What Is a Personal essay?

A personal (experience) essay is a kind of an essay that gives an account of your personal experience(s). For example, ‘how I spent my summer’ would be a personal essay as it tells the reader a story of your experience during the summer period.

Function of Personal Experience Essay

Personal essays are used predominantly to develop one’s narrative skills. This kind of essay doesn’t expect you to go deep into analysis – merely tell your reader what you saw, heard or lived through. Another subtype of personal essays is the one that requires you to view your experience in retrospective and analyze them. This type of essays is generally known as the reflection essay. The purpose of the reflection essay is to analyze how a certain event or a series of events impacted your life and contributed to your personal development. When you apply for university admission, you will be expected to write such a personal essay for the admission committee. The personal essay should demonstrate your dedication and commitment to the chosen field of study and where you have drawn your inspirations to pursue the chosen profession. An effective personal essay will combine both professional and personal aspects of the applicant’s life. The crucial aspect in reflection essay writing is the introspection rather than the retrospection, i.e. you don’t just look back and describe past events, but rather analyze those events and try to determine their impact on your personality, character etc.

Personal Essay Format

A personal essay in its basic form should take follows the prescribed five paragraph format, comprising the introduction, two-three body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Please read the article on essay format to get a better idea of how to structure your paper properly.

General Tips on Personal Essay Writing

Writing personal essays is generally an easy task to accomplish. Personal essays that are written retrospectively are generally easy to write.  First of all, you are free to sound personal and use personal pronouns in your paper, so don’t worry – the I’s and we’s in your paper will be absolutely ok, unlike in most other essay types. Remember that if you are narrating your experiences, your story needs to be lined out and logical. Avoid jumping from one event to another without making a link between the two. Try to sound natural and show your reader who you really are. Using ‘fluffy’ language, being overtly witty/humorous when you are not, and especially making up events that never happened, in reality, are your personal essay killers. Finally, when working on your essay, make sure you proofread the paper to rid it of grammar and spelling errors. The importance of correct grammar and punctuation should never be underestimated.

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