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How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application
What does it take to land in the “accept” (instead of “reject”) pile?
How can you write an essay that helps advance you in the eyes of the admissions officers and makes a real impression? Here are some tips to get you started.
- Start early. Do not leave it until the last minute. Give yourself time when you don’t have other homework or extracurriculars hanging over your head to work on the essay.
- Keep the focus narrow. Your essay does not have to cover a massive, earth-shattering event. Some people in their teens haven’t experienced a major life event. Some people have. Either way, it’s okay.
- Be yourself. Whether writing about a painful experience or a more simple experience, use the narrative to be vulnerable and honest about who you are. Use words you would normally use. Trust your voice and the fact that your story is interesting enough in that no one else has lived it.
- Be creative. “Show, don’t tell,” and that applies here — to an extent. The best essays typically do both. You can help your reader see and feel what you are describing by using some figurative language throughout your piece.
- Make a point. As you finish your final body paragraphs ask yourself “So what?” This will help you hone in on how to end your essay in a way that elevates it into a story about an insight or discovery you made about yourself, rather than just being about an experience you had.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
We’ve all heard about the dreaded “college essay,” the bane of every high school senior’s existence. This daunting element of the college application is something that can create angst for even the most accomplished students.
- AA Amy Allen is a writer, educator, and lifelong learner. Her freelance writing business, All of the Write Words , focuses on providing high school students with one-on-one feedback to guide them through the college application process and with crafting a thoughtful personal essay. A dedicated poet, Amy’s work has also been published in several journals including Pine Row Press , Months to Years, and Atlanta Review .
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How to Write About Yourself
Last Updated: July 31, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Lucy Yeh . Lucy Yeh is a Human Resources Director, Recruiter, and Certified Life Coach (CLC) with over 20 years of experience. With a training background with Coaching for Life and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at InsightLA, Lucy has worked with professionals of all levels to improve the quality of their careers, personal/professional relationships, self marketing, and life balance. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 5,661,648 times.
Whether you're writing an essay about yourself for a scholarship, a self-introduction, or a personal bio for a job application, coming up with the right words to capture what makes you unique can feel challenging. Fortunately, there are tips and tricks that can make writing about yourself a breeze. Want some help getting across just how impressive, interesting, and skilled you really are? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about putting yourself into words effectively, complete with examples.
Writing of the Autobiographical Nature
- Who are you?
- What is your background?
- What are your interests?
- What are your talents?
- What are your achievements?
- What challenges have you faced?
- What is your most interesting or unique quality? What word(s) describes you the best? Choose that topic.
- Bad: I like sports.
- Ok: I'm a fan of basketball, football, tennis, and soccer.
- Good: My favorite sport is football, both to watch and to play.
- Better: When I was growing up, I would watch Big Ten football with my dad and brothers every Saturday, before we'd go outside and toss the football around. I've loved it ever since.
- Braggy: I'm the best and most dynamic worker at my company right now, so you should want to hire me for my talents.
- Humble: I was lucky enough to be awarded three employee of the month awards at my current job. Turns out it was a company record.
Writing Personal Essays for School
- Common themes or prompts for autobiographical essays include overcoming obstacles, great successes or spectacular failures, and what you learned about yourself.
- Depending on the assignment, you may need to connect a personal anecdote to a reading or an idea from class. Start brainstorming topics that are connected to that idea, to give yourself a variety of options to choose from.
- Common autobiographical essay cliches include sports stories, mission trips, and dead grandmothers. While these can all make for excellent essays if done well, it is difficult to stand out when telling the story of how your lacrosse team lost a big game, then practiced hard, then won. It has been written before.
- If you want to tell the story of your nasty break-up, start with the break-up, do not start with the star-crossed way you met. You have got to get immediately to the tension in the story.
- When you have an idea of your topic, start writing a "memory list" of specific things that you remember about the event. What was the weather like? What did it smell like? What did your mother say to you?
- Your opening paragraph will set the tone for the rest of the essay. Rather than telling the dull biographical details (your name, your place of birth, your favorite food), find a way to express the essence of the story you are going to tell and the themes you are going to explore in your essay.
Writing a Cover Letter for an Application
- Outline your qualifications and highlight your talents in a cover letter.
- Write about who you are.
- In a cover letter, describe how your education and experience qualifies you for this position.
- Explain how this opportunity will benefit your career goals.
- When in doubt, keep it brief and serious. If you are unsure whether or not telling an amusing anecdote about your friend's bachelor party is appropriate in a cover letter, it is probably best to leave it out.
- "I'm writing to apply for the entry-level position with Company Inc. advertised on your website. I think my experience and training makes me an ideal candidate for this position."
- Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to include your name in the body of the letter: "My name is John Smith and I am applying...." Your name will be included in the signature , as well as the header of a cover letter, so there is no need to put it in the text itself.
- Who you are and where you come from.
- Where you want to go.
- How this opportunity would potentially help you get there.
- Be as specific as possible. It is alright to note that you are "A passionate leader in all walks of life" but it would be much better to write about an example of a time you lead in a surprising way.
- Stay focused on skills and talents that connect specifically to the thing you are applying for. Extracurricular involvement, leadership roles, and other types of outstanding achievement may be important to you personally, but it may be totally extraneous. If you include something, ensure to connect it specifically to the goal of the cover letter.
- Be as specific as possible. If you are writing a university cover letter, it is obvious that you have to have a degree to get a job as a doctor, but how did you come to choose this field? Why did you choose this school? What, specifically, do you want to take away from the experience?
- Be careful about using a cover letter to critique a business. It is not the time to describe the suffering of a particular brand over the previous fiscal quarter, then promising that you will be able to turn it around with your ideas. That might not go over well if you are hired, and then you are unable to live up to the promise.
- Even if it is impressive, a high GPA or class ranking does not belong in a cover letter. Highlight it on your resume, but do not include it in two different places of the application.
- Mailing address
- Telephone and/or fax number
Expert Trick : Save time and effort by creating one generic format that you can use for many different job applications by tweaking the specific content for each one. Start with a general introductory paragraph , then a section or two fleshing out your resume and expertise as it relates to the job, and finish it off with a closing paragraph and a note of thanks.
Writing a Short Biography Note
- Pretend you are writing about someone else. Write your name and start describing that person like a character or a friend: "John Smith is the Executive Vice President of Company Inc..."
- If you are a jack of all trades, say so. Do not be afraid to list "actor, musician, mother, motivational speaker, and professional rock climber" if they all apply equally.
- It is common to list degrees that you have received. Pay particular attention to anything that ties into the work you are writing about. If you have special training, include it here.
- "John Smith is the Executive Vice President of Company Inc., in charge of marketing and overseas acquisitions. He received an MBA with distinction from Harvard and lives in Montauk with his cat Cheeto."
- Do not overshare. It can seem funny to immediately start with "John Smith loves rafting and hates eating Cheetos. He's a total boss" and such bio notes can be appropriate for some venues, however be careful to avoid awkward oversharing. Telling everyone about your killer hangover might be best left for after work talk.
- Stephen King, who is one of the most successful and popular authors in recent history, has a bio note that just lists the name of his family members, his hometown, and his pets. Consider leaving out the self-congratulation entirely.
- Remember that you’re supposed to talk about yourself, it’s the main topic. Don’t talk about your friends or family, even though you may feel tempted to. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- If you are having a difficult time writing about yourself, search online for examples of personal writing, in order to get some ideas and inspiration. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
- Don't think about how others feel about you. Everyone thinks from a different perspective. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/how-to-write-about-yourself
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
- ↑ https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/choosingsources/chapter/narrowing-a-topic/
- ↑ https://www.yourdictionary.com/articles/essay-about-self-writing
- ↑ https://writingcommons.org/article/using-first-person-in-an-academic-essay-when-is-it-okay/
- ↑ https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/6-unconventional-ways-start-cover-letter/
- ↑ https://english.washington.edu/writing-cover-letter
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/career-goal-statement-examples
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/resume-vs-cover-letter
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/whats-the-ideal-cover-letter-length
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/how-to-format-a-cover-letter-example
- ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/first-vs-third-person
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-bio/
About This Article
If you have to write an autobiographical description of yourself, write down a list of your talents, interests, and accomplishments. Use this list to help you choose one specific topic for your description, such as your academic achievements or your leadership qualities. Use specific, unique details to support your topic, such as being awarded an academic scholarship or the fact that you were president of the newspaper in high school. You can list bits of your personal life, but be careful not to overshare. If you want to write about yourself a cover letter or personal essay, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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15 Tips for Writing a College Essay About Yourself
- What is the Purpose of the College Essay?
- How to Stand Out Without Showing Off
- 15 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself
- Where to Get Free Feedback on Your Essay
Most students who apply to top-tier colleges have exceptional grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities. How do admissions officers decide which applicants to choose among all these stellar students? One way is on the strength of their college essay .
This personal statement, along with other qualitative factors like teacher recommendations, helps the admissions committee see who you really are—the person behind the transcript. So, it’s obviously important to write a great one.
What Is the Purpose of the College Essay?
Your college essay helps you stand out in a pool of qualified candidates. If effective, it will also show the admissions committee more of your personality and allow them to get a sense of how you’ll fit in with and contribute to the student body and institution. Additionally, it will show the school that you can express yourself persuasively and clearly in writing, which is an important part of most careers, no matter where you end up.
Typically, students must submit a personal statement (usually the Common App essay ) along with school-specific supplements. Some students are surprised to learn that essays typically count for around 25% of your entire application at the top 250 schools. That’s an enormous chunk, especially considering that, unlike your transcript and extracurriculars, it isn’t an assessment of your entire high school career.
The purpose of the college essay is to paint a complete picture of yourself, showing admissions committees the person behind the grades and test scores. A strong college essay shows your unique experiences, personality, perspective, interests, and values—ultimately, what makes you unique. After all, people attend college, not their grades or test scores. The college essay also provides students with a considerable amount of agency in their application, empowering them to share their own stories.
How to Stand Out Without Showing Off
It’s important to strike a balance between exploring your achievements and demonstrating humility. Your aim should be to focus on the meaning behind the experience and how it changed your outlook, not the accomplishment itself.
Confidence without cockiness is the key here. Don’t simply catalog your achievements, there are other areas on your application to share them. Rather, mention your achievements when they’re critical to the story you’re telling. It’s helpful to think of achievements as compliments, not highlights, of your college essay.
Take this essay excerpt , for example:
My parents’ separation allowed me the space to explore my own strengths and interests as each of them became individually busier. As early as middle school, I was riding the light rail train by myself, reading maps to get myself home, and applying to special academic programs without urging from my parents. Even as I took more initiatives on my own, my parents both continued to see me as somewhat immature. All of that changed three years ago, when I applied and was accepted to the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco. I would be studying Arabic and learning my way around the city of Marrakesh. Although I think my parents were a little surprised when I told them my news, the addition of a fully-funded scholarship convinced them to let me go.
Instead of saying “ I received this scholarship and participated in this prestigious program, ” the author tells a story, demonstrating their growth and initiative through specific actions (riding the train alone, applying academic programs on her own, etc.)—effectively showing rather than telling.
15 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself
1. start early .
Leave yourself plenty of time to write your college essay—it’s stressful enough to compose a compelling essay without putting yourself under a deadline. Starting early on your essay also leaves you time to edit and refine your work, have others read your work (for example, your parents or a teacher), and carefully proofread.
2. Choose a topic that’s meaningful to you
The foundation of a great essay is selecting a topic that has real meaning for you. If you’re passionate about the subject, the reader will feel it. Alternatively, choosing a topic you think the admissions committee is looking for, but isn’t all that important to you, won’t make for a compelling essay; it will be obvious that you’re not very invested in it.
3. Show your personality
One of the main points of your college essay is to convey your personality. Admissions officers will see your transcript and read about the awards you’ve won, but the essay will help them get to know you as a person. Make sure your personality is evident in each part—if you are a jokester, incorporate some humor. Your friends should be able to pick your essay from an anonymous pile, read it, and recognize it as yours. In that same vein, someone who doesn’t know you at all should feel like they understand your personality after reading your essay.
4. Write in your own voice
In order to bring authenticity to your essay, you’ll need to write in your own voice. Don’t be overly formal (but don’t be too casual, either). Remember: you want the reader to get to know the real you, not a version of you that comes across as overly stiff or stilted. You should feel free to use contractions, incorporate dialogue, and employ vocabulary that comes naturally to you.
5. Use specific examples
Real, concrete stories and examples will help your essay come to life. They’ll add color to your narrative and make it more compelling for the reader. The goal, after all, is to engage your audience—the admissions committee.
For example, instead of stating that you care about animals, you should tell us a story about how you took care of an injured stray cat.
Consider this side-by-side comparison:
Example 1: I care deeply about animals and even once rescued a stray cat. The cat had an injured leg, and I helped nurse it back to health.
Example 2: I lost many nights of sleep trying to nurse the stray cat back to health. Its leg infection was extremely painful, and it meowed in distress up until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t mind it though; what mattered was that the cat regained its strength. So, I stayed awake to administer its medicine and soothe it with loving ear rubs.
The second example helps us visualize this situation and is more illustrative of the writer’s personality. Because she stayed awake to care for the cat, we can infer that she is a compassionate person who cares about animals. We don’t get the same depth with the first example.
6. Don’t be afraid to show off…
You should always put your best foot forward—the whole point of your essay is to market yourself to colleges. This isn’t the time to be shy about your accomplishments, skills, or qualities.
7. …While also maintaining humility
But don’t brag. Demonstrate humility when discussing your achievements. In the example above, for instance, the author discusses her accomplishments while noting that her parents thought of her as immature. This is a great way to show humility while still highlighting that she was able to prove her parents wrong.
8. Be vulnerable
Vulnerability goes hand in hand with humility and authenticity. Don’t shy away from exploring how your experience affected you and the feelings you experienced. This, too, will help your story come to life.
Here’s an excerpt from a Common App essay that demonstrates vulnerability and allows us to connect with the writer:
“You ruined my life!” After months of quiet anger, my brother finally confronted me. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain.
Despite being twins, Max and I are profoundly different. Having intellectual interests from a young age that, well, interested very few of my peers, I often felt out of step in comparison with my highly-social brother. Everything appeared to come effortlessly for Max and, while we share an extremely tight bond, his frequent time away with friends left me feeling more and more alone as we grew older.
In this essay, the writer isn’t afraid to share his insecurities and feelings with us. He states that he had been “ appallingly ignorant ” of his brother’s pain, that he “ often felt out of step ” compared to his brother, and that he had felt “ more and more alone ” over time. These are all emotions that you may not necessarily share with someone you just met, but it’s exactly this vulnerability that makes the essay more raw and relatable.
9. Don’t lie or hyperbolize
This essay is about the authentic you. Lying or hyperbolizing to make yourself sound better will not only make your essay—and entire application—less genuine, but it will also weaken it. More than likely, it will be obvious that you’re exaggerating. Plus, if colleges later find out that you haven’t been truthful in any part of your application, it’s grounds for revoking your acceptance or even expulsion if you’ve already matriculated.
10. Avoid cliches
How the COVID-19 pandemic changed your life. A sports victory as a metaphor for your journey. How a pet death altered your entire outlook. Admissions officers have seen more essays on these topics than they can possibly count. Unless you have a truly unique angle, then it’s in your best interest to avoid them. Learn which topics are cliche and how to fix them .
This is a critical step. Even a small error can break your essay, however amazing it is otherwise. Make sure you read it over carefully, and get another set of eyes (or two or three other sets of eyes), just in case.
12. Abstain from using AI
There are a handful of good reasons to avoid using artificial intelligence (AI) to write your college essay. Most importantly, it’s dishonest and likely to be not very good; AI-generated essays are generally formulaic, generic, and boring—everything you’re trying to avoid being. The purpose of the college essay is to share what makes you unique and highlight your personal experiences and perspectives, something that AI can’t capture.
13. Use parents as advisors, not editors
The voice of an adult is different from that of a high schooler and admissions committees are experts at spotting the writing of parents. Parents can play a valuable role in creating your college essay—advising, proofreading, and providing encouragement during those stressful moments. However, they should not write or edit your college essay with their words.
14. Have a hook
Admissions committees have a lot of essays to read and getting their attention is essential for standing out among a crowded field of applicants. A great hook captures your reader’s imagination and encourages them to keep reading your essay. Start strong, first impressions are everything!
15. Give them something to remember
The ending of your college essay is just as important as the beginning. Give your reader something to remember by composing an engaging and punchy paragraph or line—called a kicker in journalism—that ties everything you’ve written above together.
Where to Get Free Feedback on Your College Essay
Before you send off your application, make sure you get feedback from a trusted source on your essay. CollegeVine’s free peer essay review will give you the support you need to ensure you’ve effectively presented your personality and accomplishments. Our expert essay review pairs you with an advisor to help you refine your writing, submit your best work, and boost your chances of getting into your dream school. Find the right advisor for you and get started on honing a winning essay.
Related CollegeVine Blog Posts
9 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself
You know yourself better than anyone else, but writing about yourself can still be tough! When applying for scholarships or to college, essay prompts can feel so general (and yet so specific!) that they leave us stumped. So we’ll show you 8 tips to write an essay about yourself, so that you can land more scholarships. (Psst – Going Merry makes applying easy .)
1. Create a List of Questions
2. brainstorm and outline, 3. be vulnerable, 4. use personal examples, 5. write in the first person, 6. don’t be afraid to show off…but stay on topic, 7. show personality , 8. know your audience, 9. proofread and edit.
Let’s start with some examples of personal essay prompts:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Describe a challenge or event that made you who you are today.
- What are your short and long-term goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
- Write about a time you failed at something. How did it affect you?
These are just a few of many scholarship essay prompts that require you to look internally, to answer a question, solve a problem, or explain a scenario in your life.
We get it. You might not be a big fan of bragging about yourself, or you might want to keep your personal stories to yourself. But by opening up and sharing your story, you can show scholarship providers, colleges and universities who you are, and why you’re deserving of their scholarship.
(Don’t just take our word for it – check out our scholarship winners page full of students like you who were brave enough to share their stories with us).
To get started, check out these 9 tips on how to write an essay about yourself:
After reading through the scholarship essay prompt, breathe, and make a list of smaller questions you can answer, which relate to the big essay prompt question.
Let’s say the main essay prompt question asks you, “What were challenges or barriers you had to work to overcome?” Then the smaller questions might be something like:
- What is your background? Family, finances, school.
- What was challenging about that background?
- What’s your greatest accomplishment? How did you get there? How have previous challenges influenced your goals?
Think of these questions as mini-prompts. They explain your story and help you answer the main essay prompt with more details than if you just answered it without a plan in place.
After considering smaller questions, it’s time to brainstorm your answers. Take out a pen and paper – or open up a document on a computer – and take your time in answering each mini-prompt. Organize your responses in order:
- Intro to main essay prompt.
- Answer about 3 mini-prompt questions.
- Conclude by rewriting the answer to the main essay prompt with a summary of your mini-prompt answers.
This organization will help you stay on topic and answer the prompt directly. (Or check out these 6 scholarship essay examples for alternative essay structures.)
Don’t be afraid to let your strengths, challenges, and personal stories shine through in your essay! Scholarship and admissions committees love to see that you’re self-aware how you can improve as a person, or how you’ve grown because of your experiences. Honest writing can help tell the best stories (in this case, YOUR story).
Since this essay is all about you , you should make your answer as specific as possible! Avoid using generalizations (e.g., “I’m really good at music). Instead, go for more personalized statements (e.g., “My fourth-grade teacher Ms. Matay really inspired me to pursue my interest in the clarinet”). Your personal examples are what will help your scholarship essay stand out among the thousands of applicants..
You’re telling your story, so write from your perspective! You can narrate your story. You can provide an overview of what you learned from your experiences. However you choose to answer the prompt, we recommend writing in an active tone, and using “I” and “me” throughout your essay.
Most students worry about bragging in their essay, but we say go for it! This is your time to shine, so highlight your accomplishments and strengths. Review your essay to make sure that you’re keeping the tone informative and that you’re still on topic. (Brag while answering the essay prompt; don’t just mention random, unrelated but impressive facts about yourself!)You can use this brag sheet where you can brainstorm your accomplishments. While the worksheet is geared toward requesting letters of recommendation , you can still use it to write out your hobbies, interests, college list , and strengths to help you answer your scholarship essay prompt.
Just because it’s an essay doesn’t mean it has to be dry and boring. This essay is all about you, so let your personality shine through. If you’re the class clown, you can use a bit of humor. If you wear your heart on your sleeve, don’t be afraid to show emotion. Trying your best to express who you are as a person will have a huge effect on the admissions or scholarship committee!
If you’re applying for a scholarship, research the scholarship provider. If you’re applying to college, research the school. Understanding what makes the provider/college unique and what their motivations are, will allow you to incorporate that information in your essay. For example, many scholarships are funded by private companies that sell products. You might want to reference those products in your essay. A good example of this is Emily Trader’s essay for the Life Happens organization , where she uses her personal narrative to explain the importance of insurance planning, since that is the mission of the organization (which is funded by insurance companies).
The last step in answering your essay prompt is to double-check your work! One typo can be distracting and cause scholarship providers to scratch their head while reading the essay. ( Psst, humble brag: Going Merry’s application platform includes spellcheck because we’ve got your back .) In addition to proofreading for typos and grammatical errors, also consider whether the sentence or paragraph structure makes sense. Are you breaking paragraphs in the right place? Are you using topic sentences well to signpost your main ideas? Does the essay flow? Consider these “bigger” structural questions too. You might also want to ask a friend, family member, teacher, or guidance counselor to review your essay. They might catch something you didn’t see the first time around, and that can really help your essay! In fact, that is scholarship winner Daniel Gill ’s #1 tip. (Another tip is to apply for scholarships using Going Merry !)
Also, check out this helpful list of the 10 most common scholarship essay topics while you’re brainstorming!
Now that you know how to write an essay about yourself, it’s time to start applying for scholarships! Remember: You’ve got this.
Sign up for your free Going Merry profile . From there, you can easily upload and submit your essay for thousands of scholarships. We make it easy so you’ll only need to enter your profile information once! And then, you can apply away. In fact, we even have some bundled scholarships so that you only enter your essay once, to apply for multiple scholarships at the same time.
Or if you’re not ready to register, simply sign up to receive an email with 20 new scholarship opportunities each week. Just enter your email address below:
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How to Write a Short Essay About Yourself: Step-By-Step
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Writing or even talking about yourself may not come easily to you. However, for professional or educational reasons, it’s often a necessity. There are other instances when writing about yourself may make more sense, as you can provide the rawest and most honest perspective.
Jump ahead to these sections:
Steps for writing about yourself, tips for writing about yourself creatively or confidently.
- Examples of Things to Write About Yourself
You should feel empowered—not intimidated—in taking on a writing project about yourself. Use it as a way to challenge how you view your own experiences, talents, and more. We’ll discuss some steps for writing about yourself as well as provide a few examples.
Writing isn’t for everyone, especially when it’s required. As much as you may dislike it, following the steps below can help the process go that much more smoothly.
If you find that following a different order than what we’ve recommended for you works better for your process, feel free to adjust accordingly.
Step 1: Determine your purpose
What’s causing you to write this “thing” about yourself? What exactly are you writing? It may surprise you that people write all kinds of pieces for themselves—even writing your own obituary isn’t out of the question anymore.
The more specific you can get with yourself about your purpose will help the rest of the process. If it’s something stressful, like a college admission essay or a cover letter, try to frame the project in a different light.
For example, “I’m writing this essay to show people my heart and how passionate I am about removing disparities and barriers in healthcare. I believe in my abilities, and I want to further my education, so I can help heal people.”
Step 2: Ask yourself some questions
For any good piece of writing, there has to be fact behind it (if even these facts are abstract in narrative or fiction). The best way to gather facts about any subject is to ask a variety of questions, both soft- and hard-hitting.
You may ask these questions internally, during research, or directly and literally. Treat this question step as a self-interview.
Here are some questions to ask yourself . You may also ask yourself:
- What is my goal of writing this piece?
- What themes or ideas do I want to focus on?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What are some important lessons I’ve learned?
- What do I want others to know or understand about me?
Step 3: Organize your answers
After asking yourself the example questions above as well as others, you should be sure to write down your answers and begin organizing them if you haven’t already.
It may be tempting to just answer your own questions in your head as you go—but don’t. This will just make the writing step more difficult. You may think that you’ll remember every good point or profound thought you come up with, but memory is a tricky thing.
If you’re working through your questions during a time when you’re not ready or able to sit down and type or scribble them out, at least make some notes in your phone or in a journal so you can have some descriptive hints for later. No matter how big of an epiphany you may have, it’s possible you’ll forget it.
Step 4: Write a draft
If your ideas are already fairly organized, writing your draft should come fairly easily to you. The draft process, however, is when you can start spicing things up with anecdotes, your own personal voice, themes, metaphors—all that fun stuff. The point in you writing something about yourself for yourself is for the very reason that you can make it unquestionably you .
Dull, watered-down words or even over-hyped language from a thesaurus plug-in isn’t going to impress anyone. Writing something about yourself (unless the assignment is creative or unorthodox) isn’t the time to act like something you’re not.
All of this being said, don’t stress yourself out too much. Letting your ideas flow freely and then editing or revising them later is how you should approach the process anyway. You don’t want to put too many restrictions on your ideas from the get-go. Warring with yourself about your ideas while writing is only going to tire you out sooner.
Think about it—you may spend hours trying to write a piece while overthinking that’s no better than a draft you could have written in 30 minutes on the fly. Not being totally in love with your first draft is normal. It just allows you that much more room to improve.
Step 5: Put your progress aside
Much like during the draft process, it’s very possible to overthink your work after it’s mostly done. If you constantly keep re-reading it or rehashing your ideas in your head, they may start to sound odd, or you may try to add where you need to trim.
For example, the same concept applies to repeating the same word over and over aloud — it’ll likely start to sound strange or even wrong the more you hear it. This also applies to music — ever play a song you love over and over till you hate it?
You need to give your words and your brain some time to rest away from each other until you try to make any drastic edits or changes. That being said, you may love what you’ve written already and decide you don’t need to change a thing—that’s great!
Step 6: Review and edit
After your break, you can pick up your writing once again. Read it with a critical eye. Go back and think deeply about your purpose and any provided prompts. Have you answered everything you intended to or are required to?
It’s not uncommon—though devastating—to write an entire piece only to realize you wrote from the wrong frame of reference or focused on the wrong issue. For example, if you were asked to write about a challenge you overcame in your life by following an important virtue, but you only wrote about winning a basketball championship and not the struggle behind it, this may miss the mark.
If you find a good number of issues in your work, don’t feel tempted to scrap the entire thing. What may work instead is to copy and paste your writing line-by-line into a new document. This way, you can save as much as possible while being sure to resolve even small discrepancies.
Step 7: Finalize your work
After you’ve undergone the brutal process of self-editing (or enlisting help from someone else you trust) you can prepare yourself for the home stretch. Finalizing your work shouldn’t take very long.
Y our process may differ; however, it’ll likely come down to reading over your work a few more times just to make sure you haven’t missed words, punctuation, or proper grammar.
It’s OK to use this step to feel proud of yourself, too. You may not take a lot of time to reflect on your life and everything you’ve been through—it’s important to practice self-love in this way and celebrate your accomplishments.
Talking or writing about yourself may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For example, did you need to provide a fun fact recently but draw a blank? You’re not alone. In fact, many people have a false assumption that they’re boring.
On the flip side, perhaps you’re used to talking about yourself, or, at least you’ve got the “fake it till you make it” type of confidence down-pat. However, you too can only benefit from adding a bit more razzle-dazzle to your spiels and writing assignments. Here are a few tips for writing about yourself creatively or confidently.
Allow yourself space
If you have an upcoming project or writing assignment that has you on edge, consider stepping away. Even if you don’t consider yourself an outdoorsy person, a walk around the block may help you breathe and get your creativity flowing. Naturally, the more sound your idea or angle, the more confident you’ll feel about your upcoming performance.
Keep that ego in check
An underinflated ego is just as bad as an overinflated one. Pay close attention to your internal dialogue when approaching new projects or writing tasks (or, honestly anything that comes up during your day). How much of what swirls around in your mind is fact? How much of it is just fleeting thoughts or opinions? You are not your thoughts, and you always have choices. Make good ones and be kind to yourself.
Try this: Instead of thinking to yourself, “Wow, this is a really complex writing assignment. I can’t do this.” Or, “How am I ever going to get into my dream school with this essay? I’m not a strong writer.”
Change your internal dialogue to, “I have good ideas. I may not have my plan figured out right now, but I’ll get it done,” or, “I have so many great skills to bring to the table and I am very passionate about what’s brought me here. I will convey this the best I can.”
Sometimes an outside opinion can give us much-needed perspective. Ask your friends, family, loved ones, or coworkers to describe you in a few words or even in abstract ways. Don’t view this as you’re fishing for compliments. Ask your loved ones for honesty, as this insight can only help you when writing about yourself.
Build up a fuel bank
Pulling inspiration out of thin air may not always be possible. However, if you build up a few reliable sources of inspiration, the next time a project hits, you’ll be prepared. You can fuel your creativity and confidence in a variety of ways.
For example, you can create certain playlists for different moods, save favorite art or graphics in a digital folder or keep printed versions in your home or office, write down affirmations or notes-to-self in a journal or app, and so on.
Reflect on past accomplishments and setbacks
Even if you aren’t a fan of journaling, writing about yourself is far easier if you take the time to reflect, if only mentally. If you know you have a deadline to write about yourself in the near future, you may want to physically or mentally jot down a few real-life examples or experiences that come to mind.
But how do you get in the right headspace to reflect? What if you only witness recurring thoughts about past events while trying to fall asleep? Be sure to practice the first tip in this section: Give yourself some space to think. For once, limit the distractions, keep all other screens put away or turn on your "do not disturb" feature.
Now, think about some past accomplishments or setbacks that may not even seem relevant to the topic of the assignment. You may have an epiphany about unrelated things or discover something about how you operate. For example, you might realize that you feel less nervous in social and professional settings if you call out your anxiety as being excited.
Examples of Writing About Yourself
Even if you feel super confident about writing about yourself now, we wanted to provide a few short examples to help you get started. Your tone, word choice, and more may differ depending on which piece you’re working on.
Here are some tips for writing or publishing your life story you may also find helpful.
In a memoir or essay
Those were probably the best and the worst days of my life. I had never felt more happy and never felt more sad. I felt as though I were so close to having everything I had ever wanted, yet it seemed with every step forward, I had to take two steps back. It was exhausting. How did I get through it? To be quite honest, I have no damn idea.
Perspective helped. I knew I could have had it way worse; I knew that my struggle wasn’t unique. I knew, too, that even when the small wins would come they’d have yet another loss right on their tails. I paid dearly for having too much heart and optimism, so I regularly had to hose myself down with logic and pessimism.
On your blog or website
If you’re reading this, it’s too late. Just kidding! That’s just a really good Drake album. I wanted to take some time to talk about what’s been going on in my life lately for those of you who are nosey enough to care. Again, kidding, I know some of you really care. I’m so grateful to have even this small following that I have. It’s wild, really. Who would have thought that people want to know what’s going on in my head at any given time? Joke’s on you guys, though, because I don’t fully know all the time.
I guess I’ll start off by saying that work has been a whirlwind. As you all know, it isn’t an easy time for anyone, so please don’t take this declaration as a complaint. I’m thrilled to still have a job despite everything going on. However, leaving this reflection at just that would be doing both myself and you all a disservice. It’s weak. It doesn’t really describe what’s been going on. Allow me to continue.
In a college essay
When I was young, my grandmother told me I couldn’t please everyone — that some people just wouldn’t like me for no reason at all. This was very hard for me to swallow at times. What does this have to do with who I am today and why I plan to attend your university?
Well, this early lesson demonstrates that in order for this world to keep spinning, we all have to be unwavering in our own pursuits. We are ourselves. We can’t be anyone else. In that, we all have the responsibility to bring our unique talents, wisdom, and heart to the table — even when we’re seated across from people who may not like us.
Sometimes Only You Can Do It
Writing about yourself may always be challenging for you, but who better to do so than who knows you best? If you work through the process in every situation and give yourself some patience, there’s no question that you can’t craft something amazing. You may also be interested in this article about how to write family stories .
Your written words mean more than you think. This becomes a part of your legacy when you're gone, and it's one of the ways you'll be remembered. While many families choose custom urns from Foreverence or even to craft memorial diamonds from Eterneva , your words are something that live after you're gone.
While it might not seem natural at first, learning to write about yourself, your perspective, and your experiences carries a lot of significance. Who knows who might read these words when you're gone?
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How to Write an Essay About Yourself
Writing an essay about yourself is no easy feat — although you may know yourself better than anyone, it can be tough to get the perspective needed to write about yourself in essay form. Despite its challenges, writing essays about yourself is one of the most crucial skills in the college application process, and we have some key tricks to make it easier. Keep on reading to learn about some of our best techniques to write about yourself naturally!
- Outline your experiences
Ask friends and family for input
- Don’t be too humble…
- Let your personality shine!
Read more: How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)
Outline your impactful experiences
Before you dig into prompts, try writing out a bullet-point list of meaningful experiences you’ve had. Underneath each bullet point, reflect on what they might demonstrate. Here’s an example:
- Working as part of a team
- Learning to balance school and work responsibilities
- Honing communication skills
- Developing writing skills
- Fostering a passion for my school community
- Learning to meet deadlines and balance responsibilities
- Learning to balance school and volunteer responsibilities
- Gaining an attention to detail
This is a little different than a typical resume — rather than focusing on your specific duties, try to focus on how the experience shaped your character. If you notice a lot of overlap between the experiences, that’s perfect! You can point out these recurring themes to make for an effective essay with a strong overarching point. Making lists like this early on in your writing stage can be helpful, and you may find yourself coming back to consult the list for many future essays.
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When writing about yourself, it is important to reflect on your strengths, and who is better to do that than a supportive team of family and friends?
Consulting family and friends is a great way to learn about strengths that you might not even know you had. Your friends choose to hang out with you for a reason, and they often notice your good qualities that you take for granted. Having your friends point these out can be useful for an essay, as well as a general pick-me-up!
And if you’re looking for a perfect anecdote to answer a prompt like “How have you demonstrated a commitment to your community ,” who better to remember your past acts of kindness than your parents?
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Is it okay to ask friends and family to read my essay and offer feedback?
Some students may be wondering, is it okay to ask for additional help from friends and family? And the short answer is: absolutely. Additional essay reviewers can offer valuable feedback as you write your essay. With this said, students should make sure that they are maintaining their own voice in the essay. Outside reviewers should not be rewriting the essay or having a heavy hand in changing the written voice.
Don’t miss: How to respond to the Common App essay prompts
Don’t be too humble
There is a time and a place for humility. But don’t worry if you feel like your essay is verging on the braggadocios. These essays are an opportunity to showcase your best qualities, and you should not be worried about putting your best foot forward and telling the reader all the reasons why they should be impressed by you.
What makes these essays effective is that they both include your relevant experiences and demonstrate why they are so significant. You may feel as though you are making mountains out of molehills, but it’s important to emphasize the importance of your experiences. This is the main objective of writing about yourself.
Also recommended: How to write a 500 word essay
Let your personality come through
Most essays written about yourself will be written in first-person. This provides a perfect opportunity to add some flair to your writing. While your first priority is to include impactful examples and communicate your points effectively, it is also important to leave a lasting impression on the reader.
If you see an opportunity to show off your sense of humor or use a more personal tone, don’t be afraid to do it. As long as your remarks are appropriate, on-topic, and not too frequent, they can help put you ahead of the pack.
Recommended: How does an admissions officer read your application and essays?
A great trick for becoming comfortable writing essays about yourself is to try keeping a journal. Journaling helps eliminate the pressure of writing an essay while helping you become comfortable writing about yourself in an informal setting. Spending 10 or 15 minutes every night writing about your day, or answering some informal prompts can help you to get more in touch with yourself and jog your memory about past events that could be useful for an essay.
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Next steps for students
Now you’ve learned about the goals and techniques for writing an essay about yourself. Your next step should be to focus on making your writing effective and efficient. Make sure that your conclusion ties everything together impactfully . And once you’ve finished your draft, ask family members, friends, or college counselors to read over it and provide suggestions. Good luck, writers!
Related: Overview of common scholarship essay prompts
Frequently asked questions about how to write an essay about yourself
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Telling the Story of Yourself: 6 Steps to Writing Personal Narratives
Table of Contents
Why do we write personal narratives, 6 guidelines for writing personal narrative essays, inspiring personal narratives, examples of personal narrative essays, tell your story.
First off, you might be wondering: what is a personal narrative? In short, personal narratives are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.
From stories about inspirational figures we heard as children to any essay, article, or exercise where we're asked to express opinions on a situation, thing, or individual—personal narratives are everywhere.
According to Psychology Today, personal narratives allow authors to feel and release pains, while savouring moments of strength and resilience. Such emotions provide an avenue for both authors and readers to connect while supporting healing in the process.
That all sounds great. But when it comes to putting the words down on paper, we often end up with a list of experiences and no real structure to tie them together.
In this article, we'll discuss what a personal narrative essay is further, learn the 6 steps to writing one, and look at some examples of great personal narratives.
As readers, we're fascinated by memoirs, autobiographies, and long-form personal narrative articles, as they provide a glimpse into the authors' thought processes, ideas, and feelings. But you don't have to be writing your whole life story to create a personal narrative.
You might be a student writing an admissions essay , or be trying to tell your professional story in a cover letter. Regardless of your purpose, your narrative will focus on personal growth, reflections, and lessons.
Personal narratives help us connect with other people's stories due to their easy-to-digest format and because humans are empathising creatures.
We can better understand how others feel and think when we were told stories that allow us to see the world from their perspectives. The author's "I think" and "I feel" instantaneously become ours, as the brain doesn't know whether what we read is real or imaginary.
In her best-selling book Wired for Story, Lisa Cron explains that the human brain craves tales as it's hard-wired through evolution to learn what happens next. Since the brain doesn't know whether what you are reading is actual or not, we can register the moral of the story cognitively and affectively.
In academia, a narrative essay tells a story which is experiential, anecdotal, or personal. It allows the author to creatively express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions. Its length can be anywhere from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages.
Outside of academia, personal narratives are known as a form of journalism or non-fiction works called "narrative journalism." Even highly prestigious publications like the New York Times and Time magazine have sections dedicated to personal narratives. The New Yorke is a magazine dedicated solely to this genre.
The New York Times holds personal narrative essay contests. The winners are selected because they:
had a clear narrative arc with a conflict and a main character who changed in some way. They artfully balanced the action of the story with reflection on what it meant to the writer. They took risks, like including dialogue or playing with punctuation, sentence structure and word choice to develop a strong voice. And, perhaps most important, they focused on a specific moment or theme – a conversation, a trip to the mall, a speech tournament, a hospital visit – instead of trying to sum up the writer’s life in 600 words.
In a nutshell, a personal narrative can cover any reflective and contemplative subject with a strong voice and a unique perspective, including uncommon private values. It's written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion.
Writing a personal narrative essay involves both objectivity and subjectivity. You'll need to be objective enough to recognise the importance of an event or a situation to explore and write about. On the other hand, you must be subjective enough to inject private thoughts and feelings to make your point.
With personal narratives, you are both the muse and the creator – you have control over how your story is told. However, like any other type of writing, it comes with guidelines.
1. Write Your Personal Narrative as a Story
As a story, it must include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, anti-climax (if any), and conclusion. Another way to approach it is by structuring it with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should set the tone, while the body should focus on the key point(s) you want to get across. The conclusion can tell the reader what lessons you have learned from the story you've just told.
2. Give Your Personal Narrative a Clear Purpose
Your narrative essay should reflect your unique perspective on life. This is a lot harder than it sounds. You need to establish your perspective, the key things you want your reader to take away, and your tone of voice. It's a good idea to have a set purpose in mind for the narrative before you start writing.
Let's say you want to write about how you manage depression without taking any medicine. This could go in any number of ways, but isolating a purpose will help you focus your writing and choose which stories to tell. Are you advocating for a holistic approach, or do you want to describe your emotional experience for people thinking of trying it?
Having this focus will allow you to put your own unique take on what you did (and didn't do, if applicable), what changed you, and the lessons learned along the way.
3. Show, Don't Tell
It's a narration, so the narrative should show readers what happened, instead of telling them. As well as being a storyteller, the author should take part as one of the characters. Keep this in mind when writing, as the way you shape your perspective can have a big impact on how your reader sees your overarching plot. Don't slip into just explaining everything that happened because it happened to you. Show your reader with action.
You can check for instances of telling rather than showing with ProWritingAid. For example, instead of:
"You never let me do anything!" I cried disdainfully.
"You never let me do anything!" To this day, my mother swears that the glare I levelled at her as I spat those words out could have soured milk.
Using ProWritingAid will help you find these instances in your manuscript and edit them without spending hours trawling through your work yourself.
4. Use "I," But Don't Overuse It
You, the author, take ownership of the story, so the first person pronoun "I" is used throughout. However, you shouldn't overuse it, as it'd make it sound too self-centred and redundant.
ProWritingAid can also help you here – the Style Report will tell you if you've started too many sentences with "I", and show you how to introduce more variation in your writing.
5. Pay Attention to Tenses
Tense is key to understanding. Personal narratives mostly tell the story of events that happened in the past, so many authors choose to use the past tense. This helps separate out your current, narrating voice and your past self who you are narrating. If you're writing in the present tense, make sure that you keep it consistent throughout.
6. Make Your Conclusion Satisfying
Satisfy your readers by giving them an unforgettable closing scene. The body of the narration should build up the plot to climax. This doesn't have to be something incredible or shocking, just something that helps give an interesting take on your story.
The takeaways or the lessons learned should be written without lecturing. Whenever possible, continue to show rather than tell. Don't say what you learned, narrate what you do differently now. This will help the moral of your story shine through without being too preachy.
GoodReads is a great starting point for selecting read-worthy personal narrative books. Here are five of my favourites.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen, the author of 386 books, wrote this poetic story about a daughter and her father who went owling. Instead of learning about owls, Yolen invites readers to contemplate the meaning of gentleness and hope.
Night by Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. This Holocaust memoir has a strong message that such horrific events should never be repeated.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
This classic is a must-read by young and old alike. It's a remarkable diary by a 13-year-old Jewish girl who hid inside a secret annexe of an old building during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1942.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
This is a personal narrative written by a brave author renowned for her clarity, passion, and honesty. Didion shares how in December 2003, she lost her husband of 40 years to a massive heart attack and dealt with the acute illness of her only daughter. She speaks about grief, memories, illness, and hope.
Educated by Tara Westover
Author Tara Westover was raised by survivalist parents. She didn't go to school until 17 years of age, which later took her to Harvard and Cambridge. It's a story about the struggle for quest for knowledge and self-reinvention.
Narrative and personal narrative journalism are gaining more popularity these days. You can find distinguished personal narratives all over the web.
Curating the best of the best of personal narratives and narrative essays from all over the web. Some are award-winning articles.
Long-form writing to celebrate humanity through storytelling. It publishes personal narrative essays written to provoke, inspire, and reflect, touching lesser-known and overlooked subjects.
It publishes non,fiction narratives, poetry, and fiction. Among its contributors is Frank Conroy, the author of Stop-Time , a memoir that has never been out of print since 1967.
Aimed at Generation Z, it publishes personal narrative essays on self-improvement, family, friendship, romance, and others.
Personal narratives will continue to be popular as our brains are wired for stories. We love reading about others and telling stories of ourselves, as they bring satisfaction and a better understanding of the world around us.
Personal narratives make us better humans. Enjoy telling yours!
Write like a bestselling author
Love writing? ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of your stories.
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning e-book author with 2,500+ articles and 100+ e-books/reports published under her belt. She also taught 50+ college-level essay and paper writing classes. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenxuewrites].
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- Applying For Scholarships
About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)
Jennifer Finetti Sep 28, 2022
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A popular scholarship essay prompt is “Tell us about yourself.” This question is relatively open-ended, which may make it difficult to answer at first glance. What should I tell them about myself? My struggles, my goals, my passions…? These may all be fitting topics, depending on the scholarship. We’ll show you some scholarship essay examples about yourself, along with writing tips to guide you along the way.
What they want to know about you
As you prepare to write, think of the topics the scholarship committee would be interested in. These may include:
- Your current degree, as it applies to your overall career goals. You can explain why you chose your current educational path and what you want to do with that.
- Your short-term and long-term professional goals . Frame your answer as if to say “Where will you be in 5 years? Where will you be in 10 years?” Scholarship committees like to reward people with defined aspirations.
- Past experiences that sparked your passions. You could talk about an influential person in your life, but make sure most of the essay focuses on you. After all, you are talking about yourself.
- Something about you that relates to their organization. With any scholarship essay, you should try to connect yourself with the organization providing the funding. Don’t force a connection. Find one that naturally fits. Mention hobbies, experiences and goals that match what the review committee is looking for.
- Something unique that sets you apart from other applicants. This may be volunteer experience, career specialties, situational differences (growing up in an area that didn’t encourage education), etc.
Note that you do not have to throw all this information into one essay. Choose the elements that best fit the scholarship. If you were on the review board, what would you want to learn about each applicant? What would make you choose one applicant over another? Keep this in mind as you develop your thoughts.
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What they don’t want to know about you
There is plenty of information you could include in an about yourself scholarship essay. There is just as much information to avoid though. Some topics to keep out of your essay include:
- False information. Do not make up stories or fabricate goals to fit the prompt. The scholarship committee can instantly tell when someone is lying, and they will disqualify you immediately.
- Past struggles that do not pertain to the essay topic. You can briefly mention struggles from your past, as long as you mention how you’ve learned from them. Do not make your essay a long story about the hard life you’ve led. Focus on your triumphs, not your obstacles.
- Vague goals and aspirations. Scholarships are usually given to students who have a plan. If you say, “I’m not sure what I’m doing yet,” the committee will select a more motivated candidate. If you have a plan and a backup plan, that’s fine. Just make sure you mention both options and show which one you favor.
- Cliché stories that most people tell. There is something that makes you stand out as a person. Use that to your advantage. Don’t rely on generic information they’ll find with other applicants.
- Unrelated elements of your personal life. In most cases, you should not mention your significant other in the essay. You might mention a spouse if you need to reference your children or a turning point in your life, but these personal details do not fit most essays. Any information that seems frivolous or ill-placed should be removed from the essay.
Read through your essay carefully. If you stop at one point to say, “Why did I mention that?” get rid of the corresponding information. Showcase the best elements about yourself in a fluid and cohesive manner.
Short scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (100 Words)
With 100 words, you can only focus on one or two elements of your life. Think about your biggest selling points – the things that show you are the ideal candidate. Start by introducing yourself and your educational status. Then jump into the main topic of the essay. You may not have room to mention how the scholarship will help your education. Instead, mention how your education can help your career. The other information will be implied.
My name is Christian Wood. I am a high school senior who will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. I want to become an online journalist. My goal is to work for the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, or another news outlet that has a strong online presence. Most people already get their news on the internet, and the industry will be even bigger by the time I graduate. Getting a degree in journalism with a focus on digital media will set me up for a fulfilling, fast-paced career fit for the future.
Word Count: 96
Medium scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (250 Words)
With a mid-length scholarship essay, you have more space to explain how your past has influenced your present and future goals. You should have rom for an intro paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion (maybe incorporated into the last body paragraph). Think of a few main points you want to touch on, and write those down first. If you still have room, you can add more details about yourself.
My name is Sarah, and I spent most of my childhood on the wrong medication. I experienced a problem common in clinical psychology – misdiagnosis. Professionals provide inaccurate diagnoses for many reasons – f rom antiquated testing methods to limited education. I want to open my own psychological testing facility and help change that. Therefore, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child because I had trouble focusing in school. The medication m y doctor prescribed to me only made me numb to the world around me. I couldn’t think or process emotions, or had no emotions at all. After several years my parents finally decided to get a second opinion. I saw a specialist and she concluded that I didn’t have ADHD , but a combination of dyslexia and dysgraphia (difficulties with reading and writing). She sent us to a therapist who helped me learn how to work around my conditions, and my life improved tremendously. I went from being a lifeless student with barely passing grades to an honor roll student full of joy and excitement. Unfortunately, my story is not one of a kind. There are countless children in America who are put on mind-altering medications that do not adequately address their needs. I cannot help all of those children, but I can provide a better alternative for the ones in my area. Through proper education, funded by financial aid, I can learn about psychological evaluations and provide the most accurate diagnoses possible.
Word Count: 249
Long scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (500 Words)
Scholarship essays that are 500 words or longer let you tell the whole story. You can discuss your past, present and future in a comprehensive manner. Avoid rambling and make sure each topic contributes to the overall essay. If one piece feels out of place, remove it and elaborate more on the existing elements. By the end of the essay, the reader should have a full understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish.
My name is Sierra Breault, and I am a junior at Murray State University. I am double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Forensics Science, and I will graduate in 2024 with two bachelor degrees. My career goal is in social justice, so I can contribute to criminal justice reform. I want to ensure that those who commit crimes are treated fairly. I come from a small town where excessive force and even death by cop incidents are often committed, especially against minorities. A few years ago, one of my relatives was charged for a crime although the crime scene evidence wasn’t properly obtained, catalogued and analyzed. This experience played a big part in my wish to study criminal justice. I started exploring the career more when I decided that a desk job just wasn’t for me. Throughout high school I struggled because of the routine nature of it all. I saw the same people and attended the same classes every single day. I knew I didn’t want a job that would be that stagnant. That’s when I got the idea to work in law enforcement, because there would always be a new challenge for me to tackle. After researching the field even more, I set my sights on crime scene investigation. I have performed much better academically in college than I ever did in high school. That’s because there is no routine to the experience. Every week, I have new projects to complete, tests to study for, and activities to try. I have been involved with the campus Crime Stoppers organization all three years of college, and I was elected president for the upcoming term. This lets me work closely with law enforcement to supplement my college education and further my career. After graduating, I will apply for work as a dispatcher in a state organization, such as the Department of Criminal Investigation. While my ultimate goal is to work as a forensic analyst or crime scene investigator, those positions usually only go to people within the organization. Dispatch is the most direct option for career entry, giving me the best chance to pursue my dream career. I am applying for this scholarship to help me finish the last two years of my degrees. As a college junior and soon-to-be senior, my scholarship opportunities are limited. Most awards are reserved for freshmen. I took advantage of those early on, and I have one recurring scholarship that covers half of my tuition. However, I need additional financial aid to cover the remainder of my academic costs. I appreciate your consideration, and I hope that you can help me pursue a profession in criminal justice. This is my passion, and I have a clear plan to turn that passion into a lifelong career.
Word Count: 463
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As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.
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How to Write an Essay About Yourself With Tips and Examples
22 December 2023
Essays are essential in demonstrating student’s proficiency in writing academic texts. Basically, this proficiency includes writing creatively and without notable mistakes and errors. By considering writing essays about themselves, students should follow the same approach that they use when writing other types of essays, including research papers. In essence, authors should focus on preparation, stage set up, writing process, and perfecting their compositions. Also, these steps are essential in ensuring the writer’s essay is of high quality. In turn, these essays on yourself do not rely on external research to strengthen the main arguments. On the other hand, papers rely on personal anecdotes to make them authentic and original. Hence, a student needs to learn how to write an essay about yourself.
General Guidelines of Writing an Essay About Yourself
Essay writing is one of the activities that students engage in to develop their creative writing skills. Unlike a research paper , an essay that a student writes about yourself does not rely on external research. Basically, one can argue that this type of article is exploratory. Also, it explores the writer’s life across different settings, such as school life, home life, and social life. While such essays may differ from a research essay in content, it follows the same structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. Then, a research paper utilizes external research to make it relevant, but a personal essay that a student writes about yourself uses personal anecdotes to create relevance. In other words, since such a piece explores the student’s life, it is only prudent for a person to include one or several stories that give readers a glimpse into their personality.
Writing an Essay About Yourself: A Step-by-Step Guide
The strategy of writing academic texts is almost the same, regardless of the kind of the type of text. In short, whether academic writing involves a research essay, report, thesis paper , dissertation , or personal story, writers must engage in some activities, which are similar across these types of papers . Basically, these activities include preparation, stage set up, writing process, and wrap up of the writing process.
Step 1: Preparation
Preparation is the first step in writing an essay of any type. Basically, this stage has several components, including defining the topic, preparing ideas, and considering the audience. Concerning the topic, a person who writes about yourself can use the instructor’s theme or choose one if none is provided. In the latter case, authors should settle for a topic that interests them, one that they can find information to back up claims and arguments easily. When it comes to writing all about me essay, students should choose topics that allow them to capture a broad perspective about their lives. On preparation of ideas, students need to reflect on their lives, including positive and negative experiences and strengths and weaknesses. About the audience, they should write with expectations of instructors in mind.
Step 2: Setting Up the Stage
After preparation, the next step in academic paper writing is to set up the stage. Basically, components of this step include making notes, creating an essay outline , and creating an annotated bibliography. When writing an essay about yourself, a student should make notes when reflecting on your own experiences. In this case, a personal anecdote comes into play. Then, authors should use a personal account, highlighting a positive or negative experience and areas of strength or weakness. When it comes to creating an outline, students should use academic standards of essay outlines – introduction, body, and conclusion. Although it is unnecessary to write down these headings, authors must ensure that those reading all about me essays can identify where each of these sections begins and ends. In turn, there is no need for an annotated bibliography since no external research is required.
Step 3: Writing Process
After preparing and setting up the stage, students start writing their essays about themselves. Basically, components of this step include making the first draft, ensuring the paper captures everything that authors intend to write about, has a thesis statement , and captures the writer’s concluding thoughts. In this case, first drafts are essential because it allows writers to have an opportunity to perfect their papers through revisions and editions. Then, the thesis statement is the writer’s guide. Besides, it dictates what authors should focus on in body paragraphs. In turn, concluding thoughts are the writer’s words that summarize lessons learned. Hence, each of these components is essential in an essay about yourself.
Step 4: Wrapping Up
After writing the first draft, students begin to write the final draft. But before they start, they should read and reread the first draft to ensure it is free of any grammatical mistakes and other writing errors, such as inconsistent arguments and illogical flow of ideas. For example, if writers identify such mistakes and errors, they should revise and edit an essay about yourself accordingly. In turn, revisions help authors to eliminate inconsistencies in arguments and illogical flow of ideas, while editions help them to fix grammatical mistakes, such as a lack of punctuation or wrong use.
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Main Features of Writing All About Me Essay
1️⃣ topic and concluding sentences.
When writing an essay about themselves, students should begin each body paragraph as they would in any other article – start with a topic sentence. Basically, this sentence captures a single idea that writers interrogate in a particular section, meaning that it offers an insight into the paragraph’s content. On the other hand, a concluding sentence is final thoughts about what writers have said in a specific section. Then, rules of academic writing dictate that the concluding sentence links the topic sentence with the thesis statement. In other words, it is the part of a single paragraph that creates sense for readers regarding the topic sentence and its place in the writer’s main argument.
2️⃣ Transition, Peer Review, and Final Draft
Students need to ensure that, as they write an essay about themselves, they create a logical flow of ideas from the beginning paragraph to the end. Basically, such elements may be transition words, like “consequently,” “furthermore,” “nevertheless,” and “hence.” To ensure that students do not miss identifying errors in their essays, they should subject their work to a peer review. For example, this aspect involves giving the first draft to a mentor who reads through it to make sure it is perfect. When mentors are satisfied with the paper’s quality, students start writing the final draft. However, they should also read through it at least twice and subject it to peer review before submitting it to a specific department.
3️⃣ Specific Information
As indicated, writing an essay about yourself differs from a research paper because it does not rely on external research to back up claims and arguments. Instead, writers utilize a personal story to shed light on their experiences and attributes. In this sense, such personal anecdotes are the specific information necessary for an essay about yourself. Moreover, this information is specific to a person provided through reflective writing. Hence, a personal essay that a student writes, which is about yourself, should be exploratory, descriptive, and thoughtful.
Like any other academic text, writing an essay about oneself is often prone to mistakes. For example, some of the common mistakes that writers or students make when writing an essay about yourself include writing about things that do not help readers to have a proper grasp of their personality and using exaggeration. Basically, writing an essay about yourself should enhance the readers’ understanding of authors – their life experiences, attributes, likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses. In turn, exaggeration involves using information that is likely to be untrue to impress readers. To solve the first mistake, writers need to focus on personal anecdotes, as they help to highlight instances of the author’s life that is worth noting. To avoid exaggeration, students should desist from trying to impress and seek to be authentic in their writing.
Example of Writing an Essay About Yourself
My First Year of School by Zac
I walked into the classroom, shaking in terror. The class was full of howler monkeys, but I was not with howler monkeys. I was with a bunch of five and six-year-old kids. I acted as if I was watching a horror movie until I met the super lovely Mr. Keig. Mr. Keig was the best teacher in the universe.
Mr. Keig was like a giant to us, and he still is. At first, I was scared of Mr. Keig, but I found out he was super friendly. He taught me how to read and write. Add and subtract. He even taught me how to make school fun. At the beginning of school, I was horrified by math and reading. I was soon shown that those subjects were not formidable opponents, but I had yet to meet my match.
Writing. I hated writing. I had met my match, my enemy, my formidable opponent. The reason I hated writing was that I wrote slowly. It took too long for me to write, and I was always the last one to finish my newest story. It was also ever boring for me. It was hard to find inspiration or the urge to take a step up. Math and reading, on the other hand, I sped through like Speed Racer. I was still shy, and I only had a few friends in the first couple of weeks of kindergarten. I figured out making friends was not a piece of cake. I eventually made friends. Thank God that problem was over.
Even though we got to play and create our own art, sometimes, school days were dull. Sometimes days felt like they were two million years long. There were other times when I was terrified about a test, and it seemed like the paper was laughing at me, and my pencil was dodging my paper. I was sweating, shaking, and FREAKIN’ out. I eventually pulled it together and got my test done. Relieved, relaxed, and incredibly calmed down. Tranquil and thrilled I was. It felt like I was soaring through the sky a million miles per minute.
What I learned from my year in kindergarten was to face your fears. If you are scared, don’t run away from your worries. Another lesson I learned was not to judge a book by its cover. I assumed the school was going to be extremely hard, and tests were going to be impossible. I assumed wrong. The school (kindergarten) was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. While kindergarten was a bit challenging, I knew I could succeed if I set my mind to it and work hard.
Summing Up on How to Write an Essay About Yourself
Essay writing is an essential activity in a student’s life, as it exposes one to the dynamics of creative writing. When writing such an essay, authors learn how to use personal stories to highlight their positive and negative experiences, including strengths and weaknesses. In essence, such stories replace external evidence that writers use in research essays. Then, the guide to effective writing of such an essay includes several components, including preparation, stage set up, starting the writing process, and wrapping it up. Also, these aspects of writing an essay about yourself allow a person to build own thoughts, organize papers, and perfect academic texts. As a result, perfection involves revising any inconsistent ideas and illogical arguments and revising any grammatical mistakes, such as punctuation errors.
When writing an essay about yourself, a student should master the following tips:
- Be thoughtful, but not fretful. Writers should, through reflection, highlight areas of their lives that provide an insight into their personality. In this case, they should do it without fear of what readers might think about them.
- Keep an essay personal. The majority of the essay’s information should be about an author. For example, such elements involve talking about life experiences, attributes, strengths, and weaknesses. In turn, the use of personal anecdotes is essential in achieving this goal.
- Do not guess what readers want to hear. Students should not seek to impress readers, but they need to inform them.
- Feel free to be creative. Without exaggeration, authors should use personal stories creatively to keep readers interested in essays.
- Tell readers something that they do not already know. The best way to keep readers interested is to use stories that writers have probably never shared publicly. In turn, such stories or experiences inject all about me essays with an aspect of amazement.
- Ask for input from close ones. Students can ask parents, friends, mentors, counselors, coaches, and teachers to provide ideas, as they know about personally.
- Polish a paper about yourself. Essays should not be about the writer’s story only. In turn, it should demonstrate the writer’s proficiency in writing by lacking grammatical mistakes and other notable errors.
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- How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples
How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
The main goals of an introduction are to:
- Catch your reader’s attention.
- Give background on your topic.
- Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.
This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
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Table of contents
Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Examples: Writing a good hook
Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
- Braille was an extremely important invention.
- The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
- The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
- The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
- Historical, geographical, or social context
- An outline of the debate you’re addressing
- A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
- Definitions of key terms
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.
This is the most important part of your introduction. A good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.
The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.
Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.
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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.
When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.
It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.
To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .
You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.
Checklist: Essay introduction
My first sentence is engaging and relevant.
I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.
I have defined any important terms.
My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.
Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.
You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.
- Literary analysis
This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.
To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
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