How To Write A Personal Essay: Guidelines For Dummies

The personal essay is your chance to tell the review board or admissions committee why you would make a good contribution to their academic institution.

When writing any paper, selecting the topic is one of the preliminary steps you must take. If you do not take time to carefully choose your topic, then you will not end up with a great paper in the end. Sometimes you are tasked with a topic and other times you can select the topic yourself. If you are given the opportunity to select the topic yourself, look at it as the opportunity that it is and select something that not only fulfills your assignment details but is something that interests you. If you are actually interested in your topic, you will find it much easier to reach your page limit, research top notch sources, and analyze the arguments thoroughly.

  • When choosing your topic, be cognizant of the length. The topic will need to be narrowed down or broadened based on the page length required of you. If you have a paper fewer than ten pages, chances are your first topic will be too broad and will need to be refined. For larger page requirements, you will need to broaden your initial topic so that you can adequately cover the necessary background to it. If you stick to a broad topic for a small page length, it will come off as a superficial coverage of the subject and will result in a bad grade.
  • When choosing your topic, conduct preliminary research using a generic search engine before you settle on it. It is best to have three or four potential broad topics that you can research for about fifteen minutes. That is all it should take to determine whether there exists enough published, scholarly information out there for you to use in support of your argument. Be aware that while some topics may seem appealing and unique, such as secret military operations in the Iraq War, the relevant information is not necessarily released to the public yet and as such, you would not be able to cover it thoroughly. If you conduct preliminary research on potential topics and find that your library does not store adequate information, you may need to narrow your topic or change it along the way so that you can find enough information.

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