagery transports the reader to wherever you want to take them. By putting them in this context with you, you allow the reader to closely understand your thoughts and emotions in this situation. Additionally, this method showcases the author’s individual way of looking at the world, a personal touch that is the baseline of all college essays.

ways to start an intro essay

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4. The Instant Plunger

The flickering LED lights began to form into a face of a man when I focused my eyes. The man spoke of a ruthless serial killer of the decade who had been arrested in 2004, and my parents shivered at his reaccounting of the case. I curiously tuned in, wondering who he was to speak of such crimes with concrete composure and knowledge. Later, he introduced himself as a profiler named Pyo Chang Won, and I watched the rest of the program by myself without realizing that my parents had left the couch.

Plunging readers into the middle of a story (also known as in medias res ) is an effective hook because it captures attention by placing the reader directly into the action. The descriptive imagery in the first sentence also helps to immerse the reader, creating a satisfying hook while also showing (instead of telling) how the author became interested in criminology. With this technique, it is important to “zoom out,” so to speak, in such a way that the essay remains personal to you.

5. The Philosopher 

Saved in the Notes app on my phone are three questions: What can I know? What must I do? What may I hope for? First asked by Immanuel Kant, these questions guide my pursuit of knowledge and organization of critical thought, both skills that are necessary to move our country and society forward in the right direction.

Posing philosophical questions helps present you as someone with deep ideas while also guiding the focus of your essay. In a way, it presents the reader with a roadmap; they know that these questions provide the theme for the rest of the essay. The more controversial the questions, the more gripping a hook you can create. 

Providing an answer to these questions is not necessarily as important as making sure that the discussions they provoke really showcase you and your own values and beliefs.

6. The Storyteller

One Christmas morning, when I was nine, I opened a snap circuit set from my grandmother. Although I had always loved math and science, I didn’t realize my passion for engineering until I spent the rest of winter break creating different circuits to power various lights, alarms, and sensors. Even after I outgrew the toy, I kept the set in my bedroom at home and knew I wanted to study engineering.

Beginning with an anecdote is a strong way to establish a meaningful connection with the content itself. It also shows that the topic you write about has been a part of your life for a significant amount of time, and something that college admissions officers look for in activities is follow-through; they want to make sure that you are truly interested in something. A personal story such as the one above shows off just that.

Cliche College Essay Introductions to Avoid

Ambiguous introduction.

It’s best to avoid introductory sentences that don’t seem to really say anything at all, such as “Science plays a large role in today’s society,” or “X has existed since the beginning of time.” Statements like these, in addition to being extremely common, don’t demonstrate anything about you, the author. Without a personal connection to you right away, it’s easy for the admissions officer to write off the essay before getting past the first sentence.

Quoting Someone Famous

While having a quotation by a famous author, celebrity, or someone else you admire may seem like a good way to allow the reader to get to know you, these kinds of introductions are actually incredibly overused. You also risk making your essay all about the quotation and the famous person who said it; admissions officers want to get to know you, your beliefs, and your values, not someone who isn’t applying to their school. There are some cases where you may actually be asked to write about a quotation, and that’s fine, but you should avoid starting your essay with someone else’s words outside of this case. It is fine, however, to start with dialogue to plunge your readers into a specific moment.

Talking About Writing an Essay

This method is also very commonplace and is thus best avoided. It’s better to show, not tell, and all this method allows you to do is tell the reader how you were feeling at the time of writing the essay. If you do feel compelled to go this way, make sure to include vivid imagery and focus on grounding the essay in the five senses, which can help elevate your introduction and separate it from the many other meta essays.

Childhood Memories

Phrases like “Ever since I was young…” or “I’ve always wanted…” also lend more to telling rather than showing. If you want to talk about your childhood or past feelings in your essay, try using one of the techniques listed earlier (such as the Instant Plunger or the Vivid Imaginer) to elevate your writing.

CollegeVine has a peer essay review page where peers can tell you if your introduction was enough to hook them. Getting feedback from someone who hasn’t read your essay before, and thus doesn’t have any context which may bias them to be more forgiving to your introduction, is helpful because it mimics the same environment in which an admissions officer will be reading your essay. 

Writing a college essay is hard, but with these tips hopefully starting it will be a little easier!

ways to start an intro essay

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ways to start an intro essay

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How to Start an Introductory Paragraph

Last Updated: January 26, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Christopher M. Osborne, PhD . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 68,946 times.

The introduction of your essay or article has to capture the reader’s attention right away—so it’s extremely important that you nail the start of your intro! No matter what you’re writing, it’s essential to avoid clichés and be clear and engaging. This article lists many helpful tips for starting an intro, including several “do’s” and “don’t’s” that are suited to a wide range of essay types. For example, here’s one great tip: save writing your intro for last so you can make it perfect!

Identify your topic, context, and focus.

Treat the whole of your intro as the gateway into your essay.

  • Start your intro with an attention-grabber. The rest of this article provides several good options, like scene-setters, anecdotes, and quotations .
  • Follow up with a few sentences that offer some context for the essay topic and the thesis or main focus you’re about to identify.
  • Finish with a single sentence that clearly lays out your primary argument or point of focus for the entire essay or article.

Set the scene for the reader.

Transport the reader into the world of your writing.

  • After describing the aftermath of the battle, zoom out to describe the duration of the conflict, the reasons behind it, the long-term impact, and so on.
  • Setting the scene is a great intro option for news articles , historical essays, and fiction writing, to name but a few examples.

Offer an anecdote.

Anecdotes help readers...

  • Alternately, you could provide a more literal anecdote. For instance, if your topic is the ecological crisis, you might provide a brief story about how quickly a certain species is going extinct.

Make a bold statement.

Surprise the reader to draw them into your interpretive or opinion essay.

Rely on a famous person or quote.

Lend weight to...

  • If you start your opening paragraph with a quote, you may find it helpful to make a callback to the quote in your closing statement. Consider an ending hook that addresses the meaning of your quote to bring the argument full-circle.

Provide a historical review.

This helps orient readers about the topic of a scholarly essay.

Condense the 5 W’s to their essence.

Provide clear, concise details right away in a news article or informative essay.

  • For instance, instead of writing, “President Jones declared in a joint session of Congress today that he will work with his counterparts abroad to reorganize international fiscal policy and lending practices, making it easier to distribute international aid,” you could write, “A new law aims to fast-track international aid to developing nations.”
  • Here’s an example that gives lots of details without going overboard: “On Saturday, a local librarian unexpectedly became a foster mother to 5 kittens when an unknown person left them on the library doorstep. Lucille Jenkins, 35, says she took the kittens in because ‘it was the right thing to do.’”

Offer news analysis instead of details.

This change-of-pace move for news articles can help set your story apart.

  • For instance, instead of describing or reporting on the actual details of a public policy and how it moved through the legislative process, use the start of your introductory paragraph to explain how the policy will change society or the lives of those affected.
  • An analytical lede might also include information regarding who benefits and why, but the primary focus should be on explaining how a news item or event works, rather than merely describing it.

Avoid “cosmic statement” clichés.

Focus on your topic instead of making overly broad or hackneyed statements.

  • For example, instead of “People have been making cloth since the dawn of time,” you might say, “The prehistoric Egyptians were producing high-quality linen cloth as early as 5000 BC.”

Skip dictionary definitions.

This type of intro is usually considered uninspired and trite.

  • If you feel obligated to delineate more clearly what you’re writing about, that’s fine, but do it without directly referring to dictionary definitions.
  • Once in a blue moon, it may actually be helpful to start with a dictionary definition. For example, you might do so if you are discussing an extremely difficult-to-define term or concept, or writing about the meaning or origin of a word. But consider alternatives first!

Eliminate qualifying language.

Writing with confidence draws in readers, so believe in yourself!

  • “In my opinion, ‘Ozymandias,’ Shelley’s famous poem, reveals the impermanence of human achievement.”
  • “‘Ozymandias,’ Shelly’s famous poem, reveals the impermanence of human achievement.”

Write the start of your intro last.

Wait so you can craft a killer intro that perfectly suits your essay.

  • The opening line of your intro is the first impression that will color how everything you write after that is perceived by the reader. So take your time and make it count!
  • Write the conclusion next-to-last and the intro last, or vice versa. Aim for them to connect and relate perfectly.

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • After crafting your intro paragraph, read the whole thing out loud. This will help you sense whether the start of the introductory paragraph meshes well with its middle and end. As you read, listen for logical inconsistencies, unclear passages, missing details, and spelling or grammar errors. [14] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Edit the intro paragraph for filler. Only keep passages that demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the topic. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Get others’ opinions. They may catch errors or inconsistencies that you missed. Let them read the intro, then ask questions like “Did the wording make sense to you?” and “Does this make you want to keep reading?” Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

ways to start an intro essay

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  • ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/planning/intros-and-conclusions/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/introductions/
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://cas.umw.edu/historyamericanstudies/history-department-resources/general-history-writing-guidelines/introduction-and-conclusion/
  • ↑ http://spcollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=254319&p=1695313
  • ↑ https://writingcommons.org/article/how-to-write-an-engaging-introduction/
  • ↑ http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/intros.htm
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/introductions/

About This Article

Jake Adams

To start an introductory paragraph, give some background information about the subject you’ll be discussing. For example, if your essay is about the importance of tattoos in Maori culture, begin with an interesting fact about Maori society or a quote about tattoos. Alternatively, start with a brief story to capture the readers’ attention. You can also lead off with a bold or surprising statement, or a fact related to your topic, which will pique the reader’s curiosity and make them want to keep reading. For advice from our Education co-author on how to incorporate a famous quote into your introductory paragraph, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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“A relevant and coherent beginning is perhaps your best single guarantee that the essay as a whole will achieve its object.” Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide

Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they should know if your essay is going to be a good one or not. An introduction has several components but the most important of these are the last two we give here. You need to show the reader what your position is and how you are going to argue the case to get there so that the essay becomes your answer to the question rather than just an answer.

What an introduction should include:

  • A little basic background about the key subject area (just enough to put your essay into context, no more or you'll bore the reader).
  • Explanation of how you are defining any key terms . Confusion on this could be your undoing.
  • A road-map of how your essay will answer the question. What is your overall argument and how will you develop it?
  • A confirmation of your position .

Background information

It is good to start with a statement that fixes your essay topic and focus in a wider context so that the reader is sure of where they are within the field. This is a very small part of the introduction though - do not fall into the trap of writing a whole paragraph that is nothing but background information.

Beware though, this only has to be a little bit wider, not completely universal. That is, do not start with something like "In the whole field of nursing...." or "Since man could write, he has always...". Instead, simply situate the area that you are writing about within a slightly bigger area. For example, you could start with a general statement about a topic, outlining some key issues but explain that your essay will focus on only one. Here is an example:

The ability to communicate effectively and compassionately is a key skill within nursing. Communication is about more than being able to speak confidently and clearly, it is about effective listening (Singh, 2019), the use of gesture, body language and tone (Adebe et al., 2016) and the ability to tailor language and messaging to particular situations (Smith & Jones, 2015). This essay will explore the importance of non-verbal communication ...

The example introduction at the bottom of this page also starts with similar, short background information.

Prehistoric man with the caption "Since the dawn of man..."

Defining key terms

This does not mean quoting dictionary definitions - we all have access to dictionary.com with a click or two. There are many words we use in academic work that can have multiple or nuanced definitions. You have to write about how you are defining any potentially ambiguous terms in relation to  your  essay topic. This is really important for your reader, as it will inform them how you are using such words in the context of your essay and prevent confusion or misunderstanding.

Student deciding if 'superpower' relates to the USA and China or Superman and Spider-man

Stating your case (road mapping)

The main thing an introduction will do is...introduce your essay! That means you need to tell the reader what your conclusion is and how you will get there.

There is no need to worry about *SPOILER ALERTS* - this is not a detective novel you can give away the ending! Sorry, but building up suspense is just going to irritate the reader rather than eventually satisfy. Simply outline how your main arguments (give them in order) lead to your conclusion. In American essay guides you will see something described as the ‘thesis statement’ - although we don't use this terminology in the UK, it is still necessary to state in your introduction what the over-arching argument of your essay will be. Think of it as the mega-argument , to distinguish it from the mini-arguments you make in each paragraph. Look at the example introduction at the bottom of this page which includes both of these elements.

Car on a road to a place called 'Conclusion'

Confirming your position

To some extent, this is covered in your roadmap (above), but it is so important, it deserves some additional attention here. Setting out your position is an essential component of all essays. Brick et al. (2016:143) even suggest

"The purpose of an essay is to present a clear position and defend it"

It is, however, very difficult to defend a position if you have not made it clear in the first place. This is where your introduction comes in. In stating your position, you are ultimately outlining the answer to the question. You can then make the rest of your essay about providing the evidence that supports your answer. As such, if you make your position clear, you will find all subsequent paragraphs in your essay easier to write and join together. As you have already told your reader where the essay is going, you can be explicit in how each paragraph contributes to your mega-argument.

In establishing your position and defending it, you are ultimately engaging in scholarly debate. This is because your positions are supported by academic evidence and analysis. It is in your analysis of the academic evidence that should lead your reader to understand your position. Once again - this is only possible if your introduction has explained your position in the first place.

student standing on a cross holding a sign saying "my position"

An example introduction

(Essay title = Evaluate the role of stories as pedagogical tools in higher education)

Stories have been an essential communication technique for thousands of years and although teachers and parents still think they are important for educating younger children, they have been restricted to the role of entertainment for most of us since our teenage years. This essay will claim that stories make ideal pedagogical tools, whatever the age of the student, due to their unique position in cultural and cognitive development. To argue this, it will consider three main areas: firstly, the prevalence of stories across time and cultures and how the similarity of story structure suggests an inherent understanding of their form which could be of use to academics teaching multicultural cohorts when organising lecture material; secondly, the power of stories to enable listeners to personally relate to the content and how this increases the likelihood of changing thoughts, behaviours and decisions - a concept that has not gone unnoticed in some fields, both professional and academic; and finally, the way that different areas of the brain are activated when reading, listening to or watching a story unfold, which suggests that both understanding and ease of recall, two key components of learning, are both likely to be increased . Each of these alone could make a reasoned argument for including more stories within higher education teaching – taken together, this argument is even more compelling.

Key:   Background information (scene setting)   Stating the case (r oad map)    Confirming a position (in two places). Note in this introduction there was no need to define key terms.

Brick, J., Herke, M., and Wong, D., (2016) Academic Culture, A students guide to studying at university, 3rd edition. Victoria, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.

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College Essays

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If you've been sitting in front of a blank screen, unsure of exactly how to start a personal statement for college, then believe me—I feel your pain. A great college essay introduction is key to making your essay stand out, so there's a lot of pressure to get it right.

Luckily, being able to craft the perfect beginning for your admissions essay is just like many other writing skills— something you can get better at with practice and by learning from examples.

In this article, I'll walk you through exactly how to start a college essay. We'll cover what makes a great personal statement introduction and how the first part of your essay should be structured. We'll also look at several great examples of essay beginnings and explain why they work, how they work, and what you can learn from them.

What Is the College Essay Introduction For?

Before we talk about how to start a college essay, let's discuss the role of the introduction. Just as your college essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions office of your target college, your essay's beginning is your chance to introduce your writing.

Wait, Back Up—Why Do Colleges Want Personal Statements?

In general, college essays make it easier to get to know the parts of you not in your transcript —these include your personality, outlook on life, passions, and experiences.

You're not writing for yourself but for a very specific kind of reader. Picture it: your audience is an admissions officer who has read thousands and thousands of essays. This person is disposed to be friendly and curious, but if she hasn't already seen it all she's probably seen a good portion of it.

Your essay's job is to entertain and impress this person, and to make you memorable so you don't merely blend into the sea of other personal statements. Like all attempts at charm, you must be slightly bold and out of the ordinary—but you must also stay away from crossing the line into offensiveness or bad taste.

What Role Does the Introduction Play in a College Essay?

The personal statement introduction is basically the wriggly worm that baits the hook to catch your reader. It's vital to grab attention from the get-go—the more awake and eager your audience is, the more likely it is that what you say will really land.

How do you go about crafting an introduction that successfully hooks your reader? Let's talk about how to structure the beginning of your college essay.

body_fishing

How to Structure a Personal Statement Introduction

To see how the introduction fits into an essay, let's look at the big structural picture first and then zoom in.

College Essay Structure Overview

Even though they're called essays, personal statements are really more like a mix of a short story and a philosophy or psychology class that's all about you.

Usually, how this translates is that you start with a really good (and very short) story about something arresting, unusual, or important that happened to you. This is not to say that the story has to be about something important or unusual in the grand scheme of things—it just has to be a moment that stands out to you as defining in some way, or an explanation of why you are the way you are . You then pivot to an explanation of why this story is an accurate illustration of one of your core qualities, values, or beliefs.

The story typically comes in the first half of the essay, and the insightful explanation comes second —but, of course, all rules were made to be broken, and some great essays flip this more traditional order.

College Essay Introduction Components

Now, let's zero in on the first part of the college essay. What are the ingredients of a great personal statement introduction? I'll list them here and then dissect them one by one in the next section:

  • A killer first sentence: This hook grabs your readers' attention and whets their appetite for your story.
  • A vivid, detailed story that illustrates your eventual insight: To make up for how short your story will be, you must insert effective sensory information to immerse the reader.
  • An insightful pivot toward the greater point you're making in your essay: This vital piece of the essay connects the short story part to the part where you explain what the experience has taught you about yourself, how you've matured, and how it has ultimately shaped you as a person.

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How to Write a College Essay Introduction

Here's a weird secret that's true for most written work: just because it'll end up at the beginning doesn't mean you have to write it first. For example, in this case, you can't know what your killer first sentence will be until you've figured out the following details:

  • The story you want to tell
  • The point you want that story to make
  • The trait/maturity level/background about you that your essay will reveal

So my suggestion is to work in reverse order! Writing your essay will be much easier if you can figure out the entirety of it first and then go back and work out exactly how it should start.

This means that before you can craft your ideal first sentence, the way the short story experience of your life will play out on the page, and the perfect pivoting moment that transitions from your story to your insight, you must work out a general idea about which life event you will share and what you expect that life event to demonstrate to the reader about you and the kind of person you are.

If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, check out our guide on brainstorming college essay ideas . It might also be helpful to read our guides to specific application essays, such as picking your best Common App prompt and writing a perfect University of California personal statement .

In the next sections of this article, I'll talk about how to work backwards on the introduction, moving from bigger to smaller elements: starting with the first section of the essay in general and then honing your pivot sentence and your first sentence.

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How to Write the First Section of Your College Essay

In a 500-word essay, this section will take up about the first half of the essay and will mostly consist of a brief story that illuminates a key experience, an important character trait, a moment of transition or transformation, or a step toward maturity.

Once you've figured out your topic and zeroed in on the experience you want to highlight in the beginning of your essay, here are 2 great approaches to making it into a story:

  • Talking it out, storyteller style (while recording yourself): Imagine that you're sitting with a group of people at a campfire, or that you're stuck on a long flight sitting next to someone you want to befriend. Now tell that story. What does someone who doesn't know you need to know in order for the story to make sense? What details do you need to provide to put them in the story with you? What background information do they need in order to understand the stakes or importance of the story?
  • Record yourself telling your story to friends and then chatting about it: What do they need clarified? What questions do they have? Which parts of your story didn't make sense or follow logically for them? Do they want to know more, or less? Is part of your story interesting to them but not interesting to you? Is a piece of your story secretly boring, even though you think it's interesting?

Later, as you listen to the recorded story to try to get a sense of how to write it, you can also get a sense of the tone with which you want to tell your story. Are you being funny as you talk? Sad? Trying to shock, surprise, or astound your audience? The way you most naturally tell your story is the way you should write it.

After you've done this storyteller exercise, write down the salient points of what you learned. What is the story your essay will tell? What is the point about your life, point of view, or personality it will make? What tone will you tell it with? Sketch out a detailed outline so that you can start filling in the pieces as we work through how to write the introductory sections.

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How to Write the First Sentence of Your College Essay

In general, your essay's first sentence should be either a mini-cliffhanger that sets up a situation the reader would like to see resolved, or really lush scene-setting that situates your audience in a place and time they can readily visualize. The former builds expectations and evokes curiosity, and the latter stimulates the imagination and creates a connection with the author. In both cases, you hit your goal of greater reader engagement.

Now, I'm going to show you how these principles work for all types of first sentences, whether in college essays or in famous works of fiction.

First Sentence Idea 1: Line of Quoted Direct Speech

"Mum, I'm gay." ( Ahmad Ashraf '17 for Connecticut College )

The experience of coming out is raw and emotional, and the issue of LGBTQ rights is an important facet of modern life. This three-word sentence immediately sums up an enormous background of the personal and political.

"You can handle it, Matt," said Mr. Wolf, my fourth-grade band teacher, as he lifted the heavy tuba and put it into my arms. ( Matt Coppo '07 for Hamilton College )

This sentence conjures up a funny image—we can immediately picture the larger adult standing next to a little kid holding a giant tuba. It also does a little play on words: "handle it" can refer to both the literal tuba Matt is being asked to hold and the figurative stress of playing the instrument.

First Sentence Idea 2: Punchy Short Sentence With One Grabby Detail

I live alone—I always have since elementary school. ( Kevin Zevallos '16 for Connecticut College )

This opener definitely makes us want to know more. Why was he alone? Where were the protective grown-ups who surround most kids? How on earth could a little kid of 8-10 years old survive on his own?

I have old hands. ( First line from a student in Stanford's class of 2012 )

There's nothing but questions here. What are "old" hands? Are they old-looking? Arthritic? How has having these hands affected the author?

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. (Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre )

There's immediately a feeling of disappointment and the stifled desire for action here. Who wanted to go for a walk? And why was this person being prevented from going?

First Sentence Idea 3: Lyrical, Adjective-Rich Description of a Setting

We met for lunch at El Burrito Mexicano, a tiny Mexican lunch counter under the Red Line "El" tracks. ( Ted Mullin '06 for Carleton College )

Look at how much specificity this sentence packs in less than 20 words. Each noun and adjective is chosen for its ability to convey yet another detail. "Tiny" instead of "small" gives readers a sense of being uncomfortably close to other people and sitting at tables that don't quite have enough room for the plates. "Counter" instead of "restaurant" lets us immediately picture this work surface, the server standing behind it, and the general atmosphere. "Under the tracks" is a location deeply associated with being run down, borderline seedy, and maybe even dangerous.

Maybe it's because I live in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where Brett Favre draws more of a crowd on Sunday than any religious service, cheese is a staple food, it's sub-zero during global warming, current "fashions" come three years after they've hit it big with the rest of the world, and where all children by the age of ten can use a 12-gauge like it's their job. ( Riley Smith '12 for Hamilton College )

This sentence manages to hit every stereotype about Wisconsin held by outsiders—football, cheese, polar winters, backwardness, and guns—and this piling on gives us a good sense of place while also creating enough hyperbole to be funny. At the same time, the sentence raises the tantalizing question: maybe what is because of Wisconsin?

High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour. (David Lodge, Changing Places )

This sentence is structured in the highly specific style of a math problem, which makes it funny. However, at the heart of this sentence lies a mystery that grabs the reader's interest: why on earth would these two people be doing this?

First Sentence Idea 4: Counterintuitive Statement

To avoid falling into generalities with this one, make sure you're really creating an argument or debate with your counterintuitive sentence. If no one would argue with what you've said, then you aren't making an argument. ("The world is a wonderful place" and "Life is worth living" don't make the cut.)

If string theory is really true, then the entire world is made up of strings, and I cannot tie a single one. ( Joanna '18 for Johns Hopkins University )

There's a great switch here from the sub-microscopic strings that make up string theory to the actual physical strings you can tie in real life. This sentence hints that the rest of the essay will continue playing with linked, albeit not typically connected, concepts.

All children, except one, grow up. (J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan )

In just six words, this sentence upends everything we think we know about what happens to human beings.

First Sentence Idea 5: The End—Making the Rest of the Essay a Flashback

I've recently come to the realization that community service just isn't for me. ( Kyla '19 for Johns Hopkins University )

This seems pretty bold—aren't we supposed to be super into community service? Is this person about to declare herself to be totally selfish and uncaring about the less fortunate? We want to know the story that would lead someone to this kind of conclusion.

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. (Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude )

So many amazing details here. Why is the Colonel being executed? What does "discovering" ice entail? How does he go from ice-discoverer to military commander of some sort to someone condemned to capital punishment?

First Sentence Idea 6: Direct Question to the Reader

To work well, your question should be especially specific, come out of left field, or pose a surprising hypothetical.

How does an agnostic Jew living in the Diaspora connect to Israel? ( Essay #3 from Carleton College's sample essays )

This is a thorny opening, raising questions about the difference between being an ethnic Jew and practicing the religion of Judaism, and the obligations of Jews who live outside of Israel to those who live in Israel and vice versa. There's a lot of meat to this question, setting up a philosophically interesting, politically important, and personally meaningful essay.

While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe? ( First line from a student in Stanford's class of 2012 )

There's a dreamy and sci-fi element to this first sentence, as it tries to find the sublime ("the universe") inside the prosaic ("daily path of life").

First Sentence Idea 7: Lesson You Learned From the Story You're Telling

One way to think about how to do this kind of opening sentence well is to model it on the morals that ended each Aesop's fable . The lesson you learned should be slightly surprising (not necessarily intuitive) and something that someone else might disagree with.

Perhaps it wasn't wise to chew and swallow a handful of sand the day I was given my first sandbox, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. ( Meagan Spooner '07 for Hamilton College )

The best part of this hilarious sentence is that even in retrospect, eating a handful of sand is only possibly an unwise idea—a qualifier achieved through that great "perhaps." So does that mean it was wise in at least some way to eat the sand? The reader wants to know more.

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina )

This immediately sets readers to mentally flip through every unhappy family they've ever known to double-check the narrator's assertion. Did he draw the right conclusion here? How did he come to this realization? The implication that he will tell us all about some dysfunctional drama also has a rubbernecking draw.

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How to Write a Pivot Sentence in Your College Essay

This is the place in your essay where you go from small to big—from the life experience you describe in detail to the bigger point this experience illustrates about your world and yourself.

Typically, the pivot sentence will come at the end of your introductory section, about halfway through the essay. I say sentence, but this section could be more than one sentence (though ideally no longer than two or three).

So how do you make the turn? Usually you indicate in your pivot sentence itself that you are moving from one part of the essay to another. This is called signposting, and it's a great way to keep readers updated on where they are in the flow of the essay and your argument.

Here are three ways to do this, with real-life examples from college essays published by colleges.

Pivot Idea 1: Expand the Time Frame

In this pivot, you gesture out from the specific experience you describe to the overarching realization you had during it. Think of helper phrases such as "that was the moment I realized" and "never again would I."

Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation. ( Stephen '19 for Johns Hopkins University )

This is a pretty great pivot, neatly connecting the story Stephen's been telling (about having to break into a car on a volunteering trip) and his general reliance on his own resourcefulness and ability to roll with whatever life throws at him. It's a double bonus that he accomplishes the pivot with a play on the word "click," which here means both the literal clicking of the car door latch and the figurative clicking his brain does. Note also how the pivot crystallizes the moment of epiphany through the word "suddenly," which implies instant insight.

But in that moment I realized that the self-deprecating jokes were there for a reason. When attempting to climb the mountain of comedic success, I didn't just fall and then continue on my journey, but I fell so many times that I befriended the ground and realized that the middle of the metaphorical mountain made for a better campsite. Not because I had let my failures get the best of me, but because I had learned to make the best of my failures. (Rachel Schwartzbaum '19 for Connecticut College)

This pivot similarly focuses on a "that moment" of illuminated clarity. In this case, it broadens Rachel's experience of stage fright before her standup comedy sets to the way she has more generally not allowed failures to stop her progress—and has instead been able to use them as learning experiences. Not only does she describe her humor as "self-deprecating," but she also demonstrates what she means with that great "befriended the ground" line.

It was on this first educational assignment that I realized how much could be accomplished through an animal education program—more, in some cases, than the aggregate efforts of all of the rehabilitators. I found that I had been naive in my assumption that most people knew as much about wildlife as I did, and that they shared my respect for animals. ( J.P. Maloney '07 for Hamilton College )

This is another classically constructed pivot, as J.P. segues from his negative expectations about using a rehabilitated wild owl as an educational animal to his understanding of how much this kind of education could contribute to forming future environmentalists and nature lovers. The widening of scope happens at once as we go from a highly specific "first educational assignment" to the more general realization that "much" could be accomplished through these kinds of programs.

Pivot Idea 2: Link the Described Experience With Others

In this pivot, you draw a parallel between the life event that you've been describing in your very short story and other events that were similar in some significant way. Helpful phrases include "now I see how x is really just one of the many x 's I have faced," "in a way, x is a good example of the x -like situations I see daily," and "and from then on every time I ..."

This state of discovery is something I strive for on a daily basis. My goal is to make all the ideas in my mind fit together like the gears of a Swiss watch. Whether it's learning a new concept in linear algebra, talking to someone about a programming problem, or simply zoning out while I read, there is always some part of my day that pushes me towards this place of cohesion: an idea that binds together some set of the unsolved mysteries in my mind. ( Aubrey Anderson '19 for Tufts University )

After cataloging and detailing the many interesting thoughts that flow through her brain in a specific hour, Aubrey uses the pivot to explain that this is what every waking hour is like for her "on a daily basis." She loves learning different things and finds a variety of fields fascinating. And her pivot lets us know that her example is a demonstration of how her mind works generally.

This was the first time I've been to New Mexico since he died. Our return brought so much back for me. I remembered all the times we'd visited when I was younger, certain events highlighted by the things we did: Dad haggling with the jewelry sellers, his minute examination of pots at a trading post, the affection he had for chilies. I was scared that my love for the place would be tainted by his death, diminished without him there as my guide. That fear was part of what kept my mother and me away for so long. Once there, though, I was relieved to realize that Albuquerque still brings me closer to my father. ( Essay #1 from Carleton College's sample essays )

In this pivot, one very painful experience of visiting a place filled with sorrowful memories is used as a way to think about "all the other times" the author had been to New Mexico. The previously described trip after the father's death pivots into a sense of the continuity of memory. Even though he is no longer there to "guide," the author's love for the place itself remains.

Pivot Idea 3: Extract and Underline a Trait or Value

In this type of pivot, you use the experience you've described to demonstrate its importance in developing or zooming in on one key attribute. Here are some ways to think about making this transition: "I could not have done it without characteristic y , which has helped me through many other difficult moments," or "this is how I came to appreciate the importance of value z, both in myself and in those around me."

My true reward of having Stanley is that he opened the door to the world of botany. I would never have invested so much time learning about the molecular structure or chemical balance of plants if not for taking care of him. ( Michaela '19 for Johns Hopkins University )

In this tongue-in-cheek essay in which Michaela writes about Stanley, a beloved cactus, as if "he" has human qualities and is her child, the pivot explains what makes this plant so meaningful to its owner. Without having to "take care of him," Michaela "would never have invested so much time learning" about plant biology. She has a deep affinity for the natural sciences and attributes her interest at least partly to her cactus.

By leaving me free to make mistakes and chase wild dreams, my father was always able to help ground me back in reality. Personal responsibilities, priorities and commitments are all values that are etched into my mind, just as they are within my father's. ( Olivia Rabbitt '16 for Connecticut College )

In Olivia's essay about her father's role in her life, the pivot discusses his importance by explaining his deep impact on her values. Olivia has spent the story part of her essay describing her father's background and their relationship. Now, she is free to show how without his influence, she would not be so strongly committed to "personal responsibilities, priorities and commitments."

ways to start an intro essay

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College Essay Introduction Examples

We've collected many examples of college essays published by colleges and offered a breakdown of how several of them are put together . Now, let's check out a couple of examples of actual college essay beginnings to show you how and why they work.

Sample Intro 1

A blue seventh place athletic ribbon hangs from my mantel. Every day, as I walk into my living room, the award mockingly congratulates me as I smile. Ironically, the blue seventh place ribbon resembles the first place ribbon in color; so, if I just cover up the tip of the seven, I may convince myself that I championed the fourth heat. But, I never dare to wipe away the memory of my seventh place swim; I need that daily reminder of my imperfection. I need that seventh place.

Two years ago, I joined the no-cut swim team. That winter, my coach unexpectedly assigned me to swim the 500 freestyle. After stressing for hours about swimming 20 laps in a competition, I mounted the blocks, took my mark, and swam. Around lap 14, I looked around at the other lanes and did not see anyone. "I must be winning!" I thought to myself. However, as I finally completed my race and lifted my arms up in victory to the eager applause of the fans, I looked up at the score board. I had finished my race in last place. In fact, I left the pool two minutes after the second-to-last competitor, who now stood with her friends, wearing all her clothes.

(From "The Unathletic Department" by Meghan '17 for Johns Hopkins University )

Why Intro Sample 1 Works

Here are some of the main reasons that this essay's introduction is super effective.

#1: It's Got a Great First Sentence

The sentence is short but still does some scene setting with the descriptive "blue" and the location "from my mantel." It introduces a funny element with "seventh place"—why would that bad of a showing even get a ribbon? It dangles information just out of reach, making the reader want to know more: what was this an award for? Why does this definitively non-winning ribbon hang in such a prominent place of pride?

#2: It Has Lots of Detail

In the intro, we get physical actions: "cover up the tip," "mounted the blocks," "looked around at the other lanes," "lifted my arms up," and "stood with her friends, wearing all her clothes." We also get words conveying emotion: "mockingly congratulates me as I smile," "unexpectedly assigned," and "stressing for hours." Finally, we get descriptive specificity in the precise word choice: "from my mantel" and "my living room" instead of simply "in my house," and "lap 14" instead of "toward the end of the race."

#3: It Explains the Stakes

Even though everyone can imagine the lap pool, not everyone knows exactly what the "500 freestyle" race is. Meghan elegantly explains the difficulty by describing herself freaking out over "swimming 20 laps in a competition," which helps us to picture the swimmer going back and forth many times.

#4: It Has Great Storytelling

We basically get a sports commentary play-by-play here. Even though we already know the conclusion—Meghan came in 7th—she still builds suspense by narrating the race from her point of view as she was swimming it. She's nervous for a while, and then she starts the race.

Close to the end, she starts to think everything is going well ("I looked around at the other lanes and did not see anyone. 'I must be winning!' I thought to myself."). Everything builds to an expected moment of great triumph ("I finally completed my race and lifted my arms up in victory to the eager applause of the fans") but ends in total defeat ("I had finished my race in last place").

Not only that, but the mildly clichéd sports hype is hilariously undercut by reality ("I left the pool two minutes after the second-to-last competitor, who now stood with her friends, wearing all her clothes").

#5: It Uses a Pivot Sentence

This essay uses the time expansion method of pivoting: "But, I never dare to wipe away the memory of my seventh place swim; I need that daily reminder of my imperfection. I need that seventh place." Coming last in the race was something that happened once, but the award is now an everyday experience of humility.

The rest of the essay explores what it means for Meghan to constantly see this reminder of failure and to transform it into a sense of acceptance of her imperfections. Notice also that in this essay, the pivot comes before the main story, helping us "hear" the narrative in the way she wants us to.

Sample Intro 2

"Biogeochemical. It's a word, I promise!" There are shrieks and shouts in protest and support. Unacceptable insults are thrown, degrees and qualifications are questioned, I think even a piece of my grandmother's famously flakey parantha whizzes past my ear. Everyone is too lazy to take out a dictionary (or even their phones) to look it up, so we just hash it out. And then, I am crowned the victor, a true success in the Merchant household. But it is fleeting, as the small, glossy, plastic tiles, perfectly connected to form my winning word, are snatched out from under me and thrown in a pile with all the disgraced, "unwinning" tiles as we mix for our next game of Bananagrams. It's a similar donnybrook, this time ending with my father arguing that it is okay to use "Rambo" as a word (it totally is not).

Words and communicating have always been of tremendous importance in my life: from silly games like Bananagrams and our road-trip favorite "word game," to stunted communication between opposing grandparents, each speaking a different Indian language; from trying to understand the cheesemonger behind the counter with a deep southern drawl (I just want some Camembert!), to shaping a script to make people laugh.

Words are moving and changing; they have influence and substance.

From an Essay by Shaan Merchant ‘19 for Tufts University

Why Intro Sample 2 Works

Let's take a look at what qualities make this essay's introduction particularly memorable.

With the first sentence, we are immediately thrust into the middle of the action —into an exciting part of an argument about whether "biogeochemical" is really a word. We're also immediately challenged. Is this a word? Have I ever heard it before? Does a scientific neologism count as a word?

#2: It Shows Rather Than Tells

Since the whole essay is going to be about words, it makes sense for Shaan to demonstrate his comfort with all different kinds of language:

  • Complex, elevated vocabulary, such as "biogeochemical" and "donnybrook"
  • Foreign words, such as "parantha" and "Camembert"
  • Colorful descriptive words, such as "shrieks and shouts," "famously flakey, "whizzes past," and "hash it out"
  • "Fake" words, such as "unwinning" and "Rambo"

What's great is that Shaan is able to seamlessly mix the different tones and registers these words imply, going from cerebral to funny and back again.

#3: It Uses a Pivot Sentence

This essay uses the value-extraction style of pivot: "Words and communicating have always been of tremendous importance in my life." After we see an experience linking Shaan's clear love of his family with an interest in word games, he clarifies that this is exactly what the essay will be about—using a very straightforward pivoting sentence.

#4: It Piles On Examples to Avoid Vagueness

The danger of this kind of pivot sentence is slipping into vague, uninformative statements, such as "I love words." To avoid making a generalization the tells us nothing, the essay builds a list of examples of times when Shaan saw the way that words connect people: games ("Bananagrams and our road-trip favorite ‘word game,'"), his mixed-language family ("grandparents, each speaking a different Indian language"), encounters with strangers ("from trying to understand the cheesemonger"), and finally the more active experience of performing ("shaping a script to make people laugh").

But the essay stops short of giving so many examples that the reader drowns. I'd say three to five examples is a good range—as long as they're all different kinds of the same thing.

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The Bottom Line: How to Start a College Essay

The college essay introduction should hook your reader and make her want to know more and read more.

Good personal statement introductions will contain the following features:

  • A killer first line
  • A detailed description of an experience from your life
  • A pivot to the bigger picture, in which you explain why and how this experience has shaped you, your point of view, and/or your values.

You don't have to write the introduction first, and you certainly don't have to write your first sentence first . Instead, start by developing your story by telling it out loud to a friend. You can then work on your first sentence and your pivot.

The first sentence should either be short, punchy, and carry some ambiguity or questions, or be a detailed and beautiful description setting an easily pictured scene. The pivot, on the other hand, should answer the question, "How does the story you've told connect to a larger truth or insight about you?"

What's Next?

Wondering what to make of the Common Application essay prompts? We have the complete list of this year's Common App prompts with explanations of what each is asking as well as a guide to picking the Common App prompt that's perfect for you .

Thinking of applying to the University of California system? Check out our detailed guide on how to approach their essay prompts and craft your ideal UC essay .

If you're in the middle of the essay-writing process, you'll want to see our suggestions on what essay pitfalls to avoid .

Working on the rest of your college application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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The perfect essay: your step-by-step guide to success.

ways to start an intro essay

Introduction

Your next essay could be fun or daunting depending on how well you understand the instructions and how best you prepare to write it. The power of writing a perfect essay is always in your hands. Everybody understands the basic steps of writing an ordinary paper, but very few can turn a simple assignment into a fun and fulfilling experience. Writing a perfect essay should earn you more than just the highest number of points. It should be an enjoyable journey with easy steps and an effective delivery system. Learn how to write a perfect essay and become a perfect essay writer by following these steps.

Defining Key Elements of a Perfect Essay

Step 1 – selecting a compelling topic.

A perfect college essay begins with a simple review of the instructions. You must understand the assignment for you to gauge its complexity and know what to write. Analyze the prompt keenly, noting the keywords and phrases. Conceptualize a topic and plan your time. Identify the key areas you need to address and organize your tasks promptly. 

Step 2 – Conducting Research

Once you have generated a topic, you need more information about the main issue and possible arguments. If you haven’t learned how to write a perfect essay , engage a professional writer or use a perfect essay writer AI tool like Textero.ai to ease your work. Identify available expert opinions from online articles and books. Brainstorm various strategies for collating the right information and identifying useful sources. Include contradicting opinions for a better structure. 

Step 3 – Developing a Thesis Statement 

The first step in writing a perfect essay is having a flawless thesis statement. Readers in academia peruse through articles to confirm the argument stated in the thesis statement. Thus, a properly structured thesis will compel the reader to move to the body. Ensure your document is organized in conformity with your thesis. Highlight the main points in your essay within the thesis statement.

Step 4 – Outlining Structure

With the right information and verifiable sources, you are ready for the next step. Create an outline for your perfect essay , with a thesis statement, topic sentences, and a conclusion. Cover all the main issues in your topic and address the research question with the topic sentences. Align your argument with the most reasonable opinion about the topic. Identify any additional materials that could be added to the appendices or attached to complement your essay. Remember to add images and data if possible. 

Step 5 – Writing First Draft

When you start writing, you must start with the body to avoid confirmation bias. Document all the strong points with the body paragraphs providing a rationale for each argument. Incorporate supporting evidence through in-text citations and quotes where necessary. Integrate information from the source by synthesizing the details and connecting them to your arguments. Become a perfect essay writer by integrating ethos, pathos, and logos in your writing. 

Hook your reader to your paper by starting with a fact or a non-conventional statement. Look for a perfect essay example online to understand the concept of a hook phrase or sentence. Challenge your instructor’s knowledge using a compelling argument. Use bold terms to demonstrate your stance and willingness to argue your points. Research your audience and understand their expectations. Tailor your paper to your reader’s knowledge and understanding capacity. Although simple language and sentences are the safest in academic writing, using strong technical words within your discipline may be necessary. Avoid slang and colloquial terms in formal writing. 

Use transitions

Using transitions between paragraphs and major arguments helps the reader stay connected with the main argument. Demonstrate the interconnection between your main points by using relevant transition words and phrases. Avoid using archaic terms and jargon in your essay. Your reader may not be familiar with such terms.

Incorporate vivid descriptions

Spice up your arguments with vivid descriptions. Illustrate your understanding of the topic by explaining instead of dumping evidence in your essay. Showcase your writing and research skills by captivating the reader with your explanation and understanding of the topic. Provide both sides of the argument by challenging the opposing argument. 

Incorporate verifiable evidence

Always use verifiable evidence. Some students rely on web pages and blogs when writing essays, ignoring facts and research evidence. Your paper becomes more believable and persuasive when you cite or quote credible authors. Use academic databases to find peer-reviewed articles and journals. Use mostly open-access sources or attach the articles you purchase when writing your paper. Challenge your reader to analyze your evidence and research your argument. Create a web of interconnected opinions that lead you to your conclusion. 

Finish with the conclusion and introduction

Finish your paper with a strong and compelling conclusion. Reiterate the major arguments in the final paragraph without adding any new evidence. Use this information to draft the perfect introduction by summarizing the content of the essay. Include your thesis statement as the last sentence in your introduction. You can also include a purpose statement, but only if stated in the instructions. Ensure your introduction paragraph has a good catchphrase to capture the reader’s attention from the beginning. 

Step 6 – Revising Content

Revising your work helps you identify gaps and areas for improvement. Pay attention to the sentence structure and diction when editing. Your second draft should be an improvement of the initial paper. It should have better wording, grammar, and flow. Your final draft should demonstrate your writing prowess with notable facts and identifiable arguments. The topic sentences should stand out even at a glance. The last sentence in a paragraph should hint at the information in the subsequent paragraph. Review and compare your work to a perfect essay example from a reliable writing site. 

Step 7 – Proofreading/Formatting

Make your paper easier to read by eliminating errors and typos. Use an AI tool to identify mistakes and improve your document. Remember, a perfect essay must have zero plagiarism. YUsing textero.ai helps you overcome the possibility of plagiarism. You can capitalize on its advanced capabilities in research and document structures to create the perfect essay. 

Enhance the structure for maximum points

Even when your paper is spiced up, you need to make it easy and fun to read. Your document organization and structure determine the reader’s ability to conceptualize your argument and identify the main points. Create a free-flowing and attractive document for your audience, eliminating any issues that might divert their attention. A good paper structure compels the reader to keep reading. 

Maximize the white spaces

The white space in a written document is an incredible tool for capitation. You can use the empty spaces in your paper to communicate to the reader and demonstrate your writing prowess. These are the empty spaces between words, sentences, and paragraphs. They are used to create breaks between legible sections, allowing your audience to breathe and synthesize information gained. White spaces make your document more legible, eliminating the feeling of being overwhelmed. Thus, proper use of white space can make your paper aesthetically appealing. 

How AI writing tools can help you write a perfect essay

Embrace technology and capitalize on their capabilities. In the age of information, AI tools have revolutionized research with utmost effectiveness. You can now collate tons of useful knowledge and verifiable data using a perfect essay writer AI . Avoid using filler words and unnecessary phrases to match the number of words required in the prompt. AI tools can help you organize and structure your paper with correct information and valuable research.

Ensure every section flows seamlessly with interconnected sentences and paragraphs. Create relatively similar paragraphs in size and organization. Incorporate a mix of different sentence structures to avoid monotony, while maintaining order, logic, and consistency. You can make your paper more compelling using simple words with impactful meaning. Only use technical terms when such words can help you enhance your argument. Create a perfect college essay by spicing it with paragraph unity.

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The United States Healthcare System Systemic Racism and Discrimination Towards American Minorities

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INTRODUCTION

Today, United States citizens live in a society guided by a false consciousness. [1] The presiding culture of the United States (US) has painted a picture – a distorted and surreal mythology – that continues to be admired. This picture is characterized by conservative dogma and intolerance within the political, economic, and ideological spheres of society, leaving individuals unable to ascertain truth. US citizens are provided the inability to see reality for what it is, and instead encouraged to live by a means of pseudo-reality as described by Debord. [2] As a result, many US institutions, including the prison system and the healthcare system, have become platforms of masked discriminatory and racist practices within today’s world of “colorblindness.” The right to universal health care represents yet another opportunity for US institutions to deploy covert and underlying racist and discriminatory tactics, and continues to remain largely unacknowledged by non-minority citizens of the US, contributing to significantly higher rates of untreated health concerns and concomitant higher death rates in US minority populations.

To understand this assertion, it is important to start by examining the ways in which the US prison system acts as a discriminatory and racist institution. Today, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities account for roughly 40% of the US population, yet they comprise around 60% of the US’ total incarcerated population. [3] That is, they are disproportionately represented amongst the incarcerated. To put this in perspective, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, nearly “one in every 15 African American men [become] incarcerated, as opposed to only one in every 106 white men.” [4] Looking back to the early 1970s when Black Americans were making progress in obtaining civil rights, there was a substantial increase in the number of incarcerated Black individuals, acting as a “stealth counterweight to political and economic progress.” [5] Thus, prisons were used as a means to suppress the growing success of Black individuals, furthering the disproportionate number of incarcerated minorities.

The prison system is not the only institution within the US that deploys underlying discriminatory, exploitative, and racist tactics towards American minorities. For example, there have been mortgage lending procedures that have “disproportionately exposed minority borrowers to the risky subprime loans that triggered the financial collapse of 2008 and widespread foreclosures in minority communities.” [6] Also discovered have been numerous obscure tax and insurance policies that have targeted neighborhoods with substantial minority populations. [7] There are many more examples of US institutions exploiting and discriminating based upon race, yet minority groups cannot simply avoid these tactics; that is, taking out loans and paying taxes can be essential life tasks for most individuals. Thus, as society continues to be governed by a false consciousness, true reality will indefinitely remain uncertain. This becomes clear, as even today there have been minimal studies regarding the exploration of this institutionalized racism. [8]

As it is clear numerous institutions have and continue to behave in discriminatory ways, it must be considered that the US’ lack of a nationwide right to health insurance represents another means of discrimination based upon race. While at this point in the essay a discussion of the history of slavery within the US may seem extraneous, the lasting effects of slavery continue to play a key role in discrimination towards minorities, contributing to diminished resources for health insurance for minorities in the US. To understand the role of slavery in decreased access to nationwide health insurance, one must come to see the foremost factor as to why individuals do not carry it. That is, “in 2022, 64.2% of uninsured nonelderly adults said they were uninsured because coverage is not affordable, making it the most common reason cited for being uninsured.” [9]   As for the role of long-term effects of slavery, minorities, especially Black Americans, face far greater poverty than their counterparts, predominantly in places where there is a stronger connection to slavery in the past. [10] Thus, as it is commonly understood the southern half of the US to have experienced the largest impact from slavery, this would indicate the largest impact on poverty struggles as a result of slavery would be in the south. Coincidentally, as one might say, “reflecting geographic variation in income and the availability of public coverage, most uninsured people live in the South.” [11]

As Black Americans have faced substantial struggles with poverty due to the lasting effects of slavery and previously exploitative southern economies, bearing in mind the primary reason for not carrying health insurance is a lack of funds, it is plain that past discrimination and racism of yesterday has set the stage for wealth and health disparities and discrimination today . That is, the “average wealth of white households in the United States [has become] 13 times as high as that of Black households.” [12] To further put this problem into context, minorities “made up 45.7% of the nonelderly US population but accounted for 62.3% of the total nonelderly uninsured population.” [13] Looking at minorities other than Black Americans, the uninsured rate for “nonelderly Hispanic (18.0%) and American Indian and Alaska Native people (19.1%) are more than 2.5 times the uninsured rates for white people (6.6%)” [14] Moreover, of the uninsured population, most of the 25.6 million nonelderly uninsured adults were from minority groups. [15]

As posited, Black Americans and other minority groups’ inability to afford health insurance has been created by US citizens themselves, through past legality and support of slavery, leaving lasting effects that have made health insurance unaffordable. In return, some US citizens and their government have failed to remedy the situation, choosing instead to endorse the idea that minorities lack funds to carry health insurance by arguing they are ‘lazy,’ ‘unmotivated,’ or ‘irresponsible.’  In doing so, US citizens have further engaged in the stereotyping of minority groups as inferior through their inability to obtain health insurance. Consequently, through an unfair health insurance access system, US society has maintained a discriminatory attitude towards minority groups. Once there is a determination of a belief of inferiority, a blind eye will indefinitely turn away from discrimination within society’s governance of the false consciousness, leaving its citizens unable to ascertain reality, chiefly developing and supporting their own self interests. Thus, through the contribution and failure to remedy the poverty struggles inflicted on minority groups, including those inflicted on Black Americans largely through the past slavery in the southern US, minority groups, making up 62.3% of all uninsured nonelderly adults, have been made into the problem by society. These individuals have been labeled, ideologically transformed into ‘inferior beings’ per conservative dogma, and thus become further discriminated against with respect to their inability to obtain health insurance in the US.

Considering the ethicality of the lack of a nationwide right to health insurance, one must take the stance of Mill’s Utilitarianism, which revolves around providing the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people through consequence of action. [16] First, it is clear by failing to provide a national right to health insurance, the U.S. is leaving indigent, uninsured groups, largely consisting of minorities, to find the means to fund their own insurance. This may contribute to higher and disproportionate crime rates of minority groups out of need for survival and fulfillment of basic human needs; to institutionalized racism; to false ideologies; to stereotypes wrongly placed upon minority groups; and to untreated illness. The resulting human tragedy is seen in myriad situations: minority woman facing high maternal death rates in childbirth, uninsured minority individuals being turned away from hospitals who only take those with insurance, silent suffering and untreated illnesses including high rates of diabetes and heart disease, and more recently, higher death rates and worse outcomes for minorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. [17]

Thus, as the result of a non-existent nationwide right to health insurance, the US is plainly failing to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people and therefore, per Mill, the failure to provide a national right to health insurance is clearly unethical. The lack of national access for all individuals to health insurance is not only an underlying form of racism and discrimination towards American minorities, but it is unethical as well. To address this, American society must alter its picture of the distorted and surreal reality that has been painted, and shatter its lens of the pseudo-reality that shapes many individuals’ view of the world. That is, there becomes the need for a higher form, or a deeper level, of collective experiential consciousness in order for a symbiotic relationship to occur – a relationship advantageous to all simultaneously – in the biological and sociological realms. Only then can the trend of institutionalized racism and discrimination be broken, and as a part of this, only then can all individuals receive access to health insurance and related healthcare that would improve their quality of life.   

[1] Little, Daniel. “False Consciousness.” False Consciousness , www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~delittle/iess%20false%20consciousness%20V2.htm.

[2] Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle . Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, Zone Books, 1995.

[3] Harris, Fredrick C., and Robert C. Lieberman. “Racial Inequality After Racism: How Institutions Hold Back African Americans.” Foreign Affairs , vol. 94, no. 2, 2015, pp. 9–20. JSTOR , http://www.jstor.org/stable/24483477.

[4] Harris, Fredrick C., and Robert C. Lieberman. “Racial Inequality After Racism: How Institutions Hold Back African Americans.”

[9] Drake, Patrick, and Jennifer Tolbert. “Key Facts about the Uninsured Population.” KFF , www.kff.org/uninsured/issue-brief/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/.

[10] O’Connell, Heather A. “The Impact of Slavery on Racial Inequality in Poverty in the Contemporary U.S. South.” Social Forces , vol. 90, no. 3, 2012, pp. 713–34. JSTOR , http://www.jstor.org/stable/41682675.

[11] Drake, Patrick, and Jennifer Tolbert. “Key Facts about the Uninsured Population.”

[12] Harris, Fredrick C., and Robert C. Lieberman. “Racial Inequality After Racism: How Institutions Hold Back African Americans.

[13] Drake, Patrick, and Jennifer Tolbert. “Key Facts about the Uninsured Population.”

[16] Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. London, Parker, Son, and Bourn, 1863. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/11015966/>.

[17] Tai, Don Bambino Geno, et al. “Disproportionate Impact of Covid-19 on Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups in the United States: A 2021 Update.” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities , U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8513546/#:~:text=Black%2C%20Latinx%2C%20and%20American%20Indian,children%20in%20a%20worrying%20trend.

Jacob Pollock

Editor’s pick in Voices in Bioethics' 2023 persuasive essay contest.

Disclaimer: These essays are submissions for the 2023 essay contest and have not undergone peer review or editing.

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  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

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When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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How to master A Level Geography 20-mark essay questions

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How to master A Level Geography 20-mark essay questions

What should I do before attempting an A Level Geography 20-mark essay question?

Should i plan an a level geography 20-mark essay, how should i structure an a level geography 20-mark essay.

As we run up to exam season, many of you will now be completing your NEAs (non-examined assessment) and exam content, and starting to focus on exam technique. You may be thinking about how you will tackle the dreaded 20-mark essay questions . Essay questions are very much like marmite for students. Some love them as they get the chance to explore key geographic theories and showcase their knowledge and understanding, which may not be possible in lower-stakes questions. However, others may struggle to formulate their geographic ideas or structure them in a way that makes a convincing argument.

In my experience, all A Level geography students must be systematic and structured in the way they write their long-form answers. This approach ensures that students cover all the necessary content while also demonstrating the geographic skills that examiners are assessing.

Examiners use both AO1 and AO2 to evaluate students in essay questions. AO1 requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of places, environments, concepts, processes, interactions and change at various scales. AO2 deals with the application of knowledge and understanding in different contexts to interpret, analyse, and evaluate geographical information and issues. The strongest students can produce answers that balance the two aspects in their responses. If you weigh your answers too far toward knowledge recall and simply state facts, figures, and case study knowledge without doing anything with the knowledge (this is where command words are essential), you will not be able to achieve the highest levels described in the level descriptors.

Before you attempt essay questions, I suggest you take a look at the mark schemes for some past paper questions. It is important to focus on the level descriptors as these are what the examiners will use to assess your answers. Pay attention to the language they use to describe what they are looking for, and when you start your attempts, consider whether your language and writing style match the descriptors. The exam board mark schemes are available on the PMT A Level Geography past papers webpage .

Another place to look before attempting essay questions is the assessed sample answers produced by the exam boards (e.g. AQA Paper 1 Hazards Example Responses ). These are available on the exam board websites and show a range of pupil responses to exam questions. They come with a helpful commentary that explains how the pupils gained marks, highlights the importance of a well-structured response, and provides insight into what examiners are looking for when assessing your answers.

A Level Geography students learning how to write 20-mark essay questions.

Where to start – command words

As mentioned above, it is very important for students to be systematic in their approach to answering 20 markers. The first thing students need to understand is the command word . Without knowledge of what the command word means and what it is asking you to do, you will not be able to fully engage with the question. To find out the meaning of different command words , you should visit your exam board’s website and look in the specification.

Essay questions tend to use the command words “to what extent” or “assess” . According to AQA, if the question includes the “to what extent” command word, you should “Consider several options, ideas or arguments and come to a conclusion about their importance/success/worth”. On the other hand, if it is an “assess” question, you should “use evidence to weigh up the options to determine the relative significance of something. Give balanced consideration to all factors and identify which are the most important.”

BUG the question

Command words can help guide you in how to structure your answers and the skills you need to exhibit. During KS3 and KS4, you may have been told to BUG the question, where B stands for box the command work , U for underline key terms , and G for glance back at the question .

I would encourage all A Level students to continue to use this strategy, even for longer essay questions. It will help ensure that you are answering the question you are being asked, rather than the question you wish you were being asked.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.

It is crucial for all students to plan their essay writing before they start answering a question. An essay question requires you to write for a sustained period, and if you don’t have a clear plan for what you’re going to write, you may lose focus on your points and arguments and not fully answer the question.

I suggest that all A Level students write a brief plan before attempting the question . This plan should outline the introduction, including key terms to define and any case studies to introduce, the main argument in each of your paragraphs, and finally, the contents of your conclusion. Spending just five minutes on this will save you time in the long run and help keep you on track to answering the question fully.

Students in uniform sitting an exam in the school hall.

A good structure is key to success in essay writing. A clear structure enables you to answer the question coherently and reduces the chance that you will lose the key focus of your points. All of the exam boards recommend following the structure outlined below:

Introduction

  • Main body of the answer (three to four key arguments)

In academia, this is sometimes known as the hourglass essay . An hourglass essay starts with a big idea, narrows down to a specific question, and then widens back out to explain why that specific question is important in the grand scheme of things.

The introduction of your essay should account for approximately 10% of the total essay length , and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to impress the examiner. Your essay introduction should give a broad view of the essay themes and provide a definition of the key terms that you have underlined in your question. It is also the place to introduce a case study location . A strong start to your essay is crucial as it demonstrates to the examiner that you have a clear understanding of the geographic content you’ve been studying.

Once you have written your introduction, you can then get on to answering the questions. While the introduction mainly covers AO1 (knowledge and understanding of geography), the main body of your answer should cover both AO1 and AO2 (analysis and evaluation in the application of knowledge and understanding).

As before, the way you structure the main body of your answer is very important, and you must form your points clearly and coherently. During my teaching and tutoring, I have seen many ways of forming these arguments/points, but the two most effective methods I have seen are using PEEL or PEACE paragraphs .

  • E xplanation
  • A pplication

A Level Geography teacher helping student with 20-mark essay question.

Everyone is different, and everyone has their unique writing style. My advice to all A Level students is to try both methods when beginning to tackle essay questions and determine which one works best for you. I would also recommend completing PEEL/PEACE paragraphs and asking for feedback from your teacher or tutor.

The main body of the essay should consist of three to four arguments that cover the views for the specific question. Those who can link back to the question but also between their paragraphs will have the best chance of performing well in their essay questions.

After completing the main body, you now need to finish your essay with a conclusion. Just like the introduction, this should be roughly 10% of the total essay length . The main aim of the conclusion is to bring your essay to a close and essentially answer the question you have been asked. In the conclusion, you should summarise your argument and avoid introducing any new information . It is simply a chance to express your own thoughts and opinions while bringing your essay to a close.

The quality of a conclusion is often a key indicator of the overall quality of an essay. Although it is a short section of the whole piece of writing, it provides a platform to showcase several important geographic skills such as analysis, summarising, and creating synoptic links .

Overall, it is very important that you give yourself enough time to complete your essay questions during your examinations and that you follow the structures discussed above. If you follow these guidelines, you will see an improvement in the quality of your essay responses.

If you’re in Year 13 and in need of additional help, PMT Education runs Geography A Level Easter Crash Courses for AQA and Edexcel . Whether you need support with exam technique or want to revise key sections of the syllabus with the help of an experienced tutor, these courses will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to excel in your summer exams.

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Dave is a qualified teacher with 10 years of experience teaching GCSE and A Level Geography. He has worked as an assistant faculty leader for Humanities and a professional mentor for new and trainee teachers. He has also been involved with the supervision and guidance of NEAs. Dave currently works in higher education and trains geography teachers across the North West of England. He is also a tutor at PMT Education , with experience running highly successful geography courses.

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ways to start an intro essay

D3D12 Work Graphs

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Tex Riddell

March 11th, 2024 0 1

This is the official release of D3D12 Work Graphs, enabling new types of GPU autonomy, originally available as a preview in 2023.

To start, here’s what Epic sees:

With the proliferation of GPU-driven rendering techniques – such as Nanite in Unreal Engine 5 – the role of the CPU is trending towards primarily resource management and hazard tracking, with only a fraction of time spent generating GPU commands. Prior to D3D12 Work Graphs, it was difficult to perform fine-grained memory management on the GPU, which meant it was practically impossible to support algorithms with dynamic work expansion. Even simple long chains of sequential compute work could result in a significant synchronization and memory overhead. GPU-driven rendering was accomplished by the CPU having to guess what temporary allocations were needed by the GPU, often over-allocating to the worst case, and using previous frame readback for refinement. Any workloads with dynamic expansion either meant issuing worst case dispatches from the CPU, having the GPU early out of unnecessary work, or non-portable techniques were used, like persistent threads. With Work Graphs, complex pipelines that are highly variable in terms of overall “shape” can now run efficiently on the GPU, with the scheduler taking care of synchronization and data flow. This is especially important for producer-consumer pipelines, which are very common in rendering algorithms. The programming model also becomes significantly simpler for developers, as complex resource and barrier management code is moved from the application into the Work Graph runtime. We have been advocating for something like this for a number of years, and it is very exciting to finally see the release of Work Graphs. — Graham Wihlidal, Epic Games

If you’re attending GDC 2024 there’s a few opportunities to get a deep dive on the most recent developments with Work Graphs:

  • DirectX State of the Union
  • AMD’s Future of GPU Programming
  • Nanite’s GPU-driven Materials
  • This talk from Graham at Epic has a bit on early observations using Work Graphs

GPU vendor Work Graph blogs:

Development links:

  • Full Work Graphs spec , the blog below is a quicker intro.
  • Start now on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs
  • Use PIX with Work Graphs

The content below is similar to the 2023 preview blog , mostly a refresh. See Notable changes since 2023 preview below.

Characteristics

Scenarios summary.

  • Specification <—— the docs

Broadcasting launch

Coalescing launch, thread launch, other features, adding nodes to existing work graphs, new way to define graphics and compute pipelines.

  • Drivers and other prerequisites <—— get running on AMD and NVIDIA

Authoring shaders

Creating a work graph on a device, dispatching a work graph in a commandlist, d3d12helloworkgraphs, d3d12workgraphssandbox, d3d12hellogenericprograms.

  • Notable changes since 2023 preview

Introduction to work graphs

Work graphs are a system for GPU autonomy in D3D12. Given the increasing prevalence of general compute workloads on GPUs, the motivation is to address some limitations in their programming model, unlock latent GPU capabilities, and enable future evolution.

In many GPU workoads, an initial calculation on the GPU determines what subsequent work the GPU needs to do. This can be accomplished with a round trip back to the CPU to issue the new work. But it is typically better for the GPU to be able to feed itself directly. ExecuteIndirect in D3D12 is a form of this, where the app uses the GPU to record a very constrained command buffer that needs to be serially processed on the GPU to issue new work.

Consider a new option. Suppose shader threads running on the GPU (producers) can request other work to run (consumers). Consumers can be producers as well. The system can schedule the requested work as soon as the GPU has capacity to run it. The app can also let the system manage memory for the data flowing between tasks.

This is work graphs. A graph of nodes where shader code at each node can request invocations of other nodes, without waiting for them to launch. Work graphs capture the user’s algorithmic intent and overall structure, without burdening the developer to know too much about the specific hardware it will run on. The asynchronous nature maximizes the freedom for the system to decide how best to execute the work.

Here is a graph contrived to illustrate several capabilities (click to zoom):

Image ExampleGraph

  • When initiating work with DispatchGraph() , the app can pass arguments to graph entrypoints from either app CPU memory copied into a command list’s recording, or app GPU memory read at command list execution. These options are convenient even with a single node graph. Traditional compute shaders can only get input data from D3D12 root bindings or by manually reading memory as a function of various ID system values.
  • There are a few options for how a node translates incoming work requests into a set of shader invocations, ranging from a single thread per work item to variable sized grids of thread groups per work item.
  • The graph is acyclic, with one exception: a node can output to itself. There is a depth limit of 32 including recursion.
  • For implementation efficiency there are limits on the amount of data that node invocations can pass directly to other nodes; for bulk data transfer apps need to use UAV accesses.
  • Less capable architectures might revert to a single processor on the GPU scheduling work requests. More advanced architectures might use distributed scheduling techniques and account for the specific topology of processing resources on the GPU to efficiently manage many work requests being generated in parallel.
  • This is in contrast to the ExecuteIndirect model which forces a serial processing step for the GPU – walking through a GPU generated command list to determine a sequence of commands to issue.
  • This could reduce reliance on off-chip memory bandwidth for performance scaling
  • Because data can flow between small tasks in a fine-grained way, the programming model doesn’t force the application to drain the GPU of work between data processing steps.
  • Since the system handles buffering of data passed between producers and consumers (if the app wants), the programming model can be simpler than ExecuteIndirect.

Despite the potential advantages, the free scheduling model may not always the best target for an app’s workload. Characteristics of the task, such as how it interacts with memory/caches, or the sophistication of hardware over time, may dictate whether some existing approach is better. Like continuing to use `ExecuteIndirect`. Or building producer consumer systems out of relatively long running compute shader threads that cross communicate – clever and fragile. Or using the paradigms in the DirectX Raytracing model, involving shaders splitting up and continuing later. Work graphs are a new tool in the toolbox.

Given that the model is about producers requesting for consumers to run, currently there isn’t an explicit notion of waiting before launching a node. For instance, waiting for all work at multiple producer nodes to finish before a consumer launches. This can technically be accomplished by breaking up a graph, or with clever shader logic. Synchronization wasn’t a focus for the initial design, hence these workarounds, discussed more in the spec: Joins – synchronizing within the graph . Native synchronization support may be defined in the future and would be better than the workarounds in lots of ways. Many other compute frameworks explicitly use a graph to define bulk dependencies, in contrast to the feed-forward model here.

  • Reducing number of passes out to memory and GPU idling in multi-pass compute algorithms
  • Avoiding the pattern in ExecuteIndirect of serial processing through worst case sized buffers
  • Classification and binning via node arrays
  • Feeding graphics from compute
  • Bulk work synchronization

Specification

Work graphs spec

The spec begins with the same introduction as above.

For a much shorter read than the rest of the full spec, the following sections skim through basic concepts with a small programming guide.

Here is a summary of the currently defined node types, defined fully in the spec. They are variations on compute shaders, distinguished by how node inputs translate to a grouping of threads to launch.

This is like a traditional compute shader, with fixed size thread groups invoked over a dispatch grid. The dispatch grid size can be fixed for a node or dynamic (part of the input record). “Broadcasting” denotes that the input record is visible to all launched threads.

Image BroadcastingLaunchNode

Multiple input records per individual thread group launch, with no dispatch grid. The shader declares a fixed thread group size and the maximum number of input records a thread group can handle. The hardware will attempt to fill that quota with each thread group launch, with freedom to launch with as few as one record if it wants or has no choice.

This node type is useful only if the shader can do some sharing of work across the set of input records, such as using thread group shared memory, knowing the declared maximum number of records per thread group is not guaranteed to be filled. If records will just be processed individually per thread, thread launch nodes are more appropriate.

Image CoalescingLaunchNode

Thread launch nodes invoke one thread for each input.

Thread launch nodes are conceptually a subset of coalescing launch nodes. They use a thread group size of (1,1,1), so the thread group size need not be declared, and limit the number of input records per thread group launch to 1. Thread launch nodes can pack work fundamentally differently than coalescing or broadcasting launch nodes: thread launch nodes allow multiple threads from different launches to be packed into a wave (e.g. visible to wave operations).

Image ThreadLaunchNode

Here are a couple of other features that come along with the presence of work graphs:

Generic programs : In parallel to work graphs support, devices that support shader model 6.8 support generic programs in state objects. A generic program is the equivalent of existing pipeline state objects (PSOs) but defined in state objects, like how raytracing pipelines and work graphs are defined. So all types of shaders and pipelines can be defined in a consistent way if desired now.

A single state object can define a bunch of subobjects that act as building blocks – shaders, blend state, rasterizer state etc.. Then any number of permutations of these can be used to define a set of program definitions – each program definition is just a name and a list of subobjects to use. Apps can then retrieve an identifier for each program to bind on the command list using SetProgram() then and execute as usual via Draw*()/Dispatch*() etc, including DispatchGraph() for work graphs. Raytracing pipelines still need to be bound via existing SetPipelineState1() .

AddToStateObject() is supported as well, so new pipeline permutations can be added using existing building blocks in the state object and/or using newly added ones.

There are still some minor differences between how raytracing and work graph node shaders are authored versus shaders for generic programs – VS/PS etc still use vs_6_*/ps_6_* target and are not authored in lib_6_* like raytracing and work graph node shaders. But those vs_6_8 etc. compiled shaders can be passed into a state object definition as if they are a dxil library, and will simply appear like a library with a single shader entry in it.

There isn’t expected to be any performance difference here versus previous methods of defining PSOs that required separate full API object for every permutation. Perhaps some minor CPU side difference from having fewer API objects. For most, it may be fine to ignore this feature for now. The main benefits of this addition are:

  • Enable the option for an application to manage all shaders and other pipeline state subobjects for all shader types – raytracing, work graphs, vertex shader pipelines, mesh shader pipelines in a mostly consistent way.
  • Having generic programs/pipeline (e.g. VS/PS, MS/PS) defined in state objects paves the way for future ability for work graphs to include them as leaf nodes. In other words work graphs could drive the graphics pipeline directly. The work graphs spec proposes how this might work – see graphics nodes .

Condensed programming guide

The spec has full programming details. Here is a minimal walkthrough based on the D3D12HelloWorkGraphs sample.

Drivers and other prerequisites

What you need:

  • A PC with any OS that supports the AgilitySDK
  • App set up to use AgilitySDK 1.613 and the latest DirectX Shader compiler
  • The sample projects automatically download the nugets for these.
  • A GPU with corresponding driver installed that is advertised to support work graphs. See below.
  • Optional: Install WARP for work graphs as a software driver alternative that could be handy for testing. WARP supports virtually all D3D features including shader model 6.8 including features like raytracing.

AMD , NVIDIA , Intel and Qualcomm all helped with the work graphs design. Here are the supported GPUs as of March 11, 2024:

  • AMD : AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition™ Knowledge Base 23.40.14.01 driver for Windows has support for the Work Graphs 1.0 API on AMD Radeon™ RX 7000 Series graphics cards and can be downloaded here . Support for Work Graphs 1.0 in our public Adrenalin drivers will hit the shelves in Q2 2024. Visit the GPUOpen blog post here to get all the details and samples for this inaugural production release of Work Graphs.
AMD is excited to work with Microsoft on the production launch of the Work Graphs API, allowing developers to tackle graphics and AI workloads in a new and efficient way on the GPU. It was a pleasure to partner with Microsoft over the last few years to bring this innovation to graphics developers & researchers all around the world. We hope you’ll have as much fun using them as we had building them. If you would like to see them running yourself, please make sure to come and see our demo at GDC 2024! Andrej Zdravkovic, AMD SVP and Chief Software Officer
  • NVIDIA : Work graphs are supported on NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs starting with GeForce RTX 30 Series along with driver version 551.76 and newer which can be downloaded here . NVIDIA also has a work graphs blog with a practical example and their best practices here .

Work graph node shaders are authored using the lib_6_8 shader target.

In the interest of brevity, one shader is shown here from sample code.  The full set of of the shaders for this graph can be found the samples described later. For definitions of what is happening see the spec which defines it all, including specific examples.

Enabling work graphs in an app

Once a D3D device has been created, check that work graphs are supported.

From the samples:

Given some node shaders authored in a DXIL library, a work graph can be made in a state object at runtime. There is a lot of flexibility in how a work graph is constructed. For example, more than one can be defined in a single state object. The set of nodes in a graph can be hand-picked and optionally have various properties overridden at state object creation, such as renaming nodes. These are all described in the spec.

But the simplest case is illustrated from a sample below, telling the runtime to create a work graph out of all the shaders available. The runtime will piece together the graph by looking for nodes whose names match the names of the outputs of any given node.

There are some helpers for state object construction from d3dx12_state_object.h used by this example. d3dx12.h can be included instead to get all helper headers at once.

Once a state object with a work graph has been created, some properties can be extracted from it. The sample code below extracts a program identifier for the work graph. This is used later on a command list to identify what program to execute.

The code also determines how much backing memory the device needs to execute the graph. This is basically scratch memory the device can use to spill intermediate data when executing a graph, such as data that doesn’t fit in a cache, or any other live data. The sample chooses to make a backing memory allocation of the maximum size recommended by the device for the graph. This will be used later on a command list when the work graph is set for use.

First some global resource bindings are set. This code, from D3D12HelloWorkGraphs doesn’t use the option of having per-node static bindings in GPU memory. The more advanced D3D12WorkGraphsSandbox does show it.

Then the work graph is set on the device, including backing memory. Since it is the first time the backing memory is used with the graph, a flag is set to initialize the work graph.

Finally graph inputs in CPU memory are passed into a DispatchGraph() call. The command list copies the inputs there, so the driver doesn’t hold a reference to the memory. Inputs can be provided in GPU memory as well, which get read at the time of execution on the GPU.

Work graphs and generic programs samples can be found at DirectX-Graphics-Samples on GitHub, under the Samples/Desktop/D3D12HelloWorld folder.

These are the relevant samples:

More elaborate samples information is available at these links from AMD and NVIDIA .

DirectX-Graphics-Samples path: Samples/Desktop/D3D12HelloWorld/src/HelloWorkGraphs

This is a minimal work graphs sample in one cpp and one hlsl file. It uses a graph to accumulate some arbitrary numbers to a UAV. The app then prints the UAV contents to the console.

This intentionally is not trying to do anything useful. It is meant to be a starting point for you to try your own (likely complex) compute algorithms.

See the comments in D3D12HelloWorkGraphs.hlsl. A lot of experimenting can be done simply by editing this file and running without having to recompile the app.

Of course, feel free to tweak the source and rebuild the project.

DirectX-Graphics-Samples path: Samples/Desktop/D3D12HelloWorld/WorkGraphsSandbox

This is a slightly more elaborate sample that can autogenerate input data to feed whatever graph you author. It also uses more features, like node local root arguments and shows how to feed graph inputs from the GPU or CPU. Finally, it prints out execution timing to the console.

Like the hello world sample, this also isn’t trying to do anything useful. It is meant to be a starting point for you to try your own (likely complex) compute algorithms.

See the comments in D3D12WorkGraphsSandbox.hlsl to understand how to play around with the sandbox. A lot of experimenting can be done simply by editing the hlsl input file or making multiple versions of the file to keep different experiments around.

DirectX-Graphics-Samples path: Samples/Desktop/D3D12HelloWorld/src/HelloGenericPrograms

This sample is a tweak of the basic D3D12HelloTriangle sample that uses generic programs in state objects to define the pipeline state instead of a pipeline state object.

The sample also minimally demonstrates using [AddToStateObject()](#addtostateobject) to add a new program that uses the same vertex shader as the first but a different pixel shader, and draws a second triangle with it.

The PIX tool supports all shader model 6.8 features. See here .

Notable changes since 2023 work graphs preview

The earlier work graphs preview lined up with v0.43 of the work graphs spec. The current spec is here , where the full list of changes can be seen in the change log after v0.43.

Summary of changes between the preview and this official release:

In the design process here, an attempt was made at introducing ways to do bulk synchronization of data between multiple producer threads/groups cooperating to produce output to a consumer node’s threads, without using the heavy hammer of declaring UAVs [globallycoherent], but the amount of change required proved too much to take on for now.

  • Barrier() : Did some refinement and refactoring of the new general purpose `Barrier()` intrinsics in shader model 6.8 relative to the preview release. These are a slightly more expressive superset of the various permutations of barrier intrinsics that have existed in shaders for many years, and which are still available. The equivalencies between old and new barrier intrinsics are defined.
  • D3D12_COMMON_COMPUTE_NODE_OVERRIDES : Added a simplification for the scenario of overriding a node’s behavior at the API during graph construction vs how it was defined in HLSL. There is a new common override type for properties common to all node launch modes. So the API user doesn’t have to know the launch mode of a node shader when assembling a graph out of node shaders just to be able to perform a common override such as renaming the node or what nodes it outputs to.
  • AddToStateObject() and Generic programs support are now present, discussed above .
  • Code tweaks to migrate from preview test code to official release:
  • Stop calling D3D12EnableExperimentalFeatures() , and OS no longer needs to be in developer mode.
  • ID3D12DeviceExperimental -> ID3D12Device14
  • ID3D12GraphicsCommandListExperimental -> ID3D12Device14
  • Checking support for D3D12_WORK_GRAPHS_TIER_1_0 : D3D12_FEATURE_D3D12_OPTIONS_EXPERIMENTAL -> D3D12_FEATURE_D3D12_OPTIONS21

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ways to start an intro essay

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    Every good introduction needs a thesis statement, a sentence that plainly and concisely explains the main topic. Thesis statements are often just a brief summary of your entire paper, including your argument or point of view for personal essays. For example, if your paper is about whether viewing violent cartoons impacts real-life violence ...

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    For many, getting started is the hardest part of anything. And that's understandable. First, because it turns whatever you're doing into a reality, which raises the stakes. Second, because where you start can easily dictate the quality of where you end up. College essays have their own special brand of DTDT.

  6. How to Write an Introduction Paragraph in 3 Steps

    The 3 Main Parts of an Intro Paragraph. In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement. Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay. Below, we'll explain how to start an introduction paragraph by writing an ...

  7. How to Write an Essay Introduction: Structure, Tips, Guide

    Be brief; it's recommended that your introduction make up no more than 8 to 9 percent of the entire text (for example, 200 words for a 2500 words essay). Construct a strong thesis statement. Create some intrigue. Make sure there is a clear and smooth transition from your introduction to the body of your piece.

  8. Introductions

    In general, your introductions should contain the following elements: When you're writing an essay, it's helpful to think about what your reader needs to know in order to follow your argument. Your introduction should include enough information so that readers can understand the context for your thesis. For example, if you are analyzing ...

  9. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Determine the essay's genre and what type of thesis it requires. Write a rough introduction. Come up with a rough thesis statement. Use your introduction to lay out how your essay will be organized. Adapt your thesis and organizational plan as needed as you write your essay. Add a hook to your introduction.

  10. How to Write a Great College Essay Introduction

    Good example. I wiped the sweat from my head and tried to catch my breath. I was nearly there—just one more back tuck and a strong dismount and I'd have nailed a perfect routine. Some students choose to write more broadly about themselves and use some sort of object or metaphor as the focus.

  11. How To Write An Essay Introduction: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Determine Your Essay Statement: Hook the Reader: Provide Overview and Preview: Crafting Your Outline: Edit and Revise: Conclusion: Writing a strong introduction is one of the most important parts of crafting a polished essay. The opening paragraph sets the tone for your argument and piques the reader's interest right from the start.

  12. How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Pictures)

    If you're writing a 10-page paper, your introduction should be approximately 1 page. For shorter essays under 1,000 words, keep your introduction to 1 paragraph, between 100 and 200 words. Always follow your instructor's guidelines for length. These rules can vary at times based on genre or form of writing.

  13. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs

  14. How to Start an Essay: 4 Introduction Paragraph Examples

    1. Begin with an attractive hook. In order to understand how to start an introduction in an essay, we must first focus on the hook. An effective opening statement, or a "hook", aims to intrigue the reader. An attractive opening statement essentially hooks the reader to your essay.

  15. How to Start a College Essay to Hook Your Reader

    For each topic you generated in your brainstorm session, do a free-write session. Set a time for one minute and write down whatever comes to mind for that specific topic. This will help get the juices flowing and push you over that initial bit of writer's block that's so common when it comes time to write a college essay.

  16. 12 Ways to Start an Introductory Paragraph

    Identify your topic, context, and focus. Download Article. Treat the whole of your intro as the gateway into your essay. Your introduction has to do a lot in 5 sentences or so: identify the topic, provide context, and offer your thesis or major focus. And the start of the intro in particular needs to immediately catch the reader's attention ...

  17. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    There are many ways to write an essay introduction paragraph. You should use the appropriate style for the subject. Every word and statement in an essay should have meaning and relate to the main topic. Here are some things you might choose to incorporate in your introduction: 1. A fact or quote related to the topic of your essay. 2.

  18. How to Start an Essay ⇒ Effective Introduction and Hook Tips

    Save your time with Writing Experts - EssayPro. Place an order 5-7 minutes. Choose a writer 2-4 minutes. Receive your paper always on time. Receive any Essay in up to 6 Hours. After receiving such an assignment, you have probably thought a lot about how to start an essay the right way.

  19. Introductions

    Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide. Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they should know if your essay is going to be a good one or not. An introduction has several components but the most important of these are the last two we give here.

  20. How to Start a College Essay Perfectly

    How to Write the First Section of Your College Essay. In a 500-word essay, this section will take up about the first half of the essay and will mostly consist of a brief story that illuminates a key experience, an important character trait, a moment of transition or transformation, or a step toward maturity.

  21. How to Structure an Essay

    The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go. A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a ...

  22. What Are Good Sentence Starters for Essays?

    Good sentence starters to establish cause and effect. It's common to use two different sentences to discuss a cause-and-effect relationship, as in something making something else happen. Sentence starters can make this relationship clear and show which sentence is the cause and which is the effect. As a result . . .

  23. How To Start an Essay That Engages Readers in 5 Steps

    Related: How To Write an Intro Paragraph in 5 Steps (With Examples) 2. Introduce your essay topic. The first step in beginning an essay is introducing the topic you plan to discuss. Use the introduction to establish the context of the topic and highlight the frame within which you aim to discuss it.

  24. Paragraph Starters for Essays

    Once the type of essay, the audience, and the tone have been identified by the writer, there are different ways to approach the introduction to an essay. There are several types of sentences that ...

  25. The perfect essay: Your step-by-step guide to success

    Step 1 - Selecting a Compelling Topic. A perfect college essay begins with a simple review of the instructions. You must understand the assignment for you to gauge its complexity and know what to write. Analyze the prompt keenly, noting the keywords and phrases. Conceptualize a topic and plan your time.

  26. The United States Healthcare System

    Photo ID 76831545© Rawpixelimages| Dreamstime.com INTRODUCTION Today, United States citizens live in a society guided by a false consciousness.[1] The presiding culture of the United States (US) has painted a picture - a distorted and surreal mythology - that continues to be admired. This picture is characterized by conservative dogma and intolerance within the political, economic, and ...

  27. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion. There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

  28. How to master A Level Geography 20-mark essay questions

    Essay questions tend to use the command words "to what extent" or "assess". According to AQA, if the question includes the "to what extent" command word, you should "Consider several options, ideas or arguments and come to a conclusion about their importance/success/worth". On the other hand, if it is an "assess" question ...

  29. 92 Essay Transition Words to Know, With Examples

    Abruptly switching topics in essays can be jarring; however, transition words can smooth the change for the convenience of the reader.Moreover, you can use essay transition words to start a paragraph, sentence, or clause more naturally.Additionally, essay transition words can connect new information to the previous statement so you don't have to say everything at once.

  30. D3D12 Work Graphs

    D3D12 Work Graphs. Amar Patel. Tex Riddell. March 11th, 2024 0 0. This is the official release of D3D12 Work Graphs, enabling new types of GPU autonomy, originally available as a preview in 2023. To start, here's what Epic sees: With the proliferation of GPU-driven rendering techniques - such as Nanite in Unreal Engine 5 - the role of the ...