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How to Write an Essay About Yourself
Writing an essay about yourself is no easy feat — although you may know yourself better than anyone, it can be tough to get the perspective needed to write about yourself in essay form. Despite its challenges, writing essays about yourself is one of the most crucial skills in the college application process, and we have some key tricks to make it easier. Keep on reading to learn about some of our best techniques to write about yourself naturally!
- Outline your experiences
- Ask friends and family for input
- Don’t be too humble…
- Let your personality shine!
- Try journaling
Outline your impactful experiences
Before you dig into prompts, try writing out a bullet-point list of meaningful experiences you’ve had. Underneath each bullet point, reflect on what they might demonstrate. Here’s an example:
- Grocery store cashier job
- Working as part of a team
- Learning to balance school and work responsibilities
- Honing communication skills
- Writer for school newspaper
- Developing writing skills
- Fostering a passion for my school community
- Learning to meet deadlines and balance responsibilities
- Volunteer at local animal shelter
- Learning to balance school and volunteer responsibilities
- Working as part of a team
- Gaining an attention to detail
This is a little different than a typical resume — rather than focusing on your specific duties, try to focus on how the experience shaped your character. If you notice a lot of overlap between the experiences, that’s perfect! You can point out these recurring themes to make for an effective essay with a strong overarching point. Making lists like this early on in your writing stage can be helpful, and you may find yourself coming back to consult the list for many future essays.
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Ask friends and family for input
When writing about yourself, it is important to reflect on your strengths, and who is better to do that than a supportive team of family and friends?
Consulting family and friends is a great way to learn about strengths that you might not even know you had. Your friends choose to hang out with you for a reason, and they often notice your good qualities that you take for granted. Having your friends point these out can be useful for an essay, as well as a general pick-me-up!
And if you’re looking for a perfect anecdote to answer a prompt like “How have you demonstrated a commitment to your community,” who better to remember your past acts of kindness than your parents?
Is it okay to ask friends and family to read my essay and offer feedback?
Some students may be wondering, is it okay to ask for additional help from friends and family? And the short answer is: absolutely. Additional essay reviewers can offer valuable feedback as you write your essay. With this said, students should make sure that they are maintaining their own voice in the essay. Outside reviewers should not be rewriting the essay or having a heavy hand in changing the written voice.
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Don’t be too humble
There is a time and a place for humility. But don’t worry if you feel like your essay is verging on the braggadocios. These essays are an opportunity to showcase your best qualities, and you should not be worried about putting your best foot forward and telling the reader all the reasons why they should be impressed by you.
What makes these essays effective is that they both include your relevant experiences and demonstrate why they are so significant. You may feel as though you are making mountains out of molehills, but it’s important to emphasize the importance of your experiences. This is the main objective of writing about yourself.
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Let your personality come through
Most essays written about yourself will be written in first-person. This provides a perfect opportunity to add some flair to your writing. While your first priority is to include impactful examples and communicate your points effectively, it is also important to leave a lasting impression on the reader.
If you see an opportunity to show off your sense of humor or use a more personal tone, don’t be afraid to do it. As long as your remarks are appropriate, on-topic, and not too frequent, they can help put you ahead of the pack.
A great trick for becoming comfortable writing essays about yourself is to try keeping a journal. Journaling helps eliminate the pressure of writing an essay while helping you become comfortable writing about yourself in an informal setting. Spending 10 or 15 minutes every night writing about your day, or answering some informal prompts can help you to get more in touch with yourself and jog your memory about past events that could be useful for an essay.
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Next steps for students
Now you’ve learned about the goals and techniques for writing an essay about yourself. Your next step should be to focus on making your writing effective and efficient. Make sure that your conclusion ties everything together impactfully. And once you’ve finished your draft, ask family members, friends, or college counselors to read over it and provide suggestions. Good luck, writers!