There are really two types of essays: The argumentative essay, where you get to argue a point, and The Narrative Essay, where you get to tell a story. Unlike the argumentative essay, in which you’re trying to convince the reader to come around to your point of view, the narrative essay is less persuasive. You’re not trying to convince the reader of something, but instead you’re taking them on a journey. More to the point, you’re taking them on your personal journey.
The narrative essay is a story from your life. It’s a honest, imaginative account of a certain moment in your life. Through descriptive writing and a few standard storytelling techniques, it is your goal with a narrative college essay to spark the readers’ interest – and sustain it. Let’s have a look at some tips on how to write a narrative college essay brilliantly.
Have A Purpose
If you’ve ever read a short story, you’ll know that it has a purpose, and that it doesn’t meander away from this purpose. A short story – like a narrative college essay – captures a specific moment in time. Unlike a novel, it isn’t tying together multiple plots, themes and characters, but is instead focused on a single plot, and often a single character. It’s concise. That’s how your narrative college essay needs to be. Pick one theme, one story, one moment in your life, and focus on that. For example, if you’re going to be writing about bullying, we don’t necessarily need to know what happened to every one of your bullies afterwards. We want to know about you.
When writing novels and short stories, a few writers like to use a non-linear storytelling device, which basically means the events in the story are not told in the order they actually happened. Instead, they’re jumbled up. But it’s important for clarity that your narrative college essay is told in the right order, beginning with an introduction, a middle and a conclusion. You can use paragraphs to help you, and you can even plan out your paragraphs so that everything is in the right order. For example, if you’re going to be writing about bullying, you could write about why you’re writing about bullying in the first paragraph, before going onto tell the story – in chronological order – of the time you were bullied, before ending with a paragraph about how your experience has shaped you as a person.
Show Don’t Tell
When writing a narrative college essay, it’s important that you create visual imagery for the reader, rather than mundanely explaining everything that happened. To add a bit of colour to your writing, you could write, “I was shocked when the locker flew open in my face, the metal door slamming against my nose. I felt as though I’d been run over,” as opposed to writing, “Then they opened the locker in my face, and then they laughed at me.” Be creative! Show us visually, don’t talk us through it all.
Choose A Universal Theme
Whenever we tell a story – and your narrative college essay is a story – we need it to relate to others. Therefore, our theme has to be universal – it has to be something others can relate to. Not everyone will have been bullied, but everyone has come up against obstacles in their life, and bullying is a huge obstacle for children. Show your reader how bullying is an obstacle that can be overcome – like all obstacles!
Now that we’ve had a look at how to write a narrative college essay, let’s have a quick look at some narrative essay topics for college students – because actually choosing a topic is often the hardest thing to do. After all, what do you write about? What don’t you write about? Know your strengths, and pick something you know will spark your creativity.
Examples of Narrative Essay Topics for College Students:
- A moment that changed my life
- If I was President …
- The worst day of my life
- The greatest thing I’ve ever done
- The worst thing I ever did
- My first love
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