Writing Personal Essays: Tips and Topic Ideas

Personal essays are typically used as a part of an application for a college. Their purpose is to introduce you to the committee to help them decide how you will fit in that particular college.

Thus, personal essays invite the reader to take a look at your life.

Writing Personal Essays

When you get down to working on the assignment, you may realize that you have never faced anything like that before (unless it’s not the first time you’re entering a college). A personal app essay is different from the essays you were assigned in school. Now you don’t have just to tell a story about something that has happened to you.

You have to analyze your own experiences and explain how they have influenced you. This way you will demonstrate your analytical skills, introspection, and interesting personality traits.

Looking for Personal Essay Examples

Taking into account the level of difficulty, a reasonable decision would be to find some sample essays you can learn and get inspired from. This is where you can start your search:

  • Libraries: In a library, you will be able to find books with collections of essays on various topics. Also, college and school libraries have the published works of students, which may include the type of work you need.
  • Online Web Resources: Be careful with using a search engine as you may get overwhelmed with the results – the Web is an endless database of papers, and you may accidentally come across a low-quality one. Search for credible sources only.
  • Recommendations: Some teachers keep the best papers of their students after graduation, so you can ask your teacher to help you find some good sample personal essays. Perhaps, your teacher won’t mind if you ask him or her to give you a piece of advice on the possible topics too.

When you have an example in front of your eyes, you get a clearer understanding of what your own essay must look like. You can look through the topics other people used for their applications. In case there is nothing creative and unique, you’re welcome to consider the following topics.

Top Creative Personal Essay Topic Ideas

  • What do you do to catch inspiration?
  • Would you describe yourself as a confident person?
  • How good are you at procrastinating?
  • Do you think you work effectively when put under pressure?
  • What was the most important lesson you have learned in your life?
  • What book, movie, song or another piece of art has recently affected the way you look at things?
  • Would you take a chance to change something in the past if you could?
  • Is there anything unique about you?
  • Tell about your recent accomplishments that have nothing to do with your studies
  • What was the best advice ever given to you and who was the one to give it?
  • How has the community and the neighborhood you were raised in influenced your world perception?
  • Share the most embarrassing situation you have ever been in
  • Who was the person that changed your opinion on some fundamental question?
  • What kind of family life do you plan to have in the future?
  • Write about something you regret very much now
  • What is your favorite joint in the neighborhood and why?
  • What are the thing or people you are grateful to have in your life and why?
  • Have you ever done anything unethical or illegal you are really ashamed of?
  • Money and happiness: what you can buy and what cannot?
  • Share an experience when you had to speak in front of the audience (no matter big or small)?
  • Write about something you strived for and then realized you don’t really need it
  • Do you believe in ghosts?
  • Do you think you could make good friends with someone who is much younger or older than you are?
  • Define what freedom is to you
  • Recount a situation you wanted to improve, which ended being even worse