How do you write a good personal essay for college admission?

How do you write a good personal essay for college admission?
I mean can you start it like a story?
Should you use cliche phrases like “no matter what I will never give up” blah blah kind in your intro?
I always have a hard time writing the intro because I write general things. Do you think it’s a good ideas to just start with a story in the intro?
DO’s and DONT’s?

My advice would be to begin the writing process with the 2nd paragraph. Tell your story. Then read it to get the main emphasis and come up with an attention getting first sentence and/or paragraph.

Don’t b.s. The people who review these things can see through that in a minute. Be sincere but try to be a little original.

My son’s college essay was supposed to be about a life changing event and how it would help him succeed in college. He chose to write about setting a state record in swimming, but rather than tell the events, step by step, he told how he felt… how he could hear the water rushing past, how his heart was pounding, how the crowd sounded, how he could see his competition gaining and how his legs and lungs burned. He told how his thoughts were racing and how he thought of all the hours of practice and how much he had dreamed of that moment. He made the point of how he had had to work for years to achieve his goal and was successful, but made it exciting and interesting to read. I think his opening sentence was “This was my moment. This was my victory”…. It got him into Dartmouth.