What is a Personal Essay? How Can You Write a Great One?

how to write personal essay

One of the most important parts of living a professional life is sending out applications. Every professional has or will at some point in their lives apply for schools, scholarships, jobs, or even awards. There are different ways of sending these applications.

Of course, some of the most important things you might need in your applications include your curriculum vitae and a cover letter. Apart from these, you might need a supplementary element, with the most common one being a personal essay.

A personal essay serves as an introduction to your life story or personality. You let the interviewees into your life and show them the kind of a person you are. So, if you want to apply for a scholarship or a job, you can use a personal essay to show how you match the different set requirements.

What is a Personal Essay?

A personal essay can be described as a piece of writing through which a writer shares an experience, realization, or an event that they went through in the past. It helps them (the writer) show how such experiences, realizations, or events changed the kind of person that they are.

Admission departments and employers often ask for personal essays because they can learn about the motivations, outlook, and personality of a person. They are also able to learn about challenges they (writers) went through in the past and how they helped them become better persons.

A personal essay is different from other essays especially when it comes to purpose, tone, and length. It has three parts – the introduction part, the body, and the conclusion. They are very popular among students and people applying for scholarships.

Writing a Personal Essay

Here are a few steps to follow to write a personal essay that stands out;

1. Prepare Yourself

The first step is preparing yourself. When doing this, you need to identify your audience and everything that you want to tell them through the essay.

You should make sure that the story you want to tell fulfills the goals of writing the essay. You can come up with a list of things that you will talk about to ensure that your essay is engaging.

2. Organize Yourself

You need to ensure that your ideas and thoughts are well organized. You can do this by creating an outline. This ensures that you keep on track and avoid writing about many ideas that might make you lose the main points.

In addition, you need to ensure that the essay you write follows a certain sequence. This is important in helping you follow a direct path.

3. Select a Topic

The experience or story you choose to tell in your essay should align with the topic that you choose. If you choose to talk about a triumph or accomplishment, then choose the right topic that tells a reader what your essay is about.

If you want to talk about an experience you went through in the past, then ensure that the topic reflects that. Your topic should compliment your story and help you achieve your goals.

4. Choose a Tone

This is one of the most important things yet one of the most common style mistakes when writing an essay. Depending on what you are writing about, you need to ensure that you are using the right tone. If, for instance, you are writing about an experience, ensure that your tone generates the correct feelings.

Those who choose to write about something happening today can use a present point kind of a tone that encompasses today’s feelings. You can use your tone to bring your readers closer to what you are writing about.

5. Include a Moral Lesson

One of the main purposes of writing an essay is to show the kind of a person you are, your character, qualifications, or the kind of abilities that you have. You, therefore, need to include something that you learned, explaining how it shaped you to be a better person.

6. Write: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion

You can start writing your essay at this step. Starting with the introduction, you should make it short. The introduction should be made up of a maximum of two paragraphs that explain the main points that you will be talking about. You should catch your readers’ eyes with the opening line.

The body comes after the introduction. This is the most important part of your essay since it contains most of the information that you want to pass on to your readers. Here, you can expand on the points you briefly mentioned in the introduction.

After the body, you should write a conclusion. This is the closing of your essay and just like the introduction, it should be made up of a maximum of two paragraphs. Ensure that you sum up the experience or lesson in your essay.

Personal Essays Are Often Required When Applying for a Scholarship

As discussed above, people write personal essays for different reasons. However, one of the most common reasons for writing personal essays is when applying for a scholarship.

Writing a good scholarship essay will most definitely win you that scholarship that you are applying for. However, you will not be able to do that if you do not follow the steps and guidelines discussed in this article.

In addition to the steps above, you should also proofread your essay, write conversationally, avoid using passive voice, ask other people for feedback, and use tools to make your writing better.

Start Writing Today

You should not wait until you are asked for a personal essay. As discussed above, you might be asked for one at some point in your career if no one has yet asked you for it.

Since you now know how to write a great personal essay, you can start practicing today. This will be vital when you are asked for one. You will find it easy to write a personal essay that stands out from others.

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