Below are some tools to utilize in writing college admissions essays. Each tool has a corresponding YouTube video. Consider watching the videos first.

Structure

What is it?
Structure refers to how the information within a written text is presented and organized.

Why is it Important?
Structure is a key aspect of impactful writing.

How do I create it?
There are many elements that impact narrative structure.

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Setting

What is it?
The setting is more than the location and time of your story.

Why is it Important?
Many writers swear that setting is the most important element of any narrative work.

How do I create it?
Start by Asking Yourself The 6 w’s.

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Characterization

What is it?
Characterization is the way in which authors convey information about their characters.

Why is it Important?
Your readers know nothing about any of these people until you tell them.

How do I create it?
There are several ways to reveal your characters, action, dialogue, appearance, and crisis, the greatest of these is action.

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Writing with the Flair of Fiction

What is it?
Using developed characters, plot, conflict, setting, action, humor, and descriptive language. Choose one of the below starters and write a short-short story:

  • Last weekend some friends and I went for a walk/hike, got lost, got kidnapped by a creepy dude, and thought we were going to die. 
  • Last weekend I hung out with (insert a public figure). 

Why is it Important?
It connects you and the reader, humanizing you. 

How do I create it?
See Elements Contained in Setting, Characterization, and Hook.

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The Hook

What is it?
It captures a reader’s attention and sets the tone and style of the piece.

Why is it Important?
Unlike your English teacher, admissions officers are under no obligation to finish your essay.

How do I create it?
A powerful quotation, paraphrase, or declarative statement.

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Leading/Central Moments, Turning Points, Through Lines

What are they?
These are the elements critical to creating transformative personal narrative.

Why are they Important?
College admissions essays should clearly articulate responses to the questions “Who are you?” “How will you benefit by being admitted?” and “How will the university benefit by admitting you?”.

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