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The sample essays in this chapter represent personal stories that are intriguing, diverse, complex, honest, and humanizing.These samples present opportunities for you to study, admire, question, emulate, reject, and—most importantly—consider how to present the best, truest, most effective picture of yourself, carefully refined for the eyes of others.
Similar to the Wolfpack we watched movies and role-played.
We also watched our favorite movies over and over again. I attended public school and interacted with my friends and my older sibling friends.
My family has always been a major influence in my life.
My family is very close and love spending time together.
Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing always looks great?
Grammarly can save you from misspellings, grammatical and punctuation mistakes, and other writing issues on all your favorite websites.All it takes to understand the importance of an outline is listening to someone who struggled to tell a personal story. The switchbacks where the teller says “But wait, I have to tell you about this part, first! An outline will help you organize your thoughts before committing them to text. Don’t say “I felt cold.” Say “I exhaled and my breath turned to vapor that hung in the air.Consider your opening hook and the statement it makes, then map out the sequence of events or main points that support it. I shivered and pulled the blanket tight around my shoulders in a vain attempt to trap my body heat.” Your description should help the reader experience the cold with you.Just like a good fictional story, your essay should have rising action. Stephen King describes it as making the reader “prickle with recognition.” Your essay should end with your own reflection and analysis. How have the events and thoughts you described changed your life or your understanding of life?Raise the stakes with each paragraph until you reach a climax or turning point. It’s not enough to say “And that’s what happened.” You have to describe how whatever happened shaped you.These essays were ultra-personal and confessional in nature, often in a TMI sort of way.Their headlines were clickable, not to mention shareable, for their shock value alone.Perhaps somewhere between these two attitudes is the most profitable approach when studying the work of your peers.In critiquing the work of others who essentially represent your competition, you should take a respectful stance both critical and kind, just as selection committee members are likely to do.They aren’t simply a retelling of events, though—that falls more in the realm of memoir or autobiography.They conclude with the author having learned, changed, or grown in some way and often present some truth or insight that challenges the reader to draw their own conclusions. Although the story itself is unique to the author’s experience, there’s some universal truth that speaks to us from just below the surface.