Writing Assignment #1: Narrative Essay

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Writing Assignment #1: Narrative Essay
Narrative essays use story telling elements to make their points. They look like short stories rather than traditional academic essays. Narrative essays don't have to be fiction; often, they depict real life events. Authors of narrative essays often use them to explore and find the meanings of important events in their own lives. Some readers connect more readily to narratives which have a vivid emotional and psychological dimension sometimes buried in traditional expository essays.

Possible Essay Topics:
Shippensburg University
Explain special skills or circumstances that would be helpful to the admissions staff in reviewing your application.
West Chester

Please share with us your involvement in one or more of the following areas: extra- or co-curricular activities, performing arts, community services, diversity, volunteerism, athletics, work, leadership positions you have held, awards received or any other life experience that has had a significant impact on you.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Please tell us something about yourself.

Penn State University

Focus on one activity, and discuss what you have gained from your involvement and how it would affect your student experience at Penn State. The purpose of this statement is to help us get to know you by going beyond the numbers included in your application.

Other Common Admission Topics:

  1. Personality strengths: choose one and use a story to illustrate the strength.

  1. Discuss a significant experience, achievement or risk that you have taken and it’s impact on you.

  1. The hardest lesson I had to learn in life was.... Be sure to explain the events that occurred so the reader gets a vivid picture of what the lesson was and why it was so hard.

  1. I believe that the person I am now is not who I will be in the future.

  1. Choose a vivid time from your childhood. Narrate the events related to the childhood memory that you've chosen so that your readers will understand why the event was important and memorable.

  1. Think of a time when you achieved a personal goal. Tell your readers about the story of how you met your goal. Be sure that your readers understand why the goal is important to you.

  2. Describe a personal ritual that you, your friends, or your family has. Narrate the events that take place when you complete your ritual so that your readers understand the steps that the ritual includes and why you complete them.

  1. Choose a time when you did something that took a lot of nerve, a time when you didn't follow the crowd or a time when you stood up for your beliefs. Your narrative should show your readers why you decided to make a stand or try something that took nerve, give specifics on the events, and share how you felt after the event.

  1. Think of a time when you disagreed with a decision that had been made and did something about it. Be sure that your paper gives enough details that your readers understand why you disagreed with the decision and why you felt that your response was appropriate.

Organizing your essay:
I: Introduction paragraph: What message is your story going to convey?
II: Body: The story. Make sure you tell the story in chronological order. If there are multiple stories to support your message, tell them in chronological order. Start your story with an attention getter.
III: Conclusion: Connect the story to your message.

Parts needed for points:
1. Pre-Writing: Complete the pre-write graphic organizer. (10 points)

2. Rough Draft: Hand written, double spaced. (25 points)

4. Final Copy (see criteria below) (40 points)
Total Points Available: 75

Final Copy Criteria:

  1. Typed -12pt, Times New Roman

  2. Double Spaced

  3. Name, Teacher Name, Class/Period, Date: Top left corner

  4. Title

  5. Must be between 400-500 words.

Grading Criteria:

  1. Did you follow the above organization?

  2. Did you follow the final copy criteria?

  3. Do you have word errors?

  4. Are there run-on sentences?

  5. Does you paper answer and discuss one of the listed topics or the topic of a college application essay?

  6. Does your paper have a clear introduction and conclusion?

  7. Do you have between 400-500 words?

  8. Did you hand in all of the parts required?

  9. Do you use verb tense correctly

Narrative Essay

Pre-Write Graphic Organizer
Topic Choice:
Message or Point that will be made:

10 details that must be included in the story:

Narrative Essay

Pre-Write Graphic Organizer, cont.

Possible attention getter (famous quote or phrase, question):

Connection between message and point being made and the story being told:

Elements of writing that will make your essay get noticed: Check List
Introduction paragraph:
1. Do you have an attention getter?

2. Does your thesis/main point come right after the attention getter?

3. Did you set a tone/voice?

4. Did you set the scene for the upcoming story?

Body Paragraphs:
1. Did you provide details to the story so the reader can get a good sense of where you are coming from?

2. Do you have enough details for someone, who doesn’t know anything about you, to make a connection between your story and main point?

3. Do you use similes and metaphors to create vivid pictures for the reader?

4. Do you use any words or phrasing more than once? Avoid this!

5. Does your story have a climax?
Last Body Paragraph:
1. Did you connect your story to the thesis/point you made in your introduction?

2. Does your story have a resolution?

Conclusion Paragraph:
1. Did you wrap your essay up (short and sweet, no more than 2 sentences)?

2. Did you relate the experience with the attention getter in the introduction paragraph?

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