Writing An Essay About Yourself: Basic Formatting Tips

It should be the easiest thing in the world! After all, it's a topic that needs no research; or does it? How well do you know yourself? Well enough to write a top quality essay? Often colleges or universities will ask you to compose an essay about yourself, and your life experiences. A personal essay can be a moving and powerful piece, or it can be lighthearted and entertaining. Above all, it must engage your reader and hold their attention captive throughout!

  • “Once Upon A Time” Where To Begin?
  • Coming up with a good opening line will help hook your reader into your personal essay. Don't start with “My name is Joe and I am a 23 year old man who lives in a small city near....” Your reader is asleep already! Grab them by the throat instead; “The explosion tore through the neighbourhood, and sent people running. Our old house was being torn down to make way for the new....”

  • Keep Them With You
  • Look at your personal essay as more than a story from your life. It's a journey where you will need to lead your audience down the path as you let them in to a corner of your life, and what makes you, you. Don't be afraid to make use of vivid and highly descriptive adjectives and phrasing. This is not a clinical research paper detailing the effects of chlorine bleach on the reproductive habits of the spotted newt!

    Suck your reader into your piece by making them feel what you felt. Anger, jealousy or joy? If you are truly developing your writing talents, you should be able to work one or all of these emotions into an essay about you and your experiences.

  • Wrapping The Story Up. Should You Leave Them Hanging?
  • Just as you want to be sure to grab your reader right from the start, you should leave them feeling satisfied by the end of your essay. This can be difficult for some people. Obviously, you are still alive and so the story is not over yet! But you do want to have a resolution to the topic you addressed in your story. Sometimes finishing with the ideas that opened your composition can be an effective closing.

  • The Finishing Touches
  • As with any essay, it is important to carefully edit and proofread your piece once it is completed. Have a friend, or a teacher give it a read, or even read it out loud to you. Sometimes it is easier to pick out mistakes in grammar, or the flow of your writing, when you hear it read, as opposed to reading it off the page.

Be creative, be yourself, and write on!

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