How to Write a Autobiographical Essay for College

To write an effective autobiographical essay, you must dig deep into your past and explore the events that made you the person you are today. Those entering college and participating in college courses are often faced with the task of composing an autobiographical essay. While it may seem simple to write an essay about events you experienced first hand, many writers find the task challenging because it requires them to think critically upon past events and dig into their memory banks to pull out requisite details. Whether for an application or as a part of a college class, the task of composing an autobiographical essay can be simplified by breaking the process down into manageable parts.


    • 1

      Select an important event worthy of focus. By selecting an important event, you ensure that you have enough material to fill an entire essay. The event you select does not have to be the most important thing that ever happened to you, but it should be something that had an impact on you and who you are as a person.

    • 2

      Write an attention-getting beginning. Make your readers want to continue to read by diving right in to the exciting part of your story. Readers will likely tire of your essay long before reaching the important part if you start slow and try to ease them in to the story.

    • 3

      Lay out the events in clear and logical order. While flashbacks and foreshadowing can be strong literary tools, the best way to compose your autobiographical essay is in a predominantly chronological fashion. You can use a flashback if you wish, but do not litter the essay with time jumps. This will only confuse readers and increase the likelihood that they misunderstand your overall message.

    • 4

      Describe any characters in extensive detail. Remember that, while the characters in your essay are people who you know well, your readers have never met them. Describe them in detail so that your readers can understand basic physical and mental characteristics as well as the motivations behind their actions.

    • 5

      Add sensory details to make the events clear to the readers. Allow your readers to hear, see, taste and smell your story. If possible, try to include details that appeal to each sense at least once throughout your essay. This brings your essay to life for your readers and allows them to develop a better mental picture of the story you are telling.

    • 6

      Write a conclusion that clearly expresses the importance of the event and reflects upon any lessons learned. Your conclusion should not only bring your article to a close, but also point out why the event was important in the grand scheme of things. Make the relevance and significance of the event your described apparent as you conclude your essay.

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