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Don't be surprised if writing a personal essay is one of the first assignments you get upon returning to school. You know, "What I Did on My Summer Vacation." Be prepared. Personal essays are actually one of the easiest assignments, but like all other kinds of writing, there are specific aspects of the essay form your teacher will be looking for. Like not ending a sentence in a preposition. The personal essay is helpful to teachers because it gives them a snapshot right up front of your grasp of language, composition, and voice.
Be sure to check out: How to Write an Essay in 5 Steps
Time Required: Depends on the length of the essay and the research involved.
1.Language. Adults have told me that one of the things that stresses them out the most about going back to school is worrying about their grammar. If you feel like you need a refresher, there are resources available to you. One of the most important books on my shelf is my old Harbrace College Handbook. The pages are yellow, stained with coffee, and well read. If it’s been a long while since you opened a grammar book, get one. And then use it.
2.Language is more than grammar. Your teacher will be looking for use of the active voice, specific descriptions, and consistent tense. The active voice tells your reader exactly who is doing what. Compare the difference:
Passive: An essay was assigned.
Active: Ms. Meyer assigned a personal essay the first day.
5 English Grammar Tips
3.Be specific with your descriptions. Personal essays are your unique view of the topic. Use your senses. Compare the difference:
Boring: My first assignment made me nervous.
Descriptive: As soon as Ms. Meyer assigned our first essay, my stomach fluttered, my hands starting sweating, and everything in the room around me seemed to stop.
4.Use the same tense and the same point of view. Personal essays are written in the first person because they’re, well, personal. When you write in the first person, you are speaking for yourself only. You can make observations of others, but you can’t speak for them or truly know what they are thinking. Most personal essays are also written in the past tense. You are relating something that happened to you or the way you feel about something by giving examples.
5.Remember that positive language is always more effective than negative. This is true of life in general, not just writing. Your brain does not hear negatives. If you say, “Don’t forget to write a good thesis statement,” your brain hears, “Forget the thesis statement.” Remember to write one. Remember your umbrella. Remember that you can master going back to school.
6.Composition. The simplest structure of a composition has three parts: an introduction, a body of information, and a conclusion.
Introduction. Start your personal essay with an interesting sentence that…