The Personal Essay

The personal essay (also called a letter of intent or personal statement) is an essay about you. You might write it to describe your values, qualities and abilities or to explain why you want to enter a particular academic program or work for a particular organization. As the name implies, the personal essay might take the form of an essay, or you might present it as a letter or a few paragraphs on an application form. Who wants it? The people who want this information are usually members of a selection committee who have the task of choosing students for post graduate studies or for scholarships.

However, some employers are now asking potential employees to write personal essays as part of their job application packages. Why do they need it? These people want information about you but they also want to know how effectively you write; how you identify and prioritize your values, personal qualities and abilities; and how you correlate what you have to offer with what they need. Where do you write it? You usually write a personal essay in the security of your own home, but you may have to write one in an auditorium along with hundreds of other applicants. When do you write it? If you are writing the personal essay as part of your job application package, you will likely write it shortly before an actual interview and deliver it to your interviewer in person.

If you are applying for admission to law or medical school, you might write the personal essay several weeks, even months, in advance of your interview. You might mail it to the committee or send it to them as an attachment to an E-mail letter. How do you plan it? Read the request for information carefully and, if possible, use the directions to help plan your essay. Read a few books to get ideas about writing the Personal Essay. But don’t copy from the examples given in the books; refer to your own experiences and
use your own words. What advice would a successful applicant give? The following advice comes from a Montreal student who was accepted into a doctoral program at an American university.

Give yourself plenty of time. Remember that you will need more time for filling out various forms and meeting certain requirements if you’re applying to an American school than if you’re applying to a Canadian one. You will be an international student then, so you will have to undergo screening by the university office for international students. Start working on your essay as soon as possible. You need time to plan, revise and work with an editor. The more time you give yourself, the less pressure you will feel as you work on your essay.

  • Read the directions very carefully. Make sure you answer the questions the university wants you to answer; don’t make do with an essay you already wrote for some other university just to save time and energy. If you have any doubts about the intent of a question or even of a word, telephone the university and ask for clarification. Be prepared to answer questions such as the following: What interests you about our program? What experiences have you had related to this field of study? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you see yourself doing after you graduate?
  • Write your essay when you are feeling good about yourself, not when you feel depressed. Your confidence will come through in your writing; your words will come to life. Before you begin your essay, write a letter to a friend or one of your professors, explaining why you should be in the program. This will help you develop an appropriate frame of mind for writing your essay and will get you thinking about the information you might include.
  • Follow your usual study habits when writing the essay. If you prefer studying in the morning, then write your essay in the morning. If you prefer composing the first drafts of term papers by hand rather than on the computer or if you write better in a quiet rather than a noisy atmosphere, follow the same practice when you write your essay. Avoid reading other people’s essays so that you aren’t influenced by them. You want your essay to carry your voice.
  • Make an outline before you write the essay. Make a brief statement to indicate the theme for each section. Use the university’s questions as the skeleton for your essay. Each paragraph should have a distinct topic or theme.
  • Pay close attention to your opening and closing statements. The first few sentences set the tone of your paper and create a mind-set for your reader. They will influence the manner in which he or she reads the entire essay. The closing statement should leave a refreshing aftertaste, the last thing your reader will remember about you.
  • Make your essay concise but eloquent. You are more apt to have trouble keeping within the required length than struggling to reach it. Get to the point. Use the language you ordinarily speak; don’t consult your thesaurus to find more academic sounding language. Be enthusiastic. Let your reader know that you are keen on attaining your goals and that you are proud of what you have already accomplished.
  • Find a good editor. Listen to what he or she has to tell you about style. A good editor can identify problems that you missed, such as instances when you have been too wordy.
  • Remember your reference letters. Make yourself known to a few of your professors in a positive light so that they will be as enthusiastic as you are about your getting into a good graduate school. Do this early.
  • Send your application package in early. The university may have a limit of how many students it accepts from out-of-province or, if it’s an American university, from out-ofstate. If so, you want your application to be one of the first received so that you stand a better chance of being accepted.

The outstanding way of writing a personal essay

Personal essay is simple writing about you. It simple urges the reader to read more till the story is interesting and this forms the basis of enormous reader response. It might be a difficult task but at the college life is harsh when it comes to writing and one has to do it to achieve top grades. Writing a personal essay is a skill that not only demonstrates the best abilities of the writer but also nurtures the abilities so that the writer block is overcome with great enthusiasm. The structure as well as points that have been highlighted by the instructor will allow a student to come up with outstanding personal essay writing. The essay should clearly demonstrate the ability to show others what a reader is up to and why the others should read. The approach that is needed is to explain oneself in great detail so that the instructors or the targeted audience come to know the personality. These essays have more than one form as writing a scholarship essay is also something personal. Kicking off the essay with a quote or a frequently used sentence will create a sense of boredom and therefore reader loses the interest. The best approach to start a paper of this genre is to ask question to you so that the beginning becomes captivating. The student should never delve deep into his life to find answers and therefore the general questions are to be considered before proceeding in this regard.

How to write a personal essay that is highly structured

The structure that is to be followed to come up with the best piece is not something which reinvents the wheel and therefore it should be kept as simple as possible. For all those students who want to know how to write a personal essay the first paragraph should be introduction, the next three paragraphs should outline all the questions that the writer have thought off in the first place. The last paragraph is that of summary and therefore it is important to come to a conclusion to get the work done. The academic format that has been specified is also to be followed. It could be APA, MLA or Chicago style that has been advised by the instructor. Being open and honest to the readers will serve the purpose easily and will also answer the question i.e. how to write a good personal essay. Explaining the things in complete yet concise manner form the basis of a good piece, this is not only presentable but also leads a student on the path to success. The personal standards are to be lowered and the humbleness should be demonstrated throughout the paper, and this single point will make the piece one of the best among the others that has been presented.