The College Essay: Getting Personal

The College Essay: Getting Personal

It’s college essay season, and you know what that means? Lot’s of students staring at blank pages in frustration. The fact of the matter is that you probably have never had to write an essay about yourself before. Sure, you’ve done research, rhetorical analysis, persuasive and more, but when were you the topic? When were you supposed to write in your own voice about yourself and try to convince a stranger that they should invite you to their college for an interview? Never!

This article provides tips to get you started. It doesn’t cover the entire Personal Essay writing process, but it should help you brainstorm and at least give you a topic that you can use to collect the rest of your thoughts.


  1. Ask yourself: If you were meeting someone for the first time, what would you want them to know about you that can’t be learned from the rest of your application?

  2. Consider your values and situations or moments in your life that demonstrate you using those values.

  3. Remember that you are trying to market yourself, essentially. This can be hard for people to do. Try shifting your brain to imagining what your best friend would say to talk you up, or even what you would say about them. Chances are some of the things you value in your best friend you also exemplify.

  4. Are there moments in your life that set you down a specific journey or that provoked personal growth in you?

  5. Remember that not everyone is going to have a super unique story. We can’t all be Superman or save a cat from a tree. However, every situation reflects you differently. Maybe the situation is mundane but the presentation of you and how you react and what you learn is different than everyone else in the world. Focus on those parts.

This is just an example of dipping your toes into the water of personal essays, but it is the perfect place to start! We’ll be sending out more college essay blogs soon so check in regularly. Happy Writing!

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