A student, who received the task to write an autobiography essay, will wonder how to write it. Regardless of the number of various essays you wrote before, you need to learn how to write this particular type of college essay.
It is different from those you prepared for various classes. First of all, there is no need to gather the information as you will write not about some strange event or new discovery, you will deal with what you know the best – your personality.
Here you are supposed to write what created you as a personality: things, people, events, places, etc. The readers should be able to understand what kind of person you are.
However, don’t rush. It seems that the task is quite easy, although you need to stick to some requirements to write a good work. Planning should go first.
What You Should Tell About
Usually, reflective essays are written to enter a higher educational establishment, that is why in your essay, you should prove why you are worth a chance to study there. In average, the essay consists of about 400 words. Sometimes, tutors suggest a general topic like “About me”, but also there might be some specific topics like “What person influenced my personality” or “The first job I dreamt about”.
The secret of a successful essay is being honest. Don’t make up some fiction, just describe real stories which happened to you. For example, if you are going to become a vet when being a 6th-grade child, tell how you found a bird which fell out of the nest and you saved it, brought up and finally let it go. Or if you dream to become a teacher, describe how you taught your younger brother the alphabet and then helped him with math. Any story like this will be of a great value here, but only if it is a true one. It doesn’t matter what story you are going to tell, just mind being honest and the fact that this story should relate to your future profession somehow.
Such a story is an emotional component and the heart of the essay, although you shouldn’t forget to tell about the following elements of your life:
- Other vital parts of your personality
Select the Topic
As it was mentioned before, you can either get the topic from your tutor or select it on your own. Of course, it will be a bit more difficult to decide what you want to write about, but if you put enough time and efforts, your work may become a real masterpiece.
Of course, the central figure of this essay is you, but the success depends on what stories you will select. You can’t physically describe everything that happened to you. You should decide which things are important and which are not. To understand the importance of things, think about what learned you or made a better person.
Remember that reflective essay is not a biography. You need to share with the reader not only some chronological facts from your life but some life-changing events or people. It means don’t just tell that “this year I was born and that year I went to school”. You could have studied for several years at school receiving basic skills and knowledge, but your life was changed, for example, after reading a particular book.
So, once you found something that influenced your life greatly, you can use it as a topic. For example, “The person who changed my life” or “The book that made me what I am now”. It sounds much more interesting than just “About myself”. Isn’t it?!
Look for Inspiration
If you don’t know where to start from, try to find people who already accomplished such tasks or their works as you are not the first person on the Earth who tries to write a reflective essay. You may also check on the Internet, magazines or news. Once you found several examples, read them and analyze: what you like and what you don’t like. Note the things you like in someone’s essay and then use something similar in your paper. Of course, if it’s applicable to your life and your story.
You can also find introduction inspiration in your own life, just use brainstorming. Write down everything you want to describe in your story. Then, after a while, read it and group into some major and minor things. Prioritize what is worth mentioning in your essay and eliminate the facts, stories or events which you consider not so important.
Another advice is to ask your friends or relatives to tell the story about some important events in their lives. This way, you may get a hook idea of the thing that refers to you as sometimes the person can simply overlook something.
Talking about Delicate Things
It may happen so that you need to write about some sensitive stories from your life like betrayal or poverty. It isn’t easy to talk about such things, but still, if it has influenced your life in some way, it is worth mentioning.
Another problem is how to describe it. If for some reason you don’t want to indicate the names of other people in respect to them, you can change them. Same goes with dates or events. You can change them, but in such a way that the story remains clear for the readers.
Also, mind that some personal stories are worth mentioning and some are not. For example, if you had some problematic situation, but found the way out thanks to your personal positive characteristics. Like with poverty: it’s okay to write that you have grown up in a poor family, you have two brothers and a sister, and you had to earn money by mowing the lawns in your neighborhood or babysitting. However, under any circumstances, you can’t write that to get some money you had to steal something.
General Pieces of Advice
- Name the topic. It’s always better to describe a particular topic giving more details than to talk about many things in general. This way, the readers will understand you better even to “live” what you describe together with you.
- Add some positive characteristics. You talk about your life. In the life of every person, there are good things and bad ones. However, you are strongly recommended to talk about some positive characteristics of yours. It really matters how you will describe the situation. It will be better for you if you show yourself in a positive light.
- More details are welcome. Don’t be poor at details. It’s hard to read facts. It will be quite boring for the readers, though. Besides, it won’t describe you as a personality. The more details you give, the brighter the paper will be.
Bad example: I like reading.
Not bad: I prefer reading classical literature.
Better say: When I was sixteen, I read the book “Heaven Has No Favourites” by Erich Maria Remarque. It changes my attitude to life a lot. I understood that there are much more important things, but still, there are also trifles which are not worth worrying about.
- Be unpretentious. Even if you are a very talented person, try to be humble and describe your success fairly-like facts without some personal exaggeration. You can give the same background information in different ways.
Braggy: I am the best volleyball player on our school team, and thanks to my skills, our team wins three years in a row.
Unpretentious: I worked hard to improve my volleyball skills, and thanks to our efforts, the school team where I play wins three years in a row.
- Select a bright story to tell. You can talk about both biggest failures and greatest successes in your life. If these are failures, describe how you managed to overcome them; if success – what helped you to reach it. Any memorable story has its origin and outcome. What is valuable here is your strong will and positive personal characteristics.
- Mention some difficulties. Of course, while writing a reflective informative essay, you would like to show yourself in the best positive light. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about some life learning experiences. For example, you skipped the lesson but later understood how important was the topic of that lesson and how difficult it was to learn it on your own.
- Choose a timespan. It’s impossible to describe all your life since birth to your teenage period. It’s very difficult to even describe one year. That is why it is better to select one event that lasted for a day or so. Here you will be able to be more realistic and give more details.
Whatever you decide to write about, be honest. Describe yourself the way you really are, but not the way you want to be. Don’t be afraid to seem ridiculous or too serious. There are no two similar people on the entire planet. Everyone has their good and bad sides, but that is what makes us unique. Show your uniqueness in the essay, and be sure, it will be appraised accordingly.