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How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay | Examples

Published on September 21, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on July 22, 2022.

An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability. Your essay shouldn’t just be a resume of your experiences; colleges are looking for a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

To write about your achievements and qualities without sounding arrogant, use specific stories to illustrate them. You can also write about challenges you’ve faced or mistakes you’ve made to show vulnerability and personal growth.

Table of contents

Start with self-reflection, how to write about challenges and mistakes, how to write about your achievements and qualities, how to write about a cliché experience, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Before you start writing, spend some time reflecting to identify your values and qualities. You should do a comprehensive brainstorming session, but here are a few questions to get you started:

As you self-reflect, consider how your values and goals reflect your prospective university’s program and culture, and brainstorm stories that demonstrate the fit between the two.

Writing about difficult experiences can be an effective way to show authenticity and create an emotional connection to the reader, but choose carefully which details to share, and aim to demonstrate how the experience helped you learn and grow.

Be vulnerable

It’s not necessary to have a tragic story or a huge confession. But you should openly share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences to evoke an emotional response from the reader. Even a cliché or mundane topic can be made interesting with honest reflection. This honesty is a preface to self-reflection and insight in the essay’s conclusion.

Don’t overshare

With difficult topics, you shouldn’t focus too much on negative aspects. Instead, use your challenging circumstances as a brief introduction to how you responded positively.

Share what you have learned

It’s okay to include your failure or mistakes in your essay if you include a lesson learned. After telling a descriptive, honest story, you should explain what you learned and how you applied it to your life.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

While it’s good to sell your strengths, you also don’t want to come across as arrogant. Instead of just stating your extracurricular activities, achievements, or personal qualities, aim to discreetly incorporate them into your story.

Brag indirectly

Mention your extracurricular activities or awards in passing, not outright, to avoid sounding like you’re bragging from a resume.

Use stories to prove your qualities

Even if you don’t have any impressive academic achievements or extracurriculars, you can still demonstrate your academic or personal character. But you should use personal examples to provide proof. In other words, show evidence of your character instead of just telling.

Many high school students write about common topics such as sports, volunteer work, or their family. Your essay topic doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but do try to include unexpected personal details and your authentic voice to make your essay stand out .

To find an original angle, try these techniques:

Your unique voice can shed new perspective on a common human experience while also revealing your personality. When read out loud, the essay should sound like you are talking.

First, spend time reflecting on your core values and character . You can start with these questions:

However, you should do a comprehensive brainstorming session to fully understand your values. Also consider how your values and goals match your prospective university’s program and culture. Then, brainstorm stories that illustrate the fit between the two.

When writing about yourself , including difficult experiences or failures can be a great way to show vulnerability and authenticity, but be careful not to overshare, and focus on showing how you matured from the experience.

Through specific stories, you can weave your achievements and qualities into your essay so that it doesn’t seem like you’re bragging from a resume.

Include specific, personal details and use your authentic voice to shed a new perspective on a common human experience.

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Kirsten Courault

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All about Me Essay: How to Write, Ideas and Examples

Writing All About Me paragraph is probably one of the most usual assignments. For example, students might write it when entering an academic institution. Such work gives an opportunity to introduce yourself, your skills, and goals. However, it is not the only possible situation.

Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page

Naturally, tutors have already seen millions of such essays. This is why you need to think how to impress your tutor and demonstrate your perfect writing skills and creativity. You can also get some inspiration by reading All about Me examples.

In this article, experts from Custom-Writing.org would like to give you several pieces of advice on how to create a thrilling essay About Me. Moreover, we’ve also provided the best About Me essay examples.

All about Me Essay Idea #1 with Example

Start writing your essay About Me with a brief description of any event that considerably influenced your life. While writing it, mention your name and some general information about yourself.

My name is Helen, and I am 18. When I was 15, I traveled to Europe for the first time in my life. It was an unforgettable experience that changed my perspective on certain things.

All about Me Essay Idea #2 with Example

Use an interesting quotation that characterizes you. It may be a quote from a well-known novel or poem, or a phrase of a famous person, etc… Explain in your About Me essay how exactly the chosen quotation characterizes you.

“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” (Martha Washington) This quote suits me perfectly because I would describe myself as a cheerful person. I try to stay positive no matter what situation I am in.

All about Me Essay Idea #3 with Example

Compare yourself with an animal and do not be surprised – we do mean an animal. For example, you associate yourself with a tiger. Does it mean that you are a strong and determined person who is always ready to achieve the desirable purpose by all possible means? Or, maybe, you are a cat and prefer to stay at home, comfortably sitting in a chair and enjoying the company of your family… What are your ideas? Present them in the essay About Me.

Writing About Me essays may be considered as a way to express yourself, show what kind of person you are. If you are ready to tell who you really are, writing your paper will not be that difficult. If you are not ready, read our ideas once again.

All About Me essays can be written in the form of narrative essays. If you need help with writing essays of this kind, use our tips to improve your work.

I love dogs because they are loyal and friendly. That is why I also associate myself with one. I am a loyal friend, and I always try to be nice to people around me.

Learn more on this topic:

My all about me essay.

Hi, my name is Gionna Rossi, and I live in Cranston, RI, with my dad and grandparents. I am 13 years old. I love to dance, and I like to hang with my friends a lot. I’m considered fun, funny and very outgoing. My favorite subjects are English and Science. I like to be creative, and I like to do fun things. I always try my best and never give up. I am a respectful person. I don’t like to exclude anyone from groups. I don’t like people getting bullied. Sometimes I like to work in small groups rather than large. When I grow up, my goal is to go to college, get good grades, and become a vet.

Custom Writing

Wow, Gionna, that was a great way to write an essay about yourself. Those were some really good ideas which might help you write a very interesting story. Structure them properly, and your good grade will be guaranteed.

Thanks for the post! Hope it’ll help me with my All About Me essay writing! Thanks a lot!

Brilliant ideas for writing excellent All about Me essays! Your posts make a difference online! Regards!

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17+ Great Ideas for an Essay About Yourself

how to write an essay about yourself

An essay about yourself should present you in a positive light, but also leave your reader with a greater understanding of what it is that makes you tick. What’s your inspiration and motivation?

In this article, I’ll give you a range of ideas to include in your essay about yourself. These ideas will show you how to tell a compelling story about who you are.

Pick one or more of these ideas and use it in your essay to improve its quality.

1. Come up with One Word about Yourself and Put it in your Title

Your essay heading sets the tone for the rest of the essay.

One way to get yourself started on the right track for your essay describing yourself is to ensure you have the one key word that describes you in the title.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Here’s a few ways I’d describe myself:

Now, if you need to write your essay in a way that presents you in the best way possible, then of course you’d select the one that does that!

So for me, that’d be ‘optimistic’.

I could then set my title to something like: “An Essay About Chris, the Eternal Optimist.”

Here, your reader has been introduced to the central trait I want to reinforce in the essay right away. You’ve set the tone now.

Now that you’ve used that key term at the start, make sure you follow-up by using that same term a few more times throughout the piece so that you keep it as a clear motif throughout. I’d recommend at least using it in the introduction, body and conclusion.

2. Make it Personal using Anecdotes

The difference between a good and great essay about yourself is the use of personal anecdotes.

You want your essay to stand out because it’s thoughtful and unique.

Anyone can tell a story of who they are. Anyone can say: “Here’s who I am and here’s what’s good about me.”

Not everyone can tell a detailed, thoughtful and personal story that’ll show (and not tell) people who you are.

Personal anecdotes might include:

Or anything else that shows your personality! So, let’s zoom in and take a look at how you could write about each of the points from above.

3. Describe your Ancestry

Dig deep – way back. Who are your ancestors?

Two of the best questions you can ask to tell a really good story about yourself are these:

Who are your ancestors?

How did your ancestors shape who you are.

What is your connection to them?

Let’s take them one at a time.

Your ancestors might be Greek, or Scottish, or Irish, or Italian. Maybe you have some Native American ancestors or maybe they were Pioneers heading to America?

You can start this essay by explaining your ancestry to really start shaping a quality story about yourself. One example is to tell a story about how your ancestors came to your country.

For me, I’d talk about how my Ancestors were a loose collection of quirky characters who came to Australia for a better life. Some were “10 Pound Poms” – British people seeking a better life. The paid 10 pounds to get on a boat and head to a new world. And others were convicts, sent out for stealing sheep.

Is there an interesting hook about your ancestry to start your essay?

Your ancestors should mean a lot to you. They should show you the path to a better life. What sacrifices did they make for you to be who you are today?

I could talk about how they had a tough life to come from working-class backgrounds. They worked the land and battled hardship to give me what I’ve got.

Now, I’m a happy, free, relatively wealthy person because of their hard world.

Who you are is because of your ancestors.

For me, they are the reason I value hard work. I also know my grandfather fought hard for a good wage for people on the railways. So, I have a sense of solidarity with hard-working working-class people because of him.

I also believe strongly in the importance of living a free and happy life because my ancestors are Australians. We’re Aussies! We work hard and have fun. That’s something my ancestors gave me, and I’ll carry all those values forward for my children one day, too.

Can you see that telling a story of your ancestors can really reveal a lot about what’s deep inside you? They show you your values and they’re your guiding star.

4. Tell the story of how you got your Childhood Nickname

Here’s another interesting story idea that can get your essay started on the right track.

How about telling the story of how you got your childhood nickname?

Here’s an example: My sister’s nickname was Boo Boo.

(She’d be made at me if she knew I told you that!)

She was called Boo Boo because she was always hurting herself! She was always having “boo boos”, which was our slang for “mistakes”.

Here, her nickname tells a story about herself. It tells a story about how she can sometimes be a little bit clumsy. This could be a good personal story to use to introduce herself to the reader.

Do you have a unique nickname story?

5. Tell an Important Story from your Childhood

Do you have any childhood stories that really reflect who you are?

This story might be:

Have a think. Are there any stories from your childhood that you can tell that reveal something about who you are and what your values are?

6. Start with “When I’m old I will look back and reflect on…”

Here’s a strategy that works really well.

When you start from the perspective of someone looking back, you often reflect on the things that are most important.

Have you ever seen an older person telling a story? It’s often a story told from the perspective of wisdom . We might call this 20/20 hindsight.

So, start your story by discussing what you’ll look back on about your life: what will you be proud of? What parts of your personality would you want to reflect on with pride?

It might be:

7. Or, Start with “In ten years I will be…”

We can flip Step 6 on its head, and talk about where you want to be in 10 years. This will force you to reflect upon what’s most important to your future.

When talking about your goals and how those goals are linked to your values.

Here’s some examples:

8. Describe your Interests

No matter how you start your essay, you need to make sure that your story shows what you are interested in.

Your interests are what you do in your spare time

You might, for example, be interested in a particular topic. This will show how you’re set apart from others. We all have different interests.

Here’s a few examples of people’s interests:

What are your interests? Could you use these as the basis of your essay about yourself?

9. Describe what Motivates You

Right at the core of your essay about yourself should be a message about your motivations. What is it that you dream about? What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning?

A motivation is different to an interest. Your interest is what you do in your part time. Your motivations are your long-term goals that will give you fulfilment.

People want to see what makes you tick.

Your motivations don’t have to be for money or a career. A lot of people are deeply motivated by their passions like:

For me, my biggest motivation is my blog. I take pride in it and how it helps people out. So maybe I’d tell the story of my blog, and how it reflects my intrinsic desire to help people learn new things.

So, what motivates you?

10. Identify your Current Personal Challenges

Teachers like to see that you are taking a proactive role to address or overcome personal challenges. So, you can base your essay about yourself on a current personal challenge.

The important thing for an essay on a current personal challenge is this:

Your challenge might be a personal disability, a setback you’ve recently had, or a goal that you’re working towards achieving.

By revealing how you are overcoming your challenges, you’re revealing something about yourself. You are showing your marker that you’re a hard, diligent worker. That you have resilience and drive. And that you’re someone who strives to achieve.

11. Identify the Biggest Challenge you’ve Overcome

If there’s challenges in your rear-view mirror that you have already overcome, you can also talk about that.

Pause for a moment and think about the biggest achievement of your life. Was it getting that score you wanted in a science test? Was it making it into the football team after a lot of training and practice?

By telling the story of a personal challenge that you have already overcome, you’re showing how you’re a competent, capable and resilient person.

Here’s some examples of overcoming challenges:

12. Be Humble

It’s important to strike the appropriate tone for your essay about yourself.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they too hard to sell themselves. This usually makes you sound arrogant and self-absorbed.

One of the best ways to sound humble is to express gratitude. When discussing who you are, what you achieved and what your strengths are, remember to mention who it was who helped you get there.

People you might be grateful for include: parents, teachers, siblings, friends, your country and mentors. Talk about how they were instrumental in your success. Maybe they were patient with you, presented opportunities for you, or forgave your mistakes.

It’s also good to make sure you don’t compare yourself to others. It’s not a good idea to say “I achieved better than anyone else.” Focussing on how you worked hard for your achievements is enough: there’s no need to talk about how you’re better or the best. Focus on the effort you put in, not the fact that you’re better than anyone.

To learn more about tricks on being humble, I recommend this good summary of ways to be humble from Forbes.

13. Describe your Personality Type

Here’s another interesting way of approaching the essay.

If you’re struggling to explain yourself, you can take a quiz that tells you what your personality type is. Something really nice about these quizzes is they not only give you words to explain what your personality type is, but they also give you some ideas to talk about.

Here’s a few good personality type quizzes:

14. Include Details you’d put on a CV

You want your essay to tell a story about yourself.

But you also need to include hard, solid details.

So once you’ve told your story of yourself, go through your CV (or ‘resume’) and see what else you can include. Can you include details about your strengths that you have listed on your CV?

Maybe you can also include points about your previous jobs or education achievements that you have listed on your CV.

This will help back up your story with hard evidence.

You might also find out that there are a lot of details on your CV that will give you story ideas. You might not think you’ve achieved remarkable things until you look at your CV and reflect on the hard work you put into each of the jobs or achievements you have listed there.

15. Describe your Physical Attributes

Another thing you can weave into your story is an outline of what you look like!

It’s one of the first things you read about someone in any story.

Here’s how Mr. and Mrs. Dursley in Harry Potter is introduced:

“Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache. Mrs Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours.”

How would you describe your physical attributes? Remember not to be negative about yourself, but you could describe yourself as tall, short, stocky, or lanky. How about your hair? Is it frizzy or straight, long or short?

16. Explain who is your Biggest influence and Why

The person who is your biggest influence would reveal a lot about who you are. Are you influenced by someone because of their power and strength, or wisdom and insight? Are you influenced by people for their nobility and patriotism, or their sense of adventure?

This will show your reader what makes you tick.

One of my big influences is Alex Honnold. He is a famous rock climber. What does that reveal about me? Well, it shows that I admire adventurous people and people who follow unconventional careers.

Who is your biggest influence? What does this reveal about you? Can you weave this into your essay about yourself?

17. Conclude by Returning to your Opening Hook

In this article I’ve shared with you a ton of ideas that you can use for your essay about yourself.

No matter which idea you select, I recommend including this last tip.

You should start your essay with an interesting ‘hook’ or anecdote about yourself.

I recommend concluding your essay by returning to this opening hook. We call this the ‘closing the loop’ method. You can start it something like this:

“I began this essay by telling the story of how I’m inspired by my father. I want to return to this point, as it’s the most important point in this essay. All of the points in this essay about myself have highlighted how I’m driven and motivated to live up to his amazing example. I have discussed…”

…And then you’d sum up what you discussed!

I outline the exact process of how to conclude an essay using this ‘closing the loop’ method in this post on how to write great conclusions .

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay

    Your essay shouldn’t just be a resume of your experiences; colleges are looking for a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities. To write about your achievements and qualities without sounding arrogant, use specific stories to illustrate them.

  2. How To Write an Essay About Yourself

    A lot of “about me” essays discuss: A personal accomplishment of some kind (winning a writing contest, running a marathon, getting a black belt) A special moment with a family member A challenging moment in your life A talent or skill that you developed and the journey you took to gain it

  3. All about Me Essay: How to Write, Ideas and Examples

    Writing About Me essays may be considered as a way to express yourself, show what kind of person you are. If you are ready to tell who you really are, writing your paper will not be that difficult. If you are not ready, read our ideas once again. All About Me essays can be written in the form of narrative essays.

  4. 17+ Great Ideas for an Essay About Yourself

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