10 Great Opening Lines from Stanford Admissions Essays

Last Updated Jun 15, 2011 10:14 AM EDT

When you're writing your college admissions essay, do not be boring!
A bland admission essay can put an overworked college rep to sleep. I attended a conference once where an administrator at Yale University mentioned that 20 staffers at his Ivy League school read 50 college admission essays a day, six days a week during the application season. That's a lot of papers to slog through.

Now that it's summer, you've got time to write a great college essay. And to get your college admissions essay off to the right start, begin with a captivating opening line.

Want examples? Here are samples from winning college essays courtesy of Stanford University. These are opening lines of admissions essays that the Stanford admission reps especially liked. All of the essay writers were accepted as members of the class of 2012. You can find even more opening lines of sample admission essays in the Stanford Magazine.

10 Opening Lines from Stanford Admission Essays

  1. I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks.
  2. When I was in the eighth grade I couldn't read.
  3. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe?
  4. I have old hands.
  5. I was paralyzed from the waist down. I would try to move my leg or even shift an ankle but I never got a response. This was the first time thoughts of death ever cross my mind.
  6. I almost didn't live through September 11th, 2001.
  7. The spaghetti burbled and slushed around the pan, and as I stirred it, the noises it gave off began to sound increasingly like bodily functions.
  8. I have been surfing Lake Michigan since I was 3 years old.
  9. I stand on the riverbank surveying this rippled range like some riparian cowboy -instead of chaps, I wear vinyl, thigh-high waders and a lasso of measuring tape and twine is slung over my arm.
  10. I had never seen anyone get so excited about mitochondria.
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.

Read More on CBS MoneyWatch:

What's Wrong With America's Dream Colleges?
The Best Colleges You've Never Heard Of
College admissions essay by Jeff Pearce. CC 2.0.

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