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How to start a personal essay: Top prompts shared by professionals

How to start a personal essay

How to start a personal essay? This question may turn out to be a real challenge when you need to create a winning paper within the shortest terms. But why is it so difficult even for experienced students?

The reason is that this type of assignment doesn’t require extensive research or exploring the views of other writers. You are expected to come up with your own experiences, thoughts, and expertise. So, how to write a personal essay? What important aspects should you keep in mind when making your first draft? What are the best approaches to writing? No worries! We are here to help you cope with all your dilemmas! 

Ways to make your personal essay stand out 

When you sit down in front of your computer and open a blank page on your PC, your first question will definitely be like “How to start a personal essay?” or “How can I come up with a top-notch personal essay intro?” Well, the answers to these questions can be different. The fact is that there are different ways to start your academic assignment. You don’t need to follow any superb strict limitations or difficult-to-follow rules. Make your imagination work and use one of the following alternatives: 

  • An anecdote or a joke. Start with a short anecdote or a compelling story related to your topic. This popular type of personal essay introduction usually creates an immediate connection with your audience. Everyone loves humor, so making your reader smile gives you an extra point right from the start!
  • A question that will make your reader begin pondering. This easy tactic also engages readers right from the outset.
  • Quotations. ​​How to start essay with quote? You can begin your writing with an impactful quote that sets the tone for your essay. However, ensure the quote resonates with the topic and ideas you plan to explore.
  • Personal reflection. It is also good to start with a personal reflection or observation that introduces your main topic. It will also provide an insight into your perspective or experiences.
  • Setting the scene. Feel free to describe a specific scene or setting significant to your narrative. This helps to create a vivid and immersive introduction.
  • Statistical or factual information. Present a surprising or interesting fact or statistic related to your topic. This can intrigue readers and make them curious about the subject matter.
  • Contrast or comparison. Highlight a sharp contrast or comparison that emphasizes the core theme of your essay. How to start a personal essay? Just try to create a compelling starting point.
  • Humor or wit. Start with a touch of humor or wit if appropriate for your topic. This can instantly engage readers and set a lighthearted tone.
  • Philosophical or thoughtful statement. Begin with a philosophical or thought-provoking statement that sets the stage for exploring deeper themes in your essay.
  • Foreshadowing. Provide a glimpse of what's to come in your essay. However, avoid giving everything- right away. ​​How to start personal essay? Create a sense of anticipation by hinting at the main ideas.

Well, it seems that we found a solution to a challenge on how to start off a personal essay. 

Remember to tailor your introduction to your academic assignment's specific theme and tone. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different approaches to see which resonates best with your writing style and the nature of your story or reflection. To put it short, choose any of those diverse ways to start a personal essay.

What is personal essay?

There are tons of rules for creating a nice personal essay. However, before you start their investigation, it is necessary to understand the core concepts of this type of homework. To put it short, you need to learn the basics. So, what is personal essay? Let’s dive a bit deeper into the waters of this academic assignment.

Personal essay definition and purpose

Here comes the part about the personal essay meaning you need to remember. Still, we will not come up with complicated terms there. The only thing you should know is that it is a unique piece of writing that demonstrates your experiences, thoughts, past events, and other information about your individuality. This can be the description of the life moments that shaped your personality or made you stronger. 

So, what is personal essay? Why do employers, colleges, and different admission departments require submitting this type of writing? The reason is that this manuscript can tell them plenty of useful information about your personality. It usually reflects your strengths, weaknesses, approaches to living your life, and other necessary data about the candidate. 

Key differences: personal essay vs. personal statement

Many learners feel drowned in terms like “personal essay” and “personal statement.” The good news is that the difference between these concepts is amazingly easy. So, the first one reflects your experiences and their impact on the development of your personality. The second one is designed for career-oriented purposes and shows how you fit this or that position. What is more, a personal essay consists of several paragraphs, while a personal statement is only a few lines long. 

How to start your personal essay

Now, you have a better vision of what you need to do. Still, the question ​​of how to start personal essay may remain open. Fortunately, the process of crafting the beginning of your paper is usually easier than you may think. So, let’s get started! Here is a list of some basic steps to pass to succeed with your assignment. 

Preparing yourself 

Good preparation is one of the keys to flawless and effective writing. You will need to 

reflect on your experiences, emotions, and thoughts. This will become the basic information you will convey through your writing. To make the process easier, we recommend creating lists and notes, as well as pointing out everything that comes to your mind regarding your unique experiences.

Getting organized

How do you start a personal essay? Now comes the next stage of your writing. You will need to arrange all relevant materials, such as notes, and create an outline for your future paper. This is about structuring. Just try to put all your data into order and select only the most relevant facts. This information will become the skeleton for your personal essay. 

Choosing the topic 

Before crafting a personal essay outline, it’s high time to select a topic for your paper. Consider moments of growth, challenge, or change that resonate with you deeply. It is also good to reflect on events, relationships, or encounters that had a lasting impact on your perspective or identity. Additionally, you can explore themes that evoke strong emotions. For example, you can choose one of the following topics:

  • Overcoming a significant challenge or adversity.
  • The impact of a mentor or role model in your life.
  • Lessons learned from a failure or mistake.
  • The importance of family traditions and values.
  • Exploring your cultural identity and heritage.
  • A memorable travel experience that influenced you.
  • How a hobby or passion has shaped your character.
  • Coping with loss or grief and the process of healing.
  • Navigating friendships and relationships over time.
  • Reflecting on moments of personal growth and self-discovery.
  • The influence of literature, art, or music on your life.
  • Balancing ambition and personal well-being.
  • An encounter with diversity or inclusivity that impacted your worldview.
  • Exploring your dreams, aspirations, and fears for the future.

Steps to crafting your personal essay and its structure

How to write a personal essay? There are many different approaches. For example, some learners begin with collecting the main points for an essay, while others prefer starting with an introduction and then continue writing step-by-step. Anyway, you can follow a simple win-win schema to compose a successful personal essay. 

Setting the right tone

Before you set up a personal essay structure, it’s important to determine the right tone for your academic assignment. Here is how you can cope with this task:

  • Think about your audience and what you want to convey. 
  • Reflect on the emotions and experiences you're sharing. 
  • Choose a tone that matches your message. 
  • Use descriptive language and sensory details to engage your readers. 
  • Stay true to your voice and be authentic. 

By setting the right tone, you can effectively communicate your story and connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Embedding a lesson or moral

During this step, you will need to consider the core message or insight you wish to impart to your readers. Try to integrate the lesson into your storytelling organically. How do you start a personal essay, in this case? Feel free to add anecdotes, reflections, and observations. Make sure to emphasize the lesson's relevance to your own life and experiences. This approach enriches your personal essay, leaving a lasting impression on your audience.


There are many ways to start a personal essay. However, most students prefer a similar writing approach. They just compose a couple of paragraphs that focus on their papers’ main points without diving too deep into details. You can also use an opening sentence that engages the reader (it will encourage your audience to keep reading and find out more.) Not to mention, you can search for some personal essay introduction examples to get a clearer vision of the required writing style. 


The structure of a personal essay must contain several body paragraphs. This is the main narrative of your paper. Here, you will specify all the needed facts and details, welcoming the readers to explore your paper. By the way, ensure your body is not too long or too short - most professors usually share an approximate volume they expect from your assignment.


How to start personal essay? This question will finally stop disturbing you when crafting the end of your story. The summary of your paper is generally one or two paragraphs long. As a rule, you will just need to repeat and rephrase the main points used in the body. Make sure not to add any new facts or examples in the final part of your essay. You need to summarize your story and shape your essay with a few conclusive phrases. 

Tips for writing personal essay 

How to write a personal essay if you don’t have enough time to reflect, analyze, and write? Well, there is a proven way to get an excellent grade for your academic assignment with no effort. Thanks to write my paper, you can rely on professional writers and get your paper done within the shortest terms. Forget about study anxiety and trust your assignments to real experts in academic writing! Still, if you would like to try composing your essay by yourself, pay attention to the following personal essay tips: 

Start your personal essay with a captivating intro

Still hesitant about how to write a personal essay? Try to rocket-launch your writing with a powerful introduction! The more captivating it is, the higher your chances to get a good grade for this assignment. 

Use descriptive language

One of the golden rules of academic writing is to use descriptive language in a personal essay. Try to recall moments that taught you something valuable. After that, make sure to weave them into your narrative using colorful descriptions. Each word should paint a picture, making your story come alive. 

Write in a conversational style

The best approach is to use a style like you're telling a story to a friend over coffee. In other words, you may share the lessons like you're swapping stories on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Your personal essay should look like a cozy chat, not a lecture.

Focus on a specific moment

Being too general is a common mistake of many students when it comes to crafting a personal essay. Avoid describing too long stories or sharing your entire biography in a single paper. Try to be more specific and focused. 

Be authentic

A personal essay is a unique story with a splash of your personal views, experiences, joys, and sorrows. Don’t copy and paste (or rewrite) any stories you find online. Paper samples of other students can be used only as examples but not as a source of facts for your academic assignment. 


How to start a personal essay? This can be as easy as 1-2-3! Just follow our personal essay tips, be unique, and share your own stories only. Make sure to follow a traditional essay structure, stick to the writing rules and limits, and leave all your fears behind! 

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