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Tips for crafting a compelling and authentic personal essay.

How to write an essay about yourself

Writing an essay about yourself can be a daunting task, but when done right, it can be a powerful tool to showcase who you are and what makes you unique. Whether you’re applying for college, a scholarship, or a job, a well-crafted essay can help you stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

When writing a personal essay, it’s important to strike a balance between being informative and engaging. You want to provide the reader with insight into your background, experiences, and goals, while also keeping them interested and invested in your story. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of writing a compelling essay about yourself, from brainstorming ideas to polishing your final draft.

Essential Tips for Crafting

When crafting a compelling essay about yourself, it is important to think about your audience and what message you want to convey. Here are some essential tips to help you create an engaging and authentic essay:

Understand who will be reading your essay and tailor your content to resonate with them. Consider their interests, values, and expectations.
Avoid embellishments or exaggerations. Be truthful and genuine in your storytelling to create a strong connection with your readers.
Showcase what sets you apart from others. Share your skills, experiences, and values that make you a compelling individual.
Paint a vivid picture with descriptive language and specific examples. Engage the senses of your readers to make your story come alive.
Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Edit ruthlessly to refine your message and ensure it flows smoothly.

A Powerful Personal Essay

Writing a powerful personal essay is a way to express your unique voice and share your personal experiences with the world. By weaving together your thoughts, emotions, and reflections, you can create a compelling narrative that resonates with your audience. To craft a powerful personal essay, start by reflecting on your own experiences and exploring the themes that matter to you. Pay attention to the details and emotions that make your story come alive. Be honest and vulnerable in your writing, as authenticity is key to connecting with your readers. Additionally, consider the structure of your essay and how you can effectively organize your thoughts to engage your audience from beginning to end. By following these tips and staying true to your voice, you can create a powerful personal essay that leaves a lasting impact on your readers.

Choose a Unique Aspect

When writing an essay about yourself, it’s important to focus on a unique aspect of your personality or experiences that sets you apart from others. This could be a specific skill, talent, or life experience that has had a significant impact on your life. By choosing a unique aspect to highlight, you can make your essay more compelling and memorable to the reader. It’s important to showcase what makes you different and showcase your individuality in a way that will capture the reader’s attention.

of Your Personality

When writing about your personality, it’s important to showcase your unique traits and qualities. Describe what sets you apart from others, whether it’s your creativity, resilience, sense of humor, or compassion. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate these characteristics and provide insight into who you are as a person.

Highlight your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses – this shows self-awareness and honesty. Discuss how your personality has evolved over time and mention any experiences that have had a significant impact on shaping who you are today. Remember to be authentic and genuine in your portrayal of yourself as this will make your essay more compelling and engaging to the reader.

Reflect Deeply on

When writing an essay about yourself, it is crucial to take the time to reflect deeply on your life experiences, values, beliefs, and goals. Consider the events that have shaped you into the person you are today, both positive and negative. Think about your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and interests, and how they have influenced your decisions and actions. Reflecting on your personal journey will help you uncover meaningful insights that can make your essay more compelling and authentic.

Take the time Reflect on your life experiences
Consider events Both positive and negative
Think about Your strengths and weaknesses
Reflecting will help Uncover meaningful insights

Your Life Experiences

Your Life Experiences

When it comes to writing an essay about yourself, one of the most compelling aspects to focus on is your life experiences. These experiences shape who you are and provide unique insights into your character. Reflect on significant moments, challenges you’ve overcome, or memorable events that have had a lasting impact on your life.

  • Consider discussing pivotal moments that have influenced your beliefs and values.
  • Share personal anecdotes that highlight your strengths and resilience.
  • Explore how your life experiences have shaped your goals, aspirations, and ambitions.

By sharing your life experiences in your essay, you can showcase your individuality and demonstrate what sets you apart from others. Be genuine, reflective, and honest in recounting the events that have shaped your journey and contributed to the person you are today.

Create a Compelling

When crafting an essay about yourself, it is essential to create a compelling narrative that captures the attention of the reader from the very beginning. Start by brainstorming unique and engaging personal experiences or qualities that you want to highlight in your essay. Consider including vivid anecdotes, insightful reflections, and impactful moments that showcase your character and achievements. Remember to be authentic and sincere in your writing, as this will resonate with your audience and make your essay more relatable. By creating a compelling narrative, you can effectively communicate your story and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Narrative Structure

The narrative structure is crucial when writing an essay about yourself. It helps to create a compelling and engaging story that showcases your unique qualities and experiences. Start by introducing the main theme or message you want to convey in your essay. Then, build a coherent storyline that highlights significant events or moments in your life. Use descriptive language and vivid details to bring your story to life and make it more relatable to the readers. Include a clear beginning, middle, and end to ensure that your essay follows a logical progression and captivates the audience throughout.

Emphasize the lessons you’ve learned from your experiences and how they have shaped your character and outlook on life. Connect these insights to your personal growth and development, demonstrating your resilience, determination, and self-awareness. End your essay on a reflective note, highlighting the impact of your journey on who you are today and what you aspire to achieve in the future. By following a strong narrative structure, you can craft a captivating essay that showcases your authenticity and leaves a lasting impression on the readers.

Highlight Your

When writing an essay about yourself, it is essential to highlight your unique qualities and experiences that set you apart from others. Consider including personal anecdotes, achievements, strengths, and challenges that have shaped your identity. Focus on showcasing your authenticity and individuality to make your essay compelling and engaging.

Share meaningful stories from your life that reflect your values, beliefs, or character.
Highlight your accomplishments, whether academic, professional, or personal, to demonstrate your skills and dedication.
Discuss your strengths and talents, such as leadership, creativity, or problem-solving abilities, to showcase your positive attributes.
Describe any significant obstacles you have overcome and how they have shaped your resilience and growth.

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Essays About Myself: Top 5 Essay Examples Plus Prompts

We are all unique individuals, each with traits, skills, and qualities we should be proud of. Here are examples and prompts on essays about myself .

It is good to reflect on ourselves from time to time. When applying for university or a new job, you may be asked to write about yourself to give the institution a better picture of yourself. Self-understanding and reflection are essential if you want to make a compelling argument for yourself.

Reflect on your life: look back on the people you’ve met, the places you’ve been, and the experiences you’ve had, and think about how they have shaped you into the person you have become today. Think of the bigger picture and be sure to consider who you are based on what others think and say about you, not just who you think you are. 

If you are tasked with the prompt, “essays about myself,” keep reading to see some essay examples.

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1. It’s My Life by Ann Smith

2. how i see myself by leticia woods, 3. the truth about myself by madeline dyer, 4. what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves by sandra brossman, 5. a letter to myself by gladys mclaughlin, 1. introducing yourself, 2. describing your strengths and weaknesses, 3. what sets you apart from others, 4. your beliefs and values, 5. an experience that has defined you as a person, 6. what family means to you, 7. your favorite pasttime.

“Sure, I’ve had bad experiences in my life too, but this is exactly what made me the way I am now: grateful, full of love, with a desire to study well because it will help me become a successful person in future and have a high quality of life. I believe that it is manifesting day by day and I feel even more responsibility for what I do and where I go. With all I already have, I know that I’m on the right path and I will do my best to inspire others to live the way they feel like living as well.”

In her essay, Smith describes her interests, habits, and qualities. She writes that she is sociable, enthusiastic about studying, and friendly. She also touches on others’ opinions of her- that she is funny. One of Smith’s hobbies is photography, which allowed her to meet her best friend. She aims to study hard so she can be successful on whatever path she may follow, and inspire others to live their best life. 

“It is this drive that will carry me through my degree program and allow me to absorb the education that I receive and develop solid practical applications from this knowledge. I feel that I will eventually become highly successful in my chosen field because my past has clearly shown my commitment to excellence in every endeavor that I have chosen. Because I remain incredibly focused and committed for future success, I know that my future will be as rewarding as my past.”

Woods discusses how her identity helps her achieve her career goals. First, her commitment to her education is a great asset. Second, prior education and her service in the US Air Force allowed her to learn much about life, the world, and herself, and she was able to learn about different cultures. She believes that experience, devotion, and knowledge will allow her to achieve her dreams. 

“I’m getting better as I recover from the brain inflammation which caused my OCD, but I want to have a day like that. A day where I can relax and enjoy life fully again. A day where I haven’t a care in the world. And for that, I need to be kind to myself. I need to relax and remove any pressure I place on myself.”

Dyer reflects on an important part of herself- her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Brain inflammation has made her a perfectionist, and she cannot relax. She is constantly compelled by an inner voice to do things she “should” be doing. She wants to be happy, and will try to shut off this voice by practicing self-affirmation. You might also be interested in these essays about discovering yourself .

“Believe it or not, forgiving YOURSELF is the most effective way to disengage from negative interactions with people.  We can only love and accept others to the degree that we love and accept ourselves.  When you make it a habit to learn from your relationships, eventually you will discover that you can observe negative traits within others without judgment and without getting hooked into someone else’s drama.”

In her essay, Brossman writes how we see what we desire for ourselves in others. Our relationships help us understand ourselves better; we see people’s bad qualities and criticize them, professing that we will not be like them. On the other hand, we see qualities we like and try to imitate them. To become a better version of yourself, you should learn from your relationships and emulate desirable qualities. 

“I never tell anyone that I am tired of work or study. Success will come to those who get up and go far. This is my life motto which always reminds me of how vital it is to be hard-working and resilient towards failures. I learn that no matter what others say (even mother and father) if their

thoughts contradict my goals, I don’t have to listen to them. Nobody will live your life, and nobody should tell you who you are and what you are.”

Mclaughlin writes a letter to her future self, explaining what she envisions for herself in the coming years. She writes about who she is now and describes her vision for how much better she will be in the future. She believes that she will have great encounters that will teach her about life, a loving, kind family, and an independent spirit that will triumph over all her struggles

Writing Prompts For Essays About Myself

Essays About Myself: Introducing yourself

Write a basic description of yourself; describe where you live, your school or job, and your family and friends. You should also give readers a glimpse of your personality- are you outgoing, shy, or sporty? If you want to write more, you can also briefly explain your hobbies, interests, and skills. 

Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. Reflect on what you are good at and what you can improve on and select 1-2 from each to write about. Discuss what you can do to work on your weaknesses and improve yourself. 

An essential part of yourself is your uniqueness; for a strong essay about “myself,” think about beliefs, qualities, or values that set you apart from others. Write about one or more, but be sure to explain your choices clearly. You can write about what separates you in the context of your family, friend group, culture, or even society as a whole. 

Your beliefs and values are at the core of your being, as they guide the decisions you make every day. Discuss some of your basic beliefs and values and explain why they are important to you. For a stronger essay, be sure to explain how you use these in day-to-day life; give concrete examples of situations in which these beliefs and values are used. 

We are all shaped by our past experiences. Reflect on an experience, whether that be an achievement, setback, or just a fun memory, and explain its significance to you. Retell the story in detail and describe how it has impacted you and helped make you the person you are today. 

Essays About Myself: What family means to you?

More often than not, family plays a big role in forming us. To give readers a better idea of your identity, describe your idea of family. Discuss its significance, impact, and role in your life. You may also choose to write about how your family has helped shape you into who you are. This should be based on personal experience; refrain from using external sources to inspire you.

Our likes and dislikes are an important part of who we are as well; in your essay, discuss a hobby of yours, preferably one you have been interested in for a long period of time, and explain why you enjoy it so much. You should also write about how it has helped you become yourself and made you a better person.  

Grammarly is one of our top grammar checkers. Find out why in this Grammarly review . If you’re stuck picking your next essay topic, check out our round-up of essay topics about education .

examples of an essay about yourself

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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How to Write an Essay About Yourself

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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

Read more: How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)

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:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Learning to balance school and work responsibilities
  • Honing communication skills
  • Developing writing skills
  • Fostering a passion for my school community
  • Learning to meet deadlines and balance responsibilities
  • Learning to balance school and volunteer responsibilities
  • 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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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? 

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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.

Don’t miss:  How to respond to the Common App essay prompts

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.

Also recommended: How to write a 500 word essay

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.

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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!

Related:  Overview of common scholarship essay prompts

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How to Write a Short Essay About Yourself: Step-By-Step

Updated 06/4/2022

Published 06/19/2020

Yvonne Bertovich

Yvonne Bertovich

Contributing writer

Learn how to write about yourself with confidence, including step-by-step instructions and examples of things to write about yourself.

Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure .

Writing or even talking about yourself may not come easily to you. However, for professional or educational reasons, it’s often a necessity. There are other instances when writing about yourself may make more sense, as you can provide the rawest and most honest perspective.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Steps for writing about yourself, tips for writing about yourself creatively or confidently.

  • Examples of Things to Write About Yourself

You should feel empowered—not intimidated—in taking on a writing project about yourself. Use it as a way to challenge how you view your own experiences, talents, and more. We’ll discuss some steps for writing about yourself as well as provide a few examples.  

Writing isn’t for everyone, especially when it’s required. As much as you may dislike it, following the steps below can help the process go that much more smoothly.

If you find that following a different order than what we’ve recommended for you works better for your process, feel free to adjust accordingly. 

Step 1: Determine your purpose 

What’s causing you to write this “thing” about yourself? What exactly are you writing? It may surprise you that people write all kinds of pieces for themselves—even writing your own obituary isn’t out of the question anymore. 

The more specific you can get with yourself about your purpose will help the rest of the process. If it’s something stressful, like a college admission essay or a cover letter, try to frame the project in a different light. 

For example, “I’m writing this essay to show people my heart and how passionate I am about removing disparities and barriers in healthcare. I believe in my abilities, and I want to further my education, so I can help heal people.”

Step 2: Ask yourself some questions 

For any good piece of writing, there has to be fact behind it (if even these facts are abstract in narrative or fiction). The best way to gather facts about any subject is to ask a variety of questions, both soft- and hard-hitting. 

You may ask these questions internally, during research, or directly and literally. Treat this question step as a self-interview.

Here are some questions to ask yourself . You may also ask yourself:

  • What is my goal of writing this piece?
  • What themes or ideas do I want to focus on?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are some important lessons I’ve learned?
  • What do I want others to know or understand about me?

Step 3: Organize your answers 

After asking yourself the example questions above as well as others, you should be sure to write down your answers and begin organizing them if you haven’t already. 

It may be tempting to just answer your own questions in your head as you go—but don’t. This will just make the writing step more difficult. You may think that you’ll remember every good point or profound thought you come up with, but memory is a tricky thing. 

If you’re working through your questions during a time when you’re not ready or able to sit down and type or scribble them out, at least make some notes in your phone or in a journal so you can have some descriptive hints for later. No matter how big of an epiphany you may have, it’s possible you’ll forget it. 

Step 4: Write a draft 

If your ideas are already fairly organized, writing your draft should come fairly easily to you. The draft process, however, is when you can start spicing things up with anecdotes, your own personal voice, themes, metaphors—all that fun stuff. The point in you writing something about yourself for yourself is for the very reason that you can make it unquestionably you .

Dull, watered-down words or even over-hyped language from a thesaurus plug-in isn’t going to impress anyone. Writing something about yourself (unless the assignment is creative or unorthodox) isn’t the time to act like something you’re not.

All of this being said, don’t stress yourself out too much. Letting your ideas flow freely and then editing or revising them later is how you should approach the process anyway. You don’t want to put too many restrictions on your ideas from the get-go. Warring with yourself about your ideas while writing is only going to tire you out sooner. 

Think about it—you may spend hours trying to write a piece while overthinking that’s no better than a draft you could have written in 30 minutes on the fly. Not being totally in love with your first draft is normal. It just allows you that much more room to improve. 

Step 5: Put your progress aside

Much like during the draft process, it’s very possible to overthink your work after it’s mostly done. If you constantly keep re-reading it or rehashing your ideas in your head, they may start to sound odd, or you may try to add where you need to trim. 

For example, the same concept applies to repeating the same word over and over aloud — it’ll likely start to sound strange or even wrong the more you hear it. This also applies to music — ever play a song you love over and over till you hate it? 

You need to give your words and your brain some time to rest away from each other until you try to make any drastic edits or changes. That being said, you may love what you’ve written already and decide you don’t need to change a thing—that’s great!

Step 6: Review and edit

After your break, you can pick up your writing once again. Read it with a critical eye. Go back and think deeply about your purpose and any provided prompts. Have you answered everything you intended to or are required to?

It’s not uncommon—though devastating—to write an entire piece only to realize you wrote from the wrong frame of reference or focused on the wrong issue. For example, if you were asked to write about a challenge you overcame in your life by following an important virtue, but you only wrote about winning a basketball championship and not the struggle behind it, this may miss the mark. 

If you find a good number of issues in your work, don’t feel tempted to scrap the entire thing. What may work instead is to copy and paste your writing line-by-line into a new document. This way, you can save as much as possible while being sure to resolve even small discrepancies.

Step 7: Finalize your work

After you’ve undergone the brutal process of self-editing (or enlisting help from someone else you trust) you can prepare yourself for the home stretch. Finalizing your work shouldn’t take very long.

Y our process may differ; however, it’ll likely come down to reading over your work a few more times just to make sure you haven’t missed words, punctuation, or proper grammar. 

It’s OK to use this step to feel proud of yourself, too. You may not take a lot of time to reflect on your life and everything you’ve been through—it’s important to practice self-love in this way and celebrate your accomplishments.

Talking or writing about yourself may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For example, did you need to provide a fun fact recently but draw a blank? You’re not alone. In fact, many people have a false assumption that they’re boring. 

On the flip side, perhaps you’re used to talking about yourself, or, at least you’ve got the “fake it till you make it” type of confidence down-pat. However, you too can only benefit from adding a bit more razzle-dazzle to your spiels and writing assignments. Here are a few tips for writing about yourself creatively or confidently.  

Allow yourself space

If you have an upcoming project or writing assignment that has you on edge, consider stepping away. Even if you don’t consider yourself an outdoorsy person, a walk around the block may help you breathe and get your creativity flowing. Naturally, the more sound your idea or angle, the more confident you’ll feel about your upcoming performance.  

Keep that ego in check

An underinflated ego is just as bad as an overinflated one. Pay close attention to your internal dialogue when approaching new projects or writing tasks (or, honestly anything that comes up during your day). How much of what swirls around in your mind is fact? How much of it is just fleeting thoughts or opinions? You are not your thoughts, and you always have choices. Make good ones and be kind to yourself. 

Try this: Instead of thinking to yourself, “Wow, this is a really complex writing assignment. I can’t do this.” Or, “How am I ever going to get into my dream school with this essay? I’m not a strong writer.” 

Change your internal dialogue to, “I have good ideas. I may not have my plan figured out right now, but I’ll get it done,” or, “I have so many great skills to bring to the table and I am very passionate about what’s brought me here. I will convey this the best I can.”

Crowdsource

Sometimes an outside opinion can give us much-needed perspective. Ask your friends, family, loved ones, or coworkers to describe you in a few words or even in abstract ways. Don’t view this as you’re fishing for compliments. Ask your loved ones for honesty, as this insight can only help you when writing about yourself. 

Build up a fuel bank

Pulling inspiration out of thin air may not always be possible. However, if you build up a few reliable sources of inspiration, the next time a project hits, you’ll be prepared. You can fuel your creativity and confidence in a variety of ways. 

For example, you can create certain playlists for different moods, save favorite art or graphics in a digital folder or keep printed versions in your home or office, write down affirmations or notes-to-self in a journal or app, and so on. 

Reflect on past accomplishments and setbacks

Even if you aren’t a fan of journaling, writing about yourself is far easier if you take the time to reflect, if only mentally. If you know you have a deadline to write about yourself in the near future, you may want to physically or mentally jot down a few real-life examples or experiences that come to mind. 

But how do you get in the right headspace to reflect? What if you only witness recurring thoughts about past events while trying to fall asleep? Be sure to practice the first tip in this section: Give yourself some space to think. For once, limit the distractions, keep all other screens put away or turn on your "do not disturb" feature.

Now, think about some past accomplishments or setbacks that may not even seem relevant to the topic of the assignment. You may have an epiphany about unrelated things or discover something about how you operate. For example, you might realize that you feel less nervous in social and professional settings if you call out your anxiety as being excited. 

Examples of Writing About Yourself

Even if you feel super confident about writing about yourself now, we wanted to provide a few short examples to help you get started. Your tone, word choice, and more may differ depending on which piece you’re working on.

Here are some tips for writing or publishing your life story you may also find helpful. 

In a memoir or essay

Those were probably the best and the worst days of my life. I had never felt more happy and never felt more sad. I felt as though I were so close to having everything I had ever wanted, yet it seemed with every step forward, I had to take two steps back. It was exhausting. How did I get through it? To be quite honest, I have no damn idea. 

Perspective helped. I knew I could have had it way worse; I knew that my struggle wasn’t unique. I knew, too, that even when the small wins would come they’d have yet another loss right on their tails. I paid dearly for having too much heart and optimism, so I regularly had to hose myself down with logic and pessimism. 

On your blog or website

If you’re reading this, it’s too late. Just kidding! That’s just a really good Drake album. I wanted to take some time to talk about what’s been going on in my life lately for those of you who are nosey enough to care. Again, kidding, I know some of you really care. I’m so grateful to have even this small following that I have. It’s wild, really. Who would have thought that people want to know what’s going on in my head at any given time? Joke’s on you guys, though, because I don’t fully know all the time. 

I guess I’ll start off by saying that work has been a whirlwind. As you all know, it isn’t an easy time for anyone, so please don’t take this declaration as a complaint. I’m thrilled to still have a job despite everything going on. However, leaving this reflection at just that would be doing both myself and you all a disservice. It’s weak. It doesn’t really describe what’s been going on. Allow me to continue.  

In a college essay

When I was young, my grandmother told me I couldn’t please everyone — that some people just wouldn’t like me for no reason at all. This was very hard for me to swallow at times. What does this have to do with who I am today and why I plan to attend your university? 

Well, this early lesson demonstrates that in order for this world to keep spinning, we all have to be unwavering in our own pursuits. We are ourselves. We can’t be anyone else. In that, we all have the responsibility to bring our unique talents, wisdom, and heart to the table — even when we’re seated across from people who may not like us. 

Sometimes Only You Can Do It

Writing about yourself may always be challenging for you, but who better to do so than who knows you best? If you work through the process in every situation and give yourself some patience, there’s no question that you can’t craft something amazing. You may also be interested in this article about how to write family stories .

Your written words mean more than you think. This becomes a part of your legacy when you're gone, and it's one of the ways you'll be remembered. While many families choose custom urns from Foreverence or even to craft memorial diamonds from Eterneva , your words are something that live after you're gone.

While it might not seem natural at first, learning to write about yourself, your perspective, and your experiences carries a lot of significance. Who knows who might read these words when you're gone?

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9 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself

You know yourself better than anyone else, but writing about yourself can still be tough! When applying for scholarships or to college, essay prompts  can feel so general (and yet so specific!) that they leave us stumped.  So we’ll show you 8 tips to write an essay about yourself, so that you can land more scholarships. (Psst – Going Merry makes applying easy .)

1. Create a List of Questions

2. brainstorm and outline, 3. be vulnerable, 4. use personal examples, 5. write in the first person, 6. don’t be afraid to show off…but stay on topic, 7. show personality , 8. know your audience, 9. proofread and edit.

Let’s start with some examples of personal essay prompts:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Describe a challenge or event that made you who you are today.
  • What are your short and long-term goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
  • Write about a time you failed at something. How did it affect you?

These are just a few of many scholarship essay prompts that require you to look internally, to answer a question, solve a problem, or explain a scenario in your life.  

We get it. You might not be a big fan of bragging about yourself, or you might want to keep your personal stories to yourself. But by opening up and sharing your story, you can show scholarship providers, colleges and universities who you are, and why you’re deserving of their scholarship.

(Don’t just take our word for it – check out our scholarship winners page full of students like you who were brave enough to share their stories with us).

how to write an essay about yourself

To get started, check out these 9 tips on how to write an essay about yourself:

After reading through the scholarship essay prompt, breathe, and make a list of smaller questions you can answer, which relate to the big essay prompt question. 

Let’s say the main essay prompt question asks you, “What were challenges or barriers you had to work to overcome?” Then the smaller questions might be something like:

  • What is your background? Family, finances, school.
  • What was challenging about that background?
  • What’s your greatest accomplishment? How did you get there? How have previous challenges influenced your goals?

Think of these questions as mini-prompts. They explain your story and help you answer the main essay prompt with more details than if you just answered it without a plan in place.

After considering smaller questions, it’s time to brainstorm your answers.  Take out a pen and paper – or open up a document on a computer – and take your time in answering each mini-prompt. Organize your responses in order:

  • Intro to main essay prompt.
  • Answer about 3 mini-prompt questions.
  • Conclude by rewriting the answer to the main essay prompt with a summary of your mini-prompt answers.

This organization will help you stay on topic and answer the prompt directly. (Or check out these 6 scholarship essay examples for alternative essay structures.)

Don’t be afraid to let your strengths, challenges, and personal stories shine through in your essay! Scholarship and admissions committees love to see that you’re self-aware how you can improve as a person, or how you’ve grown because of your experiences. Honest writing can help tell the best stories (in this case, YOUR story).

how to write an essay about yourself

Since this essay is all about you , you should make your answer as specific as possible! Avoid using generalizations (e.g., “I’m really good at music). Instead, go for more personalized statements (e.g., “My fourth-grade teacher Ms. Matay really inspired me to pursue my interest in the clarinet”). Your personal examples are what will help your scholarship essay stand out among the thousands of applicants..

 You’re telling your story, so write from your perspective! You can narrate your story. You can provide an overview of what you learned from your experiences. However you choose to answer the prompt, we recommend writing in an active tone, and using “I” and “me” throughout your essay.

Most students worry about bragging in their essay, but we say go for it! This is your time to shine, so highlight your accomplishments and strengths.  Review your essay to make sure that you’re keeping the tone informative and that you’re still on topic. (Brag while answering the essay prompt; don’t just mention random, unrelated but impressive facts about yourself!)You can use this brag sheet where you can brainstorm your accomplishments. While the worksheet is geared toward requesting letters of recommendation , you can still use it to write out your hobbies, interests, college list , and strengths to help you answer your scholarship essay prompt.

how to write an essay about yourself

Just because it’s an essay doesn’t mean it has to be dry and boring. This essay is all about you, so let your personality shine through. If you’re the class clown, you can use a bit of humor. If you wear your heart on your sleeve, don’t be afraid to show emotion. Trying your best to express who you are as a person will have a huge effect on the admissions or scholarship committee!

If you’re applying for a scholarship, research the scholarship provider. If you’re applying to college, research the school. Understanding what makes the provider/college unique and what their motivations are, will allow you to incorporate that information in your essay. For example, many scholarships are funded by private companies that sell products. You might want to reference those products in your essay. A good example of this is Emily Trader’s essay for the Life Happens organization , where she uses her personal narrative to explain the importance of insurance planning, since that is the mission of the organization (which is funded by insurance companies).

The last step in answering your essay prompt is to double-check your work! One typo can be distracting and cause scholarship providers to scratch their head while reading the essay. ( Psst, humble brag: Going Merry’s application platform includes spellcheck because we’ve got your back .) In addition to proofreading for typos and grammatical errors, also consider whether the sentence or paragraph structure makes sense. Are you breaking paragraphs in the right place? Are you using topic sentences well to signpost your main ideas? Does the essay flow? Consider these “bigger” structural questions too.  You might also want to ask a friend, family member, teacher, or guidance counselor to review your essay. They might catch something you didn’t see the first time around, and that can really help your essay! In fact, that is scholarship winner Daniel Gill ’s #1 tip. (Another tip is to apply for scholarships using Going Merry !)

how to write an essay about yourself

Also, check out this helpful list of the 10 most common scholarship essay topics while you’re brainstorming!

Top 10 Most Common Scholarship Essay Prompts Graphic

Now that you know how to write an essay about yourself, it’s time to start applying for scholarships! Remember: You’ve got this. 

Sign up for your free Going Merry profile . From there, you can easily upload and submit your essay for thousands of scholarships. We make it easy so you’ll only need to enter your profile information once! And then, you can apply away. In fact, we even have some bundled scholarships so that you only enter your essay once, to apply for multiple scholarships at the same time.

Or if you’re not ready to register, simply sign up to receive an email with 20 new scholarship opportunities each week. Just enter your email address below:

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Myself — About Myself

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Essay Examples About Myself

Engaging prompts for your essay about myself.

Prompt 1: Describe a moment in your life that significantly influenced your personal development. How did it shape the person you are today?

Prompt 2: What are your major achievements, and why do you consider them as such? Discuss what these achievements reveal about your character and values.

Prompt 3: Reflect on a challenge you've faced. How did you overcome it, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

Brainstorming and Choosing a Unique Essay About Myself Topic

Brainstorming is crucial for uncovering unique aspects of your story. Reflect on memorable experiences, achievements, and lessons learned to find a central theme or unique angle for your essay.

Unique Essay Topics Beyond the Common Narratives

  • The Intersection of Personal Adversity and Academic Pursuit
  • From Hobby to Purpose
  • Cultural Heritage and Identity
  • Innovation in Solitude
  • Navigating the World as a Neurodiverse Individual

Inspirational Writing Samples for Your Essay About Myself

"Facing the mountain, I felt an unprecedented mix of fear and exhilaration. Climbing had always been a metaphor for my life's challenges. Each step upward mirrored my journey of overcoming [specific challenge], teaching me resilience, focus, and the importance of trust. Through this experience, I discovered that perseverance, even in the face of uncertainty, is the key to surmounting obstacles."

Phrases for Inspiration:

  • "Transforming setbacks into comebacks, I learned..."
  • "In the crucible of [experience], I forged..."
  • "Navigating the intricate tapestry of [situation] revealed to me..."
  • "The confluence of [event] and my response to it underscored the importance of..."
  • "Drawing from the well of my experiences, I find strength in..."

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examples of an essay about yourself

Examples

Self-Introduction Essay

Self introduction essay generator.

examples of an essay about yourself

A Self Introduction Essay is a window into your personality, goals, and experiences. Our guide, supplemented with varied essay examples , offers insights into crafting a compelling narrative about yourself. Ideal for college applications, job interviews, or personal reflections, these examples demonstrate how to weave your personal story into an engaging essay. Learn to highlight your strengths, aspirations, and journey in a manner that captivates your readers, making your introduction not just informative but also memorable.

What is Self Introduction Essay? A self-introduction essay is a written piece where you describe yourself in a personal and detailed way. It’s a way to introduce who you are, including your name, background, interests, achievements, and goals. This type of essay is often used for college or job applications, allowing others to get to know you better. It’s an opportunity to showcase your personality, experiences, and what makes you unique. Writing a self-introduction essay involves talking about your educational background, professional experiences if any, personal interests, and future aspirations. It’s a chance to highlight your strengths, achievements, and to share your personal story in a way that is engaging and meaningful.

Do you still remember the first time you’ve written an essay ? I bet you don’t even know it’s called an “essay” back then. And back then you might be wondering what’s the purpose such composition, and why are you writing something instead of hanging out with your friends.

Self-Introduction Essay Bundle

Download Self-Introduction Essay Bundle

Now, you probably are already familiar with the definition of an essay, and the basics of writing one. You’re also probably aware of the purpose of writing essays and the different writing styles one may use in writing a composition. Here, we will be talking about self-introduction essay, and look into different example such as personal essay which you may refer to.

Self Introduction Essay Format

Introduction.

Start with a hook: Begin with an interesting fact, a question, or a compelling statement about yourself to grab the reader’s attention. State your name and a brief background: Share your name, age, and where you’re from or what you currently do (student, job role).

Educational Background

Discuss your current or most recent educational experience: Mention your school, college, or university and your major or area of study. Highlight academic achievements or interests: Share any honors, awards, or special projects that are relevant to your personality or career goals.

Professional Background

Mention your current job or professional experiences: Briefly describe your role, company, or the type of work you do. Highlight relevant skills or achievements: Share experiences that showcase your abilities and contributions to your field.

Personal Interests and Goals

Share your hobbies or interests: Briefly describe activities you enjoy or passions you pursue outside of work or school. Discuss your short-term and long-term goals: Explain what you aim to achieve in the near future and your aspirations for the long term.
Summarize your strengths and what makes you unique: Reinforce key points about your skills, achievements, or character. Close with a statement on what you hope to achieve or contribute in your next role, educational pursuit, or personal endeavor.

Example of Self Introduction Essay in English

Hello! My name is Alex Johnson, a 21-year-old Environmental Science major at Green Valley University, passionate about sustainable living and conservation efforts. Raised in the bustling city of New York, I’ve always been fascinated by the contrast between urban life and the natural world, driving me to explore how cities can become more sustainable.   Currently, in my final year at Green Valley University, I’ve dedicated my academic career to understanding the complexities of environmental science. My coursework has included in-depth studies on renewable energy sources, water conservation techniques, and sustainable agriculture. I’ve achieved Dean’s List status for three consecutive years and led a successful campus-wide recycling initiative that reduced waste by 30%.   This past summer, I interned with the City Planning Department of New York, focusing on green spaces in urban areas. I worked on a project that aimed to increase the city’s green coverage by 10% over the next five years. This hands-on experience taught me the importance of practical solutions in environmental conservation and sparked my interest in urban sustainability.   Beyond academics, I’m an avid hiker and nature photographer, believing strongly in the power of visual storytelling to raise awareness about environmental issues. My goal is to merge my passion for environmental science with my love for photography to create impactful narratives that promote conservation.   In the future, I aspire to work for an NGO that focuses on urban sustainability, contributing to projects that integrate green spaces into city planning. I am also considering further studies in environmental policy, hoping to influence positive change on a global scale.   My journey from a curious city dweller to an aspiring environmental scientist has been driven by a deep passion for understanding and protecting our natural world. With a solid educational foundation and practical experience, I am eager to contribute to meaningful environmental conservation efforts. I believe that by combining scientific knowledge with creative communication, we can inspire a more sustainable future for urban areas around the globe.

Self Introduction Essay

Self Introduction Essay for Job

Self Introduction Essay for Job

Self Introduction Essay for Students

Self Introduction Essay for Students

Self Introduction Essay Example

Self Introduction Essay Template

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Self Introduction For College Students  Example

Self Introduction For College Students

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Simple Self Introduction For Job  Example

Self Introduction For Job

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Free Self Introduction For Kids  Example

Self Introduction For Kids

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Simple Self Introduction  Example

Simple Self Introduction

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Self Introduction For Freshers  Example

Self Introduction For Freshers

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Free Self Introduction For Interview  Example

Self Introduction For Interview

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Company Self Introduction Example

Company Self Introduction Template

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Self Introduction For First Day At Work Sample

Self Introduction For First Day At Work Sample

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Sample Self Introduction for Scholarship  Example

Self Introduction for Scholarship

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Free Self Introduction Sample  Example

Self Introduction Sample

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Creative Essay for Internship Example

Essay for Internship Example1

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What to Write in a Self-Introduction Essay

A self-introduction essay, as the name suggest, is an part of an essay containing the basic information about the writer.

In writing a self-introduction essay, the writer intends to introduce himself/herself by sharing a few personal information including the basics (e.g. name, age, hometown, etc.), his/her background information (e.g. family background, educational background, etc.), and interesting facts about him/her (e.g. hobbies, interests, etc). A self-introductory essay primarily aims to inform the readers about a few things regarding the writer. You may also see personal essay examples & samples

How to Write a Self-Introduction Essay

A self-introduction essay is, in most cases, written using the first-person point of view. As a writer, you simply need to talk about yourself and nothing more to a specific audience. You may also like  essay writing examples

A self-introduction essay can be easy to write, since all you have to do is to introduce yourself. However, one needs to avoid sounding like a robot or a person speaking in monotone. Of course, you need to make the composition interesting and engaging, instead of making it plain and bland. This is probably the main challenge of writing a self-introduction essay, and the first thing every writer needs to be aware of.

Free Essay Outline Worksheet Example

Essay Outline Worksheet Example

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Free Interesting Self Introduction for Student  Example

Self Introduction for Student

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Free Attractive Introduction Essay for Interview  Example

Introduction Essay for Interview

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Formal Self Introduction Expository  Example

Self Introduction Expository

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Uses of Self Introduction Essay

  • College Applications : Many universities and colleges ask for a self-introduction essay as part of the application process. This essay allows admissions officers to learn more about your personality, background, and aspirations beyond your grades and test scores.
  • Scholarship Applications : When applying for scholarships, a self-introduction essay can help you stand out. It’s an opportunity to share your achievements, experiences, and the reasons you deserve the scholarship.
  • Job Interviews : Preparing a self-introduction essay can be useful for job interviews. It helps you articulate your professional background, skills, and career goals clearly and confidently.
  • Networking : In professional networking situations, having a polished self-introduction essay can help you quickly share relevant information about yourself with potential employers, mentors, or colleagues.
  • Personal Reflection : Writing a self-introduction essay is a valuable exercise in self-reflection. It can help you understand your own goals, strengths, and weaknesses better.
  • Online Profiles : For personal or professional websites, social media, or portfolios, a self-introduction essay provides a comprehensive overview of who you are and what you offer, attracting potential connections or opportunities.

Tips for Writing a Self-Introduction Essay

A self-introduction essay might be one of the easiest essays to start. However, one needs to learn a few things to make the composition worth reading. You might find a lot of tips online on how to write a self-introduction essay, but here are some tips which you might find useful.

1. Think of a catchy title

The first thing that attracts readers is an interesting title, so create one.

2. Introduce yourself

You can create some guide questions to answer like: Who are you? What are your interests? What is your story? Simply talk about yourself like you’re talking to someone you just met.

3. Find a focus

Your life story is too broad, so focus on something, like: What makes you unique?

4. Avoid writing plainly

For example, instead of saying: ‘I like listening to classical music’, you can say: ‘My dad gave me an album containing classical music when I was five, and after listening to it, I was really captivated. I’ve loved it since then.’ You may also check out high school essay examples & samples

5. Simplify your work

Use simple words and language. Write clearly. Describe details vividly.

6. End it with a punch

You cannot just plainly say ‘The End’ at the last part. Create a essay conclusion which would leave an impression to your readers.

7. Edit your work

After wrapping up, take time to review and improve your work. You may also see informative essay examples & samples

What is a Creative Self Introduction Essay?

1. Choose a Theme or Metaphor:

Start with a theme or metaphor that reflects your personality or the message you want to convey. For example, you could compare your life to a book, a journey, or a puzzle.

2. Engaging Hook:

Begin with an attention-grabbing hook, such as a captivating anecdote, a thought-provoking question, a quote, or a vivid description.

3. Tell a Story:

Weave your self-introduction into a narrative or story that highlights your experiences, values, or defining moments. Storytelling makes your essay relatable and memorable.

4. Use Vivid Imagery:

Employ descriptive language and vivid imagery to paint a picture of your life and character. Help the reader visualize your journey.

5. Show, Don’t Tell:

Instead of simply listing qualities or achievements, demonstrate them through your storytelling. Show your resilience, creativity, or determination through the narrative.

6. Include Personal Anecdotes:

Share personal anecdotes that showcase your character, challenges you’ve overcome, or moments of growth.

7. Express Your Passions:

Discuss your passions, interests, hobbies, or aspirations. Explain why they are important to you and how they have influenced your life.

8. Reveal Vulnerability:

Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability or share setbacks you’ve faced. It adds depth to your story and demonstrates your resilience.

9. Highlight Achievements:

Mention significant achievements, awards, or experiences that have shaped your journey. Connect them to your personal growth and values.

10. Convey Your Personality:

Use humor, wit, or elements of your personality to make your essay unique and relatable. Let your voice shine through.

11. Share Future Aspirations:

Discuss your goals, dreams, and what you hope to achieve in the future. Explain how your experiences have prepared you for your next steps.

12. Conclude with a Message:

Wrap up your essay with a meaningful message or reflection that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

13. Revise and Edit:

After writing your initial draft, revise and edit your essay for clarity, coherence, and conciseness. Ensure it flows smoothly.

How do you write an introduction to a self essay?

1. Start with a Hook:

Begin with an engaging hook to capture the reader’s attention. This could be a personal anecdote, a thought-provoking question, a quote, or a vivid description. The hook should relate to the essay’s theme.

2. Introduce Yourself:

After the hook, introduce yourself by stating your name and any relevant background information, such as your age, place of origin, or current location. This helps provide context.

3. Establish the Purpose:

Clearly state the purpose of your self-essay. Explain why you are writing it and what you aim to convey. Are you introducing yourself for a job application, a college admission essay, or a personal blog? Make this clear.

4. Provide a Preview:

Offer a brief preview of the main points or themes you will address in the essay. This helps set expectations for the reader and gives them an overview of what to anticipate.

5. Share Your Thesis or Central Message:

In some self-essays, especially in academic or personal development contexts, you may want to state a central message or thesis about yourself. This is the core idea you’ll explore throughout the essay.

6. Express Your Voice:

Let your unique voice and personality shine through in the introduction. Write in a way that reflects your style and character. Avoid using overly formal or stilted language if it doesn’t align with your personality.

7. Be Concise:

Keep the introduction relatively concise. It should provide an overview without delving too deeply into the details. Save the in-depth discussions for the body of the essay.

8. Revise and Edit:

After writing the introduction, review it for clarity, coherence, and conciseness. Make sure it flows smoothly and leads naturally into the main body of the essay.

Here’s an example of an introduction for a self-essay:

“Standing at the threshold of my college years, I’ve often found myself reflecting on the journey that brought me here. I am [Your Name], a [Your Age]-year-old [Your Origin or Current Location], with a passion for [Your Interests]. In this self-essay, I aim to share my experiences, values, and aspirations as I enter this new chapter of my life. Through personal anecdotes and reflections, I hope to convey the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’m becoming. My central message is that [Your Central Message or Thesis]. Join me as I explore the highs and lows of my journey and what it means to [Your Purpose or Theme].”

What is a short paragraph of self introduction

“Hello, my name is [Your Name], and I am [Your Age] years old. I grew up in [Your Hometown] and am currently studying [Your Major or Grade Level] at [Your School or University]. I have always been passionate about [Your Interests or Hobbies], and I love exploring new challenges and experiences. In my free time, I enjoy [Your Activities or Hobbies], and I’m excited to be here and share my journey with all of you.”

How do I start my self introduction?

1. Greet the Audience:

Start with a warm and friendly greeting. This sets a positive tone and makes you approachable.

Example: “Good morning/afternoon/evening!”

2. State Your Name:

Clearly and confidently state your name. This is the most basic and essential part of any self-introduction.

Example: “My name is [Your Name].”

3. Provide Additional Background Information:

Depending on the context, you may want to share additional background information. Mention where you are from, your current location, or your job title, if relevant.

Example: “I’m originally from [Your Hometown], but I currently live in [Your Current Location].”

4. Express Enthusiasm:

Express your enthusiasm or eagerness to be in the situation or context where you are introducing yourself.

Example: “I’m thrilled to be here today…”

5. State the Purpose:

Clearly state the purpose of your self-introduction. Are you introducing yourself for a job interview, a social gathering, or a specific event? Make it clear why you are introducing yourself.

Example: “…to interview for the [Job Title] position.”

6. Offer a Brief Teaser:

Give a brief teaser or hint about what you’ll be discussing. This can generate interest and set the stage for the rest of the introduction.

Example: “I’ll be sharing my experiences as a [Your Profession] and how my background aligns with the requirements of the role.”

7. Keep It Concise:

Keep your introduction concise, especially in professional settings. You can provide more details as the conversation progresses.

8. Be Confident and Maintain Eye Contact:

Deliver your introduction with confidence and maintain eye contact with the audience or the person you’re addressing.

How can I start my self introduction example?

Hi, I’m [Your Name]. It’s a pleasure to meet all of you. I come from [Your Hometown], and today, I’m excited to tell you a bit about myself. I have a background in [Your Education or Profession], and I’m here to share my experiences, skills, and passions. But before I dive into that, let me give you a glimpse into the person behind the resume. So, here’s a little about me…”

For more insights on crafting a compelling self-introduction, the University of Nevada, Reno’s Writing & Speaking Center provides valuable resources. These can enhance your essay-writing skills, especially in crafting introductions that make a lasting impression.

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Write a Self Introduction Essay that highlights your unique qualities.

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How to Write About Yourself

Last Updated: July 31, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Lucy Yeh . Lucy Yeh is a Human Resources Director, Recruiter, and Certified Life Coach (CLC) with over 20 years of experience. With a training background with Coaching for Life and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at InsightLA, Lucy has worked with professionals of all levels to improve the quality of their careers, personal/professional relationships, self marketing, and life balance. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 5,704,773 times.

Whether you're writing an essay about yourself for a scholarship, a self-introduction, or a personal bio for a job application, coming up with the right words to capture what makes you unique can feel challenging. Fortunately, there are tips and tricks that can make writing about yourself a breeze. Want some help getting across just how impressive, interesting, and skilled you really are? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about putting yourself into words effectively, complete with examples.

examples of an essay about yourself

Writing of the Autobiographical Nature

Step 1 Introduce yourself...

  • Who are you?
  • What is your background?
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your talents?
  • What are your achievements?
  • What challenges have you faced?

Step 2 Start with a...

  • What is your most interesting or unique quality? What word(s) describes you the best? Choose that topic.

Step 4 Use a few good details.

  • Bad: I like sports.
  • Ok: I'm a fan of basketball, football, tennis, and soccer.
  • Good: My favorite sport is football, both to watch and to play.
  • Better: When I was growing up, I would watch Big Ten football with my dad and brothers every Saturday, before we'd go outside and toss the football around. I've loved it ever since.

Step 5 Be humble...

  • Braggy: I'm the best and most dynamic worker at my company right now, so you should want to hire me for my talents.
  • Humble: I was lucky enough to be awarded three employee of the month awards at my current job. Turns out it was a company record.

Writing Personal Essays for School

Step 1 Choose a memorable story to tell.

  • Common themes or prompts for autobiographical essays include overcoming obstacles, great successes or spectacular failures, and what you learned about yourself.

Step 2 Focus on a single theme or purpose.

  • Depending on the assignment, you may need to connect a personal anecdote to a reading or an idea from class. Start brainstorming topics that are connected to that idea, to give yourself a variety of options to choose from.

Step 3 Write about complex topics, not cliches.

  • Common autobiographical essay cliches include sports stories, mission trips, and dead grandmothers. While these can all make for excellent essays if done well, it is difficult to stand out when telling the story of how your lacrosse team lost a big game, then practiced hard, then won. It has been written before.

Step 4 Limit the timeline...

  • If you want to tell the story of your nasty break-up, start with the break-up, do not start with the star-crossed way you met. You have got to get immediately to the tension in the story.

Step 5 Use vivid details.

  • When you have an idea of your topic, start writing a "memory list" of specific things that you remember about the event. What was the weather like? What did it smell like? What did your mother say to you?
  • Your opening paragraph will set the tone for the rest of the essay. Rather than telling the dull biographical details (your name, your place of birth, your favorite food), find a way to express the essence of the story you are going to tell and the themes you are going to explore in your essay.

Step 6 Start in the...

Writing a Cover Letter for an Application

Step 1 Find the prompt.

  • Outline your qualifications and highlight your talents in a cover letter.
  • Write about who you are.
  • In a cover letter, describe how your education and experience qualifies you for this position.
  • Explain how this opportunity will benefit your career goals.

Step 2 Match the style to the purpose.

  • When in doubt, keep it brief and serious. If you are unsure whether or not telling an amusing anecdote about your friend's bachelor party is appropriate in a cover letter, it is probably best to leave it out.

Step 3 Describe why you are writing in the first paragraph.

  • "I'm writing to apply for the entry-level position with Company Inc. advertised on your website. I think my experience and training makes me an ideal candidate for this position."
  • Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to include your name in the body of the letter: "My name is John Smith and I am applying...." Your name will be included in the signature , as well as the header of a cover letter, so there is no need to put it in the text itself.

Step 4 Structure the cover letter as cause and effect.

  • Who you are and where you come from.
  • Where you want to go.
  • How this opportunity would potentially help you get there.

Step 5 Detail your talents and skills specifically.

  • Be as specific as possible. It is alright to note that you are "A passionate leader in all walks of life" but it would be much better to write about an example of a time you lead in a surprising way.
  • Stay focused on skills and talents that connect specifically to the thing you are applying for. Extracurricular involvement, leadership roles, and other types of outstanding achievement may be important to you personally, but it may be totally extraneous. If you include something, ensure to connect it specifically to the goal of the cover letter.

Step 6 Describe your goals and ambitions.

  • Be as specific as possible. If you are writing a university cover letter, it is obvious that you have to have a degree to get a job as a doctor, but how did you come to choose this field? Why did you choose this school? What, specifically, do you want to take away from the experience?

Step 7 Explain how both parties will benefit from your selection.

  • Be careful about using a cover letter to critique a business. It is not the time to describe the suffering of a particular brand over the previous fiscal quarter, then promising that you will be able to turn it around with your ideas. That might not go over well if you are hired, and then you are unable to live up to the promise.

Step 8 Do not mistake...

  • Even if it is impressive, a high GPA or class ranking does not belong in a cover letter. Highlight it on your resume, but do not include it in two different places of the application.

Step 9 Keep it brief.

  • Mailing address
  • Telephone and/or fax number

Lucy Yeh

Expert Trick : Save time and effort by creating one generic format that you can use for many different job applications by tweaking the specific content for each one. Start with a general introductory paragraph , then a section or two fleshing out your resume and expertise as it relates to the job, and finish it off with a closing paragraph and a note of thanks.

Writing a Short Biography Note

Step 1 Write about yourself...

  • Pretend you are writing about someone else. Write your name and start describing that person like a character or a friend: "John Smith is the Executive Vice President of Company Inc..."

Step 2 Explain your position or title.

  • If you are a jack of all trades, say so. Do not be afraid to list "actor, musician, mother, motivational speaker, and professional rock climber" if they all apply equally.

Step 3 Briefly list your responsibilities or accomplishments.

  • It is common to list degrees that you have received. Pay particular attention to anything that ties into the work you are writing about. If you have special training, include it here.

Step 4 Include a bit of your personal life.

  • "John Smith is the Executive Vice President of Company Inc., in charge of marketing and overseas acquisitions. He received an MBA with distinction from Harvard and lives in Montauk with his cat Cheeto."
  • Do not overshare. It can seem funny to immediately start with "John Smith loves rafting and hates eating Cheetos. He's a total boss" and such bio notes can be appropriate for some venues, however be careful to avoid awkward oversharing. Telling everyone about your killer hangover might be best left for after work talk.

Step 5 Keep it brief.

  • Stephen King, who is one of the most successful and popular authors in recent history, has a bio note that just lists the name of his family members, his hometown, and his pets. Consider leaving out the self-congratulation entirely.

Community Q&A

wikiHow Staff Editor

  • Remember that you’re supposed to talk about yourself, it’s the main topic. Don’t talk about your friends or family, even though you may feel tempted to. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • If you are having a difficult time writing about yourself, search online for examples of personal writing, in order to get some ideas and inspiration. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Don't think about how others feel about you. Everyone thinks from a different perspective. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

examples of an essay about yourself

You Might Also Like

Write an Autobiography

  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/how-to-write-about-yourself
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
  • ↑ https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/choosingsources/chapter/narrowing-a-topic/
  • ↑ https://www.yourdictionary.com/articles/essay-about-self-writing
  • ↑ https://writingcommons.org/article/using-first-person-in-an-academic-essay-when-is-it-okay/
  • ↑ https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/6-unconventional-ways-start-cover-letter/
  • ↑ https://english.washington.edu/writing-cover-letter
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/career-goal-statement-examples
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/resume-vs-cover-letter
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/whats-the-ideal-cover-letter-length
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/how-to-format-a-cover-letter-example
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/first-vs-third-person
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-bio/

About This Article

Lucy Yeh

If you have to write an autobiographical description of yourself, write down a list of your talents, interests, and accomplishments. Use this list to help you choose one specific topic for your description, such as your academic achievements or your leadership qualities. Use specific, unique details to support your topic, such as being awarded an academic scholarship or the fact that you were president of the newspaper in high school. You can list bits of your personal life, but be careful not to overshare. If you want to write about yourself a cover letter or personal essay, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Start an Essay About Yourself: A Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Jun 8, 2024 | 0 comments

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Jun 8, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Starting can be the most challenging part when writing an essay about yourself, especially for an admission application or scholarship.

Summarizing your entire life into a few paragraphs can be daunting. Still, with the right approach, it can also be an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and experiences. 

In this step-by-step guide, we will explore various techniques on how to start an essay about yourself effectively. Whether you need to write a personal narrative for an admission essay or simply want to share your personal story, it is important to engage your readers from the beginning. 

By crafting a compelling introduction, you can set the tone for the rest of your essay and captivate the reader’s attention. In this article, we will provide examples and tips on how to kickstart your self-introduction essay and make a memorable first impression. 

The Purpose Of Self-Introduction Essays

 Self-introduction essays allow individuals to showcase their personal experiences, qualities, and goals to a wider audience.

These essays are commonly assigned in academic settings, job applications, or even personal blog posts. A self-introduction essay aims to provide readers with insight into who you are as a person and what makes you unique. 

You can create a compelling narrative that helps others understand your perspective and motivations by sharing your background, interests, and aspirations. 

Additionally, self-introduction essays allow you to establish a connection with your audience and make a memorable impression.

Whether you are introducing yourself in a professional setting or sharing your story in a creative context, the key is to be authentic and engaging so that you can captivate your readers from the start.

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Step 1: Understand the Prompt or Question

Before writing, you should carefully read and understand the essay prompt or question. Some common prompts for personal essays include:

  • “Tell us about yourself.”
  • “Describe a significant experience that shaped who you are.”
  • “What are your short-term and long-term goals?”
  • “What is your greatest passion, and why?”
  • “Describe a challenge or obstacle you’ve overcome.” Understanding the prompt is crucial, as it sets the direction for your essay and ensures your response is on target.

Example:  

Prompt: “Describe a challenge you’ve overcome and how it has shaped you.”

Understanding: This prompt asks you to reflect on a personal difficulty and how you’ve grown or changed.

Step2: Brainstorm and Outline

Take time to brainstorm and jot down ideas, experiences, and anecdotes related to the prompt. Consider the following questions to spark ideas:

  • What are your passions, hobbies, or interests?
  • What significant events or challenges have shaped your life?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What unique qualities or experiences set you apart from others?
  • What lessons have you learned from your experiences?
  • What impact do you hope to have on the world?

Example: For the prompt above, you might list:

  • Overcoming stage fright in high school drama club
  • Learning to cope with dyslexia
  • Adapting to a new country as an exchange student

Step3: Choose a Focus

Your essay should have a clear focus that reflects the prompt or question.

For example, if the prompt asks about a significant experience, choose an event or milestone that profoundly impacted your life.

If the prompt asks about your goals, focus on your aspirations and the steps you’re taking to achieve them. Selecting a specific focus will make your essay more engaging and meaningful.

You decide to focus on your experience with dyslexia because it’s been a constant challenge and has profoundly impacted your academic journey and self-perception.

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Step4: Create an Outline

An outline will help structure your essay and ensure a logical flow of ideas. Here’s a basic structure to follow:

  • Introduction : Start with an attention-grabbing opening line or “hook” to engage the reader. Provide a brief overview of the topic and state your main point or thesis.
  • Body Paragraphs : Develop two to three body paragraphs, each focusing on a specific idea or experience that supports your main point.
  • Conclusion : Summarize your main points, reflect on their significance, and leave the reader with a lasting impression.
I. Introduction: Introduce dyslexia and its impact on your early education II. Body Paragraph 1: Describe the struggles and frustrations you faced III. Body Paragraph 2: Discuss strategies and support systems you developed IV. Body Paragraph 3: Reflect on how overcoming this challenge shaped your resilience and perspective V. Conclusion: Connect your experience to your future goals and self-understanding

Step5: Write the Introduction

The introduction is your opportunity to capture the reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of the essay. Here are some tips:

  • Start with a Hook : Begin with a compelling opening line, such as a quote, anecdote, or rhetorical question. For example: “Have you ever wondered what being a twin is like? As a twin, I can tell you it’s a unique and extraordinary experience.”
  • Provide Background Information : Briefly overview the topic and your connection to it. For instance: “Being a twin has shaped my life in ways I never expected, teaching me the importance of individuality and the power of standing out.”
  • State Your Main Point or Thesis : Clearly state your essay’s main point or thesis. For example: “Being a twin has taught me the value of embracing my individuality, and I plan to use this lesson to advocate for diversity and inclusion in my community.”
“The letters danced across the page, taunting me with their incomprehensible shapes. I was seven when I first realized that reading, a joy for most of my classmates, was an impossible challenge for me. This was my first battle with dyslexia, a learning difference that would shape my journey through school, self-discovery, and ultimately, resilience.”

Step6: Develop the Body Paragraphs

In the body paragraphs, you elaborate on your main point and provide specific examples or anecdotes to support it.

Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence that relates to your thesis. For instance, if your thesis is about embracing individuality, one body paragraph could focus on when you rebelled against conformity and found your unique voice. 

Another paragraph could explore how your twin relationship taught you the importance of standing out. Use specific details, anecdotes, and reflections to make your experiences come alive for the reader.

Example (Body Paragraph 1):

“In those early years, every reading session felt like a personal failure. I’d stumble over words my peers read effortlessly, and my confidence plummeted. My parents, worried and confused, took me to specialists who confirmed what we feared: I had dyslexia. Initially, this label was a source of shame and would become the catalyst for the most significant growth in my life.”

Step7: Conclude with a Bang

The conclusion is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Here are some tips:

  • Summarize Your Main Points : Recap your main points and reflect on their significance.
  • Reflect on the Lessons Learned : Share any insights or lessons you’ve gained from your experiences.
  • Look to the Future : Consider how your experiences have shaped your goals and aspirations.
  • End with a Memorable Line : Finish with a powerful or thought-provoking line that leaves the reader with a lasting impression. For example: “As I continue my journey, I plan to embrace my individuality and help others do the same, creating a more diverse and inclusive world.”

“Today, as I prepare for college, I no longer see my dyslexia as a barrier but as a unique lens through which I view the world. It has taught me resilience, creativity in problem-solving, and the power of perseverance. As I embark on this new chapter, I carry with me not just the strategies to manage my dyslexia but the strength and perspective gained from turning my greatest challenge into my most profound teacher.”

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Step8: Edit and Proofread

Before submitting your essay, take the time to edit and proofread it. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

Read your essay out loud to catch any awkward phrasing or unclear sentences. Ensure your essay flows smoothly and that your ideas are presented logically.

Ask a friend or mentor to review your essay and provide feedback. They can offer valuable insights and help you refine your writing.

Tips for Writing a Self-Introduction Essay

Writing a self-introduction essay is a great opportunity to showcase your personality and stand out. Whether you’re writing a  scholarship essay , a  college application , or a  cover letter , a well-crafted self-introduction can make a lasting impression.

Here are some tips to help you to write an essay about yourself or an effective self-introduction essay:

  • Start by Making a Plan : Before you begin writing, take some time to  brainstorm ideas  and create an  essay outline . Think about the key points you want to highlight, such as your  personal or professional  experiences, hobbies and interests, or academic and career goals.
  • Write in the First Person : A self-introduction essay is a  personal writing  piece, so writing in the first person is important. Use “I,” “me,” and “my” throughout the  essay .
  • Be Authentic : Don’t be afraid to let your  personality shine  through. Share  interesting facts  about yourself, your  unique experiences , and what makes you who you are. This will help the reader better understand you and create a lasting impression.
  • Focus on Your Strengths : Highlight your  strengths , skills, and accomplishments, but avoid sounding boastful. Use  specific examples  to demonstrate your abilities and how they’ve contributed to your personal or  professional experience .
  • Structure Your Essay : Your self-introduction essay should have a clear  introduction ,  body , and  conclusion . In the  introduction paragraph , grab the reader’s attention with a  hook  or an  interesting fact  about yourself. Expand on the key points you want to convey in the essay’s body. Finally, in the  conclusion ,  wrap up your essay  by summarizing your main points and leaving the reader with a lasting impression.
  • Edit and Proofread : Once you’ve written your essay,  edit and proofread  it carefully. Check for any grammatical errors, typos, or inconsistencies. Ensure your essay flows logically and your writing is clear and concise.

Sample Self Introduction for Scholarship

Crafting a Winning Scholarship Self-Introduction Essay | Self-Introduction Essay Sample

Crafting a Winning Self- Introduction Essay for a STEM Scholarship: Aisha’s Journey

Self Introduction Essay for Job

Self introduction essay for students.

Writing a college essay about yourself is a rewarding journey of self-discovery and reflection.

Following the steps outlined above, you can craft a compelling and authentic essay that showcases your unique story and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Remember to choose a focus that resonates with you, provide specific examples, and always edit and proofread your work.

FAQs on How to Start an Essay About Yourself

How do i start my  essay .

To start your personal essay , reflect on your experiences, values, and beliefs. Consider what sets you apart and what makes you unique. Crafting a compelling introduction that captures the essence of who you are can set the tone for the rest of the writing process .

How to start a describe yourself essay ?

When starting a “describe yourself” essay , focus on showcasing your personality traits, strengths, and experiences that define you. Use specific examples to bring your characteristics to life and engage the reader from the outset.

How do you start an introduction paragraph about yourself in an essay ?

To begin an introduction paragraph about yourself in an essay , consider starting with a captivating anecdote, an intriguing fact, or a thought-provoking question related to your personal experiences. This can effectively grab the reader’s attention and set the stage for self-exploration in the  writing .

How can I start writing about myself ?

Starting to write about yourself involves self-reflection and introspection. Think about your passions, goals, accomplishments, and challenges. Identifying these aspects can guide you in creating a compelling essay that authentically conveys who you are and what you strive for.

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With a passion for education and student empowerment, I create blog content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of students. From study hacks and productivity tips to career exploration and personal development

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10 Personal Statement Essay Examples That Worked

What’s covered:, what is a personal statement.

  • Essay 1: Summer Program
  • Essay 2: Being Bangladeshi-American
  • Essay 3: Why Medicine
  • Essay 4: Love of Writing
  • Essay 5: Starting a Fire
  • Essay 6: Dedicating a Track
  • Essay 7: Body Image and Eating Disorders
  • Essay 8: Becoming a Coach
  • Essay 9: Eritrea
  • Essay 10: Journaling
  • Is Your Personal Statement Strong Enough?

Your personal statement is any essay that you must write for your main application, such as the Common App Essay , University of California Essays , or Coalition Application Essay . This type of essay focuses on your unique experiences, ideas, or beliefs that may not be discussed throughout the rest of your application. This essay should be an opportunity for the admissions officers to get to know you better and give them a glimpse into who you really are.

In this post, we will share 10 different personal statements that were all written by real students. We will also provide commentary on what each essay did well and where there is room for improvement, so you can make your personal statement as strong as possible!

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Personal Statement Examples

Essay example #1: exchange program.

The twisting roads, ornate mosaics, and fragrant scent of freshly ground spices had been so foreign at first. Now in my fifth week of the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco, I felt more comfortable in the city. With a bag full of pastries from the market, I navigated to a bus stop, paid the fare, and began the trip back to my host family’s house. It was hard to believe that only a few years earlier my mom was worried about letting me travel around my home city on my own, let alone a place that I had only lived in for a few weeks. While I had been on a journey towards self-sufficiency and independence for a few years now, it was Morocco that pushed me to become the confident, self-reflective person that I am today.

As a child, my parents pressured me to achieve perfect grades, master my swim strokes, and discover interesting hobbies like playing the oboe and learning to pick locks. I felt compelled to live my life according to their wishes. Of course, this pressure was not a wholly negative factor in my life –– you might even call it support. However, the constant presence of my parents’ hopes for me overcame my own sense of desire and led me to become quite dependent on them. I pushed myself to get straight A’s, complied with years of oboe lessons, and dutifully attended hours of swim practice after school. Despite all these achievements, I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success. I had always been expected to succeed on the path they had defined. However, this path was interrupted seven years after my parents’ divorce when my dad moved across the country to Oregon.

I missed my dad’s close presence, but I loved my new sense of freedom. My parents’ separation allowed me the space to explore my own strengths and interests as each of them became individually busier. As early as middle school, I was riding the light rail train by myself, reading maps to get myself home, and applying to special academic programs without urging from my parents. Even as I took more initiatives on my own, my parents both continued to see me as somewhat immature. All of that changed three years ago, when I applied and was accepted to the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco. I would be studying Arabic and learning my way around the city of Marrakesh. Although I think my parents were a little surprised when I told them my news, the addition of a fully-funded scholarship convinced them to let me go.

I lived with a host family in Marrakesh and learned that they, too, had high expectations for me. I didn’t know a word of Arabic, and although my host parents and one brother spoke good English, they knew I was there to learn. If I messed up, they patiently corrected me but refused to let me fall into the easy pattern of speaking English just as I did at home. Just as I had when I was younger, I felt pressured and stressed about meeting their expectations. However, one day, as I strolled through the bustling market square after successfully bargaining with one of the street vendors, I realized my mistake. My host family wasn’t being unfair by making me fumble through Arabic. I had applied for this trip, and I had committed to the intensive language study. My host family’s rules about speaking Arabic at home had not been to fulfill their expectations for me, but to help me fulfill my expectations for myself. Similarly, the pressure my parents had put on me as a child had come out of love and their hopes for me, not out of a desire to crush my individuality.

As my bus drove through the still-bustling market square and past the medieval Ben-Youssef madrasa, I realized that becoming independent was a process, not an event. I thought that my parents’ separation when I was ten had been the one experience that would transform me into a self-motivated and autonomous person. It did, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t still have room to grow. Now, although I am even more self-sufficient than I was three years ago, I try to approach every experience with the expectation that it will change me. It’s still difficult, but I understand that just because growth can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not important.

What the Essay Did Well

This is a nice essay because it delves into particular character trait of the student and how it has been shaped and matured over time. Although it doesn’t focus the essay around a specific anecdote, the essay is still successful because it is centered around this student’s independence. This is a nice approach for a personal statement: highlight a particular trait of yours and explore how it has grown with you.

The ideas in this essay are universal to growing up—living up to parents’ expectations, yearning for freedom, and coming to terms with reality—but it feels unique to the student because of the inclusion of details specific to them. Including their oboe lessons, the experience of riding the light rail by themselves, and the negotiations with a street vendor helps show the reader what these common tropes of growing up looked like for them personally. 

Another strength of the essay is the level of self-reflection included throughout the piece. Since there is no central anecdote tying everything together, an essay about a character trait is only successful when you deeply reflect on how you felt, where you made mistakes, and how that trait impacts your life. The author includes reflection in sentences like “ I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success, ” and “ I understand that just because growth can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not important. ” These sentences help us see how the student was impacted and what their point of view is.

What Could Be Improved

The largest change this essay would benefit from is to show not tell. The platitude you have heard a million times no doubt, but for good reason. This essay heavily relies on telling the reader what occurred, making us less engaged as the entire reading experience feels more passive. If the student had shown us what happens though, it keeps the reader tied to the action and makes them feel like they are there with the student, making it much more enjoyable to read. 

For example, they tell us about the pressure to succeed their parents placed on them: “ I pushed myself to get straight A’s, complied with years of oboe lessons, and dutifully attended hours of swim practice after school.”  They could have shown us what that pressure looked like with a sentence like this: “ My stomach turned somersaults as my rattling knee thumped against the desk before every test, scared to get anything less than a 95. For five years the painful squawk of the oboe only reminded me of my parents’ claps and whistles at my concerts. I mastered the butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle, fighting against the anchor of their expectations threatening to pull me down.”

If the student had gone through their essay and applied this exercise of bringing more detail and colorful language to sentences that tell the reader what happened, the essay would be really great. 

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Essay Example #2: Being Bangladeshi-American

Life before was good: verdant forests, sumptuous curries, and a devoted family.

Then, my family abandoned our comfortable life in Bangladesh for a chance at the American dream in Los Angeles. Within our first year, my father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He lost his battle three weeks before my sixth birthday. Facing a new country without the steady presence of my father, we were vulnerable — prisoners of hardship in the land of the free. We resettled in the Bronx, in my uncle’s renovated basement. It was meant to be our refuge, but I felt more displaced than ever. Gone were the high-rise condos of West L.A.; instead, government projects towered over the neighborhood. Pedestrians no longer smiled and greeted me; the atmosphere was hostile, even toxic. Schoolkids were quick to pick on those they saw as weak or foreign, hurling harsh words I’d never heard before.

Meanwhile, my family began integrating into the local Bangladeshi community. I struggled to understand those who shared my heritage. Bangladeshi mothers stayed home while fathers drove cabs and sold fruit by the roadside — painful societal positions. Riding on crosstown buses or walking home from school, I began to internalize these disparities. During my fleeting encounters with affluent Upper East Siders, I saw kids my age with nannies, parents who wore suits to work, and luxurious apartments with spectacular views. Most took cabs to their destinations: cabs that Bangladeshis drove. I watched the mundane moments of their lives with longing, aching to plant myself in their shoes. Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day. 

As I grappled with my relationship with the Bangladeshi community, I turned my attention to helping my Bronx community by pursuing an internship with Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. I handled desk work and took calls, spending the bulk of my time actively listening to the hardships constituents faced — everything from a veteran stripped of his benefits to a grandmother unable to support her bedridden grandchild.

I’d never exposed myself to stories like these, and now I was the first to hear them. As an intern, I could only assist in what felt like the small ways — pointing out local job offerings, printing information on free ESL classes, reaching out to non-profits. But to a community facing an onslaught of intense struggles, I realized that something as small as these actions could have vast impacts. Seeing the immediate consequences of my actions inspired me. Throughout that summer, I internalized my community’s daily challenges in a new light. I began to stop seeing the prevalent underemployment and cramped living quarters less as sources of shame. Instead, I saw them as realities that had to be acknowledged, but could ultimately be remedied. I also realized the benefits of the Bangladeshi culture I had been so ashamed of. My Bangla language skills were an asset to the office, and my understanding of Bangladeshi etiquette allowed for smooth communication between office staff and its constituents. As I helped my neighbors navigate city services, I saw my heritage with pride — a perspective I never expected to have.

I can now appreciate the value of my unique culture and background, and of living with less. This perspective offers room for progress, community integration, and a future worth fighting for. My time with Assemblyman Sepulveda’s office taught me that I can be a change agent in enabling this progression. Far from being ashamed of my community, I want to someday return to local politics in the Bronx to continue helping others access the American Dream. I hope to help my community appreciate the opportunity to make progress together. By embracing reality, I learned to live it. Along the way, I discovered one thing: life is good, but we can make it better.

This student’s passion for social justice and civic duty shines through in this essay because of how honest it is. Sharing their personal experience with immigrating, moving around, being an outsider, and finding a community allows us to see the hardships this student has faced and builds empathy towards their situation. However, what really makes it strong is that they go beyond describing the difficulties they faced and explain the mental impact it had on them as a child: Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day. 

The rejection of their culture presented at the beginning of the essay creates a nice juxtaposition with the student’s view in the latter half of the essay and helps demonstrate how they have matured. They use their experience interning as a way to delve into a change in their thought process about their culture and show how their passion for social justice began. Using this experience as a mechanism to explore their thoughts and feelings is an excellent example of how items that are included elsewhere on your application should be incorporated into your essay.

This essay prioritizes emotions and personal views over specific anecdotes. Although there are details and certain moments incorporated throughout to emphasize the author’s points, the main focus remains on the student and how they grapple with their culture and identity.  

One area for improvement is the conclusion. Although the forward-looking approach is a nice way to end an essay focused on social justice, it would be nice to include more details and imagery in the conclusion. How does the student want to help their community? What government position do they see themselves holding one day? 

A more impactful ending might look like the student walking into their office at the New York City Housing Authority in 15 years and looking at the plans to build a new development in the Bronx just blocks away from where the grew up that would provide quality housing to people in their Bangladeshi community. They would smile while thinking about how far they have come from that young kid who used to be ashamed of their culture. 

Essay Example #3: Why Medicine

I took my first trip to China to visit my cousin Anna in July of 2014. Distance had kept us apart, but when we were together, we fell into all of our old inside jokes and caught up on each other’s lives. Her sparkling personality and optimistic attitude always brought a smile to my face. This time, however, my heart broke when I saw the effects of her brain cancer; she had suffered from a stroke that paralyzed her left side. She was still herself in many ways, but I could see that the damage to her brain made things difficult for her. I stayed by her every day, providing the support she needed, whether assisting her with eating and drinking, reading to her, or just watching “Friends.” During my flight back home, sorrow and helplessness overwhelmed me. Would I ever see Anna again? Could I have done more to make Anna comfortable? I wished I could stay in China longer to care for her. As I deplaned, I wondered if I could transform my grief to help other children and teenagers in the US who suffered as Anna did.

The day after I got home, as jet lag dragged me awake a few minutes after midnight, I remembered hearing about the Family Reach Foundation (FRF) and its work with children going through treatments at the local hospital and their families. I began volunteering in the FRF’s Children’s Activity Room, where I play with children battling cancer. Volunteering has both made me appreciate my own health and also cherish the new relationships I build with the children and families. We play sports, make figures out of playdoh, and dress up. When they take on the roles of firefighters or fairies, we all get caught up in the game; for that time, they forget the sanitized, stark, impersonal walls of the pediatric oncology ward. Building close relationships with them and seeing them giggle and laugh is so rewarding — I love watching them grow and get better throughout their course of treatment.

Hearing from the parents about their children’s condition and seeing the children recover inspired me to consider medical research. To get started, I enrolled in a summer collegelevel course in Abnormal Psychology. There I worked with Catelyn, a rising college senior, on a data analysis project regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Together, we examined the neurological etiology of DID by studying four fMRI and PET cases. I fell in love with gathering data and analyzing the results and was amazed by our final product: several stunning brain images showcasing the areas of hyper and hypoactivity in brains affected by DID. Desire quickly followed my amazement — I want to continue this project and study more brains. Their complexity, delicacy, and importance to every aspect of life fascinate me. Successfully completing this research project gave me a sense of hope; I know I am capable of participating in a large scale research project and potentially making a difference in someone else’s life through my research.

Anna’s diagnosis inspired me to begin volunteering at FRF; from there, I discovered my desire to help people further by contributing to medical research. As my research interest blossomed, I realized that it’s no coincidence that I want to study brains—after all, Anna suffered from brain cancer. Reflecting on these experiences this past year and a half, I see that everything I’ve done is connected. Sadly, a few months after I returned from China, Anna passed away. I am still sad, but as I run a toy truck across the floor and watch one of the little patients’ eyes light up, I imagine that she would be proud of my commitment to pursue medicine and study the brain.

This essay has a very strong emotional core that tugs at the heart strings and makes the reader feel invested. Writing about sickness can be difficult and doesn’t always belong in a personal statement, but in this case it works well because the focus is on how this student cared for her cousin and dealt with the grief and emotions surrounding her condition. Writing about the compassion she showed and the doubts and concerns that filled her mind keeps the focus on the author and her personality. 

This continues when she again discusses the activities she did with the kids at FRF and the personal reflection this experience allowed her to have. For example, she writes: Volunteering has both made me appreciate my own health and also cherish the new relationships I build with the children and families. We play sports, make figures out of playdoh, and dress up.

Concluding the essay with the sad story of her cousin’s passing brings the essay full circle and returns to the emotional heart of the piece to once again build a connection with the reader. However, it finishes on a hopeful note and demonstrates how this student has been able to turn a tragic experience into a source of lifelong inspiration. 

One thing this essay should be cognizant of is that personal statements should not read as summaries of your extracurricular resume. Although this essay doesn’t fully fall into that trap, it does describe two key extracurriculars the student participated in. However, the inclusion of such a strong emotional core running throughout the essay helps keep the focus on the student and her thoughts and feelings during these activities.

To avoid making this mistake, make sure you have a common thread running through your essay and the extracurriculars provide support to the story you are trying to tell, rather than crafting a story around your activities. And, as this essay does, make sure there is lots of personal reflection and feelings weaved throughout to focus attention to you rather than your extracurriculars. 

Essay Example #4: Love of Writing

“I want to be a writer.” This had been my answer to every youthful discussion with the adults in my life about what I would do when I grew up. As early as elementary school, I remember reading my writing pieces aloud to an audience at “Author of the Month” ceremonies. Bearing this goal in mind, and hoping to gain some valuable experience, I signed up for a journalism class during my freshman year. Despite my love for writing, I initially found myself uninterested in the subject and I struggled to enjoy the class. When I thought of writing, I imagined lyrical prose, profound poetry, and thrilling plot lines. Journalism required a laconic style and orderly structure, and I found my teacher’s assignments formulaic and dull. That class shook my confidence as a writer. I was uncertain if I should continue in it for the rest of my high school career.

Despite my misgivings, I decided that I couldn’t make a final decision on whether to quit journalism until I had some experience working for a paper outside of the classroom. The following year, I applied to be a staff reporter on our school newspaper. I hoped this would help me become more self-driven and creative, rather than merely writing articles that my teacher assigned. To my surprise, my time on staff was worlds away from what I experienced in the journalism class. Although I was unaccustomed to working in a fast-paced environment and initially found it burdensome to research and complete high-quality stories in a relatively short amount of time, I also found it exciting. I enjoyed learning more about topics and events on campus that I did not know much about; some of my stories that I covered in my first semester concerned a chess tournament, a food drive, and a Spanish immersion party. I relished in the freedom I had to explore and learn, and to write more independently than I could in a classroom.

Although I enjoyed many aspects of working for the paper immediately, reporting also pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I am a shy person, and speaking with people I did not know intimidated me. During my first interview, I met with the basketball coach to prepare for a story about the team’s winning streak. As I approached his office, I felt everything from my toes to my tongue freeze into a solid block, and I could hardly get out my opening questions. Fortunately, the coach was very kind and helped me through the conversation. Encouraged, I prepared for my next interview with more confidence. After a few weeks of practice, I even started to look forward to interviewing people on campus. That first journalism class may have bored me, but even if journalism in practice was challenging, it was anything but tedious.

Over the course of that year, I grew to love writing for our school newspaper. Reporting made me aware of my surroundings, and made me want to know more about current events on campus and in the town where I grew up. By interacting with people all over campus, I came to understand the breadth of individuals and communities that make up my high school. I felt far more connected to diverse parts of my school through my work as a journalist, and I realized that journalism gave me a window into seeing beyond my own experiences. The style of news writing may be different from what I used to think “writing” meant, but I learned that I can still derive exciting plots from events that may have gone unnoticed if not for my stories. I no longer struggle to approach others, and truly enjoy getting to know people and recognizing their accomplishments through my writing. Becoming a writer may be a difficult path, but it is as rewarding as I hoped when I was young.

This essay is clearly structured in a manner that makes it flow very nicely and contributes to its success. It starts with a quote to draw in the reader and show this student’s life-long passion for writing. Then it addresses the challenges of facing new, unfamiliar territory and how this student overcame it. Finally, it concludes by reflecting on this eye-opening experience and a nod to their younger self from the introduction. Having a well-thought out and sequential structure with clear transitions makes it extremely easy for the reader to follow along and take away the main idea.

Another positive aspect of the essay is the use of strong and expressive language. Sentences like “ When I thought of writing, I imagined lyrical prose, profound poetry, and thrilling plot lines ” stand out because of the intentional use of words like “lyrical”, “profound”, and “thrilling” to convey the student’s love of writing. The author also uses an active voice to capture the readers’ attention and keep us engaged. They rely on their language and diction to reveal details to the reader, for instance saying “ I felt everything from my toes to my tongue freeze into a solid block ” to describe feeling nervous.

This essay is already very strong, so there isn’t much that needs to be changed. One thing that could take the essay from great to outstanding would be to throw in more quotes, internal dialogue, and sensory descriptors.

It would be nice to see the nerves they felt interviewing the coach by including dialogue like “ Um…I want to interview you about…uh…”.  They could have shown their original distaste for journalism by narrating the thoughts running through their head. The fast-paced environment of their newspaper could have come to life with descriptions about the clacking of keyboards and the whirl of people running around laying out articles.

Essay Example #5: Starting a Fire

Was I no longer the beloved daughter of nature, whisperer of trees? Knee-high rubber boots, camouflage, bug spray—I wore the garb and perfume of a proud wild woman, yet there I was, hunched over the pathetic pile of stubborn sticks, utterly stumped, on the verge of tears. As a child, I had considered myself a kind of rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees, who could glide through tick-infested meadows and emerge Lyme-free. I knew the cracks of the earth like the scars on my own rough palms. Yet here I was, ten years later, incapable of performing the most fundamental outdoor task: I could not, for the life of me, start a fire. 

Furiously I rubbed the twigs together—rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers. No smoke. The twigs were too young, too sticky-green; I tossed them away with a shower of curses, and began tearing through the underbrush in search of a more flammable collection. My efforts were fruitless. Livid, I bit a rejected twig, determined to prove that the forest had spurned me, offering only young, wet bones that would never burn. But the wood cracked like carrots between my teeth—old, brittle, and bitter. Roaring and nursing my aching palms, I retreated to the tent, where I sulked and awaited the jeers of my family. 

Rattling their empty worm cans and reeking of fat fish, my brother and cousins swaggered into the campsite. Immediately, they noticed the minor stick massacre by the fire pit and called to me, their deep voices already sharp with contempt. 

“Where’s the fire, Princess Clara?” they taunted. “Having some trouble?” They prodded me with the ends of the chewed branches and, with a few effortless scrapes of wood on rock, sparked a red and roaring flame. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame. 

In the tent, I pondered my failure. Was I so dainty? Was I that incapable? I thought of my hands, how calloused and capable they had been, how tender and smooth they had become. It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive. And I’d gotten glasses, having grown horrifically nearsighted; long nights of dim lighting and thick books had done this. I couldn’t remember the last time I had lain down on a hill, barefaced, and seen the stars without having to squint. Crawling along the edge of the tent, a spider confirmed my transformation—he disgusted me, and I felt an overwhelming urge to squash him. 

Yet, I realized I hadn’t really changed—I had only shifted perspective. I still eagerly explored new worlds, but through poems and prose rather than pastures and puddles. I’d grown to prefer the boom of a bass over that of a bullfrog, learned to coax a different kind of fire from wood, having developed a burn for writing rhymes and scrawling hypotheses. 

That night, I stayed up late with my journal and wrote about the spider I had decided not to kill. I had tolerated him just barely, only shrieking when he jumped—it helped to watch him decorate the corners of the tent with his delicate webs, knowing that he couldn’t start fires, either. When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.

This student is an excellent writer, which allows a simple story to be outstandingly compelling. The author articulates her points beautifully and creatively through her immense use of details and figurative language. Lines like “a rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees,” and “rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers,” create vivid images that draw the reader in. 

The flowery and descriptive prose also contributes to the nice juxtaposition between the old Clara and the new Clara. The latter half of the essay contrasts elements of nature with music and writing to demonstrate how natural these interests are for her now. This sentence perfectly encapsulates the contrast she is trying to build: “It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive.”

In addition to being well-written, this essay is thematically cohesive. It begins with the simple introduction “Fire!” and ends with the following image: “When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.” This full-circle approach leaves readers satisfied and impressed.

There is very little this essay should change, however one thing to be cautious about is having an essay that is overly-descriptive. We know from the essay that this student likes to read and write, and depending on other elements of her application, it might make total sense to have such a flowery and ornate writing style. However, your personal statement needs to reflect your voice as well as your personality. If you would never use language like this in conversation or your writing, don’t put it in your personal statement. Make sure there is a balance between eloquence and your personal voice.

Essay Example #6: Dedicating a Track

“Getting beat is one thing – it’s part of competing – but I want no part in losing.” Coach Rob Stark’s motto never fails to remind me of his encouragement on early-morning bus rides to track meets around the state. I’ve always appreciated the phrase, but an experience last June helped me understand its more profound, universal meaning.

Stark, as we affectionately call him, has coached track at my high school for 25 years. His care, dedication, and emphasis on developing good character has left an enduring impact on me and hundreds of other students. Not only did he help me discover my talent and love for running, but he also taught me the importance of commitment and discipline and to approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running. When I learned a neighboring high school had dedicated their track to a longtime coach, I felt that Stark deserved similar honors.

Our school district’s board of education indicated they would only dedicate our track to Stark if I could demonstrate that he was extraordinary. I took charge and mobilized my teammates to distribute petitions, reach out to alumni, and compile statistics on the many team and individual champions Stark had coached over the years. We received astounding support, collecting almost 3,000 signatures and pages of endorsements from across the community. With help from my teammates, I presented this evidence to the board.

They didn’t bite. 

Most members argued that dedicating the track was a low priority. Knowing that we had to act quickly to convince them of its importance, I called a team meeting where we drafted a rebuttal for the next board meeting. To my surprise, they chose me to deliver it. I was far from the best public speaker in the group, and I felt nervous about going before the unsympathetic board again. However, at that second meeting, I discovered that I enjoy articulating and arguing for something that I’m passionate about.

Public speaking resembles a cross country race. Walking to the starting line, you have to trust your training and quell your last minute doubts. When the gun fires, you can’t think too hard about anything; your performance has to be instinctual, natural, even relaxed. At the next board meeting, the podium was my starting line. As I walked up to it, familiar butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Instead of the track stretching out in front of me, I faced the vast audience of teachers, board members, and my teammates. I felt my adrenaline build, and reassured myself: I’ve put in the work, my argument is powerful and sound. As the board president told me to introduce myself, I heard, “runners set” in the back of my mind. She finished speaking, and Bang! The brief silence was the gunshot for me to begin. 

The next few minutes blurred together, but when the dust settled, I knew from the board members’ expressions and the audience’s thunderous approval that I had run quite a race. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; the board voted down our proposal. I was disappointed, but proud of myself, my team, and our collaboration off the track. We stood up for a cause we believed in, and I overcame my worries about being a leader. Although I discovered that changing the status quo through an elected body can be a painstakingly difficult process and requires perseverance, I learned that I enjoy the challenges this effort offers. Last month, one of the school board members joked that I had become a “regular” – I now often show up to meetings to advocate for a variety of causes, including better environmental practices in cafeterias and safer equipment for athletes.

Just as Stark taught me, I worked passionately to achieve my goal. I may have been beaten when I appealed to the board, but I certainly didn’t lose, and that would have made Stark proud.

This essay effectively conveys this student’s compassion for others, initiative, and determination—all great qualities to exemplify in a personal statement!

Although they rely on telling us a lot of what happened up until the board meeting, the use of running a race (their passion) as a metaphor for public speaking provides a lot of insight into the fear that this student overcame to work towards something bigger than themself. Comparing a podium to the starting line, the audience to the track, and silence to the gunshot is a nice way of demonstrating this student’s passion for cross country running without making that the focus of the story.

The essay does a nice job of coming full circle at the end by explaining what the quote from the beginning meant to them after this experience. Without explicitly saying “ I now know that what Stark actually meant is…” they rely on the strength of their argument above to make it obvious to the reader what it means to get beat but not lose. 

One of the biggest areas of improvement in the intro, however, is how the essay tells us Stark’s impact rather than showing us: His care, dedication, and emphasis on developing good character has left an enduring impact on me and hundreds of other students. Not only did he help me discover my talent and love for running, but he also taught me the importance of commitment and discipline and to approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running.

The writer could’ve helped us feel a stronger emotional connection to Stark if they had included examples of Stark’s qualities, rather than explicitly stating them. For example, they could’ve written something like: Stark was the kind of person who would give you gas money if you told him your parents couldn’t afford to pick you up from practice. And he actually did that—several times. At track meets, alumni regularly would come talk to him and tell him how he’d changed their lives. Before Stark, I was ambivalent about running and was on the JV team, but his encouragement motivated me to run longer and harder and eventually make varsity. Because of him, I approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running.

Essay Example #7: Body Image and Eating Disorders

I press the “discover” button on my Instagram app, hoping to find enticing pictures to satisfy my boredom. Scrolling through, I see funny videos and mouth-watering pictures of food. However, one image stops me immediately. A fit teenage girl with a “perfect body” relaxes in a bikini on a beach. Beneath it, I see a slew of flattering comments. I shake with disapproval over the image’s unrealistic quality. However, part of me still wants to have a body like hers so that others will make similar comments to me.

I would like to resolve a silent issue that harms many teenagers and adults: negative self image and low self-esteem in a world where social media shapes how people view each other. When people see the façades others wear to create an “ideal” image, they can develop poor thought patterns rooted in negative self-talk. The constant comparisons to “perfect” others make people feel small. In this new digital age, it is hard to distinguish authentic from artificial representations.

When I was 11, I developed anorexia nervosa. Though I was already thin, I wanted to be skinny like the models that I saw on the magazine covers on the grocery store stands. Little did I know that those models probably also suffered from disorders, and that photoshop erased their flaws. I preferred being underweight to being healthy. No matter how little I ate or how thin I was, I always thought that I was too fat. I became obsessed with the number on the scale and would try to eat the least that I could without my parents urging me to take more. Fortunately, I stopped engaging in anorexic behaviors before middle school. However, my underlying mental habits did not change. The images that had provoked my disorder in the first place were still a constant presence in my life.

By age 15, I was in recovery from anorexia, but suffered from depression. While I used to only compare myself to models, the growth of social media meant I also compared myself to my friends and acquaintances. I felt left out when I saw my friends’ excitement about lake trips they had taken without me. As I scrolled past endless photos of my flawless, thin classmates with hundreds of likes and affirming comments, I felt my jealousy spiral. I wanted to be admired and loved by other people too. However, I felt that I could never be enough. I began to hate the way that I looked, and felt nothing in my life was good enough. I wanted to be called “perfect” and “body goals,” so I tried to only post at certain times of day to maximize my “likes.” When that didn’t work, I started to feel too anxious to post anything at all.  

Body image insecurities and social media comparisons affect thousands of people – men, women, children, and adults – every day. I am lucky – after a few months of my destructive social media habits, I came across a video that pointed out the illusory nature of social media; many Instagram posts only show off good things while people hide their flaws. I began going to therapy, and recovered from my depression. To address the problem of self-image and social media, we can all focus on what matters on the inside and not what is on the surface. As an effort to become healthy internally, I started a club at my school to promote clean eating and radiating beauty from within. It has helped me grow in my confidence, and today I’m not afraid to show others my struggles by sharing my experience with eating disorders. Someday, I hope to make this club a national organization to help teenagers and adults across the country. I support the idea of body positivity and embracing difference, not “perfection.” After all, how can we be ourselves if we all look the same?

This essay covers the difficult topics of eating disorders and mental health. If you’re thinking about covering similar topics in your essay, we recommend reading our post Should You Talk About Mental Health in College Essays?

The short answer is that, yes, you can talk about mental health, but it can be risky. If you do go that route, it’s important to focus on what you learned from the experience.

The strength of this essay is the student’s vulnerability, in excerpts such as this: I wanted to be admired and loved by other people too. However, I felt that I could never be enough. I began to hate the way that I looked, and felt nothing in my life was good enough. I wanted to be called “perfect” and “body goals,” so I tried to only post at certain times of day to maximize my “likes.”

The student goes on to share how they recovered from their depression through an eye-opening video and therapy sessions, and they’re now helping others find their self-worth as well. It’s great that this essay looks towards the future and shares the writer’s goals of making their club a national organization; we can see their ambition and compassion.

The main weakness of this essay is that it doesn’t focus enough on their recovery process, which is arguably the most important part. They could’ve told us more about the video they watched or the process of starting their club and the interactions they’ve had with other members. Especially when sharing such a vulnerable topic, there should be vulnerability in the recovery process too. That way, the reader can fully appreciate all that this student has overcome.

Essay Example #8: Becoming a Coach

”Advanced females ages 13 to 14 please proceed to staging with your coaches at this time.” Skittering around the room, eyes wide and pleading, I frantically explained my situation to nearby coaches. The seconds ticked away in my head; every polite refusal increased my desperation.

Despair weighed me down. I sank to my knees as a stream of competitors, coaches, and officials flowed around me. My dojang had no coach, and the tournament rules prohibited me from competing without one.

Although I wanted to remain strong, doubts began to cloud my mind. I could not help wondering: what was the point of perfecting my skills if I would never even compete? The other members of my team, who had found coaches minutes earlier, attempted to comfort me, but I barely heard their words. They couldn’t understand my despair at being left on the outside, and I never wanted them to understand.

Since my first lesson 12 years ago, the members of my dojang have become family. I have watched them grow up, finding my own happiness in theirs. Together, we have honed our kicks, blocks, and strikes. We have pushed one another to aim higher and become better martial artists. Although my dojang had searched for a reliable coach for years, we had not found one. When we attended competitions in the past, my teammates and I had always gotten lucky and found a sympathetic coach. Now, I knew this practice was unsustainable. It would devastate me to see the other members of my dojang in my situation, unable to compete and losing hope as a result. My dojang needed a coach, and I decided it was up to me to find one.

I first approached the adults in the dojang – both instructors and members’ parents. However, these attempts only reacquainted me with polite refusals. Everyone I asked told me they couldn’t devote multiple weekends per year to competitions. I soon realized that I would have become the coach myself.

At first, the inner workings of tournaments were a mystery to me. To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side. I learned everything from motivational strategies to technical, behind-the-scenes components of Taekwondo competitions. Though I emerged with new knowledge and confidence in my capabilities, others did not share this faith.

Parents threw me disbelieving looks when they learned that their children’s coach was only a child herself. My self-confidence was my armor, deflecting their surly glances. Every armor is penetrable, however, and as the relentless barrage of doubts pounded my resilience, it began to wear down. I grew unsure of my own abilities.

Despite the attack, I refused to give up. When I saw the shining eyes of the youngest students preparing for their first competition, I knew I couldn’t let them down. To quit would be to set them up to be barred from competing like I was. The knowledge that I could solve my dojang’s longtime problem motivated me to overcome my apprehension.

Now that my dojang flourishes at competitions, the attacks on me have weakened, but not ended. I may never win the approval of every parent; at times, I am still tormented by doubts, but I find solace in the fact that members of my dojang now only worry about competing to the best of their abilities.

Now, as I arrive at a tournament with my students, I close my eyes and remember the past. I visualize the frantic search for a coach and the chaos amongst my teammates as we competed with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our respective divisions. I open my eyes to the exact opposite scene. Lacking a coach hurt my ability to compete, but I am proud to know that no member of my dojang will have to face that problem again.

This essay begins with an in-the-moment narrative that really illustrates the chaos of looking for a coach last-minute. We feel the writer’s emotions, particularly her dejectedness, at not being able to compete. Starting an essay in media res  is a great way to capture the attention of your readers and build anticipation for what comes next.

Through this essay, we can see how gutsy and determined the student is in deciding to become a coach themselves. She shows us these characteristics through their actions, rather than explicitly telling us: To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side.  Also, by discussing the opposition she faced and how it affected her, the student is open and vulnerable about the reality of the situation.

The essay comes full circle as the author recalls the frantic situations in seeking out a coach, but this is no longer a concern for them and their team. Overall, this essay is extremely effective in painting this student as mature, bold, and compassionate.

The biggest thing this essay needs to work on is showing not telling. Throughout the essay, the student tells us that she “emerged with new knowledge and confidence,” she “grew unsure of her own abilities,” and she “refused to give up”. What we really want to know is what this looks like.

Instead of saying she “emerged with new knowledge and confidence” she should have shared how she taught a new move to a fellow team-member without hesitation. Rather than telling us she “grew unsure of her own abilities” she should have shown what that looked like by including her internal dialogue and rhetorical questions that ran through her mind. She could have demonstrated what “refusing to give up” looks like by explaining how she kept learning coaching techniques on her own, turned to a mentor for advice, or devised a plan to win over the trust of parents. 

Essay Example #9: Eritrea

No one knows where Eritrea is.

On the first day of school, for the past nine years, I would pensively stand in front of a class, a teacher, a stranger  waiting for the inevitable question: Where are you from?

I smile politely, my dimples accentuating my ambiguous features. “Eritrea,” I answer promptly and proudly. But I  am always prepared. Before their expression can deepen into confusion, ready to ask “where is that,” I elaborate,  perhaps with a fleeting hint of exasperation, “East Africa, near Ethiopia.”

Sometimes, I single out the key-shaped hermit nation on a map, stunning teachers who have “never had a student  from there!” Grinning, I resist the urge to remark, “You didn’t even know it existed until two minutes ago!”

Eritrea is to the East of Ethiopia, its arid coastline clutches the lucrative Red Sea. Battle scars litter the ancient  streets – the colonial Italian architecture lathered with bullet holes, the mosques mangled with mortar shells.  Originally part of the world’s first Christian kingdom, Eritrea passed through the hands of colonial Italy, Britain, and  Ethiopia for over a century, until a bloody thirty year war of Independence liberated us.

But these are facts that anyone can know with a quick Google search. These are facts that I have memorised and compounded, first from my Grandmother and now from pristine books  borrowed from the library.

No historical narrative, however, can adequately capture what Eritrea is.  No one knows the aroma of bushels of potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic – still covered in dirt – that leads you to the open-air market. No one knows the poignant scent of spices, arranged in orange piles reminiscent of compacted  dunes.  No one knows how to haggle stubborn herders for sheep and roosters for Christmas celebrations as deliberately as my mother. No one can replicate the perfect balance of spices in dorho and tsebhi as well as my grandmother,  her gnarly hands stirring the pot with ancient precision (chastising my clumsy knife work with the potatoes).  It’s impossible to learn when the injera is ready – the exact moment you have to lift the lid of the mogogo. Do it too  early (or too late) and the flatbread becomes mangled and gross. It is a sixth sense passed through matriarchal  lineages.

There are no sources that catalogue the scent of incense that wafts through the sunlit porch on St. Michael’s; no  films that can capture the luminescence of hundreds of flaming bonfires that fluoresce the sidewalks on Kudus  Yohannes, as excited children chant Ge’ez proverbs whose origin has been lost to time.  You cannot learn the familiarity of walking beneath the towering Gothic figure of the Enda Mariam Cathedral, the  crowds undulating to the ringing of the archaic bells.  I have memorized the sound of the rains hounding the metal roof during kiremti , the heat of the sun pounding  against the Toyota’s window as we sped down towards Ghinda , the opulent brilliance of the stars twinkling in a  sky untainted by light pollution, the scent of warm rolls of bani wafting through the streets at precisely 6 o’clock each day…

I fill my flimsy sketchbook with pictures from my memory. My hand remembers the shapes of the hibiscus drifting  in the wind, the outline of my grandmother (affectionately nicknamed a’abaye ) leaning over the garden, the bizarre architecture of the Fiat Tagliero .  I dice the vegetables with movements handed down from generations. My nose remembers the scent of frying garlic, the sourness of the warm tayta , the sharpness of the mit’mt’a …

This knowledge is intrinsic.  “I am Eritrean,” I repeat. “I am proud.”  Within me is an encyclopedia of history, culture, and idealism.

Eritrea is the coffee made from scratch, the spices drying in the sun, the priests and nuns. Eritrea is wise, filled with ambition, and unseen potential.  Eritrea isn’t a place, it’s an identity.

This is an exceptional essay that provides a window into this student’s culture that really makes their love for their country and heritage leap off the page. The sheer level of details and sensory descriptors this student is able to fit in this space makes the essay stand out. From the smells, to the traditions, sounds, and sights, the author encapsulates all the glory of Eritrea for the reader. 

The vivid images this student is able to create for the reader, whether it is having the tedious conversation with every teacher or cooking in their grandmother’s kitchen, transports us into the story and makes us feel like we are there in the moment with the student. This is a prime example of an essay that shows , not tells.

Besides the amazing imagery, the use of shorter paragraphs also contributes to how engaging this essay is. Employing this tactic helps break up the text to make it more readable and it isolates ideas so they stick out more than if they were enveloped in a large paragraph.

Overall, this is a really strong essay that brings to life this student’s heritage through its use of vivid imagery. This essay exemplifies what it means to show not tell in your writing, and it is a great example of how you can write an intimate personal statement without making yourself the primary focus of your essay. 

There is very little this essay should improve upon, but one thing the student might consider would be to inject more personal reflection into their response. Although we can clearly take away their deep love and passion for their homeland and culture, the essay would be a bit more personal if they included the emotions and feelings they associate with the various aspects of Eritrea. For example, the way their heart swells with pride when their grandmother praises their ability to cook a flatbread or the feeling of serenity when they hear the bells ring out from the cathedral. Including personal details as well as sensory ones would create a wonderful balance of imagery and reflection.

Essay Example #10: Journaling

Flipping past dozens of colorful entries in my journal, I arrive at the final blank sheet. I press my pen lightly to the page, barely scratching its surface to create a series of loops stringing together into sentences. Emotions spill out, and with their release, I feel lightness in my chest. The stream of thoughts slows as I reach the bottom of the page, and I gently close the cover of the worn book: another journal finished.

I add the journal to the stack of eleven books on my nightstand. Struck by the bittersweet sensation of closing a chapter of my life, I grab the notebook at the bottom of the pile to reminisce.

“I want to make a flying mushen to fly in space and your in it” – October 2008

Pulling back the cover of my first Tinkerbell-themed diary, the prompt “My Hopes and Dreams” captures my attention. Though “machine” is misspelled in my scribbled response, I see the beginnings of my past obsession with outer space. At the age of five, I tore through novels about the solar system, experimented with rockets built from plastic straws, and rented Space Shuttle films from Blockbuster to satisfy my curiosities. While I chased down answers to questions as limitless as the universe, I fell in love with learning. Eight journals later, the same relentless curiosity brought me to an airplane descending on San Francisco Bay.

“I wish I had infinite sunsets” – July 2019

I reach for the charcoal notepad near the top of the pile and open to the first page: my flight to the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes. While I was excited to explore bioengineering, anxiety twisted in my stomach as I imagined my destination, unsure of whether I could overcome my shyness and connect with others.

With each new conversation, the sweat on my palms became less noticeable, and I met students from 23 different countries. Many of the moments where I challenged myself socially revolved around the third story deck of the Jerry house. A strange medley of English, Arabic, and Mandarin filled the summer air as my friends and I gathered there every evening, and dialogues at sunset soon became moments of bliss. In our conversations about cultural differences, the possibility of an afterlife, and the plausibility of far-fetched conspiracy theories, I learned to voice my opinion. As I was introduced to different viewpoints, these moments challenged my understanding of the world around me. In my final entries from California, I find excitement to learn from others and increased confidence, a tool that would later allow me to impact my community.

“The beauty in a tower of cans” – June 2020

Returning my gaze to the stack of journals, I stretch to take the floral-patterned book sitting on top. I flip through, eventually finding the beginnings of the organization I created during the outbreak of COVID-19. Since then, Door-to-Door Deliveries has woven its way through my entries and into reality, allowing me to aid high-risk populations through free grocery delivery.

With the confidence I gained the summer before, I took action when seeing others in need rather than letting my shyness hold me back. I reached out to local churches and senior centers to spread word of our services and interacted with customers through our website and social media pages. To further expand our impact, we held two food drives, and I mustered the courage to ask for donations door-to-door. In a tower of canned donations, I saw the value of reaching out to help others and realized my own potential to impact the world around me.

I delicately close the journal in my hands, smiling softly as the memories reappear, one after another. Reaching under my bed, I pull out a fresh notebook and open to its first sheet. I lightly press my pen to the page, “And so begins the next chapter…”

The structuring of this essay makes it easy and enjoyable to read. The student effectively organizes their various life experiences around their tower of journals, which centers the reader and makes the different stories easy to follow. Additionally, the student engages quotes from their journals—and unique formatting of the quotes—to signal that they are moving in time and show us which memory we should follow them to.

Thematically, the student uses the idea of shyness to connect the different memories they draw out of their journals. As the student describes their experiences overcoming shyness at the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes and Door-to-Door Deliveries, this essay can be read as an Overcoming Obstacles essay.

At the end of this essay, readers are fully convinced that this student is dedicated (they have committed to journaling every day), thoughtful (journaling is a thoughtful process and, in the essay, the student reflects thoughtfully on the past), and motivated (they flew across the country for a summer program and started a business). These are definitely qualities admissions officers are looking for in applicants!

Although this essay is already exceptionally strong as it’s written, the first journal entry feels out of place compared to the other two entries that discuss the author’s shyness and determination. It works well for the essay to have an entry from when the student was younger to add some humor (with misspelled words) and nostalgia, but if the student had either connected the quote they chose to the idea of overcoming a fear present in the other two anecdotes or if they had picked a different quote all together related to their shyness, it would have made the entire essay feel more cohesive.

Where to Get Your Personal Statement Edited

Do you want feedback on your personal statement? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Next Step: Supplemental Essays

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How to Write a Stellar Extracurricular Activity College Essay

4 Tips for Writing a Diversity College Essay

How to Write the “Why This College” Essay

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How to Write About Yourself: Essay Structure, Writing Tips, Samples

Updated 04 Jun 2024

The US society values individuality greatly and sees it as a trait that, if harnessed properly, could yield important results like original ideas, creative approaches, attitudes that can enhance or innovate virtually any field of human activity. Both within and beyond the professional setting, assessing candidates on an individual basis is one of the key principles for any selection performed.

Most college students would encounter multiple situations during their lifetime when they would reveal certain aspects of their inner selves upon a request. Hence, learning how to write about yourself is an important skill that needs to be mastered in order to meet these challenges. Do need someone's help to write my thesis ? Don't know where to start? Let us help.

how to write about yourself

Why It Is Important Knowing How to Write About Yourself

Knowing how to write an essay about yourself is essential for many grounds. Some of the most common situations when people would need this is for professional reasons – to describe themselves to an employer or an academic institution for admission. While your biography or previous performance record normally have a huge weight in evaluating your candidacy, there are some aspects that may only be conveyed by you personally in a clearly-formulated, well-structured, efficient essay or block of text.

Among the personal information for which a self-description is indispensable are your purposes, life goals, long-term career vision, primary motivation, concerns, personal challenges envisioned, honest assessment of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Writing such papers openly is an important self-analysis tool – it is not a coincidence that many psychologists use this technique for gaining better understanding of themselves or for fighting stress.

Finally, you could write out of interest, to track personal evolution (intellectual, spiritual, moral) or allow reflection on your own life and personality.

How to Start an Essay About Yourself & How to Structure It

Like many other essay types, this one would also have an introduction, body, conclusion. Introductory part may vary a lot depending on the scope of the essay. To capture attention, it could start with describing a life event or story defining your life/ personality, a certain belief or state of mind characterizing you. It could start with some basic notes on your biography or could provide some important context describing where you are now in life. You could share a personal vision, dream, life credo and efforts of pursuing it.

Main body would contain a deeper exploration/ dissection of the traits mentioned with more factual details and real-life examples confirming them. One could mention and explain which challenges, experience, background exactly led to the evolution of these traits.

If this essay is part of professional or academic competition, the story should explore/ tell how your experience, interests, achievements, developed competencies, and personal traits qualify you for a given position and how obtaining this position is in line with your aspirations and goals.

In this kind of writing, it is particularly important making the conclusion strong and memorable. The conclusion should restate the idea, perhaps, less directly, that all your life and professional experience make you a good match for the targeted position but it should do much more than this, for instance, mention some relevant open questions regarding one’s biography, mention a long-sought dream that could be fulfilled, offer prophetic vision about one’s own future, short mention of one’s meaning of life and potentially, how it relates to current goals, very brief distilled overview of one’s entire past along with some interpreting remarks, especially, in case of an autobiography.

Additionally, it can be helpful to provide a self evaluation essay example to illustrate the points discussed throughout the essay. This example can showcase the process of self-reflection and highlight the author's personal growth and achievements.

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10 Tips on How to Write an Essay About Yourself

Below are a few recommendations worth considering when writing about yourself:

  • be honest - even learning how to write a paragraph about yourself requires knowing how to open/ reveal your soul, your past, or your mind. For some people, is a real challenge, yet simply speaking about this is not enough – you should speak selectively, with a message and agenda in mind. Once this skill evolves, one could produce complex stories about oneself and even write voluminous autobiographical works.
  • do not exaggerate – modesty and objectivity are valuable traits in every human, regardless of talent or achievements. Exhaustively list any merits/ achievements as part of the application but avoid by all means forming an impression of an arrogant, self-important person.  
  • if you are applying for admission to an academic institution within the US or from abroad, focus on achievements , talents, along with interests. As nobody expects exceptional achievements at this stage in life, it is quite natural shifting your focus entirely on who you are as a person, where your interests or motivation reside.
  • keep your topic narrow in order to cover it efficiently . If what you are writing is not an autobiography, then only cover a few select stories, moments, aspects that would help explain and promote your message. Obviously, careful selection of these moments is mandatory while writing about yourself.
  • understand whether you should be concise or not . Knowing how much you should expand is essential since, in some circumstances, brevity is a strict requirement, while in others, detailed account, description of the mentioned traits/ aspects is expected.
  • introduce yourself – the extent to which you do this obviously depends on the type of writing but a minimum of information in this regard is a must.
  • avoid delicate subjects - like it or not, every historical period has its own taboos and as history proves it, people often wait for the right time to explore or discuss many of these. An example could be the evolution of attitudes towards LGBTQ in US society – unlike earlier, now such topics are discussed freely. Besides such subjects, there are many sensitive controversial subjects exploring which might be reasonable in certain circumstances in controversial argumentative essays, but not here as you don’t want to experiment too much when writing about yourself.
  • avoid clichés – the best way of achieving this is by exploring complex, narrowly defined topics, by describing highly individual experiences, highly specific scenarios, highly original stories and thoughts.
  • don’t be afraid to talk about your peculiar struggles and associated achievements even if you think these might seem minor to others. Knowledge, empathy, and wisdom help people recognize such cases and accept the effort even without experiencing or fully grasping it. The determination and skills required for overcoming such situations are not much different than those for overcoming other personal or professional challenges. If talking about yourself means talking a lot about your struggle as a leader, explore some concepts of leadership essay.
  • if you have difficulties thinking objectively about yourself, always consider asking people that know you well about the key traits or talents they associate with you. Apart from helping with your essay, it should be really interesting to learn how other people see you.

If you still find it hard writing such a paper, remember that you may always delegate this task to our professional writers. They will write an essay for cheap but still respect all provided instructions and produce high-quality work. Obviously, good essays would require sharing some information with a personal statement writer ; it is necessary for tailoring the content to your biography.

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Writing a Letter About Yourself

When considering how to write a letter about yourself, you should take into account some additional aspects:

  • start by mentioning who you address the letter to . Targeting individuals is preferred but if not possible, you could use collective, general resignations, like ”Dear customer service department”, “To whom it may concern.”
  • introduce yourself properly (name, position) – this helps readers put all the information about you in a context. For instance, your professional opinion on employment processes in a company would normally have more weight if people know you are an HR management professional. Similarly, writing from a position of power/ accomplishment about some career challenges you experienced gives the reader more confidence you have managed to overcome or control these aspects and teach others something.
  • know your audience – get a good understanding of who exactly might read your paper and in what settings. This might help filter relevant from non-relevant content. For instance, if you are dealing with an admission committee, you should avoid corresponding clichés that these people might encounter on a daily basis.
  • writing such letters is essentially a self-advertisement of the author , as it makes sense to think very carefully about the correct way of portraying your strengths and weaknesses so that the overall image is positive and realistic. Covering weaknesses is not mandatory but it is normally a sign of good & honest self-analysis - description listing only your positive traits would likely look artificial and even suspicious. However, think twice when listing weaknesses that might compromise your application.
  • state purpose of the letter, your motivation for sending it – in other words, make your expectations & goals clear. This is a prerequisite for efficient communication, especially in written form.
  • thank everybody, bow out gallantly . Don’t forget about providing your contacts so that you make it convenient for people to reach you if needed.

Keep in mind that at Edubirdie, we help with many more paper types. Writers could write my thesis paper for me, various research papers, coursework, essays on social issues topics most relevant for the US, argumentative papers, term papers, case studies, speeches, etc. Do not wait any longer!

Essay Example Written By Our Expert

When writing personal essay about yourself examples can be of great help since they are viewed as both templates and demonstrations of how to apply many theoretical principles and suggestions in practice. 

Additionally, if you are looking for further inspiration and guidance, it can be beneficial to explore autobiography essay examples for students , which provide valuable insights into effective storytelling techniques and the incorporation of personal experiences. 

Find below such an example of a short composition:

It is always hard talking about yourself on a deeper level: you not only should be honest and objective but also provide carefully selected information that defines the essence of your personality. I think of my self-worth nowadays in rather realistic terms knowing that I have a collection of both positive and negative traits. Among the positive traits I have are my caring attitude and tendency to protect those who I deem close. I highly value my honest and straightforward manner of communicating with people, which, later in life, I learned to control better in order to avoid being offensive. I have witnessed on several occasions how this honesty helped people get a clearer perspective over their personal issues and make progress towards solving them. As we are defined by our values/ beliefs, it is worth mentioning that the character traits I view as most desirable in a person are: dependability, trustworthiness, responsibility, honesty, conscientiousness, respectfulness. The main thing providing meaning in my life is ensuring the wellbeing of people I hold dear but also making positive changes, however, small, that would improve the life of my community. I recognize the tendency for external control as being a defining trait of my personality. Sometimes this backfires, in particular when I am intrusive in the lives of other people. I discovered as a teenager that I can manipulate, lead, and impose my view among my siblings and peers. At first, the control that I exerted on my siblings came along my role as a protector that I was starting to realize. Later, it slowly took the form of parenting behavior and was driven by genuine care and responsibility for their lives. Nowadays, I’d like to think that my guidance and support are of some value to the people I know. As for my professional life, meaning is provided by the desire to be appreciated for my conscientious attitude, discipline, competence. My seriousness and deep involvement, as well as my capabilities for leading and decision making, could be of great value in organizing small groups of people. However, I am probably more successful at leading by example and providing direct assistance/ guidance rather than making deep connections with people in order to motivate them. All these mentioned beliefs, values, and traits (good or bad) define who I am. They represent all I have been through, witnessed, and experienced throughout the years and how I reacted to this as a growing/ developing individual. The best I could hope for is to make good use of all the positive aspects while controlling the negative ones.

Questions and answers:

What things to write about yourself?        

When writing about yourself, you could describe your achievements, values, virtues, beliefs, interests, talents as well as how you’ve developed any of these (what caused them, how exactly it happened, what were the outcomes). You could write about personal struggles and any successes achieved while battling them.                        

How do you write a bio about yourself?                

Writing an autobiography involves reflecting on your life and carefully selecting and listing a number of important moments that you think were essential in shaping your path in life and your current personality.

How do you write an introduction about yourself?          

To write an introduction about yourself, you could begin with mentioning your most exciting, original, captivating, or defining life stories, personality traits, or situations that revealed your character to yourself or others.

We Can Write About You!

Writing about yourself takes many forms, some of which may be more challenging than others. Nevertheless, one could master this skill by following proper guidelines and reviewing examples. One way to produce high-quality essays is to contract professional writing services.

With Edubirdie, you can transparently review and select your preferred writer based on their performance. Work together with this writer, provide instructions, information, request drafts, provide feedback, to complete a paper matching your requirements. If you find the result unsatisfactory, ask for free revisions or even request a refund. All these are intended to minimize risks faced by clients and allow them to foc on their tasks. Why not give it a try yourself?   

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Written by Mary O. Spears

Mary O. Spears is a dedicated writer specializing in crafting insightful guides on essay and paper writing. With a profound understanding of academic standards and a talent for demystifying complex topics, Mary offers invaluable guidance to students aiming for academic excellence. Outside of her professional work, Mary is passionate about cooking and eating healthy, bringing creativity and balance to both her culinary and writing endeavors.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, tell us about yourself essay examples.

I'm applying to some scholarships, and some of them have a 'tell us about yourself' essay prompt. I'm a little unsure of where to start and how to structure this essay. Can anyone share some examples or tips on how I can write an engaging, effective essay without sounding cliché or braggy?

Sure, I can provide some guidance on structuring a "tell us about yourself" essay and provide tips on making it engaging and effective without sounding cliché or braggy.

1. Start with an attention-grabbing hook: Open your essay with a brief anecdote, piece of dialogue, or thought-provoking statement that reveals something interesting about you.

Example: "As I stood on the roof of my family's house in [hometown], peering through my homemade telescope, I was struck by the vastness of the night sky."

2. Focus on a specific aspect of yourself: Rather than trying to cover every aspect of your life, pick a theme or personal characteristic that plays a major role in your interests, experiences, and goals.

Example: "My curiosity about the universe and the natural world led me to volunteer at a local science center, where I conducted hands-on experiments with visitors of all ages."

3. Provide a brief background: Give some context to the topic you're discussing, such as your upbringing, community, or family background, if it's relevant to the theme.

Example: "Growing up in a small, rural town, I didn't have the same access to resources and educational opportunities as kids in larger cities, but my determination to learn about the world around me never waned."

4. Showcase your growth and accomplishments: Talk about specific experiences, achievements, or events that shaped your development, values, or interests. Be humble but honest about your achievements, and focus on how they've impacted your growth rather than dwelling on the awards themselves.

Example: "Despite the challenges, I pursued my passion for astronomy and managed to secure a coveted summer internship at a renowned observatory, where I worked alongside professionals and contributed to a research project."

5. Connect your past experiences to your future goals: Explain how the things you've learned and accomplished thus far have motivated and prepared you for your future academic and career aspirations.

Example: "My experiences have confirmed my passion for science and astronomy, leading me to pursue a degree in astrophysics and dedicate myself to researching the mysteries of our universe."

6. Close with a memorable statement: Finish your essay by leaving a lasting impression on the reader, perhaps by tying back to your opening hook or sharing an inspiring thought.

Example: "As I continue to explore the cosmos, both academically and personally, I'll never forget those nights spent stargazing in my hometown and the curiosity that propelled me forward."

Remember, a well-rounded and engaging "tell us about yourself" essay will focus on a specific aspect or theme, be genuine and personal, and effectively showcase your growth and future aspirations. Good luck with your scholarship applications!

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How to Write an Essay About Yourself With Tips and Examples

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  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
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Essays are essential in demonstrating student’s proficiency in writing academic texts. Basically, this proficiency includes writing creatively and without notable mistakes and errors. By considering writing essays about themselves, students should follow the same approach that they use when writing other types of essays, including research papers. In essence, authors should focus on preparation, stage set up, writing process, and perfecting their compositions. Also, these steps are essential in ensuring the writer’s essay is of high quality. In turn, these essays on yourself do not rely on external research to strengthen the main arguments. On the other hand, papers rely on personal anecdotes to make them authentic and original. Hence, a student needs to learn how to write an essay about yourself.

General Guidelines of Writing an Essay About Yourself

Essay writing is one of the activities that students engage in to develop their creative writing skills. Unlike a research paper, an essay that a student writes about yourself does not rely on external research. Basically, one can argue that this type of article is exploratory. Also, it explores the writer’s life across different settings, such as school life, home life, and social life. While such essays may differ from a research essay in content, it follows the same structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. Then, a research paper utilizes external research to make it relevant, but a personal essay that a student writes about yourself uses personal anecdotes to create relevance. In other words, since such a piece explores the student’s life, it is only prudent for a person to include one or several stories that give readers a glimpse into their personality.

How to write an essay about yourself

Writing an Essay About Yourself: A Step-by-Step Guide

The strategy of writing academic texts is almost the same, regardless of the kind of the type of text. In short, whether academic writing involves a research essay, report, thesis paper, dissertation, or personal story, writers must engage in some activities that are similar across these types of papers. Basically, these activities include preparation, stage set up, writing process, and wrap up of the writing process.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the first step in writing an essay of any type. Basically, this stage has several components, including defining the topic, preparing ideas, and considering the audience. Concerning the topic, a person who writes about yourself can use the instructor’s theme or choose one if none is provided. In the latter case, authors should settle for a topic that interests them, one that they can find information to back up claims and arguments easily. When it comes to writing all about me essay, students should choose topics that allow them to capture a broad perspective about their lives. On preparation of ideas, students need to reflect on their lives, including positive and negative experiences and strengths and weaknesses. About the audience, they should write with expectations of instructors in mind.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

After preparation, the next step in academic paper writing is to set up the stage. Basically, components of this step include making notes, creating an essay outline, and creating an annotated bibliography. When writing an essay about yourself, a student should make notes when reflecting on your own experiences. In this case, a personal anecdote comes into play. Then, authors should use a personal account, highlighting a positive or negative experience and areas of strength or weakness. When it comes to creating an outline, students should use academic standards of essay outlines – introduction, body, and conclusion. Although it is unnecessary to write down these headings, authors must ensure that those reading all about me essays can identify where each of these sections begins and ends. In turn, there is no need for an annotated bibliography since no external research is required.

Step 3: Writing Process

After preparing and setting up the stage, students start writing their essays about themselves. Basically, components of this step include making the first draft, ensuring the paper captures everything that authors intend to write about, has a thesis statement, and captures the writer’s concluding thoughts. In this case, first drafts are essential because they allow writers to have an opportunity to perfect their papers through revisions and editions. Then, the thesis statement is the writer’s guide. Besides, it dictates what authors should focus on in body paragraphs. In turn, concluding thoughts are the writer’s words that summarize lessons learned. Hence, each of these components is essential in an essay about yourself.

Step 4: Wrapping Up

After writing the first draft, students begin to write the final draft. But before they start, they should read and reread the first draft to ensure it is free of any grammatical mistakes and other writing errors, such as inconsistent arguments and illogical flow of ideas. For example, if writers identify such mistakes and errors, they should revise and edit an essay about yourself accordingly. In turn, revisions help authors to eliminate inconsistencies in arguments and illogical flow of ideas, while editions help them to fix grammatical mistakes, such as a lack of punctuation or wrong use.

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Main Features of Writing All About Me Essay

1️⃣ topic and concluding sentences.

When writing an essay about themselves, students should begin each body paragraph as they would in any other article – start with a topic sentence. Basically, this sentence captures a single idea that writers interrogate in a particular section, meaning that it offers an insight into the paragraph’s content. On the other hand, a concluding sentence is a final thought about what writers have said in a specific section. Then, rules of academic writing dictate that the concluding sentence links the topic sentence with the thesis statement. In other words, it is the part of a single paragraph that creates sense for readers regarding the topic sentence and its place in the writer’s main argument.

2️⃣ Transition, Peer Review, and Final Draft

Students need to ensure that, as they write an essay about themselves, they create a logical flow of ideas from the beginning paragraph to the end. Basically, such elements may be transition words, like “consequently,” “furthermore,” “nevertheless,” and “hence.” To ensure that students do not miss identifying errors in their essays, they should subject their work to a peer review. For example, this aspect involves giving the first draft to a mentor who reads through it to make sure it is perfect. When mentors are satisfied with the paper’s quality, students start writing the final draft. However, they should also read through it at least twice and subject it to peer review before submitting it to a specific department.

3️⃣ Specific Information

As indicated, writing an essay about yourself differs from a research paper because it does not rely on external research to back up claims and arguments. Instead, writers utilize a personal story to shed light on their experiences and attributes. In this sense, such personal anecdotes are the specific information necessary for an essay about yourself. Moreover, this information is specific to a person provided through reflective writing. Hence, a personal essay that a student writes, which is about yourself, should be exploratory, descriptive, and thoughtful.

Common Mistakes

Like any other academic text, writing an essay about oneself is often prone to mistakes. For example, some of the common mistakes that writers or students make when writing an essay about yourself include writing about things that do not help readers to have a proper grasp of their personality and using exaggeration. Basically, writing an essay about yourself should enhance the readers’ understanding of authors – their life experiences, attributes, likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses. In turn, exaggeration involves using information that is likely to be untrue to impress readers. To solve the first mistake, writers need to focus on personal anecdotes, as they help to highlight instances of the author’s life that is worth noting. To avoid exaggeration, students should desist from trying to impress and seek to be authentic in their writing.

Example of Writing an Essay About Yourself

My First Year of School by Zac

I walked into the classroom, shaking in terror. The class was full of howler monkeys, but I was not with howler monkeys. I was with a bunch of five and six-year-old kids. I acted as if I was watching a horror movie until I met the super lovely Mr. Keig. Mr. Keig was the best teacher in the universe.

Mr. Keig was like a giant to us, and he still is. At first, I was scared of Mr. Keig, but I found out he was super friendly. He taught me how to read and write. Add and subtract. He even taught me how to make school fun. At the beginning of school, I was horrified by math and reading. I was soon shown that those subjects were not formidable opponents, but I had yet to meet my match.

Writing. I hated writing. I had met my match, my enemy, my formidable opponent. The reason I hated writing was that I wrote slowly.  It took too long for me to write, and I was always the last one to finish my newest story. It was also ever boring for me. It was hard to find inspiration or the urge to take a step up. Math and reading, on the other hand, I sped through like Speed Racer. I was still shy, and I only had a few friends in the first couple of weeks of kindergarten. I figured out making friends was not a piece of cake. I eventually made friends. Thank God that problem was over.

Even though we got to play and create our own art, sometimes, school days were dull. Sometimes days felt like they were two million years long. There were other times when I was terrified about a test, and it seemed like the paper was laughing at me, and my pencil was dodging my paper. I was sweating, shaking, and FREAKIN’ out. I eventually pulled it together and got my test done. Relieved, relaxed, and incredibly calmed down. Tranquil and thrilled I was. It felt like I was soaring through the sky a million miles per minute.

What I learned from my year in kindergarten was to face your fears.  If you are scared, don’t run away from your worries. Another lesson I learned was not to judge a book by its cover. I assumed the school was going to be extremely hard, and tests were going to be impossible. I assumed wrong. The school (kindergarten) was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. While kindergarten was a bit challenging, I knew I could succeed if I set my mind to it and work hard.

Summing Up on How to Write an Essay About Yourself

Essay writing is an essential activity in a student’s life, as it exposes one to the dynamics of creative writing. When writing such an essay, authors learn how to use personal stories to highlight their positive and negative experiences, including strengths and weaknesses. In essence, such stories replace external evidence that writers use in research essays. Then, the guide to effective writing of such an essay includes several components, including preparation, stage set up, starting the writing process, and wrapping it up. Also, these aspects of writing an essay about yourself allow a person to build own thoughts, organize papers, and perfect academic texts. As a result, perfection involves revising any inconsistent ideas and illogical arguments and revising any grammatical mistakes, such as punctuation errors.

When writing an essay about yourself, a student should master the following tips:

  • Be thoughtful, but not fretful. Writers should, through reflection, highlight areas of their lives that provide an insight into their personality. In this case, they should do it without fear of what readers might think about them.
  • Keep an essay personal. The majority of the essay’s information should be about an author. For example, such elements involve talking about life experiences, attributes, strengths, and weaknesses. In turn, the use of personal anecdotes is essential in achieving this goal.
  • Do not guess what readers want to hear. Students should not seek to impress readers, but they need to inform them.
  • Feel free to be creative. Without exaggeration, authors should use personal stories creatively to keep readers interested in essays.
  • Tell readers something that they do not already know. The best way to keep readers interested is to use stories that writers have probably never shared publicly. In turn, such stories or experiences inject all about me essays with an aspect of amazement.
  • Ask for input from close ones. Students can ask parents, friends, mentors, counselors, coaches, and teachers to provide ideas, as they know about personally.
  • Polish a paper about yourself. Essays should not be about the writer’s story only. In turn, it should demonstrate the writer’s proficiency in writing by lacking grammatical mistakes and other notable errors.

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How to Answer the Interview Question: “Tell Me About Yourself”

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It sounds like the easiest question you can get in an interview, but it’s often the hardest to answer: “Tell me about yourself.” It can be overwhelming to summarize your entire life in a few sentences, but luckily that’s not what you actually need to do. We’ve gathered perspectives from a recruiter and hiring managers so you can confidently introduce yourself in a job interview.  

What are they really asking?  

This interview question is usually one of the first, and while it’s just an icebreaker on the surface, “the fact that it’s such a broad question is actually a test in itself,” says Jean du Plessis , Senior Engineering Manager at cloud platform Upbound . “They will be looking to see how you respond to an open-ended question and if you can be articulate.”  

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Interviewers are also likely to be assessing how well you understand the industry, role, and company you’re applying to, based on what skills, experience, or anecdotes you choose to highlight in your answer. This is your chance to surface anything that you feel aligns your profile to the opportunity, says Lucy Jones, Headhunter and Director of the Executive Search firm Lawson Brooke . “Number one, before you join the interview: Do your research .” 

By the time you meet with a hiring manager, you will have seen a job description and may even have had an initial screening call with someone from the company. “So, you’ve already got a load of intel to help decide which key things from your experience to surface when asked that question,” says Lucy. 

Be succinct and curate your story  

Remember: You don’t need to regurgitate what’s on your resume — the interviewer might even have your resume on-hand to reference during your conversation. “You can set the expectation with the interviewer around what you’re going to constrain your answer to,” Jean says.  

For example, you might choose to focus on roles or aspects of your experience that are transferrable to the position or the type of customer the company serves. “The interviewer can always ask follow-up questions, but having a clear point of view of what you want to share about helps you keep your answer brief and easy to follow,” Jean says. 

Curating the story you want to tell about your career ahead of time helps you start the interview on the right foot. You don’t want to go into the rest of the interview feeling flustered because you rambled. Giving a concise, confident answer is like giving a firm handshake, says Jean. “This is the virtual equivalent.”

examples of an essay about yourself

How to answer “Tell me about yourself” if you’re changing careers  

If your background isn’t an obvious fit for the role, this question gives you an opportunity to explain what led you to this point. “I like to see that there’s a narrative thread throughout your work,” says Lisa Tagliaferri , Senior Director of Developer Enablement at the cybersecurity company Chainguard . In addition to her full-time role, Lisa is an interdisciplinary researcher across the humanities and technology and has interviewed many candidates making career changes. 

“Think about your personal mission or the themes of your work that have stayed consistent from previous roles,” Lisa says. “You can go through multiple career shifts throughout your life, but there’s usually a common thread you can bring to light.” 

For instance, transitioning from teaching to software development might stem from a shared desire to help people, Lisa says. ( Codecademy learner Pj Metz was a high school English teacher when he landed a developer relations job focusing on students and teachers at GitLab.)  

Highlighting your passion for teamwork and mentoring or showcasing technology-focused creative projects can add depth to your story, Lisa suggests. “Giving that color and showing your broader interests is a positive thing,” she says. 

Sample answer for a career changer

“My name is Adriana, and I currently work as an English teacher. My professional background has primarily been in education, but I’ve always had an interest in technology and its potential to transform learning experiences. I’ve actively incorporated technology educational software and online platforms into my teaching methods to boost student engagement.  Through my experience in education, I’ve developed strong communication skills, a knack for problem-solving, and a passion for continuous learning — qualities I believe are highly transferable to the technology field. Recently, I’ve been exploring coding through online courses and have completed several projects that my students and I use in the classroom.  I’m drawn to the technology field because of its dynamic nature and its potential to drive innovation and change. I’m particularly excited about the opportunity to leverage my skills and experiences in a new context and to contribute to technological advancements that positively impact society.”

How to answer “Tell me about yourself” if you’re early in your career  

You might be light on work experience, but have a wealth of relevant life experience to draw from, Lisa says. “Before you go on the job market, there are ways to do meaningful development projects that showcase your work — from a technical perspective but also from a mission-driven perspective,” she says. 

Lisa worked with Computer Science undergraduate students at MIT who were doing Python projects for the digital humanities, ranging from literature and history to music . Some students conducted data analysis on online public archives. “Those students could talk about how history [for example] was important to them in the context of a group development project,” says Lisa. “Those examples are great signal to interviewers that you see how the software you make can be useful in different contexts, and you’re excited about the application of what you build.” 

Contributing to open-source code or documentation, or even participating in communities related to your areas of interest are also good examples to highlight. That time spent interacting with your course mates in the Codecademy Forums and contributing to Docs will be worth it! 

Sample answer for an entry-level job seeker

“I’m Amrit, a visual art student passionate about leveraging creativity in functional design. While my background is in visual arts, I’ve honed skills in UI/UX design through personal projects. I’ve explored design principles, prototyping, and user research, aiming to create intuitive and visually appealing digital experiences. Last semester I volunteered to re-design a mobile app for our local food co-op. I’m eager to apply my artistic sensibility and design expertise to make digital interfaces more accessible.”

Be authentic and show your personality  

You already made it to the interview, which is a strong signal that you meet the minimum hard skills requirements. Now you get to show them what you’re like to work with as a human and set the tone for the rest of your interview.  

“The best interviewees, the ones that leave a lasting impression, are the ones that I enjoyed a conversation with,” Jean says. It’s normal to feel nervous, but use that energy to showcase yourself authentically.  

Be yourself and inject personal anecdotes to paint a fuller picture of who you are. “This is your one opportunity to make an impression outside of the role-specific requirements, so make an effort to share something interesting about you,” Jean says. And while you do want to be prepared, avoid sounding rehearsed by preparing some bullet points of what you want to share.  

Want to practice introducing yourself in an interview? Try out our new beta Interview Simulator : Build a mock interview based on the job title, level, type of interview and company and your own experience, then practice giving written or spoken responses. The AI interviewer is trained to ask intelligent follow-up questions like a recruiter and will provide you with feedback after the session. 

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

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To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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Shona McCombes

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A woman links arms with a man on a gray sofa in a living room with a white wall. The couple is flanked by two younger women. A wedding portrait hangs on the wall.

‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7

A Times investigation uncovered new details showing a pattern of rape, mutilation and extreme brutality against women in the attacks on Israel.

Gal Abdush’s parents, center, and her sisters. The photograph on the wall shows Gal and her husband, Nagi. The couple had been together since they were teenagers. Credit...

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By Jeffrey Gettleman ,  Anat Schwartz and Adam Sella

Photographs by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz and Adam Sella reported from across Israel and interviewed more than 150 people.

  • Published Dec. 28, 2023 Updated March 25, 2024

At first, she was known simply as “the woman in the black dress.”

In a grainy video, you can see her, lying on her back, dress torn, legs spread, vagina exposed. Her face is burned beyond recognition and her right hand covers her eyes.

The video was shot in the early hours of Oct. 8 by a woman searching for a missing friend at the site of the rave in southern Israel where, the day before, Hamas terrorists massacred hundreds of young Israelis .

The video went viral, with thousands of people responding, desperate to know if the woman in the black dress was their missing friend, sister or daughter.

One family knew exactly who she was — Gal Abdush, mother of two from a working-class town in central Israel, who disappeared from the rave that night with her husband.

As the terrorists closed in on her, trapped on a highway in a line of cars of people trying to flee the party, she sent one final WhatsApp message to her family: “You don’t understand.”

Based largely on the video evidence — which was verified by The New York Times — Israeli police officials said they believed that Ms. Abdush was raped, and she has become a symbol of the horrors visited upon Israeli women and girls during the Oct. 7 attacks.

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