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Personal essay tips: describing a person who has influenced you

A descriptive essay that involves an influential person in your life is an enriching essay to write. You’ll get to give your reader a little piece of yourself in the process of writing about a subject that is continually close to your thoughts.

Whether your essay will be about someone who’s alive or not, make it interesting and try to keep away from the common choice of parent or grandparent unless it’s absolutely the only person that holds that position in your life.


Your subject will reflect on you

Bear in mind that the reason you received this assignment is because your professor wants to get some insight into your aspirations. A person who has influenced your career choice or lifestyle will reflect heavily on the person that you have or want to become. For this reason, you’ll actually be highlighting your own characteristics by bringing up the qualities of your role model.


Specify why you aspire to your subject

You should make sure you indicate the specifics of your aspirations to this person. For instance, if the person is a screen writer, and your study choice is literature, then it stands to reason that your academic choice is the main evidence of your admiration for that person. But if you are studying literature and the person you admire is a fire fighter, then you should highlight qualities in that person that you admire like courage, determination and selflessness; and expand on those.


Get some additional insight

It’s essential to know your thoughts on the person you’re describing, but it spices up your essay to give the perspective of others, especially if the person isn’t as revered by others as he or she is by you. Your perspective on why this person is so influential on you will gain new meaning if you contrast it with the opinion of others.


Make it personal

Again, this essay is actually about you, so focus on the whys and the when’s when describing them. If you fail to make a short version of this essay personal, you’ll have missed the point of the whole assignment. If the essay is longer than three paragraphs, you’ll have more space to concentrate on your subject’s other traits, but you must still focus on what you find admirable about them.


This may just be an essay you’ll want to keep for yourself, so write it well.