So what are college essay hooks? Generally, they're narratives, descriptions, illustrations, or dialogue that grab the reader’s attention. They should be catchy. But they also needs to be specific.
Essentially, the hook will let your essay POP. It separates your essay from other boring essays, the essays that start in a really predictable way.
So how do you write college essay hooks?
My first suggestion is to focus on your topic. Choose something kind of off-the-beaten path. Make sure it’s appropriate, though. Something your teachers and principal would think is acceptable.
As an example, let’s say you're writing about volunteering at the local food bank. This could be a unique hook:
"I dunked the ladle into chowder. John extended his bowl with his wrinkled, worn hands. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘You’re doing the right thing.’"
It’s a simple idea – serving soup at a food bank is nothing out of the ordinary. But the focus of my hook is John, and what he said to me. This could be a jumping off point for an essay about the importance of staying in school and contributing to society, something John praised me for doing, and something that he wished he had done himself. And so, the essay now becomes about your quest to be successful so you can contribute back to society, and back to people who wish they had the means to do more for others.
Or you could start out with the a quote:
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.“ – Steve Jobs
College admissions counselors are working people like any other, so often times they wrestle with the idea of loving what they do. Firstly, this quote will hook them in from that angle. I'm sure not many applicants make them think introspectively about their lives. Secondly, if you can sincerely express why you love what you do, and why you want to go to college for it, then you will have piqued the admissions counselor’s interest even more. Now you've got a hook.
Ultimately, the key to writing college essay hooks is to be unique, engaging, catchy, and appropriate. You’re probably already thinking of a possible hook that you can use as you read this. Put it to paper. Just see where it goes.