How To Write A Personal Essay

June 18, 2021 support

Most colleges require students to submit personal essays along with their applications. Writing a personal essay involves information and lessons gained from real-life experiences. But, to create an exceptional piece, you require to write it creatively. And, how do you do that? Read on to find out. 

What Is a Personal Essay?

Students are often required to write it, but what is a personal essay definition? It is a piece of writing that involves some kind of lesson gathered from the life experiences of a writer. Mostly, it highlights a single event from the perspective of the first person. However, you can write your essay in various writing styles, such as creative nonfiction or formal essay. When writing it, the writer needs to make sure that the tone is conversational to connect with the reader. Besides, it can be inspiring or can be served as a warning to the reader. 

Personal Essay

Why It Is Important to Know How to Write a Personal Essay

Writing this kind of write-up may sound like low-hanging fruit. However, it requires some creative writing techniques and great language. Besides, it needs to follow a proper structure. Thereby, it is important to know how to write a personal essay before you start working on it. 

Personal Essay Format & Structure

An ideal personal essay should compromise an introduction, body, and conclusion. Normally, it has three body paragraphs, but it can be longer or shorter, depending on the total word count.  

How to Write an Outline 

Creating a personal essay outline is a crucial step. Doing so will help you stay on track and not miss any important information. You may create an outline like this:

  • Introduction (hook, thesis statement).
  • Body (key ideas/points to discuss and examples t support them).
  • Conclusion (summary and strong closing statement).

How to Start a Personal Essay

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Make sure you start your write-up with a hook to make your piece interesting to read. Also, include a personal statement that you intend to prove in the body. Remember not to use Cliché sentences. Try to be unique if you want the reviewer to make a connection with you. After all, this something that can help you land in your dream college.

How to Write Body Paragraphs

Here comes the meat of your story. Make sure you use a separate paragraph for each of your key points. Also, include personal evidence to support them. 

How to Write Conclusion 

Your final paragraph should restate your thesis in the introduction. It should include the moral of the story. Summarize key points that you want the reader to take away. And remember to close it with a strong statement. 

Tips for a Good Personal Essay

Here are 8 tips to follow to write a piece that compels:

Ensure the topic and story is compelling 

A personal experience is itself a great insight into everyday life. The topic you choose should be relatable to the audience. Select a topic like facing a fear, a road accident, a bluff played on you, etc. Your essay should tell a story with a strong narrative. The intensity of words and the excitement should be maintained throughout. Direct your story in a way that leaves an impact on the reader. 

Start Strong 

Don’t Just introduce the essay launch it strategically. Plan a powerful intro to grab the desired attention straight away. The reader won’t stay much to something boring or unattractive. Hook the audience right at the beginning. Make a list of ideas for your introduction to the essay. Come up with a strong hook to catch the reader’s pulse. 

Don’t forget the prerequisite – Outline

An outline is a definite precondition. You don’t want to fail to go unplanned. The outline will help you plan your story. Your narration is details that need to get knitted adequately into a screenplay. You are writing a personal experience. It has to be in flow, undisrupted and cohesively executed till the climax. 

Craft an impactful conclusion

‌A personal narrative essay ends on a thought-provoking note. Make it leave a mark on the reader. However, don’t introduce any new information. Reinstate your position or give food for thought. Your insightful comment or opinion can also be used to make your essay conclusion interesting. 

‌Build up the body

Body paragraphs of your piece should be filled with sensory details about the experience. The narration has to be specific when it comes to explanation. Students tend to deviate from the core topic. The body paragraphs should make sure to bring about the reader to the main point of the narration. 

Remember the final touches

Refine thoughts thoroughly in the editing part. Check for grammatical errors. Revise ideas if needed. Look for suitable vocabulary changes. Spelling checks and punctuation errors should all be sorted in the final touches.

Be yourself

This kind of write-up is a creative piece. It has to be very brilliantly executed. All the pieces of the story should be crafted creatively. One can be funny, emotional, or motivational when writing a write-up involving one’s life experiences. 

Set the tone

While composing this piece of writing, consider your feelings as primary. Describe the emotions. Create the atmosphere with the intonation of your words. Make a sentence structure that allows you to lend as many insights as you want.

Personal Essay Topics

As far as the topics are concerned, it can cover a wide range of subject matters. For instance, it could be about:

  • A moral turning point encountered during your teenage.
  • A person who changed the way you look at life. 
  • An ethical dilemma. 
  • Your biggest achievement, etc. 

In short, it could be about any moment that brought some kind of change or growth in your life. All in all, it should be enriched with your personal opinion and viewpoint. 

Personal Narrative Essay Topics 

Here is a list of some interesting prompts:

  • A decision that put you in danger. 
  • Your first trip abroad. 
  • First day at high school.
  • An experience from your school life that changed you as a person. 
  • A teacher you will never forget.

Short Example of a Personal Essay 

Short Example of  A Personal Essay

You can find several personal essay examples available online. Here is a 500-word sample:

“A Teacher I Will Never Forget”

Digits and equations are something I was really bad at, and this is the reason why subjects like math always gave me the creeps until I got a chance to have Miss Susan as a Math teacher. Her style of teaching algebra was so much fun and interesting that solving equations seemed like a piece of cake. Her involvement and connection with students made the subject even more worth studying for me. Besides, her personality had some kind of charisma that would want me to perform better and get on her favorite students’ list. She had all the traits that make her one of the amazing and unforgettable teachers in my life. 

She would take a lot of her time to talk to her students about things as ordinary as how is the day going. She would always say hi with a smile when we walked by her. Above all, she would make her students feel understood and supported. I remember once I was not happy with the group I was assigned for a team bonding activity. All of my friends were with Miss Susan. I just couldn’t fit in with the other group, and she noticed it. After which, I was offered a place in her advisory that made me amazed at her observing power and empathy. I must say she made one of my favorite school memories with my friends. Feeling understood and supported by a teacher helps students stay motivated, enjoy student life, and encourages them to advocate for their needs. 

She was not one of those teachers who would just come, teach a lesson and say goodbye. Miss Susan was one of her kind. Tall and lean with a gorgeous smile, she had been extremely smart at what she teaches. She always made sure she doesn’t let one lesson drag along and bore us. Moreover, she always came to the class with interesting and interactive activities in her mind. I don’t remember any lesson that I was unable to understand. It’s amazing how she helped me become great at math without even realizing it. To test our knowledge of quadrants, she would make us play the battlefield. Hence, learning and fun would always be side by side in her class. 

Apart from a great teacher who had a unique way of teaching, she had a spark of magic too. She always emitted positive vibes and was always there to help all of her students. I could always go to her room to talk about math-related or other things.  This goes right back to how she was connected with her students and their needs. Her advice always made sense and helped me search for positivity, even in negative situations. 

To conclude, Miss Susan was a complete package that a teacher should be. She is a role model not only for her students, but I believe other teachers should also look up to her for inspiration. It wasn’t just her teaching style, but her overall personality just lights up the room like the fireworks on a dark, gloomy night. She is the kind of teacher anyone would want to have. She not only helps her students be better at math but also positively impacts their lives. No wonder why she is that one teacher that I can never forget. 

This was one of the personal narrative essay examples that you can follow to write on a similar topic. 

Q&A

What is a personal essay format?

It is similar to other forms of the essay as it also contains three basic sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. 

How do you write a good personal essay?

Writing a good piece means you need to allow the reader to experience the story. So, make sure you show them your experience rather than just describing it while following the structure.

What are the 5 elements of a personal essay?

The 5 elements of a personal narrative essay include:

  • Character description. 
  • Strong introduction. 
  • Interesting details. 
  • Logical sequence. 
  • Strong conclusion. 

What do you do in a personal essay?

Writing a personal essay requires effort and creative thinking. Students who are unable to write it on their own may look for an example of a personal essay to grab the basic idea. They may also opt for professional help at WriteMyEssay if they still feel stuck with it.