Great novels have two things in commona gripping introduction and a conclusion that leaves the reader with something to think about. Great essays share similar traits.
The first impression that the judges get is from the introduction. If it does not catch their attention and make them want to read further then you will lose even before you have had a chance. Here are some strategies for beginning any essay:
- Create action or movement. Use an example or short story to create action right at the beginning. Have you noticed how most movies begin with a striking scene that quickly draws you in? Do the same with your introduction.
- Pose a question. Questions draw attention as the readers think about their answers and are curious to see how you answer them in the essay. You can also use an interesting or surprising fact in place of a question.
- Use descriptions. If you can create a vivid image for readers, they will be more likely to want to read on. Just be sure to do so succinctly since you don’t want the introduction to be filled with detail that does not move the plot forward.
Conclusions are just as important as introductions since they are the last impression you will leave with the reader (the scholarship judge). Here are a few tips for the closing remarks.
- Be thoughtful. The conclusion should end with something insightful. You may even decide to withhold a thought from the essay so that you have something for the conclusion.
- Don’t just summarize. Since the reader has just finished the essay, there is no need for a restatement of the points that you made. It’s okay to wrap up your thoughts in one sentence, but try to add to the conclusion as a whole by making an extra point.
- Don’t be too quick to end. Too many students tack on a meaningless conclusion or even worse, don’t have one at all. Have a decent conclusion that connects with the rest of the essay and that doesn’t consist of two words, “The End.”
As you look at the essay ask yourself: Will they think about what I have said after they have fnished reading? If the answer is yes, then you have written a conclusion that you can be proud of.