How to Write a College Essay

Start with your greatest loss, biggest obstacle, the woman you loved, the man you killed. Open your heart. Relax. Show the real you. Write like your hair is smoldering. This is the most important paper of your life; be unique. Never mention the word “special.” Be specific: the time your mother wished she’d never adopted you; the night your father died in the fire. Make the reader see the veins in her neck, feel the words strike, the door slam. See you in the garage smoking by the turpentine; see the garage ignite.

Previously published in The Connecticut River Review Spring 2007