How To Write A Personal Essay

December 12, 2022 Umer
How To Write A Personal Essay

Essay writing is a tough vocation. It requires years of training and practice to master the art and craft of writing. Students in schools and colleges learn this from teachers, by going through lessons and then practicing their craft on simple topics, before taking on complex ideas.

It is equal parts an art and a science, with a focus on telling a story to the readers and making them convinced about a reality that the writer wants to perceive. In this blog, we will cover the definition of a personal essay, the differences between personal essays and personal statements, and a simple guide on how to write a personal essay to get college admission or secure higher grades in class.

What Is A Personal Essay?

A personal essay is not a hard type of writing to define. In simple terms, it is about a non-fiction, personal account of an event or incident that changed the future course of action for the writer. It is intimate and conversational by any stretch of the meaning and is considered to be the stepping stone for writing works of both fiction and non-fiction.

The best place to see personal essays in action is the college admission applications. Every college asks aspirants to write a short personal essay on why they would want to come to that college and study. In that essay, aspirants can explore their past, their future ambitions, and how the college will help them bridge the gap between the present and that perceived future.

Personal Essay Vs. Personal Statement

Many students use the terms personal essay and personal statement in similar contexts, but are they this close or something different altogether? This section is dedicated to helping students get to the truth of this side.

A personal essay is about the complete picture of applying to a college and trying to secure admission. It has its structure and constraints to keep in mind. When compared to the personal statement, it is a large whole where the personal statement can be its part.

On the other hand, a personal statement is the pure intent behind choosing a program or degree in a specific college. Both the statement and the essay share the same themes but they are different in their depth and scope.

A Simple Guide To Write A Personal Essay

Students often stumbled upon the idea of writing a personal essay. In middle and high schools, they write numerous essays on different topics, but they are not confident to write on something more elaborate and personal. This lack of training and tools hinders them from writing and even thinking about writing a good essay. To address this issue with writers, we have dedicated this whole section to writing a personal topic for students.
Choosing A Stand Out Topic
The first step in writing a stand-out personal essay is to choose a stand-out topic. When writing a personal essay, the range of topics is limited because anything that will get to be scribbled on the paper should get inspired by real life. Since the rationale is to bridge the past with the present and then to the future, writers can rely on topics of loss, alienation, and more.
Outlining & Structuring
The first step in writing a personal essay is to research and outline the complete essay. Many students make the case that since it is a personal essay, it is best to leave it out of a structured paradigm and explore it through natural flow. This is a mistake because any slip-up or missed step can lead to poor reception of the essay.
Picking The Right Tone & Voice
The tone and voice of a personal essay are always candid and conversational. Many students believe that they can impress readers by relying on tough terms and academic language. This is a wrong impression because readers are looking for a frank and personal essay that can highlight the story of the writer. Also, in a candid tone, make sure that the idea is not lost on the readers.
Writing The First Draft
The first draft is the key to writing a personal essay. It is the culmination of all the preparation and research and should be done in one go. Delaying the completion of the initial draft can cause undue bottlenecks in the process that can cost dearly to the writers. The simple rule to complete the first draft is to spend not more than one-third of the total time writing the first draft.
Understanding Functions of Different Sections
An essay is composed of different sections that serve different purposes. The introduction or opening of the essay introduces the context or background information of the essay. The main body of the essay covers the main idea or premise of the essay, such as the idea of overcoming loss, alienation, and so on. When this is done, it is time to move on to the conclusion to sign off the essay on a high note.
Summing Up The Narrative With A Lesson
A personal essay should conclude with a lesson. A lesson can be overcoming hardships or challenges to come up on the top. Many students make the mistake of signing off the essay without covering this base. This is detrimental to the cause and readers often end up looking for lessons and issues themselves. This could lead to a lost point in the most important parts of the essay.

Practical Tips For Writing A Personal Essay

If it is not enough to have a complete guide on writing a personal essay, fret not. We have set this section to help students with practical tips and tricks for writing the best essays. These tips can be treated as both dos and don’ts of personal essays or a checklist to make sure that everything is included in the essay.

So, without further ado, let’s get started with the tips.

Active Voice Is Always Better

Students often make the mistake of littering their text with passive-voice sentences. This not only makes the text poor or weak but also makes it harder for the readers to follow and understand the text. Many professional writers stress using active sentences whenever and wherever they fit.

Conversation Is The Key

Personal essays are written to have conversations with the readers. There is no point in using jargon or heavy vocabulary because it will have no use for the readers. Compared to other academic essay writing types, personal essays need to cover the bases in a candid and conversational tone.

Editing Is Writing

When we talk about writing a personal essay, it is not simply about writing the whole text. Before the writing phase, writers need to research and collect all the relevant information to streamline the process. After writing, it is about editing and proofreading the text to ensure that everything is right on the mark.

Peer Reviews Are Important

Simply writing the essay is not enough, it is best to get your peers on board to ensure that everything is right on track. Those peers can be siblings or friends who have some experience in writing and editing essays for school or college. If that is not the case, you can get your school teachers to evaluate it on your behalf.

F.A.Q

How do you write a personal statement in Canada?

A personal statement is about showing the intent to the admission committee that you are willing to join a department or a school for a certain field of study. If you are writing a personal statement in Canada, you need to be succinct and bold in showcasing your abilities.


How do I start a personal essay?

There are many ways to start a personal essay, but the purpose remains the same. The opening lines are called hooks because they make the reader invested in the text. It can be a question, a statement, or a statistic to connect readers with the narrative.

What are the differences between personal essays and narrative essays?

Narrative essays are based on personal events or experiences that shaped the future course of events for the writer. As for personal essays, they are about non-fictional accounts of events or experiences with a moral lesson for the readers.

How can I write a personal essay?

We have shared a complete guide on how to write a personal essay. The salient features and steps in writing a personal essay are research, outlining, writing, and editing the draft before submitting it for evaluation.


What are the 5 elements of a personal essay?

Here is a rundown of the elements of a personal essay. Writers should keep these in mind to ensure that not one of them is left out in the text:

  • Opening remarks
  • A hook
  • Compelling characters
  • Complete setting
  • Riveting conclusion

Dos and don'ts for personal statements?

The dos of personal essays include research and structuring of text. When it comes to the don’ts of personal essays, these include using technical jargon in the text and relying heavily on the sources rather than personal issues.

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