The college application process is a stressful and challenging task, and for a majority of students, the most intimidating part of that process is the submission of a personal statement. Applicants who lack experience in making this type of assignment feel extremely uncomfortable trying to guess what they have to write in the paper to impress the admission committee. From another point of view, unlike tests and GPA scores, which by that moment already placed the student in a particular percentile, this type of work is another chance for an applicant to improve one’s prospects for enrollment. It is an opportunity for seniors to demonstrate their creativity and to persuade the committee that they deserve to become a student of that prestigious college or university. Here are few tips on how to write a personal essay for college that will stand out to the examiners.
Distinctive Features of The Assignment
To begin with, let’s answer to "what is a personal essay" and what are its peculiarities that differentiate it from other types of essays.
The primary purpose of the personal statement is to introduce oneself to the admission committee. While they have access to applicant test scores and GPA, a personality of the one remains unclear. Marks achieved in the testing process can reflect theoretical knowledge of a student, but not the one’s creative skills. The personal paper is a useful tool for an applicant to show the committee what exists beyond test results such as what is one’s motivation for studying, what are one’s ambitions and prospects for the future. Here, a committee may evaluate an applicant as an individual, but not as a bulk of different kinds of scores or as a percentile.
Also, a personal statement is a chance to demonstrate the applicant’s writing skills, imagination and the ability to express their ideas. It may be especially important for candidates of creative professions as test scores commonly cannot reflect their talents and way of thinking entirely. Thus, a personal essay definition may be broken down as follows: a statement, in which applicants demonstrate their personality, ambitions, and writing skills to the admissions committee to give the latter a full perspective of their candidature.
How to a Start Personal Statement: Secrets of a Good Opening
Each essay begins with an idea, and this paper is by no means an exception. Even more so, the idea of what the writer wants to tell the reader is the primary element of a personal statement. Since this type of assignment is truly individual, it must include a real life story from the author's life. Try to start by approaching the issue in a simple form. Meaning that one must understand what the author wants the reader to experience and gain as a result of them exploring the story as well as the intended reaction.
Picking Up A Topic
Thus, when there is the question of “How to start a personal essay?” one should remember that one of the first preparation steps of the assignment is picking up a topic or idea for the paper. As mentioned above, it must be unique and tell the reader something that is unknown regarding the author. Namely, this should not be a description of the one’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities or finals scores. This work should demonstrate those sides of a personality of the writer that is not shown by test scores or tutor’s recommendations. Writers may describe their role models, people who inspire them, their plans for future of even about their attitude towards global warming. Further, in this section “The Most Suitable Personal Essay Topics” this issue will be explored deeper.
Creating An Essay Plan
Meanwhile, after the topic is chosen, the second step is to build an essay plan - essentially making an outline of the assignment. That is a significant step since admission committees in colleges place a lot of emphasis on well-structured and well-written works. That is why the personal essay format should always be respected and followed. Here is its basic structure:
This is the simplest structure for a paper. However, more information about structuring more complex and detailed outline may be found here.
What is Next?
Similar to most college essays, this assignment starts off with an introduction. Here the writer may speak about his or her background using a witty anecdote as an example of their life. This section should make use of a sturdy hook ( an interesting fact about the story) that will get the designated audience interested in the events that are coming up. The opening paragraph should conclude with the thesis statement - express the main idea of the paper. Namely, focus on the reason why this story is relevant to the audience and what they stand to gain from it.
After that, the core body paragraphs of the paper begin being developed. Here, the author tells the story or explains the facts backing up the thesis statement given in the introduction. It is part of an assignment where creativity takes the first place and writers may use any advantages they possess to do so. For instance, if one has a good sense of humor, now is the best time to use it. However, it is important not to overreach or over exaggerate things as this will take away from the credibility of the text. It means that fun or creativeness should not be dull or illogical like in this joke about an elephant and a marshmallow:
To put it simply, a writer has to improve his or her strengths and use it appropriately and wisely throughout the paper.
To sum things up, the concluding paragraph should state what experience he or she learned and how this particular story has helped them learn these life lessons. Thus, well-structured essay helps the audience explore the story from its very beginning to its effect on the writer’s life.
The Most Suitable Personal Essay Topics
As previously mentioned, the primary goal of a personal statement is to demonstrate writing skills and, even more importantly, to tell people more about oneself as an individual. That is why personal essay prompts, which colleges offer to consider as essay topics, are mostly related to life events, choices or plans.
Here are several ideas for writing a successful personal statement:
- “Lessons taken from obstacles can be a basis for success in future. Describe a challenge or failure you have faced and what was its conclusion.”
- “Depict a moment in your life when you questioned commonly accepted ideas or beliefs. What triggered you to do so and what was the result of it?”
- “Write about the event that nourished your individual growth.”
- “Describe your role model in life and what they mean to you.”
- “Discuss an issue you managed to solve - research question, personal challenge, ethical dilemma - anything personally valuable. Demonstrate why it is significant and what you have done to find a solution.”
These are suitable topics for discussion in a personal statement as they relate both to personal issues and to life experiences. Also, responding to this type of issues demonstrates author's ability to think thoroughly and apply problem-solving concepts in their daily activities.
Useful Tips for Writing a Personal Essay
As mentioned above, a persuasive essay requires a suitable topic for exploration and development in a well-structured essay format. However, here are few additional tips to follow to a master personal statement:
- The writer should present us with something new about them - admission committees already know applicants scores and academic achievements. This assignment is simply an opportunity to show them individuality;
- Keep it “personal.” It means to write an essay about oneself and influence of something on oneself. Thus, if the writer speaks about role models, the focus must be put on the control the role model has on the author's life, but not through manipulation.
- Proofread, edit and polish. When starting to work on the essay initially, most of us have not kept it neat and clear. The first draft can be full of mistakes and illogical editing choices. Nonetheless, it is vital to proofread and polish the paper to demonstrate the best writing skills possible.
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Still Need Help?
Life happens, and sometimes it is even hard to find an idea for this type of essay. The importance imposed by the outcome of it does not help you concentrate on the task at hand or relieve any pressure despite there being so many examples of it. Thus, if you have searched through hundreds of personal essay sample and still struggles to complete the assignment, our tutoring service offers a helping hand and is eager to assist you in creating the best essay possible.
Personal essays are used in testing the students' ability to convey their thoughts and ideas in a way in which the reader can grasp. In most cases, a writer is asked to describe an event in their lives, or narrate about another individual. It can also be an opinion on a particular subject. Since the author is giving a personal account, experience or opinion, there is no need to proof the details. Personal essays are popular forms of non-fiction narratives in the literal world. As much as it sounds straightforward, it can be a daunting task especially if one is not conversant with various writing styles. This paper will elaborate on the best methods that a writer can use in writing a personal essay.
Title of the Essay
The first step in writing a personal essay is coming up with a title that will capture the attention of the reader. The title should give the readers an insight into what the essay is about, without giving so many details such that the essay. This will allow the readers to have curiosity into the content of the paper. Whereas there are no specific rules that are set on how a title should be formulated, it is important to craft a title that gives the reader a hint of the content of the paper. The title, therefore, can be a short phrase, a sentence or a question. For example, if you were to write about your experience on immigration or another pertinent issue that touches on other people’s lives, instead of just having a heading that says ‘my experience ... immigration,’ you could say something like ‘outside’ ‘beyond the border lines.’ This will capture the attention of the readers without revealing too much information about your essay.
After the title, the author should come up with a killer introduction that will outline the major elements of the essay. These include details such as the main characters, the focus of the story, and the major conflicts in the story. By giving a solid introduction, the author gives the audiences a map that will allow them to follow the events as they unfold in the personal essay. The introduction is also the part where the author focuses on a particular issue where the themes of the story will revolve. In essence, the introduction helps the readers to gain an insight into the writing and thus assist them to understand the author.
After crafting a god title and a capturing eye introduction, the next part is to come up with the points that will support your position. If the essay is an opinion about something or someone, the author will give specific details that will support his claims. Just like in any other essay, the organization is an important element that will determine the understandability of the essay. Instead of clumping all the ideas in a single or few paragraphs, it will be more appropriate for the author to have a single paragraph for each idea. Thus, any idea that is used to support the author's position is elaborated in a single paragraph. All the paragraphs should focus on the main point in the essay. The style of the delivery of the message is unique to the writers. One may choose to use few simple sentences while others may opt for long compound sentences.
Successive paragraphs should reinforce the main point and give deeper layers of the personal experience. If for instance, you are talking about a situation where you ignored a piece of advice, you may consider giving examples of past events where adhering to the advice had worked well for you. Alternatively, you can compare your situation against your peers who adhered to the given sets of instructions. In pursuit of the deeper truth, the author can connect with the readers by giving specific details that will take the readers into the exact state of emotions that he/she was while experiencing the event. It may be a sense of excitement, desperation, anger, determination among others. The author should be able to craft a description that will give the readers the exact feelings.
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Upon completion of all the main points in the essay, the author should go through the paper and try to read it out. This will help in detecting any inconsistency or lack of flow that may be present. The essay will then be closed with a final thought. This is a parting shot that is supposed stick to the writer. It may be the lessons learned, and a point away from the author's mind. The final part should focus on the reader. It is a transition from the self-expression introduction to acknowledging that you are writing for them. This should be something that will make the reader glad that they took their time to read your essay.
Finally, a point to note is that personal essay is an art. There is no prescribed writing styles or format. One should, therefore, strive to come up with a different essay that will capture the attention of the readers and convey the intended purpose.