Prompts for a Great Personal Essay

personal essay writing tips Sofia Woodstone Writer
Sofia Woodstone
Content strategist and writer

Writing a Personal Essay Guide

What can be easier than writing about yourself? Among all the assignments your professors might task you with, writing a personal essay can seem like the easiest. All you need to do is to write about yourself! However, being honest about the experiences you have to deal with in your life is harder than you can imagine. It is especially nerve-wracking when you have to write one to apply to college! After all, if they reject you, that means that there’s something wrong with the person that you are.

One of the most difficult types of the essay is considered to be a personal essay. This is not due to some unclear terms and peculiar styles that have to be used unlike in other essays. This is because it is really difficult to introduce yourself and describe your character to draw a personal portrait. We can make it easier for you – best essay help everytime you need it! However, it is a necessary to understand the importance of this task when applying for a college.  You are required to make a personal essay for the admission committee to get acquainted with you better.

There is no subject you are more familiar with. Quite the contrary, the biggest challenge of writing a personal essay is presenting yourself in the best tones without sounding egoistic. Moreover, even though you’re free to write about whatever crosses your mind, reflective or personal essays still need to meet certain requirements. We can write this essay for you, or custom essay order can be placed here.

Choosing the right thing to write about is an important part of the process!

Learning to Compose a Personal Essay

So what exactly should the “about me essay” be about? As obvious as the answer might be, it’s hard to pick up what part of you it should depict. The general direction that we recommend stick to is writing about your life experiences. There are numerous reasons why this is the best approach. First of all, life experience shows that you’re a mature person who has seen things. Second, you can use those experiences as life lessons and say what they taught you. Finally, your choice of things to describe is a direct reflection of your personality.

  • More Specific about Experiences

So yes, you need to write about your life experiences but which ones to choose? If you’re writing a personal essay as an admission requirement to go to college, choose an education-related topic. Writing about your first trip to the beach or how you helped your baseball team win a competition might sound great, but these things are not what will bring you to college. Instead, focus more on school-related topics whether they are about a role of an inspirational teacher or your own personal achievements. Make sure you also cover such things as your life goals and aspirations because a person with perspectives is always appreciated.

  • Ideas for Your Essay

There are two types of situations you might end up with: you may already be given a prompt you have to develop in an essay or you might have a chance to start writing from scratch which means you have to come up with your own ideas. In the first case it’s a clear cut, but if you need to pick up your own topic, be especially careful.

Since you want to stand out from the crowd of all other potential students, you need to write about an experience that no other person is likely to have had. That is why describing your first school day is not a good choice for a personal essay. Other things like a big achievement, a death of a close person, or a birth of a sibling might carry a big emotional value for you, but they are also something that many people go through. I need to find something personal that makes you come across as an extraordinary individual.

  • What Things to Avoid

Many people think that risky topics make good essays. Partially it’s true since you can spark more interest with something problematic or controversial. However, when an essay plays a decisive role in your future, taking such risks is unreasonable. That’s why we recommend avoid dubious topics such as money and politics, religion and race.

Also, try to avoid any phrases that give a very blatant description of your personal traits. For example, saying “I’m a good leader with an exceptional yearning for justice” is a no go. Instead, make the reader coming to that conclusion by describing a story that shows those features. You’ll achieve more by avoiding self-flattering and simply telling a story that reflects your beliefs and principals.

  • But What if You Need a Sensitive Topic?

Yes, sometimes writing on a sensitive subject is a calculated risk that can bring you extra points. However, this is something that you need to know how to execute. First of all, think about the target audience and try to predict what things are okay and what should be left unsaid. For example, you might be driven to write about your creative thinking, but describing how you managed to cheat on an exam is not a good idea. Second, make sure you show clear judgment and your statements are not ruled by emotions. This is especially important when mentioning such things as religious beliefs, sexuality, mental health, or race. Finally, when you want to mention other people, it’s recommended to protect their identity and use different names instead.

  • Planning the Essay

Once you’ve picked your topic, you can start writing. Usually, personal essays are quite short – approximately 400 words. This means that you need to be as concise as possible and saying only things that are worth to be heard. One thing that is important about a reflective essay is being sincere in it. If it’s a factor that decides the destiny of your education, you can’t make up facts that might harm you in the future. For example, saying that you were a captain of your school volleyball team and the school president while you were none of them, will bring you only troubles. Instead, try to find something positive about yourself because you’re bound to have something. Tell about a challenge you’ve managed to conquer or struggles you’ve overcome to achieve a goal and this will be enough. Don’t try to paint a pretty picture because your true self is already valuable enough.

  • Opening the Story

“My name is…”, “The best moment in my life was…”, or “One memory that I’ll always cherish is…” may seem like good opening statements but they are not. At least, they are not for an adult who’s writing a personal essay. They are plain and predictable – two things you should watch out for in your writing.

An alternative opening is starting to describe your story without any introduction. For example, “The wind was gusting in my ears. I was standing on the edge of the bridge feeling the shivers running through my whole body. The moment of truth has finally come.” By doing so, you’ll create an intrigue, and the reader won’t even second guess whether they should continue – they will be eager to find out what happens next.

  • Creative Approach

Even though you need to be true in your essay, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take a creative approach. Try to think out of the box and avoid clichés. There are so many similar essays that the admission committee has to read that your chances don’t grow any better if you submit something that has already been said. There is always a way to describe even most mundane things in an interesting way. You just need to find your own personal style and not try to mimic someone else.

  • Ending the Essay

Finishing your essay might end up being even harder than starting it because where do you set a full stop in the story of your life? In this case, focus on the specific subject you’re writing about. For example, if you’re writing about how you’re learned a foreign language by yourself, finish by describing the first time you had a conversation with a native speaker. If you write about how you overcame bullying in your school, describe how you helped someone else. Don’t just finish with a chronological order of events. You need to highlight why this experience was useful and what you got from it for yourself and possibly for others.

  • Receive Feedback

Once you think you’re done with the practical part of writing, make sure you have a third party to give their honest opinion. At first, your essay might seem perfect for you, but that’s due to the fact that after working so long on it, you can’t judge it in an unbiased manner. For this, you need someone who has not been involved in the writing process. Ideally, this role should be fulfilled by someone who knows you well, whether it’s a parent, a close friend, or a teacher you’ve been working with. They should be able to tell if your essay is a true representation of you and what changes you should make.

A few writing tips for you to discover all peculiarities of personal essay format

The biggest chance to be asked to write a personal essay is either during your college admission period or when applying for a job. Bringing a short autobiographical story is a common experience among employers and college committees. Here, you should clearly depict who you are and include all the details about your character, achievements, and hobbies – everything that can be relevant to the particular situation. Eventually, you are obliged to fulfill one goal – make an essay in a way that it will convince your admission officer or the employer to confirm your application.

The structure of your essay should be similar to any conventional essay with five paragraphs. You begin with the introduction, where you present your idea and make the reader interested in the further reading. Be sure that you end your first paragraph with a thesis statement – the key idea of the essay that you will prove during the entire main body. The next three paragraphs must consist of arguments, where you will support your thesis with different examples. Take into account that you actually sell yourself that means you have to introduce your description from the best sides. Finally, conclusions should repeat your thesis statement and briefly restate the reasons why you fit the position perfectly.

In case you find it difficult to compose a personal essay, here are a few helpful tips that will boost your writing process and make it more clear for you to get along with an essay format.


You should learn the main components of every paper to have no problems with the writing process and devote this extra time to more urgent tasks. Remember, you begin with the introduction that should end with a thesis statement. Then, continue with the main body and the description itself. The conclusions should contain no additional information and focus mainly on the existing material, restating the main idea and confirming the thesis statement.


It is necessary to start writing when you know what you will create and how. This is not possible if you are out of any inspiration. The best treatment for this situation is brainstorming. Think about everything that you can associate the subject of the writing with. Write your thoughts down and do not miss even the tiniest one. Remember, your own smallest idea is hundred times better than even the greatest one that has been already used.


Even though you think your grammar skills do not require any additional help, it is always beneficial to look through your handbooks to check if you remember all the necessary rules and exclusions indeed. Your grammar skills may be a bit outdated, so a quick refreshment will be quite a useful activity.


The vocabulary you apply, the way that you write, and even the mistakes you make must be unique. Wear your heart on your sleeve when you write a personal essay. Not only will it help you to get the desired place in a company or a college, but will also show your true emotions towards your inner character as well as what should be improved if you want to achieve the best.


As soon as you have finished your writing, it is recommended to take a break for a short period and get back to your essay later. Once you are ready, you may start editing and checking the composition. Punctuation, grammar, and style are three main aspects that require your attention. If you have a possibility to let somebody check your article, it will be a perfect way to eradicate all the unnecessary mistakes easily and efficiently.

More Tips:

  • Imagine you have three wishes

Trying to imagine yourself as an omnipotent being, even temporarily, is an interesting exercise in morality, priorities, and imagination. Will you be an altruist or spend all the wishes on yourself? Will your wishes have long-term consequences? Good answers to these questions are sure to impress the application office.

  • Think of a place that holds special significance to you

Our emotions and memories are often tied to physical spaces. Is there a spot that never fails to make you feel comfortable? Describe why and add some instance of you going there to calm down and relax.

  • Tell something embarrassing about yourself.

This is not the most pleasant thing to make an essay about. Nevertheless, writing about an uncomfortable topic might prompt you to be more open and honest than you’d be otherwise. Don’t be afraid that the panel members will judge you. They are human too. Just make sure to show that you’ve used the negative experience to draw positive conclusions.
Writing about oneself is hard, but hopefully, these prompts will help you create an excellent essay.

  • The first meeting between you and an important person in your life

Obviously, this cannot be a member of your family, because you met them when you were too young to form an opinion. You can talk about a teacher that influenced you or your best friend. The retrospective will add a reflective quality to your writing and make you sound sophisticated!

  • Describe a moment of remarkable bravery

Even the most boring people in the world have done something interesting at least once in their lives. Choose a moment when you had to overcome your fears to do the right thing. That will demonstrate that you are aware of your weakness but ready to attempt things despite them.

  • Tell about a loss in your life

Sad moments define us just as the happy ones do. A tale of losing someone important to you tells more about you and the way you deal with many of life’s situations than you might think. Just please don’t write about how you were sad Prince died unless his music defines you as a person. Try to stay sincere and serious.

Finally, the key to writing a good personal essay is just writing it the way you feel right. You are a unique human being like every other person so if you just stay true to yourself, you’ll end up with an equally unique essay. Hopefully, these tips will help you to polish your ticket to college and make your journey easier.

Good luck!

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