How To Write an Essay About Yourself (and Cement Your Writing Style)

By , Staff Writer
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The “about me” essay is a classic assignment. Part of that comes from its practicality; it’s a good way to introduce yourself to new people. The “about me” essay also helps your teacher get an idea of your writing voice and style, and it involves a lot of elements that you’ll find in other writing, from research papers to fiction. Looking at some creative “about me” essay examples can help you figure out where to get started.

Brainstorming an Essay About Yourself

Before you even open your document, you should take some time to brainstorm ideas for your essay. Aside from your teacher’s instructions, the sky's the limit here. 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

How To Start an Essay About Yourself

Getting started is the hardest part of anything, and essays are no different. The "about me" introduction is ostensibly the most important part of an essay. The intro is the first thing the reader sees, and it gives a reason for the reader to keep reading.

Start With a Hook

The hook is the opening sentence of the introduction. It’s the actual first thing that the reader sees, so it should be engaging and immediately hook the reader in while setting the tone for the rest of the essay.

That can be hard to accomplish, but there are a few different strategies to go with:

  • Ask a question (Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a piece of cheese and the human body?)
  • Find a statistic (Scientists estimate that there are about one quadrillion ants on Earth, equating to about 1.5 million ants for every one person.)
  • Use a metaphor (I once dated a rat.)

Starting with something surprising or unexpected is the best way to go, but try not to overthink it. Even going with a basic statement (My name is Edna, and I love apples.) is enough to entice a reader (Why does she love apples? Why is she writing a whole essay about her love of apples?).

Introduce Details

Once you’ve got your hook down, get into what you actually want to talk about in your personal essay. Most “about me” essays highlight a special event or episode from your life that illustrates some larger insight about you. Use sensory details and try to keep things concrete.

The hard part is introducing the event without going too deep into the details (that’s what the rest of the essay is for).

Conclude Your Intro

If this was a research paper or traditional five-paragraph essay, the conclusion of your intro would technically be your thesis sentence. This sentence outlines the whole point of the essay. What are the contents of this essay saying about you? What insights are you revealing about your personality through the whole essay?

It’s okay to work your way backwards here. Start with a pretty basic thesis, write out the body of the essay, and then go back and modify the thesis as you see fit.

What To Include in an Essay About Yourself

Approach a creative essay about yourself the way you’d approach telling your best friend a story. You want to put in enough details that the story makes sense without ending up on weird tangents, all while incorporating a bit of your personality.

Easy, right?

Use Paragraphs

Seems obvious, but make use of paragraphs to break up your story. Exact length will vary based on what your teacher says, but shorter essays should have one to two body paragraphs, while longer essays should have at least three paragraphs.

Unless your teacher says otherwise, stick with at least five sentences per paragraph. Regardless, make sure that each paragraph presents a full thought and leads into the next.

Show, Don’t Tell

This is the type of advice that writers will repeat forever, but it’s even more annoying because it’s true. 

Essentially, try to stick with illustrative details that draw from the senses. How did things smell, taste, or physically feel? Specificity and groundedness are more engaging than abstractions. For example:

I’m a really great guitarist.

That’s not super interesting, descriptive, or engaging, and it mostly just sounds like you’re bragging. Compare that to:

When I was five, my dad brought his old guitar out of the dusty attic one spring morning. He held his fingers against the wood of the fretboard and showed me how to strum the strings. I didn’t know then that I’d fall in love with making music. I only knew the safety of sitting in my dad’s lap, my mom holding a cup of coffee and smiling at us plucking away at some strings.

That has images and emotion. It feels concrete while still staying personal, and it urges the reader to want to learn more.

Include Metaphors, Similes, and All That Good Stuff

Use metaphors, similes, and all the other figures of speech available to you to add some creativity to your essay.

How To End an Essay About Yourself

Okay, you’ve got a solid intro, and you’ve finished the body paragraphs. It’s time for your conclusion. The easy part of your conclusion: reiterating your thesis and briefly reviewing your story.

The hard part: thinking beyond the essay. A conclusion addresses the “so what?” of an essay and understands that there is a world outside of the few paragraphs that you just wrote. How do the events of the essay affect who you are now? What did you learn, and how do you plan to apply that to your future endeavors?

Give it some thought, and don’t be afraid to be a little cheesy. As long as you keep it sincere and genuine, a little cheesiness can be effective.

Short "Describe Yourself" Essay Sample

For shorter essays, you generally want to keep things fairly tight and focused, while adding in some creative details and imagery to make it fun to read.

In preschool, the other kids called me "Polka Dot" because of the birthmark on my cheek. I remember coming home crying. My dad told me all the usual sayings about "sticks and stones" and judging a book by its cover, but it was something else he said that really helped me. He said that the people who understand others the best are the ones who haven't always been able to fit in.

I still have a birthmark on my cheek, but I've long since become comfortable with it. I think I learned early to accept myself physically, and that's been hugely helpful as I've gone through the teenage years. When everyone else was worrying about whether they had the right shoes or bag or brand of jeans, I've spent my energy on learning about people.

My bedroom at home offers a great symbol of who I am and what is important to me. The walls are simply painted and decorated with photographs of my family. My bookcases are filled with psychology texts and sociology journals, and my desk is covered in research papers.

I know this isn't the bedroom of a typical teenage girl, but I'm so excited to learn more about psychology and how other people think. I plan to spend my life trying to understand people, and I hope someday to help them in a clinical practice of my own.

- Kate Miller-Wilson

Longer Essay About Yourself Example

A longer essay gives you a bit more room to breathe with your details and provides more space for creativity. If you’re not sure how to start, write a shorter essay, then go back and add embellishments where you feel it fits.

Start with a strong introduction, such as an anecdote or specific example of your personality. Follow this with details that help the reader really understand who you are. In a longer essay, you have time to show your skills at descriptive writing.

I remember right where I was sitting the first time I wrote a poem: on the floor of my messy bedroom surrounded by dolls I hadn't played with in months. I couldn't understand why I simply didn't want to play with them anymore. I was getting older, and it scared me. I put my fears on paper, not even really intending to write a poem. I just let the words flow out of my pen, about how I couldn't even remember what my doll's voices sounded like anymore.

I tentatively showed the poem to my teacher the next day at school, and I was surprised when she loved it. I hadn't really thought it was anything amazing. My teacher's encouragement gave me the support I needed to keep writing. I began to read books of poetry, and I wrote every single day. I learned that in order to improve, I had to write whether I felt inspired or not. By the end of eighth grade, I had written 200 poems. They weren't all great. In fact, a lot of them were really bad. A few stood out, though, and my teacher helped me enter one in a local contest. When it won, I knew I just had to keep writing.

I kept at it all through high school, receiving plenty of rejections. Some of those rejections were devastating, and there were times I felt like quitting. By now, though, I thought of myself as a writer. What would I be if I stopped writing? So, I dug in and wrote. I wrote about teenage things, about heartbreak and existential crisis. I wrote about my world, about my school, and the beauty of our natural surroundings. Often, I just wrote about my perspective and tried to convey that in a way that moved other people.

Now, as graduation approaches, I have been published 24 times. I'm certain I want to pursue a degree in creative writing. There's so much to learn about words and the beautiful ways we can use them, and I want to learn all of it. I hope to get a BA in creative writing, and after that, I want an MFA. Some day, I'd like to support others who write too, just as my encouraging teachers helped me.

My journey as a writer has taught me a lot of things about myself, but the most important thing I've learned is that I don't give up. It takes more than natural talent to become good at something; you simply have to do it. The old adage is true: Writers write. I write when I know I'm making something I love, but I also write when I'm discouraged and think I have little to say. I write to be read, but I also write knowing sometimes, no one will read my work. My persistence is the secret of my success so far, and I know it will serve me well in college and beyond.

- Kate Miller-Wilson

Beyond the “About Me” Essay Assignment

A lot of the things that you learn and use in an “about me” essay are applicable even beyond your class. Your personal statement when applying to college is essentially an extension of the “about me” essay, and “about me” pages on professional websites and social media use elements of the “about me” essay. Even if you don’t foresee writing in your future, it never hurts to think more critically about yourself and your life experiences.

Writing an essay about yourself can be intimidating, but hey, no one’s better equipped to write about you than you!