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Personal Essay Definition (for College students)

College students often face a personal essay and are quite puzzled, as they genuinely think that every paper they deliver is a personal essay. However, everything is not that simple, and you need to distinguish a descriptive essay or research from a personal one to expect a high grade.

You can get the whole point of the assignment from a personal essay definition. It is a written assignment aiming to render your personal story to the audience. It may be an example from your life or a personal thought on a given topic.

Remember, a personal essay is a great tool to influence the reader. It can be both inspiring and depressive, so you should take full responsibility for the things you write.

Here is a list of the most popular mistakes, which prevent you from creating a great personal essay:

  • Absence of organization. Although writing a personal essay is much simpler than completing a term paper or research, you still need to organize your essay properly. Make a list of the things you want to discuss in your paper, which will greatly save you time and nerves in the future;
  • Boring topic. You may be quite surprised to find out that success of a personal essay may greatly depend on the subject you choose. Make sure your story is meaningful and engaging, modern and interesting for the audience. Try to select a relevant topic, spicing it up with examples from your own life;
  • No structure. If you neglect following an accepted pattern, you risk losing the whole point of the story. Make sure you know what elements your essay should include in order to make it logical and easy to real;
  • Absence of moral. A personal essay should teach the audience a particular lesson. That is why you not only need to tell the story but also explain how it changed your personality and how it can contribute to the reader;
  • Inappropriate lexis. Although a personal essay may have quite a loose language, you should still avoid slang and clichés, which may make the text much weaker.

If you want to understand what a personal essay is, you should first get familiar with its common structure. A regular personal essay, as well as any other type of the paper, should contain the following elements:

  • Introduction. Start your personal essay with a brief introduction to the topic. Explain the main goal of your story, express your outlook on the subject and describe what results the reader will get at the end of the essay. Close this paragraph with a catchy thesis statement. It should contain a sentence about the aim of the paper and a hook to engage the audience;
  • Main paragraphs. Their quantity depends on the number of issues you want to discuss. Start every paragraph with a topic sentence and then support it with arguments and additional details. If else is not indicated, try to limit the number of arguments to 3-5 not to make your essay too long and boring;
  • Conclusion. Close your essay with a summary of everything you have discussed in your work, making predictions for the future. Try not to add new information in this section, as it is only for summarizing the essay, not for introducing new details.

Personal Essay Examples to Get You Started

In case you are not sure how to write a personal essay and struggle to get started, we have a great advice! Thousands of students worldwide download samples of essays, which greatly help them to understand the assignment, learn about its key sections and find out what the reader wants.

With the help of ready personal essay examples you can get a clear picture of the structure, interesting elements and plot twists, which may greatly improve the quality of your essay. Why should you waste hours at the desk, struggling to write the first sentence if there are hundreds of essays online, waiting for you?

Personal Essay Format

The best way to learn how to start a personal essay is to have a clear picture of the main features it should contain and its key requirements.

The first thing you should ask the professor when starting your essay is the formatting demands. The personal essay format is different from one college to another, so everything depends on your institution and class.

Usually a personal essay has quite a simple form and doesn’t require any rules on fonts and sizes. It doesn’t have any list of references, so you just need to keep in mind that your essay should look clean and tidy, double-spaced and simple to read.

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Here are the things you need to keep in mind, when working on your personal essay:

  • The matter should be significant. It is pretty dull for the audience to read about your routine, so you need to choose a topic that arouses inner conflict, helps you to change your personality or causes a certain impact on your surrounding;
  • Start with an opening sentence, which intrigues the audience. It can be a joke, a quote, a question or a brief introduction to the situation you are going to discuss. Don’t start with straightforward details if you want the reader to stick with you till the end;
  • Always write from your own angle. You may feel tempted to use samples online or someone’s thoughts but remember that a personal essay is all about your experience and ideas. Stick only to them!
  • Work on the characters. If you want your essay to be as informative and interesting as possible, you need to build thorough characteristics of every person in your essay;
  • Write an outline. It is a plan for your future essay, which allows you to stick to the point and follow the structure. With its help, you won’t be able to miss important details, and will make your essay detailed and vivid;
  • Use various literary tools, like repetitions, metaphors, personifications and so on. They will enrich your text and will make your story stronger than ever;
  • Read your essay aloud. With the help of such a simple technique, you will be able to find weak spots in your paper and eliminate them before the delivery;
  • Ask your friends to read the essay or use online software to detect grammar and lexical errors. Most of the students neglect this important stage not knowing that in-text mistakes and typos greatly influence their final grades.
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Personal Essay Topics Examples

If you lack ideas and don’t know where to start, we have prepared a list of personal essay topics, which may help you to get started. Just choose the one you find the most appealing:

  • A relative, who taught you a valuable lesson;
  • A relationship you cherish the most;
  • What changed your personality?
  • A minor but significant event from the past;
  • One of the key events of your life;
  • What are the lessons, which shaped you?
  • The most meaningful places for you;
  • What is the first thought you wake up with in the morning?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • What is the most valuable lesson you will teach your children?
  • What profession is the most suitable for you?
  • Can you think of how you can help and change society?
  • Describe the best date you have ever been to;
  • What is the place that suits you?
  • What did you learn from your past mistakes?

Now you have all the tools to write a great personal essay, receive highest scores and make an impact!

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