A personal essay is a piece of nonfictional writing about the writer and/or his/her personal experiences with the various aspects of life. It involves relating the personal life of the writer to universal facts. Generally, it involves combining both narrative and descriptive writing styles. A cool way to come up with a great personal essay is to generate a great topic that will resonate with the interest of the target audience. The writer’s creativity is of utmost importance in captivating the attention of the reader and therefore a unique angle of the presentation will most definitely keep the readers glued. Writing a good personal essay begins with understanding its structure and the basic elements that make it up. For students who have had a chance to write college admission essays, writing a personal essay should be a walk in the park.


The structure of a personal essay takes the format of a normal essay (Introduction with thesis statement, body, and conclusion) unless instructed otherwise by your instructor. The introduction part of the essay should be as captivating as possible. The writer needs to make clear his/her intentions for the paper and this depends on the chosen topic. After clarifying the idea of the paper, the writer needs to develop a strong hook statement like an anecdote to inspire curiosity in the readers. A powerful introduction marks the beginning of a great personal essay. The last one or two sentences of the introduction paragraph should be the thesis statement. This is the part where the writer makes clear the intentions of the essay to the reader. The major idea of the personal essay must be laid here and reflected in the rest of the paper supported by sufficient relevant arguments.

The body of the personal essay is where the writer supports the thesis statement by backing it up with sufficient facts justifying the ideas put forth in the introduction part of the personal essay. Being a personal essay, all the details discussed in the body must relate to the writer, therefore, making it personal by connecting events with self is crucial. Also, it is essential to bring out your literal creativity while explaining events by describing how they happened, why they happened and the lessons learned from them.

In the conclusion part of the personal essay, the author needs to make the reader reminisce about the events read in the former parts of the essay. Here, you should avoid repeating events explained in the body rather you should explain what impacts those events had in your life.


There are certain basic elements that must be included when writing a personal essay. Most of the time, students get stuck while figuring out how to begin writing and what to include in their personal essays. Since we have covered the basic structure of the personal essay, what is left is figuring out the contents of the paper. While a personal essay has specific elements that distinguish it from other forms of writing, there is no particular format that defines a personal essay. Therefore, the limitation of the essay can only be defined by the author’s imagination.

The beginning of the essay needs to be laced with a compelling title that ultimately reflects the primary ideas of the essay. Each idea that is stated in the paper needs to be backed by reasonable facts with regard to the narrator. For example, if the essay is a reflective writing based on an event, the narrator needs to show the reader why that particular event was chosen and what lessons were learned from it. Creativity will come to play here in order to impress the readers.

One take-home to consider while writing a personal essay is keeping the essay structured and narrowing down the ideas. Keeping each idea in a single paragraph (the paragraphs need to have some connections too) allows for a better flow of the essay.

Common mistakes

Mistakes in writing are unavoidable. Some are made out of ignorance but most are made unintentionally. It is worth noting that when describing events in a personal essay, you need to focus more on yourself than the event itself. For instance, if you are to describe the impact that someone had in your life, ensure that you do not divert the essay to a biography but rather make it show the person’s life inspired you. Here are some of the common mistakes students make while writing a personal essay:

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