The Olympic Task of a Compelling Essay OpenerAs much of the world watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the spectacle was worth a billion dollars. That’s more than most of us could contemplate, much less could spend in a lifetime, even if we had it. Was it worth it?
In truth, the answer may vary depending upon who is asked. Sports fans may not think so; fans of pageantry might. A better question might be, “Why was it opened in such a grand fashion?”
The answer is simple: to draw the audience in. The Olympic planners are saying, “Pay attention. What’s in store will be magnificent!”
This is what I advise students when they are working on their college application essays. They must grab their audience (the admissions officers) right from the start, opening their essays in a way to encourage reader to want more.
There’s a lot invested in the Olympics. It’s not just the years and long hours of practice the athletes put into their sport. It’s not just the facilities erected. It’s not just the expense of broadcasting the event around the world. It’s not just the enormous amount of security measures taken to thwart off terrorist attack. The list is mind boggling!
When the Russians decided to spend upwards of a billion dollars to open the festivities, at least for those planning it, the expense was worth it. It was a billion dollar promise that there would be more fantastic things in store–so stick around!
I’m not suggesting anyone needs to spend big bucks on an application essay, or any on writing for that matter. All I’m saying is the writer must invest heavily in effort to capture the reader’s attention right from the start. Follow up that promise with a solid body of work, and then complete it with a bang. (I’ll likely be writing about that in my next blog post!)
That’s all I have to say. I’m more interested in what you think. Did you enjoy the Opening Ceremonies? Do you feel it was worth the expense? Do you feel enough time is spent on the opening paragraph of the application essays? Am I nuts to be associating the Olympics with trying to get into colleges or grad schools? I love hearing from people, so don’t leave me hanging…