Personal Essay Writing: be specific and provide Examples

When the time comes to write the application essay to try and get into the college of your dreams. It is very common to have to write a personal essay in order to be accepted for enrollment into your chosen program. While this is a routine part of applying to college, it also can be very stressful for students as there is a great deal riding on whether or not you write a good personal essay. There are several things you need to keep in mind when it comes to the paper but they can be boiled down to these two basic things: be specific and provide examples.

  • Be specific: When you are writing the personal essay you want to make sure you are specific and to the point. Avoid vague references and generalizations. For example, if your topic is to write about something that happened to you that impacted you, be specific. Find one event and talk about it in detail and examine it from all angles. Avoid phrases like “it really had a big impact on me” and instead talk about what it actually did- did it inspire you to go back to school, change your career focus, motivate you to try harder? The committee reading the essays wants you to be specific so they can see what your thoughts and feelings are regarding the topic they gave you.
  • Provide examples: As mentioned above, avoid generalizations. Every point you make in the essay needs to be back up with an example. So if you are talking about a difficult event in your academic career that really pushed you and helped grow you as a student, give some examples of how that event did so. Something like this could work nicely: “My college math class was difficult because I have always struggled with math but it also taught me the importance of hard work and focus, and because of the extra time and effort I put into the class I ended up getting a B and a lot more confidence in myself.” Those are the types of examples the essay committee want to see in your personal paper.

The personal essay is a common part of many college applications and it can go a long way in making or breaking your dream of being accepted. So make sure you put forth your best effort and that you are specific and provide good examples in your paper!