Most Commonly Used Personal Essay Outline

One of the most intimidating parts of the college application process is developing the personal essay. The personal essay is how you express who you are to the admissions office of the college or university that you wish to attend. You have only a couple hundred words to give a school a brief idea of who you are and what you stand for, so you have to make sure that you look your best for them.

A good way to start with the process is to find a good outline to use. You can use the outline to organize your thoughts clearly before you start to write. The most commonly used personal essay outline looks similar to any other type of essay, but with some tweaks that make it a bit more personal. This personal essay outline typically has five paragraphs.

Here’s a brief look at the most commonly used personal essay outline:

  1. Introduction of the essay.
  2. a. Big, overarching idea, and why it is important to you. This is where you will express.

    b. Listing of main points, which you will be exploring in the other parts of the essay. Don’t try to expound on

    them here, just state them (you’ll be discussing them in detail in the body of the paper).

  3. Point 1
  4. a. Restatement of the point as listed in the introduction.

    b. Supporting statement as to why this is important to your “Big Idea.”

    c. Application to “big idea,” whether through an anecdote or facts.

  5. Point 2
  6. a. Restatement of the point as listed in the introduction.

    b. Supporting statement as to why this is important to your “Big Idea.”

    c. Application to “big idea,” whether through an anecdote or facts.

  7. Point 3
  8. a. Restatement of the point as listed in the introduction.

    b. Supporting statement as to why this is important to your “Big Idea.”

    c. Application to “big idea,” whether through an anecdote or facts.

  9. Conclusion
  10. a. Summarize main points as listed above, but don’t copy exactly what you said.

    b. Link points to “big idea,” and reiterate the “big idea’s” importance to your life.

You don’t have to follow this outline exactly, but it can really help you if you’re trying to organize your thoughts. If you express your thoughts in a clear and organized manner, like that shown above, you will be more likely to develop your argument in an intelligent, concise manner.

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