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Personal Essay

Personal Essay

Essay writing  are compositions which basically includes a general idea or an in depth discussion of a particular subjects or topics. They are commonly written as non-fictional pieces which carry the writer’s point of view on a certain topic of his/her choice or interest.

In schools, teachers often assign students how to write an essay  composition about different topics, usually in order to assess their writing skills. There are different essay types, which can be written using the standard structure (introduction, body, and conclusion), and through different writing styles.

What Is a Personal Essay? A personal essay, in the broadest sense, is a written composition which contains information and personal opinions about a specific individual (usually famous and influential individuals). It is one of the most common essays given as an assignment to students of different levels. In some cases, a personal essay (at times known as a  personal statement ) may include the writer’s personal information, as a requirement for an application. They may be used as basis whether to grant an individual’s application or not.

Personal Essay Format

Introduction.

Hook : Begin with a compelling sentence to grab the reader’s attention. This could be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement related to your story. Background Information : Provide some context to your story. This might include the setting, the circumstances leading up to your narrative, or key characters involved. Thesis Statement : Conclude the introduction with a clear thesis statement that presents the main theme or lesson of your essay.

Body Paragraphs

Each paragraph should focus on a single idea that supports your thesis. Use the following structure for each body paragraph:

Topic Sentence : Start with a sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. Evidence and Examples : Use personal experiences, anecdotes, or reflections to support your point. Be descriptive to help the reader visualize and feel your experiences. Analysis : Explain how these examples support your thesis. Connect your personal story to larger themes or universal truths. Transition : End with a sentence that smoothly transitions to the next paragraph.
Summary : Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis in a new way, summarizing the key points you made in your essay. Reflection : Share what you’ve learned from your experiences. Reflect on the growth or change that occurred as a result. Closing Thought : End with a final thought or call to action that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a question, a prediction, a hope, or a call to personal reflection.

Example of Personal Essay

My Journey Through Silence: Finding My Voice It was in the quietest moments that I discovered the loudest parts of myself. Growing up with a stutter, I navigated a world that often felt like it was designed for everyone but me. Conversations were minefields, and every word was a battle. Yet, it was through this journey of silence and struggle that I found my true voice, not just as a speaker, but as a person with something valuable to say.   My stutter was more than a speech impediment; it was a barrier to my identity. In school, I avoided speaking at all costs. Presentations were nightmares, and group discussions were silent movies in which I played the mute protagonist. This silence, however, became my loudest cry for self-expression. I turned to writing, where words flowed unimpeded. Writing became my refuge, but it also set the stage for a greater transformation.   The turning point came when I was asked to write a speech for a community event. Faced with the daunting task of not only writing but delivering it, I felt the familiar cloak of fear. But the message I wanted to share was louder than my fears. Standing on that stage, stuttering yet undeterred, I realized my voice’s power didn’t come from its fluency but from the truth it carried. That moment marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life.   The journey from silence to expression taught me the value of listening. I learned to listen not only to the words of others but to the unspoken messages in their pauses, their breaths, and their eyes. This deepened empathy and understanding fueled my desire to advocate for those who, like me, struggled to be heard. My personal battle had evolved into a broader mission.   My stutter, once a source of shame, became my greatest teacher. It taught me the power of perseverance, the art of listening, and the value of voice. I’ve learned that our imperfections are not limitations but invitations to find unique paths to self-expression. In finding my voice, I discovered that the most profound conversations often start in silence. And it is in embracing our vulnerabilities that we find our true strength.   This journey of overcoming, learning, and ultimately embracing my stutter has not only shaped my identity but has also shown me the universal power of resilience and the beauty of human connection through vulnerability.

Personal Essay for Students

Embracing Change: My First Year in High School Starting high school was a monumental change in my life. It was a blend of excitement and anxiety, stepping into a world that seemed so vast and unknown. I had always heard that high school was where you found yourself, where lifelong friendships were formed, and where the future started to take shape. My journey through the first year of high school taught me about adaptability, resilience, and discovering my own path.   The summer before high school, I oscillated between dreaming about the independence it would bring and fearing the challenges of new academic pressures and social dynamics. The thought of navigating a larger school with students from different backgrounds and the pressure to perform well academically loomed large. Yet, there was this underlying current of excitement about joining clubs, exploring new subjects, and the chance to redefine myself.   The first day was a whirlwind of emotions. The hallways were bustling with students, and the air was thick with anticipation. I remember feeling like a small fish in a big pond, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and the daunting task of finding my classrooms. It was overwhelming, but there was a sense of adventure in not knowing what each day would bring.   Adapting to the academic rigor of high school was challenging. The workload was heavier, and the expectations were higher than I was accustomed to. I learned the hard way that procrastination was my enemy. Balancing homework, extracurricular activities, and personal time became a juggling act. It was during these times that I discovered the importance of time management and setting priorities. I also learned to ask for help when I needed it, whether it was from teachers or classmates, which was a humbling and educational experience in itself.   Socially, high school was a maze. Finding where I fit in was not immediate or easy. I joined clubs and sports teams to meet people with similar interests, which helped me form friendships. Some of these friendships fizzled out, while others grew stronger, teaching me about the qualities I valued in friendships and in myself. It was a time of self-discovery, of figuring out my interests, beliefs, and values.   One of the most significant lessons from my first year was learning to embrace change. Change was constant, whether it was adapting to new teachers’ styles, the evolving dynamics of friendships, or my own personal growth. I learned that change wasn’t something to fear but to embrace as an opportunity for growth. It taught me resilience, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and to keep moving forward, even when things didn’t go as planned.   Reflecting on my first year of high school, I realize it was a year of growth, challenges, and invaluable lessons. It was the beginning of understanding who I am and who I want to become. High school is a journey of transformation, and my first year laid the foundation for the rest of my high school experience. It taught me that while change is inevitable, how I respond to it is within my control. This realization has empowered me to face the future with optimism and an open heart, ready for whatever comes my way.

Personal Essay about Yourself

A Tapestry of Memories: My Story Life, in its essence, is a collection of moments, each thread in the tapestry of our existence weaving a unique story. My story is one of resilience, curiosity, and the relentless pursuit of passion, marked by moments of triumph and trials that have shaped me into who I am today.   Born into a family that valued education and hard work above all, I was taught from a young age that the pursuit of knowledge was not just a journey but a responsibility. My childhood was filled with books and the encouragement to question, explore, and dream. This instilled in me a deep-seated love for learning, whether it was understanding the mechanics behind a toy car or unraveling the mysteries of the stars. My parents, my first and forever teachers, nurtured this curiosity, teaching me that every question had an answer and every problem a solution.   However, life has its way of testing our mettle. During my teenage years, I faced a significant health challenge that threatened to derail my academic and personal life. Days in the hospital and long periods of recovery became my routine, turning my world upside down. This period was a crucible, testing my resilience and forcing me to find strength I never knew I had. It was a stark reminder of the fragility of life but also a powerful lesson in perseverance. I learned to adapt, to find joy in the smallest of victories, and to keep moving forward, even when the path was obscured by uncertainty.   My passion for learning transformed into a love for writing as I navigated through these trials. Writing became my solace, a way to express the whirlwind of emotions and to document my journey through recovery. It was through this medium that I discovered my voice and the power of storytelling. Writing allowed me to step outside my circumstances and to see my story as part of a larger narrative of hope and resilience. It became a catalyst for my recovery, offering a sense of purpose and direction.   As I emerged from this challenging chapter, my perspective on life had irrevocably changed. I realized that our experiences, both good and bad, are not just isolated incidents but stepping stones in our journey of personal growth. This realization fueled my desire to make a difference, to use my experiences and my voice to inspire others facing their own battles.   Today, I stand as a testament to the power of resilience, the importance of curiosity, and the strength found in vulnerability. My journey has taught me that while we cannot control every aspect of our lives, we can choose how we respond to the challenges we face. I have chosen to face mine with optimism, courage, and an unwavering commitment to growth.   In sharing my story, I hope to light a spark in others, to encourage them to embrace their own journeys with courage and to remind them that they are not alone in their struggles. Life is an intricate tapestry of memories, and each of us has a unique story to tell. My story is one of countless threads in the vast tapestry of human experience, a reminder that our stories, in all their complexity and beauty, are what truly make us who we are.

Personal Essay Ideas & Topics with Samples to Edit & Download

  • How do you handle fear
  • My best friend essay
  • The impact of family traditions
  • A place you try to avoid
  • An event that changed your life
  • Childhood memories
  • Describe a person you admire
  • Had a Dream Come True
  • How do you make hard decisions
  • The best moment of your life
  • What is a book you love
  • Your bravest moment
  • A row with my peers
  • What makes you proud

Personal Essay Examples & Templates

Personal narrative essay template.

personal narrative essay template

Personal Interview Essay Template

personal interview essay template1

Personal Reflective Essay Template

personal reflective essay template1

Scholarship Personal Sample

scholarship personal sample

studyabroad.wisc.edu

Personal Narrative

personal narrative

msmcclure.com

Nursing Essay Example

nursing essay example

ukessays.com

Personal Descriptive

personal descriptive1

factmonster.com

Personal Reflective Example

personal reflective example

tailoredessays.com

Short Personal Essay

short personal essay

zimbardo.com

Personal Experience

personal experience

essaylib.com

Statement Essay Sample

statement essay sample

ibabbleon.com

Importance of a Personal Essay

Essays, in general, covers different topics. A personal essay may discuss about prominent people or the writer himself/herself. Like other essays, a personal essay is basically written to inform the readers. You may also see tips for writing an effective essay .

Writing a conclusion for essay helps a writer practice the expression of personal opinion. It also helps in improving the writer’s skill in communicating with the readers. Because a personal essay is a mixture of facts and opinions on a particular matter, the readers may be able to learn about such topic while at the same time learning about the writer’s opinion.

In an application writing , a personal essay can help an individual inform the admission committee about his/her qualifications for a certain job or school admission.

How to Write Personal Essay

Writing a personal essay is a journey into your own experiences, emotions, and insights. It’s an opportunity to share your story, reflect on your life’s events, and express your unique perspective. Here’s a comprehensive guide to crafting a compelling personal essay.

1. Choose Your Topic

  • Reflect on Your Experiences : Think about moments in your life that have shaped who you are. These can be milestones, challenges, triumphs, or even everyday occurrences that hold special meaning.
  • Identify Your Message : Determine the insight or message you want to convey through your story. What do you want the reader to learn or feel?

2. Create an Outline

  • Introduction : Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention, followed by a brief overview of the story you will tell. Conclude with a thesis statement that encapsulates the main theme of your essay.
  • Body Paragraphs : Outline each paragraph with a main idea that supports your thesis. Include specific details, experiences, and reflections.
  • Conclusion : Plan to tie your narrative together, restate your thesis in a new light, and leave the reader with something to think about.

3. Write with Authenticity and Emotion

  • Be Honest : Authenticity resonates with readers. Share your true thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
  • Show, Don’t Tell : Use descriptive language to show the reader what happened and how it affected you. Include sensory details to bring your story to life.

4. Structure Your Essay

  • Introduction : Begin with an engaging hook. Provide background information and introduce the central theme or question of your essay.
  • Body Paragraphs : Each paragraph should focus on a specific event or aspect of your story. Use transitions to smoothly connect ideas and maintain flow.
  • Conclusion : Reflect on the story and its implications. Highlight how the experiences have shaped you or changed your perspective.

5. Edit and Revise

  • Take a Break : After writing your first draft, take some time away from it. This will help you return with a fresh perspective.
  • Read Aloud : Reading your essay out loud can help you catch awkward phrasing and grammatical errors.
  • Seek Feedback : Share your essay with trusted friends or mentors. Constructive feedback can offer new insights and help improve your writing.
  • Revise : Focus on clarity, coherence, and conciseness. Ensure each sentence serves a purpose and supports your thesis.

6. Pay Attention to the Details

  • Follow Guidelines : If you’re writing for a specific purpose (like a college application), make sure to follow any given instructions or word limits.
  • Check Grammar and Spelling : Use tools or have someone proofread your essay to catch any mistakes.

7. Reflect on Your Growth

A personal essay is not just about recounting events; it’s about showing how those events have led to personal growth or a change in perspective. Reflect on what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed.

8. Conclusion

Writing a personal essay is an opportunity to delve into your own story and share it with the world. It requires introspection, honesty, and a willingness to be vulnerable. By following these steps, you can craft an essay that not only tells your story but also touches the hearts and minds of your readers. Remember, the most powerful essays come from a place of truth and a desire to communicate genuinely.

What are the Essential Elements of Personal Essay

1. a clear theme or thesis.

  • Every personal essay should have a central theme or thesis that guides the narrative. This theme is the essay’s underlying message or insight that you wish to convey to your readers. It should be evident throughout the essay, providing coherence and unity to your story.

2. A Strong Opening

  • The opening of your essay should immediately engage the reader. It can be a provocative question, a striking anecdote, a vivid description, or an intriguing statement. The goal is to pique the reader’s interest and set the tone for the rest of the essay.

3. Personal Experience and Anecdotes

  • The heart of a personal essay lies in the author’s experiences. Detailed anecdotes and personal stories not only make the essay relatable but also help to illustrate the essay’s main theme. These narratives should be vivid, descriptive, and emotive, allowing readers to see through the author’s eyes.

4. Authentic Voice

  • A personal essay should reflect the unique voice and personality of the author. It’s an opportunity to express yourself in a personal and intimate manner. Your voice should be consistent throughout the essay, giving readers a sense of who you are.

5. Reflective Insight

  • Beyond narrating events, a personal essay should delve into what these experiences mean to the author. It involves analyzing events, drawing lessons, and reflecting on the impact these have had on your life or perspective. This reflective insight differentiates a personal essay from mere storytelling.

6. Emotional Resonance

  • Emotional resonance helps to connect with the reader on a deeper level. By sharing feelings, vulnerabilities, and personal struggles, you invite the reader into your world. The ability to evoke empathy or emotional response is a powerful tool in personal essays.

7. A Thoughtful Conclusion

  • The conclusion of a personal essay should not only wrap up the narrative but also leave the reader with something to ponder. It could be a reflection on the journey, insights gained, or questions raised by the essay. A strong conclusion reinforces the essay’s theme and echoes the emotional or intellectual impact of your story.

8. Clear, Concise Language

  • While personal essays are expressive, they also benefit from clear, concise language. Avoid overly complex sentences or unnecessary jargon. The goal is to communicate your story and insights in an accessible and engaging manner.

9. Craftsmanship in Writing

  • Attention to the craft of writing—such as the use of vivid imagery, metaphorical language, and a well-structured narrative—can significantly enhance the impact of a personal essay. It’s not just what you say but how you say it that matters.

Tips and Guidelines in Writing a Personal Essay

A personal essay can be written for different purposes. An effectively written personal essay has the ability to inform the readers, while at the same time, inspiring them. In writing a personal essay (or essay examples in doc ), a writer must keep the following things in mind.

1. Pick a topic.

Choose a topic that is both timely and significant in your area. Your life story can also be considered as a great topic in writing your personal essay. You may also see personal essay examples & samples.

2. Determine the focus.

You cannot cover everything, so find an angle which you can focus on.

3. Know the purpose.

See if you can satisfy your purpose in writing your composition.

4. Create an outline.

Essay   Outlines provide a better division and organization of ideas. This gives the writer a direction on what to focus on.

5. Write the draft.

With a draft, you will be able to write without hesitations or restrictions.

6. Provide the facts.

Research on the topic you want to write about and provide the facts. You may also like samples of formal essays .

7. Share your opinions.

Share what you think about the topic.

8. Be consistent.

Remain focused on your topic throughout your whole composition.

9. Write simply and briefly.

Using simple language will enable you to explain your topic clearly, at the same time helping you to effectively shorten your sentences and paragraph. You may also check out analytical essay examples & samples.

10. Edit your essay.

Improve your short essay by rechecking and reviewing for errors.

personal essay template pdf

Personal Essay Generator

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How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application

personal essay template pdf

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.

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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 a Personal Essay: Your Easy Guide

personal essay template pdf

The power of a well-written personal essay should never be underestimated. Inspiring readers with your experiences, lessons learned from past mistakes, or simply describing the joy you felt from doing a fun activity can literally change people's lives. Take a moment to reflect upon this. How much influence you can have on your audience with just a pen and paper in your hand and thoughts flowing through your head is insane.

To take the reins of your floating thoughts and put them into perspective, you need to know how to write a personal essay. Otherwise defined as a nonfiction narrative story, the personal essay format differs slightly from other kinds of writing with its implicit structure. Once we touch upon those, we will also explore some personal essay topics with our online essay writing service . After reading this article, we promise you'll be so confident writing your personal statement that you might want to craft many personal essays in one go!

Proper Format

When trying to understand what is a personal essay, you must start with the formatting specifics. And no, we didn't mean to scare you off if this sounded too complicated! The format for personal essay can be similar to most academic tasks with just a few distinct aspects. Let's examine the details from our paper writer :

How to Write a Personal Essay

  • Font : Unless required to write in a Harvard essay format , you can use any readable fonts - Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri in size 12.
  • Margins : Just like in most writings, set your margins to one inch on all sides.
  • Spacing : This is a classic! Use double-spacing throughout the essay, including between paragraphs.
  • Indentation : Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches or use the tab key. This might be a little too specific, but it's a true-and-tried method!
  • Page numbers : Include page numbers in the top right corner of each page. You don't have to do this necessarily, but it can add more spark to your paper!
  • Title : Include a title that reflects the theme or subject of your essay. Center the title on the page. Did we really have to elaborate on this?
  • Header : Include a header with your last name and the page number in the top right corner of each page. After all, it's your personal story; why would you want to miss your name here?
  • Length : The length of a personal essay can vary but typically ranges from 500 to 2,000 words. Well, unless you're discussing healing from a generational trauma... Then you'd probably need a few more extra pages.
  • Tone : The tone of a personal essay should be conversational, reflective, and sincere. At least, this is what we recommend not to sound dull.
  • Personal pronouns : Use first-person pronouns such as 'I,' 'me,' and 'my.' Remember, the spotlight is directed at you as you're the true hero of the story.

Personal Essay Topics

If you have got a lot of exciting stories to tell, your personal essay can shine brightly by interactively engaging the reader. Put in a little extra effort and dig deeper to find a unique or interesting experience or an unusual moment in your life.

Looking at a life lesson from another angle can turn into deep and purposeful subject matter. If you decide to pick a topic from a huge list of personal essay topics that you found in the internet, be precise and careful because not all of them can meet the requirements of your professor.

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

In this type of writing, try to explore a unique experience that creates a sense of conflict in your life. Explore how and why you were confused, annoyed, or hurt by the experience. Imagine your piece of paper as a place where you can freely express your emotions, discuss significant moments, & reflect on their impact on your life. This tip can help you create many really good essay topics, but if you need motivation, you can find some examples below.

  • 'One small step that helped me skyrocket in my career!'
  • 'Why controlling urges teaches you to master self-control.'
  • 'People only learn from their own mistakes.'
  • 'Life is not a one-dimensional path: it is curvier than a snake!'
  • 'What I learned about conquering my fears.'
  • 'The moment when I should have made a better choice.'
  • 'The moment I overcame my public speaking fear.'
  • 'How I conquered adversity with strength.'
  • 'The impact of mentorship: valuable lessons learned from my mentor.'
  • 'My journey to finding a place to belong.'

Personal Essay Topics on Specific Emotions

You may also talk about a specific event in your life that left a long-lasting impression on you. Usually, this type of essay reflects an incident that took place in your life and shifted it in some way. Dive deeper into your mind and find an event that is unique and personal to you. The weirder the occurrence, the more likely the essay will be engaging to read.

  • 'How I ran away from fear: the power of exercising.'
  • 'How I overcame the trauma through painting.'
  • 'My quest to reclaim my cultural identity
  • 'How I tackled cultural shock while studying abroad.'
  • 'The year I went from being an amateur to a professional artist.'
  • 'The best solo hike of my life
  • 'The moment I beat my eating disorder and learned to love my true self.'
  • 'How practicing gratitude helped me find beauty in the ordinary.'
  • 'The power of letting go of toxic relationships
  • 'How I lived up to my family's legacy.'

If you have not noticed, each of these titles can bring a fascinating vibe to the table. The names grab your attention, but you can only honestly know what they are about when reading them. That is the secret to a provocative title!

And if you'd rather have a pro write your personal essay for college, purchase essay on our platform and lay back in peace knowing your task is in expert hands!

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Crafting an Outline for Personal Essay

Like most academic tasks, the personal essay can be easily structured into 5 paragraphs . This is one of the most important steps of personal narrative essay writing at any level. Your outline for personal essay will serve as a navigator, so you don't want to get off track. Understanding how to start a personal essay, what to write in body paragraphs, and how to conclude it appropriately will be important.

How to Start a Personal Essay?

Start your writing with an introductory paragraph. As it gives your reader a clear understanding of what the story will be about. Employ a hook sentence to catch their attention and motivate them to read the rest of the paper with a whimsical thesis statement. It can be a narrative thesis, for example. But it must be written in one concise sentence that will bring the reader to the starting point of your essay.

Don't leave your readers in the dark in the introduction by explaining the important things such as:

  • Who are the major characters?
  • When and where is it taking place?
  • What kind of story is it?

Creating the Personal Essay Body 

After creating an introduction, you must formulate three body paragraphs supporting your thesis statement. Each new point should contain its own body paragraph. Don't forget to make transitions from one paragraph to another to make sure that everything flows smoothly.

Usually, the body section is presented in the form of your experiences and your reflections on these events. You should also note the passage of time in your body sections, so make sure that the reader is aware of when and how each specific chapter took place.

How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph for Personal Essay?

Ultimately, it will be essential to wrap everything up and give your audience a sense of completeness by writing a proper conclusion. Restate your thesis, summarize the main points you have stated in body paragraphs, and leave your reader with a specific emotion, depending on the subject of your paper.

Readers should also discover a life lesson by going through the story. It is a moment where you show what you have learned from your experiences or how previous events have changed your life.

Tips for Personal Essay Writing Process

If you think you already possess sufficient knowledge of personal essays, we've yet to supply you with more information. Now let's explore the various stages of personal essay writing. Follow the list of valuable tips and advice without skipping a beat from our service where you can buy personal statement too.

How to Write a Personal Essay

Start with an Engaging Opening Sentence

Open your personal essay with an introductory section that will be engaging and interesting for your reader. In the opening section, introduce the principal characters of the story as well as the central theme or themes. It should also present the fundamental question of the essay.

Write from Your Unique Point of View

You are free to write from your point of view or in your own unique style. In contrast to other types of essays, writing from your perspective or in your personal manner is welcomed. For instance, if you are writing about a trip adventure, you might express your individual writing style by describing the sights and sounds that captured your attention. As a result, your writing will be more interesting and genuine and will better convey your experiences and feelings.

Take the Characters into Account

Be sure to describe your characters from all angles. Even though it is your real-life experience, you should still consider storytelling elements like the plot and characters. Using these ingredients in your writing will keep your reader engaged and help your essay flow smoothly.

Shed Light on a Deep Truth

Discuss your background experience with honesty and curiosity. Don't be afraid to uncover a hidden truth or a truth you didn't know was there at the time. Expose a thing that is uncomfortable or difficult for you to discuss. No matter who will read your essay. Whether it will be a teacher or somebody else, they will definitely appreciate your honesty and strive to share your experience.

Write a Rough Draft & Submit

After you have completed all the previous steps, it's time to write a rough draft. Writing a rough draft lets you get new ideas for a personal essay. Moreover, it's a great place to polish your essay and correct small grammar, spelling, and other types of mistakes. Get a second pair of eyes: No one can rate your writing as well as a neutral party. Once you have checked everything, you can start writing the final paper.

Before submitting your personal essay, double-check everything once again and make sure to present the central theme. After it, go through it and proofread your entire piece. Reading an essay full of grammatical mistakes is somewhat frustrating, which can be easily avoided. You can ask your classmate for help, so in that way, you will save each other. Don't forget to meet the deadline - and you're officially finished!

Personal Essay Examples

In our time it’s much more easier to find things on the Internet, and examples are not an exception. Remember one simple thing: not everything that you can find on the Internet is done correctly. If you need some inspiration to get started, you can find several examples of personal essays below, or you can use our free essay samples to sharpen your skills on any type of writing.

As we scratched the surface of the personal essay writing process and delved deep into the specific stages of creating a flawless paper, we hope you gained some valuable insights. These tips are all you'll ever need to inspire readers or even WOW the admissions officers!

If you want our experienced writers to help you with any writing assignment, whether a persuasive essay , creative nonfiction, or any type of college essay, hit us up with your ' do my homework for me ' request and consider it done with the highest caliber!

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How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

Published: 14 Mar 2022 Study Abroad 98,923 views

How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

A personal statement for masters program is one of the most important parts of your college application and writing a good one is what’s the exception between receiving an offer and being rejected.

If you’ve been tasked with presenting a personal statement, you should keep in mind that whatever you submit must put you forward as the right candidate for the course. Additionally, it should convince the admissions officers that you deserve a place on your program of study.

Achieving the above, is a skill most postgraduate students are yet to acquire but thankfully this article on How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters covers everything you need to know on doing this.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What is a personal statement?
  • Tips for making your personal statement for masters stand out
  • How to write a personal statement for masters
  • Personal statement for masters sample
  • Examples of personal statement for masters
  • Conclusion – things to avoid when writing a personal statement for masters

Read:  Admission Interview Tips .

What Is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement AKA admissions or application essay or statement of purpose is a type of essay or written statement a candidate presents to a college, university, or graduate school they are applying to, explaining why they want to attend that school, study a particular course, and why they would be a perfect fit for these things.

A personal statement for masters is an essay you submit specifically for your postgraduate application. Writing one presents the opportunity for you to promote yourself to a school and show the admissions teachers that you are the perfect candidate for a course.

Tips For Making Your Personal Statement For Masters Stand Out

Before we get into how you should write a statement of purpose for masters, we would first like to share with you certain tips to include in your essay to make it stand out from that of other applicants and be convincing enough to any admissions officer that reads it. The tips we have mentioned here, cover general things like starting and ending your personal statement, timing, length, and what to include and what not to include in the essay, etc.

1. Starting And Ending A Personal Statement

When starting a personal statement, you would want to right off the bat grab the reader’s attention. To do this, start the statement by writing about your degree of choice, next why you want to study it and then how you got interested in it.

The next 2 sentences after that should cover a summary of your background in the chosen field, and you conclude by saying what you plan to do once you acquire your graduate degree.

Also start with that the evaluators reading want to hear first, then every other information should come second. You will notice we’ve used in the sop examples for masters we will share with you later in this article.

2. Plan Ahead

A personal statement is not something you rush while writing, which means if you want to get something good before you application then you must start to decide things like the length and how long it should take to complete.

Let us throw more light on this…

For length, a personal statement should be brief ranging somewhere between 500 -700 words, although schools often detect how long it should be. So, this is dependent on the institution you are applying to.

In terms of what to say in a statement, you could include personal experiences like why you were driven to apply for the program, an experience you had with a scholar in your chosen discipline, a course you took that inspired you to pursue masters, or a key moment during your studies which further motivated you.

No matter what you decide to write, just keep in mind that you need to take your time to craft something good even if it means creating several drafts before the real thing and do not forget to proofread the statement for errors.

3. Research Your Program Of Study

Researching your program of study is one way to establish that you truly understand the discipline you’re getting into and prove to the admissions officer that you thoroughly thought about it before applying.

And because you want to put yourself forward as a serious candidate, one way to make you research easier is for you to visit the website of the department you are applying to. This page will contain information about faculty members, their specialisation, and publications.

From the intel, you gathered there you can now identify which professors match your interests and which ones you will benefit the most from learning under. After you’ve found this out, relate the same in a sentence or two in your statement of purpose for masters.

Example: “I would be honoured to study under the tutelage of Professor Nadia whose work I found resonated strongly with my beliefs and intended projects in this course”.

4. Avoid Clichés, Junks, And Many Details

When writing a statement of purpose for master degree try to avoid clichés, junks, and unnecessary details so that you don’t lose or bore your readers in between. Be as concise as possible, even if it’s your chance to express yourself.

A personal statement is an opportunity for the admissions committee to get information that tells the that you are suitable for the course. So, when you overpower your statement with too many words, stories, and useless details, you come off as someone who is just trying to meet the word count.

5. Include Your Personal History Only If It Adds To The Statement

Do not include your personal history in your statement of intent for masters if it is not relevant to your purpose of study. This means no need for you to tell that story about that time you helped someone treat a cut and immediately realised that you wanted to be a doctor or nurse or how you developed a taste for reading at a very young age.

We can guarantee you that the hundreds of other applications competing for the same spot you are felt the same way, so saying those things really doesn’t make you unique.

On the other hand, if you are going to add personal history to your statement, you can put in things like an internship you did and the experience you got from the job, a major research project you ran by yourself, publications you’ve read or published, conferences you’ve attended or presentations you’ve done. These experiences are more concrete and are directly related to your program of study. They also set you apart from other applicants.

6. Don't Use The Same Personal Statement For All Your Applications

One common mistake applicant make that you shouldn’t is using the same statement of purpose for master degree for all your applications. Using the same information repeatedly even if you are going to change the university names is risky and could land you in a big mistake on a day you forget to be thorough.

All programmes have their own unique set of questions they want to see answered and information they need in your personal statement.

And even if some of them like extracurricular activities, proposal for project, why you are applying to the school, your unique qualities, and research works you’re doing might appear the same, do not use one statement to respond to all of them.

Write a new unique personal statement every time you want to apply.

Check out:  How to Write a Good CV for Students - Resume Examples for Students (PDF).

How To Write A Personal Statement for Masters

When writing a personal statement for masters there are several steps and ground rules you need to follow to ensure that it comes out good enough to impress the admissions team of a school, and ultimately convince them to give you a spot on your program of study.

If writing one is something you are currently struggling with and can’t seem to get down the process of it right no matter what, this section on how to write a personal statement for masters, discusses in detail everything you need to get help with yours.

There are 4 parts to consider when writing your personal statement and we have listed them below:

1. Planning A Personal Statement

A personal statement is a piece of writing showing your academic interests and is only for application purposes which means there is no room for any autobiographical information in it about your personal life. Be as to-the-point as possible when writing it and stick to telling the school why you are the right person for the course, plus any other extra information detailing your achievements.

Before You Start:

Allot plenty of time to write your msc personal statement so that you don’t rush it. Remember, this simple piece of writing is your one shot at convincing a school that you are the best applicant they’ve seen and as such can either make or break your application.

Read the information expected of you from the university, rules and guidelines given, selection criteria and understand what they mean. Also research the institution.

Do a thorough research on the course you are applying for; this will help you explain better why you want to study it. The tutors interviewing you can tell when you are lying and presenting yourself as uninformed can cost you the admission.

Ensure that you don’t use the same personal statement for all your applications.

When Writing:

When writing the statement there are some questions to ask yourself that can help you plan it better. Those questions are:

  • Why you want to study a master’s and how does it benefit you in future?
  • How does the course you have chosen fit into your pre-existing skill set?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd as an applicant - e.g., work experiences you’ve had in the same field you are applying for?
  • What do you aspire to do or be as a future career and how will the course help you achieve that?
  • How can your work or skillsets contribute positively to the department/ university you are applying to, or society at large?

On the other hand, if you are applying for the masters to change from the field you studied in your undergraduate to another field, you should tell the school why you decided to take a different path in your studies.

Questions to ask yourself for this include:

  • Your reason for deciding to change your discipline.
  • How your undergraduate degree will be material for bringing fresh insights into your masters course.
  • How changing your study path will help you attain your future career.

2. Structuring A Personal Statement

Having good structure for your personal statement for master degree is important because it ensures that everything from the beginning, middle, and ending of the statement is written and equally falls in place perfectly.

We’ve left some tips for you below to help you:

Start your personal statement with an attention-grabbing introduction that is not dramatic or cliché. That means you should not begin with any of these over-used phrases we’ve listed out below:

For as long as I remember…

Since my childhood…

I want to apply to this course because I’ve always felt a strong connection to it…

All my life, I have always loved…

My interest in (course) always ran deeper than…

I’ve always been zealous about…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in…

My past educational experiences have always…

You would want to be as snappy as possible with your opening because the admission officer has over a hundred applications to read and can’t waste all their time on yours. This means you should avoid overpowering it with unnecessary facts, quotes, and stories from your life.

The middle part of your ma personal statement is where the main content of the write-up should be. This is where you show your dedication to the course you’ve chosen, what motivated you to choose it, and why you are the right candidate for it.

When writing the middle part of a graduate personal statement, you should:  

  • Give concrete reasons why you want to study a course at the University. The reason could be because of how the course is aligned to your future career or the University’s reputation in teaching that program.
  • Mention relevant things like projects, dissertations, or essays you’ve done, and any work experience you have.
  • Show proof of your core skills like and how they can contribute to the department.
  • Prove what makes you a unique candidate.
  • Discuss who your main influences for wanting to study the course are and why.
  • Add experiences like memberships to clubs that are related to your field, papers you’ve written before, awards, scholarships, or prizes.
  • Draw focus to how the course links to your past and future.
  • Mention your academic and non-academic skills and how they fit the course.

For Formatting:

  • Keep the statement length between 250 -500 words or as directed by the school.
  • Sentences should be no more than 25-30 words.
  • Use headings to break up the content – Why this university? Why this subject? Etc.
  • Make claims and provide evidence to back each of them up. This can be done by discussing your work experience and academic interests.

Language and tone to use:     

  • The tone for your masters application personal statement should be positive and enthusiastic, to show you eagerness to learn and so that you convince the evaluators that you have what it takes to succeed.
  • Use exciting and refreshing language, and an engaging opening line.
  • Ensure you grammar, punctuations, and spellings are accurate.
  • Avoid exaggerated claims you cannot backup.
  • Don’t use cliché generic terms and keep your focus on the course.

Keep the ending of your essay for master degree application concise and memorable, leaving no doubt in the admission officers mind that you deserve a spot on the program.

To create the best ending summarise all your key points without dragging it our or repeating yourself. The ending should be simple, end on a positive note and make it clear that the school will be lucky to have you on their program.

Personal Statement for Masters Sample

In this section, we have left a masters personal statement example for you, which you can use as material to write yours for any course of study you are applying to a school for.

Personal Statement PDF

You can also download this statement of purpose sample for masters degree pdf here and take your time to read it later – Personal Statement For Masters Sample .

See Also:  Student CV Template .

Examples of Personal Statement for Masters

We have taken the time to source for some of the best postgraduate personal statement examples, which you can use in addition to the personal statement for masters program example as a template to write yours.

While you scroll through our list, you will find the perfect masters essay example for any field you wish to apply for, from business administration, to Psychology, to information technology, and lots more.

1. msw personal statement

We have found one of the best msw personal statement examples out there for you.

social work masters personal statement .  

2. personal statement for masters in public health

mph personal statement examples

3. personal statement for masters in management

Personal statement for master degree sample for masters in management .  , 4. personal statement for masters in education example.

personal statement for masters in education example

5. psychology masters personal statement

psychology masters personal statement example

6. sample personal statement for masters in data science data science masters personal statement

7. speech and language therapy personal statement statement of purpose for masters sample: speech and language therapy

8. business administration personal statement personal statement for masters in business administration

9. personal statement for masters in cyber security pdf masters degree personal statement examples for cyber security

10. personal statement for masters in finance msc finance personal statement examples

11. statement of purpose for masters in information technology pdf msc personal statement examples for information technology

12. international development personal statement statement of purpose for masters example

13. msc international business management personal statement international business management personal statement examples

14. computer science masters personal statement

statement of purpose for masters in computer science pdf

15. personal statement for masters in economics statement of purpose sample for masters degree in economics

16. mha personal statement statement of purpose format for masters in health administration    

Conclusion – Things to Avoid When Writing A Personal Statement For Masters When writing a personal statement for university masters, there are some things you should avoid, so that you don’t ruin your essay. We have listed out those things below: •    Avoid negativity. •    Following an online template blindly. •    Do not include unnecessary course modules, personal facts, or extra-curricular activities in your personal statement. •    Do not lie or exaggerate an achievement or event. •    Do not include inspirational quotes to your statement. •    Avoid using clichés, gimmicks, humour, over-used word such as 'passion' or ‘driven’. •    Do not make pleading statements. •    Avoid mentioning key authors or professors in your field without any explanation. •    Avoid using sentences that are too long. •    Avoid flattering the organisation or using patronising terms. •    Do not repeat information in your statement that you have already listed in your application. •    Avoid waffling i.e., writing at length. •    Don’t start writing your personal statement at the last minute.  

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How to Write a Good Personal Statement for a Scholarship ( 7 PDF Sample Examples).

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personal essay template pdf

10 Personal Statement Essay Examples That Worked

What’s covered:, what is a personal statement.

  • Essay 1: Summer Program
  • Essay 2: Being Bangladeshi-American
  • Essay 3: Why Medicine
  • Essay 4: Love of Writing
  • Essay 5: Starting a Fire
  • Essay 6: Dedicating a Track
  • Essay 7: Body Image and Eating Disorders
  • Essay 8: Becoming a Coach
  • Essay 9: Eritrea
  • Essay 10: Journaling
  • Is Your Personal Statement Strong Enough?

Your personal statement is any essay that you must write for your main application, such as the Common App Essay , University of California Essays , or Coalition Application Essay . This type of essay focuses on your unique experiences, ideas, or beliefs that may not be discussed throughout the rest of your application. This essay should be an opportunity for the admissions officers to get to know you better and give them a glimpse into who you really are.

In this post, we will share 10 different personal statements that were all written by real students. We will also provide commentary on what each essay did well and where there is room for improvement, so you can make your personal statement as strong as possible!

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Personal Statement Examples

Essay example #1: exchange program.

The twisting roads, ornate mosaics, and fragrant scent of freshly ground spices had been so foreign at first. Now in my fifth week of the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco, I felt more comfortable in the city. With a bag full of pastries from the market, I navigated to a bus stop, paid the fare, and began the trip back to my host family’s house. It was hard to believe that only a few years earlier my mom was worried about letting me travel around my home city on my own, let alone a place that I had only lived in for a few weeks. While I had been on a journey towards self-sufficiency and independence for a few years now, it was Morocco that pushed me to become the confident, self-reflective person that I am today.

As a child, my parents pressured me to achieve perfect grades, master my swim strokes, and discover interesting hobbies like playing the oboe and learning to pick locks. I felt compelled to live my life according to their wishes. Of course, this pressure was not a wholly negative factor in my life –– you might even call it support. However, the constant presence of my parents’ hopes for me overcame my own sense of desire and led me to become quite dependent on them. I pushed myself to get straight A’s, complied with years of oboe lessons, and dutifully attended hours of swim practice after school. Despite all these achievements, I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success. I had always been expected to succeed on the path they had defined. However, this path was interrupted seven years after my parents’ divorce when my dad moved across the country to Oregon.

I missed my dad’s close presence, but I loved my new sense of freedom. 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.

I lived with a host family in Marrakesh and learned that they, too, had high expectations for me. I didn’t know a word of Arabic, and although my host parents and one brother spoke good English, they knew I was there to learn. If I messed up, they patiently corrected me but refused to let me fall into the easy pattern of speaking English just as I did at home. Just as I had when I was younger, I felt pressured and stressed about meeting their expectations. However, one day, as I strolled through the bustling market square after successfully bargaining with one of the street vendors, I realized my mistake. My host family wasn’t being unfair by making me fumble through Arabic. I had applied for this trip, and I had committed to the intensive language study. My host family’s rules about speaking Arabic at home had not been to fulfill their expectations for me, but to help me fulfill my expectations for myself. Similarly, the pressure my parents had put on me as a child had come out of love and their hopes for me, not out of a desire to crush my individuality.

As my bus drove through the still-bustling market square and past the medieval Ben-Youssef madrasa, I realized that becoming independent was a process, not an event. I thought that my parents’ separation when I was ten had been the one experience that would transform me into a self-motivated and autonomous person. It did, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t still have room to grow. Now, although I am even more self-sufficient than I was three years ago, I try to approach every experience with the expectation that it will change me. It’s still difficult, but I understand that just because growth can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not important.

What the Essay Did Well

This is a nice essay because it delves into particular character trait of the student and how it has been shaped and matured over time. Although it doesn’t focus the essay around a specific anecdote, the essay is still successful because it is centered around this student’s independence. This is a nice approach for a personal statement: highlight a particular trait of yours and explore how it has grown with you.

The ideas in this essay are universal to growing up—living up to parents’ expectations, yearning for freedom, and coming to terms with reality—but it feels unique to the student because of the inclusion of details specific to them. Including their oboe lessons, the experience of riding the light rail by themselves, and the negotiations with a street vendor helps show the reader what these common tropes of growing up looked like for them personally. 

Another strength of the essay is the level of self-reflection included throughout the piece. Since there is no central anecdote tying everything together, an essay about a character trait is only successful when you deeply reflect on how you felt, where you made mistakes, and how that trait impacts your life. The author includes reflection in sentences like “ I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success, ” and “ I understand that just because growth can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not important. ” These sentences help us see how the student was impacted and what their point of view is.

What Could Be Improved

The largest change this essay would benefit from is to show not tell. The platitude you have heard a million times no doubt, but for good reason. This essay heavily relies on telling the reader what occurred, making us less engaged as the entire reading experience feels more passive. If the student had shown us what happens though, it keeps the reader tied to the action and makes them feel like they are there with the student, making it much more enjoyable to read. 

For example, they tell us about the pressure to succeed their parents placed on them: “ I pushed myself to get straight A’s, complied with years of oboe lessons, and dutifully attended hours of swim practice after school.”  They could have shown us what that pressure looked like with a sentence like this: “ My stomach turned somersaults as my rattling knee thumped against the desk before every test, scared to get anything less than a 95. For five years the painful squawk of the oboe only reminded me of my parents’ claps and whistles at my concerts. I mastered the butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle, fighting against the anchor of their expectations threatening to pull me down.”

If the student had gone through their essay and applied this exercise of bringing more detail and colorful language to sentences that tell the reader what happened, the essay would be really great. 

Table of Contents

Essay Example #2: Being Bangladeshi-American

Life before was good: verdant forests, sumptuous curries, and a devoted family.

Then, my family abandoned our comfortable life in Bangladesh for a chance at the American dream in Los Angeles. Within our first year, my father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He lost his battle three weeks before my sixth birthday. Facing a new country without the steady presence of my father, we were vulnerable — prisoners of hardship in the land of the free. We resettled in the Bronx, in my uncle’s renovated basement. It was meant to be our refuge, but I felt more displaced than ever. Gone were the high-rise condos of West L.A.; instead, government projects towered over the neighborhood. Pedestrians no longer smiled and greeted me; the atmosphere was hostile, even toxic. Schoolkids were quick to pick on those they saw as weak or foreign, hurling harsh words I’d never heard before.

Meanwhile, my family began integrating into the local Bangladeshi community. I struggled to understand those who shared my heritage. Bangladeshi mothers stayed home while fathers drove cabs and sold fruit by the roadside — painful societal positions. Riding on crosstown buses or walking home from school, I began to internalize these disparities. During my fleeting encounters with affluent Upper East Siders, I saw kids my age with nannies, parents who wore suits to work, and luxurious apartments with spectacular views. Most took cabs to their destinations: cabs that Bangladeshis drove. I watched the mundane moments of their lives with longing, aching to plant myself in their shoes. Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day. 

As I grappled with my relationship with the Bangladeshi community, I turned my attention to helping my Bronx community by pursuing an internship with Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. I handled desk work and took calls, spending the bulk of my time actively listening to the hardships constituents faced — everything from a veteran stripped of his benefits to a grandmother unable to support her bedridden grandchild.

I’d never exposed myself to stories like these, and now I was the first to hear them. As an intern, I could only assist in what felt like the small ways — pointing out local job offerings, printing information on free ESL classes, reaching out to non-profits. But to a community facing an onslaught of intense struggles, I realized that something as small as these actions could have vast impacts. Seeing the immediate consequences of my actions inspired me. Throughout that summer, I internalized my community’s daily challenges in a new light. I began to stop seeing the prevalent underemployment and cramped living quarters less as sources of shame. Instead, I saw them as realities that had to be acknowledged, but could ultimately be remedied. I also realized the benefits of the Bangladeshi culture I had been so ashamed of. My Bangla language skills were an asset to the office, and my understanding of Bangladeshi etiquette allowed for smooth communication between office staff and its constituents. As I helped my neighbors navigate city services, I saw my heritage with pride — a perspective I never expected to have.

I can now appreciate the value of my unique culture and background, and of living with less. This perspective offers room for progress, community integration, and a future worth fighting for. My time with Assemblyman Sepulveda’s office taught me that I can be a change agent in enabling this progression. Far from being ashamed of my community, I want to someday return to local politics in the Bronx to continue helping others access the American Dream. I hope to help my community appreciate the opportunity to make progress together. By embracing reality, I learned to live it. Along the way, I discovered one thing: life is good, but we can make it better.

This student’s passion for social justice and civic duty shines through in this essay because of how honest it is. Sharing their personal experience with immigrating, moving around, being an outsider, and finding a community allows us to see the hardships this student has faced and builds empathy towards their situation. However, what really makes it strong is that they go beyond describing the difficulties they faced and explain the mental impact it had on them as a child: Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day. 

The rejection of their culture presented at the beginning of the essay creates a nice juxtaposition with the student’s view in the latter half of the essay and helps demonstrate how they have matured. They use their experience interning as a way to delve into a change in their thought process about their culture and show how their passion for social justice began. Using this experience as a mechanism to explore their thoughts and feelings is an excellent example of how items that are included elsewhere on your application should be incorporated into your essay.

This essay prioritizes emotions and personal views over specific anecdotes. Although there are details and certain moments incorporated throughout to emphasize the author’s points, the main focus remains on the student and how they grapple with their culture and identity.  

One area for improvement is the conclusion. Although the forward-looking approach is a nice way to end an essay focused on social justice, it would be nice to include more details and imagery in the conclusion. How does the student want to help their community? What government position do they see themselves holding one day? 

A more impactful ending might look like the student walking into their office at the New York City Housing Authority in 15 years and looking at the plans to build a new development in the Bronx just blocks away from where the grew up that would provide quality housing to people in their Bangladeshi community. They would smile while thinking about how far they have come from that young kid who used to be ashamed of their culture. 

Essay Example #3: Why Medicine

I took my first trip to China to visit my cousin Anna in July of 2014. Distance had kept us apart, but when we were together, we fell into all of our old inside jokes and caught up on each other’s lives. Her sparkling personality and optimistic attitude always brought a smile to my face. This time, however, my heart broke when I saw the effects of her brain cancer; she had suffered from a stroke that paralyzed her left side. She was still herself in many ways, but I could see that the damage to her brain made things difficult for her. I stayed by her every day, providing the support she needed, whether assisting her with eating and drinking, reading to her, or just watching “Friends.” During my flight back home, sorrow and helplessness overwhelmed me. Would I ever see Anna again? Could I have done more to make Anna comfortable? I wished I could stay in China longer to care for her. As I deplaned, I wondered if I could transform my grief to help other children and teenagers in the US who suffered as Anna did.

The day after I got home, as jet lag dragged me awake a few minutes after midnight, I remembered hearing about the Family Reach Foundation (FRF) and its work with children going through treatments at the local hospital and their families. I began volunteering in the FRF’s Children’s Activity Room, where I play with children battling cancer. Volunteering has both made me appreciate my own health and also cherish the new relationships I build with the children and families. We play sports, make figures out of playdoh, and dress up. When they take on the roles of firefighters or fairies, we all get caught up in the game; for that time, they forget the sanitized, stark, impersonal walls of the pediatric oncology ward. Building close relationships with them and seeing them giggle and laugh is so rewarding — I love watching them grow and get better throughout their course of treatment.

Hearing from the parents about their children’s condition and seeing the children recover inspired me to consider medical research. To get started, I enrolled in a summer collegelevel course in Abnormal Psychology. There I worked with Catelyn, a rising college senior, on a data analysis project regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Together, we examined the neurological etiology of DID by studying four fMRI and PET cases. I fell in love with gathering data and analyzing the results and was amazed by our final product: several stunning brain images showcasing the areas of hyper and hypoactivity in brains affected by DID. Desire quickly followed my amazement — I want to continue this project and study more brains. Their complexity, delicacy, and importance to every aspect of life fascinate me. Successfully completing this research project gave me a sense of hope; I know I am capable of participating in a large scale research project and potentially making a difference in someone else’s life through my research.

Anna’s diagnosis inspired me to begin volunteering at FRF; from there, I discovered my desire to help people further by contributing to medical research. As my research interest blossomed, I realized that it’s no coincidence that I want to study brains—after all, Anna suffered from brain cancer. Reflecting on these experiences this past year and a half, I see that everything I’ve done is connected. Sadly, a few months after I returned from China, Anna passed away. I am still sad, but as I run a toy truck across the floor and watch one of the little patients’ eyes light up, I imagine that she would be proud of my commitment to pursue medicine and study the brain.

This essay has a very strong emotional core that tugs at the heart strings and makes the reader feel invested. Writing about sickness can be difficult and doesn’t always belong in a personal statement, but in this case it works well because the focus is on how this student cared for her cousin and dealt with the grief and emotions surrounding her condition. Writing about the compassion she showed and the doubts and concerns that filled her mind keeps the focus on the author and her personality. 

This continues when she again discusses the activities she did with the kids at FRF and the personal reflection this experience allowed her to have. For example, she writes: Volunteering has both made me appreciate my own health and also cherish the new relationships I build with the children and families. We play sports, make figures out of playdoh, and dress up.

Concluding the essay with the sad story of her cousin’s passing brings the essay full circle and returns to the emotional heart of the piece to once again build a connection with the reader. However, it finishes on a hopeful note and demonstrates how this student has been able to turn a tragic experience into a source of lifelong inspiration. 

One thing this essay should be cognizant of is that personal statements should not read as summaries of your extracurricular resume. Although this essay doesn’t fully fall into that trap, it does describe two key extracurriculars the student participated in. However, the inclusion of such a strong emotional core running throughout the essay helps keep the focus on the student and her thoughts and feelings during these activities.

To avoid making this mistake, make sure you have a common thread running through your essay and the extracurriculars provide support to the story you are trying to tell, rather than crafting a story around your activities. And, as this essay does, make sure there is lots of personal reflection and feelings weaved throughout to focus attention to you rather than your extracurriculars. 

Essay Example #4: Love of Writing

“I want to be a writer.” This had been my answer to every youthful discussion with the adults in my life about what I would do when I grew up. As early as elementary school, I remember reading my writing pieces aloud to an audience at “Author of the Month” ceremonies. Bearing this goal in mind, and hoping to gain some valuable experience, I signed up for a journalism class during my freshman year. Despite my love for writing, I initially found myself uninterested in the subject and I struggled to enjoy the class. When I thought of writing, I imagined lyrical prose, profound poetry, and thrilling plot lines. Journalism required a laconic style and orderly structure, and I found my teacher’s assignments formulaic and dull. That class shook my confidence as a writer. I was uncertain if I should continue in it for the rest of my high school career.

Despite my misgivings, I decided that I couldn’t make a final decision on whether to quit journalism until I had some experience working for a paper outside of the classroom. The following year, I applied to be a staff reporter on our school newspaper. I hoped this would help me become more self-driven and creative, rather than merely writing articles that my teacher assigned. To my surprise, my time on staff was worlds away from what I experienced in the journalism class. Although I was unaccustomed to working in a fast-paced environment and initially found it burdensome to research and complete high-quality stories in a relatively short amount of time, I also found it exciting. I enjoyed learning more about topics and events on campus that I did not know much about; some of my stories that I covered in my first semester concerned a chess tournament, a food drive, and a Spanish immersion party. I relished in the freedom I had to explore and learn, and to write more independently than I could in a classroom.

Although I enjoyed many aspects of working for the paper immediately, reporting also pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I am a shy person, and speaking with people I did not know intimidated me. During my first interview, I met with the basketball coach to prepare for a story about the team’s winning streak. As I approached his office, I felt everything from my toes to my tongue freeze into a solid block, and I could hardly get out my opening questions. Fortunately, the coach was very kind and helped me through the conversation. Encouraged, I prepared for my next interview with more confidence. After a few weeks of practice, I even started to look forward to interviewing people on campus. That first journalism class may have bored me, but even if journalism in practice was challenging, it was anything but tedious.

Over the course of that year, I grew to love writing for our school newspaper. Reporting made me aware of my surroundings, and made me want to know more about current events on campus and in the town where I grew up. By interacting with people all over campus, I came to understand the breadth of individuals and communities that make up my high school. I felt far more connected to diverse parts of my school through my work as a journalist, and I realized that journalism gave me a window into seeing beyond my own experiences. The style of news writing may be different from what I used to think “writing” meant, but I learned that I can still derive exciting plots from events that may have gone unnoticed if not for my stories. I no longer struggle to approach others, and truly enjoy getting to know people and recognizing their accomplishments through my writing. Becoming a writer may be a difficult path, but it is as rewarding as I hoped when I was young.

This essay is clearly structured in a manner that makes it flow very nicely and contributes to its success. It starts with a quote to draw in the reader and show this student’s life-long passion for writing. Then it addresses the challenges of facing new, unfamiliar territory and how this student overcame it. Finally, it concludes by reflecting on this eye-opening experience and a nod to their younger self from the introduction. Having a well-thought out and sequential structure with clear transitions makes it extremely easy for the reader to follow along and take away the main idea.

Another positive aspect of the essay is the use of strong and expressive language. Sentences like “ When I thought of writing, I imagined lyrical prose, profound poetry, and thrilling plot lines ” stand out because of the intentional use of words like “lyrical”, “profound”, and “thrilling” to convey the student’s love of writing. The author also uses an active voice to capture the readers’ attention and keep us engaged. They rely on their language and diction to reveal details to the reader, for instance saying “ I felt everything from my toes to my tongue freeze into a solid block ” to describe feeling nervous.

This essay is already very strong, so there isn’t much that needs to be changed. One thing that could take the essay from great to outstanding would be to throw in more quotes, internal dialogue, and sensory descriptors.

It would be nice to see the nerves they felt interviewing the coach by including dialogue like “ Um…I want to interview you about…uh…”.  They could have shown their original distaste for journalism by narrating the thoughts running through their head. The fast-paced environment of their newspaper could have come to life with descriptions about the clacking of keyboards and the whirl of people running around laying out articles.

Essay Example #5: Starting a Fire

Was I no longer the beloved daughter of nature, whisperer of trees? Knee-high rubber boots, camouflage, bug spray—I wore the garb and perfume of a proud wild woman, yet there I was, hunched over the pathetic pile of stubborn sticks, utterly stumped, on the verge of tears. As a child, I had considered myself a kind of rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees, who could glide through tick-infested meadows and emerge Lyme-free. I knew the cracks of the earth like the scars on my own rough palms. Yet here I was, ten years later, incapable of performing the most fundamental outdoor task: I could not, for the life of me, start a fire. 

Furiously I rubbed the twigs together—rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers. No smoke. The twigs were too young, too sticky-green; I tossed them away with a shower of curses, and began tearing through the underbrush in search of a more flammable collection. My efforts were fruitless. Livid, I bit a rejected twig, determined to prove that the forest had spurned me, offering only young, wet bones that would never burn. But the wood cracked like carrots between my teeth—old, brittle, and bitter. Roaring and nursing my aching palms, I retreated to the tent, where I sulked and awaited the jeers of my family. 

Rattling their empty worm cans and reeking of fat fish, my brother and cousins swaggered into the campsite. Immediately, they noticed the minor stick massacre by the fire pit and called to me, their deep voices already sharp with contempt. 

“Where’s the fire, Princess Clara?” they taunted. “Having some trouble?” They prodded me with the ends of the chewed branches and, with a few effortless scrapes of wood on rock, sparked a red and roaring flame. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame. 

In the tent, I pondered my failure. Was I so dainty? Was I that incapable? I thought of my hands, how calloused and capable they had been, how tender and smooth they had become. It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive. And I’d gotten glasses, having grown horrifically nearsighted; long nights of dim lighting and thick books had done this. I couldn’t remember the last time I had lain down on a hill, barefaced, and seen the stars without having to squint. Crawling along the edge of the tent, a spider confirmed my transformation—he disgusted me, and I felt an overwhelming urge to squash him. 

Yet, I realized I hadn’t really changed—I had only shifted perspective. I still eagerly explored new worlds, but through poems and prose rather than pastures and puddles. I’d grown to prefer the boom of a bass over that of a bullfrog, learned to coax a different kind of fire from wood, having developed a burn for writing rhymes and scrawling hypotheses. 

That night, I stayed up late with my journal and wrote about the spider I had decided not to kill. I had tolerated him just barely, only shrieking when he jumped—it helped to watch him decorate the corners of the tent with his delicate webs, knowing that he couldn’t start fires, either. When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.

This student is an excellent writer, which allows a simple story to be outstandingly compelling. The author articulates her points beautifully and creatively through her immense use of details and figurative language. Lines like “a rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees,” and “rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers,” create vivid images that draw the reader in. 

The flowery and descriptive prose also contributes to the nice juxtaposition between the old Clara and the new Clara. The latter half of the essay contrasts elements of nature with music and writing to demonstrate how natural these interests are for her now. This sentence perfectly encapsulates the contrast she is trying to build: “It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive.”

In addition to being well-written, this essay is thematically cohesive. It begins with the simple introduction “Fire!” and ends with the following image: “When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.” This full-circle approach leaves readers satisfied and impressed.

There is very little this essay should change, however one thing to be cautious about is having an essay that is overly-descriptive. We know from the essay that this student likes to read and write, and depending on other elements of her application, it might make total sense to have such a flowery and ornate writing style. However, your personal statement needs to reflect your voice as well as your personality. If you would never use language like this in conversation or your writing, don’t put it in your personal statement. Make sure there is a balance between eloquence and your personal voice.

Essay Example #6: Dedicating a Track

“Getting beat is one thing – it’s part of competing – but I want no part in losing.” Coach Rob Stark’s motto never fails to remind me of his encouragement on early-morning bus rides to track meets around the state. I’ve always appreciated the phrase, but an experience last June helped me understand its more profound, universal meaning.

Stark, as we affectionately call him, has coached track at my high school for 25 years. His care, dedication, and emphasis on developing good character has left an enduring impact on me and hundreds of other students. Not only did he help me discover my talent and love for running, but he also taught me the importance of commitment and discipline and to approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running. When I learned a neighboring high school had dedicated their track to a longtime coach, I felt that Stark deserved similar honors.

Our school district’s board of education indicated they would only dedicate our track to Stark if I could demonstrate that he was extraordinary. I took charge and mobilized my teammates to distribute petitions, reach out to alumni, and compile statistics on the many team and individual champions Stark had coached over the years. We received astounding support, collecting almost 3,000 signatures and pages of endorsements from across the community. With help from my teammates, I presented this evidence to the board.

They didn’t bite. 

Most members argued that dedicating the track was a low priority. Knowing that we had to act quickly to convince them of its importance, I called a team meeting where we drafted a rebuttal for the next board meeting. To my surprise, they chose me to deliver it. I was far from the best public speaker in the group, and I felt nervous about going before the unsympathetic board again. However, at that second meeting, I discovered that I enjoy articulating and arguing for something that I’m passionate about.

Public speaking resembles a cross country race. Walking to the starting line, you have to trust your training and quell your last minute doubts. When the gun fires, you can’t think too hard about anything; your performance has to be instinctual, natural, even relaxed. At the next board meeting, the podium was my starting line. As I walked up to it, familiar butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Instead of the track stretching out in front of me, I faced the vast audience of teachers, board members, and my teammates. I felt my adrenaline build, and reassured myself: I’ve put in the work, my argument is powerful and sound. As the board president told me to introduce myself, I heard, “runners set” in the back of my mind. She finished speaking, and Bang! The brief silence was the gunshot for me to begin. 

The next few minutes blurred together, but when the dust settled, I knew from the board members’ expressions and the audience’s thunderous approval that I had run quite a race. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; the board voted down our proposal. I was disappointed, but proud of myself, my team, and our collaboration off the track. We stood up for a cause we believed in, and I overcame my worries about being a leader. Although I discovered that changing the status quo through an elected body can be a painstakingly difficult process and requires perseverance, I learned that I enjoy the challenges this effort offers. Last month, one of the school board members joked that I had become a “regular” – I now often show up to meetings to advocate for a variety of causes, including better environmental practices in cafeterias and safer equipment for athletes.

Just as Stark taught me, I worked passionately to achieve my goal. I may have been beaten when I appealed to the board, but I certainly didn’t lose, and that would have made Stark proud.

This essay effectively conveys this student’s compassion for others, initiative, and determination—all great qualities to exemplify in a personal statement!

Although they rely on telling us a lot of what happened up until the board meeting, the use of running a race (their passion) as a metaphor for public speaking provides a lot of insight into the fear that this student overcame to work towards something bigger than themself. Comparing a podium to the starting line, the audience to the track, and silence to the gunshot is a nice way of demonstrating this student’s passion for cross country running without making that the focus of the story.

The essay does a nice job of coming full circle at the end by explaining what the quote from the beginning meant to them after this experience. Without explicitly saying “ I now know that what Stark actually meant is…” they rely on the strength of their argument above to make it obvious to the reader what it means to get beat but not lose. 

One of the biggest areas of improvement in the intro, however, is how the essay tells us Stark’s impact rather than showing us: His care, dedication, and emphasis on developing good character has left an enduring impact on me and hundreds of other students. Not only did he help me discover my talent and love for running, but he also taught me the importance of commitment and discipline and to approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running.

The writer could’ve helped us feel a stronger emotional connection to Stark if they had included examples of Stark’s qualities, rather than explicitly stating them. For example, they could’ve written something like: Stark was the kind of person who would give you gas money if you told him your parents couldn’t afford to pick you up from practice. And he actually did that—several times. At track meets, alumni regularly would come talk to him and tell him how he’d changed their lives. Before Stark, I was ambivalent about running and was on the JV team, but his encouragement motivated me to run longer and harder and eventually make varsity. Because of him, I approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running.

Essay Example #7: Body Image and Eating Disorders

I press the “discover” button on my Instagram app, hoping to find enticing pictures to satisfy my boredom. Scrolling through, I see funny videos and mouth-watering pictures of food. However, one image stops me immediately. A fit teenage girl with a “perfect body” relaxes in a bikini on a beach. Beneath it, I see a slew of flattering comments. I shake with disapproval over the image’s unrealistic quality. However, part of me still wants to have a body like hers so that others will make similar comments to me.

I would like to resolve a silent issue that harms many teenagers and adults: negative self image and low self-esteem in a world where social media shapes how people view each other. When people see the façades others wear to create an “ideal” image, they can develop poor thought patterns rooted in negative self-talk. The constant comparisons to “perfect” others make people feel small. In this new digital age, it is hard to distinguish authentic from artificial representations.

When I was 11, I developed anorexia nervosa. Though I was already thin, I wanted to be skinny like the models that I saw on the magazine covers on the grocery store stands. Little did I know that those models probably also suffered from disorders, and that photoshop erased their flaws. I preferred being underweight to being healthy. No matter how little I ate or how thin I was, I always thought that I was too fat. I became obsessed with the number on the scale and would try to eat the least that I could without my parents urging me to take more. Fortunately, I stopped engaging in anorexic behaviors before middle school. However, my underlying mental habits did not change. The images that had provoked my disorder in the first place were still a constant presence in my life.

By age 15, I was in recovery from anorexia, but suffered from depression. While I used to only compare myself to models, the growth of social media meant I also compared myself to my friends and acquaintances. I felt left out when I saw my friends’ excitement about lake trips they had taken without me. As I scrolled past endless photos of my flawless, thin classmates with hundreds of likes and affirming comments, I felt my jealousy spiral. I wanted to be admired and loved by other people too. However, I felt that I could never be enough. I began to hate the way that I looked, and felt nothing in my life was good enough. I wanted to be called “perfect” and “body goals,” so I tried to only post at certain times of day to maximize my “likes.” When that didn’t work, I started to feel too anxious to post anything at all.  

Body image insecurities and social media comparisons affect thousands of people – men, women, children, and adults – every day. I am lucky – after a few months of my destructive social media habits, I came across a video that pointed out the illusory nature of social media; many Instagram posts only show off good things while people hide their flaws. I began going to therapy, and recovered from my depression. To address the problem of self-image and social media, we can all focus on what matters on the inside and not what is on the surface. As an effort to become healthy internally, I started a club at my school to promote clean eating and radiating beauty from within. It has helped me grow in my confidence, and today I’m not afraid to show others my struggles by sharing my experience with eating disorders. Someday, I hope to make this club a national organization to help teenagers and adults across the country. I support the idea of body positivity and embracing difference, not “perfection.” After all, how can we be ourselves if we all look the same?

This essay covers the difficult topics of eating disorders and mental health. If you’re thinking about covering similar topics in your essay, we recommend reading our post Should You Talk About Mental Health in College Essays?

The short answer is that, yes, you can talk about mental health, but it can be risky. If you do go that route, it’s important to focus on what you learned from the experience.

The strength of this essay is the student’s vulnerability, in excerpts such as this: I wanted to be admired and loved by other people too. However, I felt that I could never be enough. I began to hate the way that I looked, and felt nothing in my life was good enough. I wanted to be called “perfect” and “body goals,” so I tried to only post at certain times of day to maximize my “likes.”

The student goes on to share how they recovered from their depression through an eye-opening video and therapy sessions, and they’re now helping others find their self-worth as well. It’s great that this essay looks towards the future and shares the writer’s goals of making their club a national organization; we can see their ambition and compassion.

The main weakness of this essay is that it doesn’t focus enough on their recovery process, which is arguably the most important part. They could’ve told us more about the video they watched or the process of starting their club and the interactions they’ve had with other members. Especially when sharing such a vulnerable topic, there should be vulnerability in the recovery process too. That way, the reader can fully appreciate all that this student has overcome.

Essay Example #8: Becoming a Coach

”Advanced females ages 13 to 14 please proceed to staging with your coaches at this time.” Skittering around the room, eyes wide and pleading, I frantically explained my situation to nearby coaches. The seconds ticked away in my head; every polite refusal increased my desperation.

Despair weighed me down. I sank to my knees as a stream of competitors, coaches, and officials flowed around me. My dojang had no coach, and the tournament rules prohibited me from competing without one.

Although I wanted to remain strong, doubts began to cloud my mind. I could not help wondering: what was the point of perfecting my skills if I would never even compete? The other members of my team, who had found coaches minutes earlier, attempted to comfort me, but I barely heard their words. They couldn’t understand my despair at being left on the outside, and I never wanted them to understand.

Since my first lesson 12 years ago, the members of my dojang have become family. I have watched them grow up, finding my own happiness in theirs. Together, we have honed our kicks, blocks, and strikes. We have pushed one another to aim higher and become better martial artists. Although my dojang had searched for a reliable coach for years, we had not found one. When we attended competitions in the past, my teammates and I had always gotten lucky and found a sympathetic coach. Now, I knew this practice was unsustainable. It would devastate me to see the other members of my dojang in my situation, unable to compete and losing hope as a result. My dojang needed a coach, and I decided it was up to me to find one.

I first approached the adults in the dojang – both instructors and members’ parents. However, these attempts only reacquainted me with polite refusals. Everyone I asked told me they couldn’t devote multiple weekends per year to competitions. I soon realized that I would have become the coach myself.

At first, the inner workings of tournaments were a mystery to me. To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side. I learned everything from motivational strategies to technical, behind-the-scenes components of Taekwondo competitions. Though I emerged with new knowledge and confidence in my capabilities, others did not share this faith.

Parents threw me disbelieving looks when they learned that their children’s coach was only a child herself. My self-confidence was my armor, deflecting their surly glances. Every armor is penetrable, however, and as the relentless barrage of doubts pounded my resilience, it began to wear down. I grew unsure of my own abilities.

Despite the attack, I refused to give up. When I saw the shining eyes of the youngest students preparing for their first competition, I knew I couldn’t let them down. To quit would be to set them up to be barred from competing like I was. The knowledge that I could solve my dojang’s longtime problem motivated me to overcome my apprehension.

Now that my dojang flourishes at competitions, the attacks on me have weakened, but not ended. I may never win the approval of every parent; at times, I am still tormented by doubts, but I find solace in the fact that members of my dojang now only worry about competing to the best of their abilities.

Now, as I arrive at a tournament with my students, I close my eyes and remember the past. I visualize the frantic search for a coach and the chaos amongst my teammates as we competed with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our respective divisions. I open my eyes to the exact opposite scene. Lacking a coach hurt my ability to compete, but I am proud to know that no member of my dojang will have to face that problem again.

This essay begins with an in-the-moment narrative that really illustrates the chaos of looking for a coach last-minute. We feel the writer’s emotions, particularly her dejectedness, at not being able to compete. Starting an essay in media res  is a great way to capture the attention of your readers and build anticipation for what comes next.

Through this essay, we can see how gutsy and determined the student is in deciding to become a coach themselves. She shows us these characteristics through their actions, rather than explicitly telling us: To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side.  Also, by discussing the opposition she faced and how it affected her, the student is open and vulnerable about the reality of the situation.

The essay comes full circle as the author recalls the frantic situations in seeking out a coach, but this is no longer a concern for them and their team. Overall, this essay is extremely effective in painting this student as mature, bold, and compassionate.

The biggest thing this essay needs to work on is showing not telling. Throughout the essay, the student tells us that she “emerged with new knowledge and confidence,” she “grew unsure of her own abilities,” and she “refused to give up”. What we really want to know is what this looks like.

Instead of saying she “emerged with new knowledge and confidence” she should have shared how she taught a new move to a fellow team-member without hesitation. Rather than telling us she “grew unsure of her own abilities” she should have shown what that looked like by including her internal dialogue and rhetorical questions that ran through her mind. She could have demonstrated what “refusing to give up” looks like by explaining how she kept learning coaching techniques on her own, turned to a mentor for advice, or devised a plan to win over the trust of parents. 

Essay Example #9: Eritrea

No one knows where Eritrea is.

On the first day of school, for the past nine years, I would pensively stand in front of a class, a teacher, a stranger  waiting for the inevitable question: Where are you from?

I smile politely, my dimples accentuating my ambiguous features. “Eritrea,” I answer promptly and proudly. But I  am always prepared. Before their expression can deepen into confusion, ready to ask “where is that,” I elaborate,  perhaps with a fleeting hint of exasperation, “East Africa, near Ethiopia.”

Sometimes, I single out the key-shaped hermit nation on a map, stunning teachers who have “never had a student  from there!” Grinning, I resist the urge to remark, “You didn’t even know it existed until two minutes ago!”

Eritrea is to the East of Ethiopia, its arid coastline clutches the lucrative Red Sea. Battle scars litter the ancient  streets – the colonial Italian architecture lathered with bullet holes, the mosques mangled with mortar shells.  Originally part of the world’s first Christian kingdom, Eritrea passed through the hands of colonial Italy, Britain, and  Ethiopia for over a century, until a bloody thirty year war of Independence liberated us.

But these are facts that anyone can know with a quick Google search. These are facts that I have memorised and compounded, first from my Grandmother and now from pristine books  borrowed from the library.

No historical narrative, however, can adequately capture what Eritrea is.  No one knows the aroma of bushels of potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic – still covered in dirt – that leads you to the open-air market. No one knows the poignant scent of spices, arranged in orange piles reminiscent of compacted  dunes.  No one knows how to haggle stubborn herders for sheep and roosters for Christmas celebrations as deliberately as my mother. No one can replicate the perfect balance of spices in dorho and tsebhi as well as my grandmother,  her gnarly hands stirring the pot with ancient precision (chastising my clumsy knife work with the potatoes).  It’s impossible to learn when the injera is ready – the exact moment you have to lift the lid of the mogogo. Do it too  early (or too late) and the flatbread becomes mangled and gross. It is a sixth sense passed through matriarchal  lineages.

There are no sources that catalogue the scent of incense that wafts through the sunlit porch on St. Michael’s; no  films that can capture the luminescence of hundreds of flaming bonfires that fluoresce the sidewalks on Kudus  Yohannes, as excited children chant Ge’ez proverbs whose origin has been lost to time.  You cannot learn the familiarity of walking beneath the towering Gothic figure of the Enda Mariam Cathedral, the  crowds undulating to the ringing of the archaic bells.  I have memorized the sound of the rains hounding the metal roof during kiremti , the heat of the sun pounding  against the Toyota’s window as we sped down towards Ghinda , the opulent brilliance of the stars twinkling in a  sky untainted by light pollution, the scent of warm rolls of bani wafting through the streets at precisely 6 o’clock each day…

I fill my flimsy sketchbook with pictures from my memory. My hand remembers the shapes of the hibiscus drifting  in the wind, the outline of my grandmother (affectionately nicknamed a’abaye ) leaning over the garden, the bizarre architecture of the Fiat Tagliero .  I dice the vegetables with movements handed down from generations. My nose remembers the scent of frying garlic, the sourness of the warm tayta , the sharpness of the mit’mt’a …

This knowledge is intrinsic.  “I am Eritrean,” I repeat. “I am proud.”  Within me is an encyclopedia of history, culture, and idealism.

Eritrea is the coffee made from scratch, the spices drying in the sun, the priests and nuns. Eritrea is wise, filled with ambition, and unseen potential.  Eritrea isn’t a place, it’s an identity.

This is an exceptional essay that provides a window into this student’s culture that really makes their love for their country and heritage leap off the page. The sheer level of details and sensory descriptors this student is able to fit in this space makes the essay stand out. From the smells, to the traditions, sounds, and sights, the author encapsulates all the glory of Eritrea for the reader. 

The vivid images this student is able to create for the reader, whether it is having the tedious conversation with every teacher or cooking in their grandmother’s kitchen, transports us into the story and makes us feel like we are there in the moment with the student. This is a prime example of an essay that shows , not tells.

Besides the amazing imagery, the use of shorter paragraphs also contributes to how engaging this essay is. Employing this tactic helps break up the text to make it more readable and it isolates ideas so they stick out more than if they were enveloped in a large paragraph.

Overall, this is a really strong essay that brings to life this student’s heritage through its use of vivid imagery. This essay exemplifies what it means to show not tell in your writing, and it is a great example of how you can write an intimate personal statement without making yourself the primary focus of your essay. 

There is very little this essay should improve upon, but one thing the student might consider would be to inject more personal reflection into their response. Although we can clearly take away their deep love and passion for their homeland and culture, the essay would be a bit more personal if they included the emotions and feelings they associate with the various aspects of Eritrea. For example, the way their heart swells with pride when their grandmother praises their ability to cook a flatbread or the feeling of serenity when they hear the bells ring out from the cathedral. Including personal details as well as sensory ones would create a wonderful balance of imagery and reflection.

Essay Example #10: Journaling

Flipping past dozens of colorful entries in my journal, I arrive at the final blank sheet. I press my pen lightly to the page, barely scratching its surface to create a series of loops stringing together into sentences. Emotions spill out, and with their release, I feel lightness in my chest. The stream of thoughts slows as I reach the bottom of the page, and I gently close the cover of the worn book: another journal finished.

I add the journal to the stack of eleven books on my nightstand. Struck by the bittersweet sensation of closing a chapter of my life, I grab the notebook at the bottom of the pile to reminisce.

“I want to make a flying mushen to fly in space and your in it” – October 2008

Pulling back the cover of my first Tinkerbell-themed diary, the prompt “My Hopes and Dreams” captures my attention. Though “machine” is misspelled in my scribbled response, I see the beginnings of my past obsession with outer space. At the age of five, I tore through novels about the solar system, experimented with rockets built from plastic straws, and rented Space Shuttle films from Blockbuster to satisfy my curiosities. While I chased down answers to questions as limitless as the universe, I fell in love with learning. Eight journals later, the same relentless curiosity brought me to an airplane descending on San Francisco Bay.

“I wish I had infinite sunsets” – July 2019

I reach for the charcoal notepad near the top of the pile and open to the first page: my flight to the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes. While I was excited to explore bioengineering, anxiety twisted in my stomach as I imagined my destination, unsure of whether I could overcome my shyness and connect with others.

With each new conversation, the sweat on my palms became less noticeable, and I met students from 23 different countries. Many of the moments where I challenged myself socially revolved around the third story deck of the Jerry house. A strange medley of English, Arabic, and Mandarin filled the summer air as my friends and I gathered there every evening, and dialogues at sunset soon became moments of bliss. In our conversations about cultural differences, the possibility of an afterlife, and the plausibility of far-fetched conspiracy theories, I learned to voice my opinion. As I was introduced to different viewpoints, these moments challenged my understanding of the world around me. In my final entries from California, I find excitement to learn from others and increased confidence, a tool that would later allow me to impact my community.

“The beauty in a tower of cans” – June 2020

Returning my gaze to the stack of journals, I stretch to take the floral-patterned book sitting on top. I flip through, eventually finding the beginnings of the organization I created during the outbreak of COVID-19. Since then, Door-to-Door Deliveries has woven its way through my entries and into reality, allowing me to aid high-risk populations through free grocery delivery.

With the confidence I gained the summer before, I took action when seeing others in need rather than letting my shyness hold me back. I reached out to local churches and senior centers to spread word of our services and interacted with customers through our website and social media pages. To further expand our impact, we held two food drives, and I mustered the courage to ask for donations door-to-door. In a tower of canned donations, I saw the value of reaching out to help others and realized my own potential to impact the world around me.

I delicately close the journal in my hands, smiling softly as the memories reappear, one after another. Reaching under my bed, I pull out a fresh notebook and open to its first sheet. I lightly press my pen to the page, “And so begins the next chapter…”

The structuring of this essay makes it easy and enjoyable to read. The student effectively organizes their various life experiences around their tower of journals, which centers the reader and makes the different stories easy to follow. Additionally, the student engages quotes from their journals—and unique formatting of the quotes—to signal that they are moving in time and show us which memory we should follow them to.

Thematically, the student uses the idea of shyness to connect the different memories they draw out of their journals. As the student describes their experiences overcoming shyness at the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes and Door-to-Door Deliveries, this essay can be read as an Overcoming Obstacles essay.

At the end of this essay, readers are fully convinced that this student is dedicated (they have committed to journaling every day), thoughtful (journaling is a thoughtful process and, in the essay, the student reflects thoughtfully on the past), and motivated (they flew across the country for a summer program and started a business). These are definitely qualities admissions officers are looking for in applicants!

Although this essay is already exceptionally strong as it’s written, the first journal entry feels out of place compared to the other two entries that discuss the author’s shyness and determination. It works well for the essay to have an entry from when the student was younger to add some humor (with misspelled words) and nostalgia, but if the student had either connected the quote they chose to the idea of overcoming a fear present in the other two anecdotes or if they had picked a different quote all together related to their shyness, it would have made the entire essay feel more cohesive.

Where to Get Your Personal Statement Edited

Do you want feedback on your personal statement? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Next Step: Supplemental Essays

Essay Guides for Each School

How to Write a Stellar Extracurricular Activity College Essay

4 Tips for Writing a Diversity College Essay

How to Write the “Why This College” Essay

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FREE 9+ Sample Personal Essay Templates in MS Word | PDF

Personal essays, similar to narrative essays, are quite like story-telling in the first person point of view. It is mostly defined to be a short autobiographical literary piece but embedded with a strong sense of intimacy created between the writer and reader. These literary pieces are written in a conversational manner and, according to Anne Dillard, is “all over the place. There’s nothing you can’t do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is proscribed. You get to make up your own form every time.”

Personal Essay

Personal essay example - 7+ samples in pdf, scholarship essay example - 9+ samples in word, pdf, descriptive essay example - 6+ samples in pdf.

Personal essays are both the most difficult and the easiest types to write. You don’t have a format you’d have to follow and can write as you wish, but, personal essays aren’t simply words on a piece of paper. When you’re writing a personal essay, you pour a part of yourself into your piece so that people who read it would see a deep, intimate version of you.

Here are some Sample Essays you might be interested in and some tips to make personal essay writing easier for you.

Personal Narrative Essay in PDF

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Personal Statement and Application Essay Sample

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Personal Reflective Essay Example

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Sample Scholarship Personal Essay

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Personal Essays

Unlike these Argumentative Essay Samples , your purpose is neither to persuade nor dissuade your readers. Also unlike these Analysis Essay Examples , you are also not writing to explore an idea and form a hypothesis. No, you need not call people to your cause nor do you want to write a thesis paper. What, then, is the purpose of your essay?

Personal essays simply mean to express your feelings or describe an experience, person, or object. When writing a personal essay, you have to pull the reader into your world and experience it through your eyes.

The personal essays you write would tell the readers these about you:

Your Critical Thinking Skills. You would be judged on whether your work is cluttered with cliches or if you have original ideas.

Communication Skills. It tells how well you can communicate and organize your ideas.

Maturity. Your personal essays would show the readers the way your mind works. It shows how you handle situations that don’t go your way or changes that you didn’t expect or want.

School Personal Essay Format

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Personal Essay Rubric Example

personal essay rubric example

Personal Experience Essay

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Sample Personal Essay

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Size: 509 KB

Scholarship Personal Essay

scholarship personal essay

Size: 355 KB

Strategies When Composing a Personal Essay

  • Brainstorm. Write down phrases or words on a piece of paper. Write all your ideas down until you come up with the one main topic you’d like to write about.
  • Draft. Piece your ideas together to form a rough draft of your work.
  • Organize. Make sure that your ideas aren’t cluttered. Find a smooth transition from one to the next.
  • Revise and Edit. Change what doesn’t sound right. Keep revising until you’re satisfied with your work.

Tips for Personal Essay Writing

  • Focus on details Make sure you show the readers what happened and not tell. Don’t rely on adjectives, instead, utilize verbs. Take advantage of sensory details. For example, don’t tell the readers about the breathtaking sunset, instead show them how the sky was splashed with hues of red and orange.
  • Connect the story to a main idea Don’t simply narrate an event. That’ll bore your readers. Have a point you have to tell. The readers aren’t going to be interested in knowing about your heartbreak, but they will want to know about how through this, you realized that there are times when you have to be selfish.

Personal essays are a combination of narrative essays and descriptive essays. See these Descriptive Essay Samples for more tips on making essay writing easier for you.

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Personal Reflective Essay Template

Personal Reflective Essay Template in Word, Google Docs, PDF, Apple Pages

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  1. PDF Template for writing a Personal Essay

    -A personal essay is the writer's personal thoughts, personal experiences, and personal truths. There are no topics that are off limits for a personal essay. However, remember that you are writing a personal essay for a scholarship and faculty and other staff members will be reading these. That being said, the readers do not know what you do not

  2. Personal Essay

    In writing a personal essay (or essay examples in doc ), a writer must keep the following things in mind. 1. Pick a topic. Choose a topic that is both timely and significant in your area. Your life story can also be considered as a great topic in writing your personal essay.

  3. PDF Essay Outline Template

    Offer some more specific background information (as needed). 3. Provide the title of the piece and the author's name if the essay is about a specific book/poem/article/passage. C. Thesis Statement 1. State your topic and position. Remember that a thesis = claim + reasons. 2. Outline your main points and ideas.

  4. PDF Personal Narrative Essays

    A personal narrative essay uses the components of a story: introduction, plot, characters, setting, and conflict. It also uses the components of argument, thesis, and conclusion. In a personal narrative essay, we tell our readers a story to make a larger argument. Focusing the readers' attention on significant, detailed scenes, we develop our ...

  5. PDF WRITING YOUR PERSONAL ESSAY (STATEMENT OF PURPOSE)

    For purposes of the personal essay, there are generally three types of experience: academic, work (including internships teaching or tutoring), and personal. By far the most important is your academic experience, preparation, and goals. You should ask yourself about your experiences, achievements, and goals in each area, focusing not on what ...

  6. How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application

    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 ...

  7. PDF College Essay Writing: Personal Narrative

    As your essay is going to be submitted to college admissions, your personal narrative is subjected to an extra set of standards. To better your chances of being accepted by the college of your choice, your personal narrative should: Be well constructed and grammatically correct. Adhere to a prompt, if you were given one.

  8. PDF Writing a Graduate School Application Essay

    Writing a Graduate School Application Essay . Getting Started . Every graduate school requires applicants to submit either a personal statement or astatement of purpose (sometimes called a research statement). This handout details some of the main differences between the two types of documents, and provides

  9. How to Write a Personal Essay: Instructions, Outline

    Font: Unless required to write in a Harvard essay format, you can use any readable fonts - Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri in size 12.; Margins: Just like in most writings, set your margins to one inch on all sides.; Spacing: This is a classic!Use double-spacing throughout the essay, including between paragraphs. Indentation: Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches or use the ...

  10. PDF WRITING A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

    Writing a Personal Narrative A personal narrative is a story of a life experience that taught you something about yourself. is your memory of an important experience. Tap into your personal store of memories by looking through old photographs, journals, diaries, or letters asking family members or friends for stories about you looking at mementos, such as souvenir buttons or play programs

  11. Personal Narrative Essay Examples 1-4

    Personal Narrative Essay Examples 1-4. To print or download this file, click the link below: Personal+Narrative-College+Essay+Samples.pdf — PDF document, 598 KB (613290 bytes)

  12. PDF Writing the Personal Statement

    • A personal essay allowing the writer freedom of topics OR one requiring the writer respond to a specific prompt. What are some characteristics of a strong personal statement? • Reflective: A good essay does more than describe experiences. Show you have thought about your experiences and have gained insight or grown in some way as a result.

  13. Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs

    Strategies for Essay Writing: PDFs Strategies for Essay Writing--Complete. description. Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt. description. Asking Analytical Questions. description. Thesis. description. Introductions. description. What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common? description. Anatomy Of a Body Paragraph.

  14. PDF Personal Statement Sample #1

    Personal Statement Sample #2 . Department of History, Princeton University Personal Statement When I arrived at Princeton, my understanding of "history" was circumscribed and ... textbook and synthesizing curated snippets of primary sources into short essays. It was also geographically and thematically limited: at my high school, the only ...

  15. Personal Essay Template

    9+ Free Downloadable Scholarship Essay Samples, Examples and Formats. 9+ Argumentative Essay Templates - PDF, DOC. 8+ Sample Scholarship Essay Templates. 19+ Best Microsoft Word Essay Templates. 9+ Simple Expository Essay Templates. 18+ Printable Reflective Essay Templates. 9+ Best Personal Essay Templates. 7+ Sample Persuasive Essay Templates.

  16. 10+ Personal Essay in Word

    A personal Narrative essay gives you the prerogative to express yourself in a manner that you are comfortable with. You can freely express your thoughts provided that you keep your content in check. It allows you to express your feelings, thoughts, emotions, and concerns in an organized and professional way.

  17. Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

    Sample College Essay 2 with Feedback. This content is licensed by Khan Academy and is available for free at www.khanacademy.org. College essays are an important part of your college application and give you the chance to show colleges and universities your personality. This guide will give you tips on how to write an effective college essay.

  18. Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

    7. speech and language therapy personal statement. statement of purpose for masters sample: speech and language therapy. 8. business administration personal statement. personal statement for masters in business administration. 9. personal statement for masters in cyber security pdf.

  19. 10 Personal Statement Essay Examples That Worked

    Personal Statement Examples. Essay 1: Summer Program. Essay 2: Being Bangladeshi-American. Essay 3: Why Medicine. Essay 4: Love of Writing. Essay 5: Starting a Fire. Essay 6: Dedicating a Track. Essay 7: Body Image and Eating Disorders. Essay 8: Becoming a Coach.

  20. FREE 8+ Personal Essay Samples in PDF

    File Format. PDF. Size: 179 KB. Download. The above-listed Sample Essay Examples cover all the popular forms of personal essays such as personal essay for graduate school, college, scholarship exams, and narrative ones for the essay competition. There are examples of personal autobiographical essays that any person can go through.

  21. FREE 9+ Sample Personal Essay Templates in MS Word

    FREE 9+ Sample Personal Essay Templates in MS Word | PDF. Personal essays, similar to narrative essays, are quite like story-telling in the first person point of view. It is mostly defined to be a short autobiographical literary piece but embedded with a strong sense of intimacy created between the writer and reader.

  22. PDF Sample College Admissions Essays

    SAMPLE ESSAY NUMBER 1. She struggled to find the seat belt buckle, her left hand frantically pushing down on different places on the seat. She giggled nervously, but graciously smiled to hide her panic. After a few failed attempts, my mom pressed the button for her. The seat belt snapped back into place.

  23. Personal Essay Outline Template

    Personal Essay Outline Template - Free download as Word Doc (.doc), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. A personal belief is a belief you've developed over time. It should be original, at the very least not a cliche (what goes around comes around) Make sure you focus on the elements of the story that support your belief.

  24. Personal Reflective Essay Template in Word, PDF, Google Docs, Pages

    Personal Reflective Essay Template. Download this Personal Reflective Essay Template Design in Word, Google Docs, PDF, Apple Pages Format. Easily Editable, Printable, Downloadable. Pro Download Template.