EssayQuest Test Drive

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Find A Bunch of Story Starters

Story starters are not topics.

Don’t even think about the topic of your essay. That’ll mess you up.

Later on, you’ll choose the raw content that will become an engaging, authentic short story that shows Tina Fey who you are. But now, you’re at the very first step of your journey. All you need are a bunch of ideas. 

Most teens are stunned at how many stories they’ve got hiding in the back of their mind or which ones will turn into a great college essay. 

Remember your mission as a Thinker: Ideas and raw content!

In case you were wondering…

What do Story Starters look like?
Story Starters are ideas you thought of. They can be broad themes, activities, or short, discrete events. You’ll use the questions on the next page to come up with a bulleted list that looks something like this:

  • Cookie fail
  • Supermarket helpful lady
  • Timmy broke glasses
  • Soccer
  • Winning spelling bee
  • Making greeting cards
  • Want to be a large animal vet

Anything and everything goes.

Story Starters don’t have to make sense to anyone but you.

If I add an idea to my list, does it mean I have to write about it?
No. It’s just an idea.

Can I include ideas I’ve heard colleges hate (like sports, service trips, grandpa, death, politics, religion, etc.)?
Sure. They’re just ideas.

I haven’t done anything big or special. Am I doomed?
No. Most teens don’t. You’re good.

I don’t have anything to write about. Am I doomed?
No. You have 16 or 17 years of life behind you and have plenty to write about. We’ll help you find it.

I already know what I want to write about. Can’t I just skip this step?
No. Really? Come on…you already want to skip the first step?

Keep it simple. Don’t overthink. Follow the instructions on the next page, and you’ll have what you need!

We have more to share!

Over the next few days, we'll send you College Essays 102, more sample essays, and activities to help you find stories you never knew you could write about.  

We want you to write your best college essay!

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At the NEACAC Conference?


Please come say hi at Thursday's exhibitor expo! 

And, join our founder Barak Rosenbloom and Brian Gallagher of the Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston for our Thursday 2:15 workshop, Seven Secrets for a Streamlined and Energized College Essay Process

We have great free resources to share. Leave your email and we'll send them along after the conference. 


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