When facing the assignment of writing a personal essay, many students are quite puzzled because their logic says that each essay you deliver is a personal one. This is just partially true: a personal essay is the type of paper where you describe one of the areas of your expertise. This is the knowledge you get after you have been through a certain situation, your personal experience that is rendered to the audience. Wondering how to write a personal essay?
There are several major mistakes students make when it comes to personal essays:
- No organization and structure. Although this type of essay is less formal than a research paper, you still have to organize it properly. Create a list of all things you want to write about and then put them in a logical order, adding all main essay elements like introduction, thesis, main body, conclusion, etc. Make sure that your paper is easy to read and all arguments are supported in the right way, connecting between each other;
- Not an interesting topic. The overall paper`s success greatly depends on the topic around which your story is centered. If it is boring, no one would read to the end, so make sure it is engaging, meaningful and relevant. The more life examples you give – the better;
- Inappropriate style and wording. Your essay should result in teaching your readers a particular lesson, so you have to provide arguments on how this story changed your life and why. Again, this essay type is not too formal but choosing slang and clichés would be a wrong decision that will make your text weaker.
Structure and format
How to start a personal essay? Just like any other academic paper, the personal essay has a standard known by everyone since school structure you should keep:
- Introduction. Briefly introduce the topic you picked and explain your main goal in a few simple sentences to hook the reader. What results do you expect to get? Finish this paragraph with a catchy thesis but do not reveal all details, leave it for…
- The main body. Here you can start telling a story and describe all the arguments to support it. The number of paragraphs depends on how many arguments you can provide (usually 3-5 are enough). Make sure all paragraphs are connected logically and you do not lose the idea;
- Conclusion. Summarize everything you discussed previously with a few sentences. Make predictions for the future but do not add anything new, this is the closing part of your paper and it will only confuse the reader.
You have to format your essay according to the required style. We recommend checking it with your instructor as requirements may differ depending on the college.
Little help for writing a personal essay
Here we have put together some points that you can use by writing:
- Start with a joke, question, quote, or a catchy sentence. Everyone loves jokes, so it is the easiest way to make the audience want to keep reading. Such technique helps to clear the air and become a good start for the arguments that follow;
- Always stick to your point of view. It can be wrong, but it is your personal essay, so do not use other people`s thoughts or online templates to make it sound stronger. Your essay should be only about your ideas and experience, so stick to it;
- What about an outline? This part can become the basis of your vivid essay so you will not miss any significant details following the structure;
- Build the characters. One of the important parts of your story are the characters, so you have to think which way they can be described better;
- Use language instruments. Have you heard about metaphors, repetitions or metonymies that are used to make the text stronger? Try to apply a few of them in your paper but do not overuse as it will only ruin the whole picture;
- Read and proofread. And then read and proofread (and again). After you finish writing an essay, read it aloud and then ask your relatives and friends to do the same. You can also use online software to check the text for spelling and grammar. Such proofreading is a simple but effective way of finding weak points in your essay before delivering it. Many students neglect this step and get lower grades because of typos and in-text errors.
Now you can be more confident in expressing your thoughts on paper!