How to Write an Autobiography Essay for College: Step by Step

How to Write an Autobiography Essay for College: Step by Step

Published by on 2021-05-21 16:39:51

Whenever a high school student is confronted with the need to write an autobiography statement, they are often puzzled about what that assignment even means. Writing about yourself is not something we commonly do at school. Unfortunately, not every student is taught how to write an autobiography for school. Not to mention that many young people, teenagers especially, are very prone to self-reflection. However, this paper can play a crucial role during a student’s admission to college. So we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of such a task.

Luckily, every young person knows where to look for help when it is needed. The Internet is full of wisdom. This piece can serve you as an example. This is a step-by-step guide on how to write an autobiography essay for college. Let’s see what it is and how to approach it. Good luck! 

This is a step-by-step guide on how to write an autobiography essay for college.

What Is an Autobiographical Essay

As you must know by now, every academic paper comes with certain rules and purposes, as well as some lessons to teach you. An autobiographical essay is no exception. This type of paper urges you to reflect on your life, enhance analytical skills, and find a creative approach. You do write about yourself. Although it means you don’t have to do academic research or compare sources, you need to make an interesting piece that perfectly defines the subject of the narrative - you. 

Of course, learning how to write a biographical essay about yourself is not as easy as we may think at first. It requires some good writing skills, self-awareness, and honesty. However, the fact that is challenging doesn’t mean it has to be an obstacle to your college admission. Let’s take a closer look at what stages you need to go through to complete this assignment. 


Now, this type of essay is very much different from any other type of paper you have ever written. There is not a single student autobiography template on the Internet as for descriptive essays, for example. Do you know why? This type of paper is deeply personal. Although a certain format is expected, the rest is up to your imagination. Hence, you have to look deep within to find something to write about, and it may not be easy.

Thus, starting to write right away is not how you should start an autobiographical essay. You start by thinking. You reflect on your life and think of the events and actions that have shaped you. Every person is unique. We all have our ambitions, desires, dreams, and motivations that are strictly ours. These personal drives are what you need to find in yourself and put them on paper. 

Reflect on your life, personal or historical events that you have been through, and find something that you want to share with the world. Whatever story you find in your life must carry importance for you and be interesting to your readers. It must reflect your personality and who you really are. 

Set a Clear Purpose for Your Essay

Define what you want to tell with your work. The purpose defines how you want to portray yourself and how you want your readers to see you. Do you want to show what you have learned from some experience? Do you want to teach a lesson with your story? Do you want to convey your readers something or just tell a story? Answering these questions can set the right time for the entire work. 

Overall, no one can really tell you how to write your autobiography. It is your job to figure that out on your own. However, once you have a clear vision of what you’d love to achieve with this work, you can start plotting your essay. Thus, you can think of the purpose of your work as of a lighthouse that guides you through the shallow waters. Just move to the light, stay on your course, and you’ll be fine. 

Think of Your Readers 

Whenever you think of how to write an autobiography essay, think of for whom you are writing it and why. Your goal is to deliver. Meet your readers’ expectations and give them what they want. Though don’t forget that you are writing this paper, not any typical readers. A college board can be a tough crowd to please. Try to consider their expectations of your work. See what they would love to find in your work. 

In fact, you can go a little overboard here and give them what they want, plus a cherry on top of it. A little twist in the typical format, an unexpected plot twist, or a hidden lesson in a story can be what your readers need to remember you. After all, a college board goes through hundreds of similar applications every year. If you don’t have anything to surprise or win them over, they may forget you once they are done reading. 

Also, knowing your readers can be knowing what a perfect college autobiography essay example must look like for them. For example, each college also has a certain set of values, motivations, and goals that they value in their school. You can use that information to your advantage. Show the college board how you identify with their values. Pick a story or personal goals that show how you can make this college proud by having a student like yourself. Think of your readers, find their weak spots, and don’t be shy to use it for your personal benefit. 

Pick a Format

An autobiography doesn’t have strict rules on how it is supposed to look like. No one is telling you whether this paper must include your entire life or certain life events that were important to your development. You can write a proper memoir with all the places you lived, schools you attended, and major life events you had. 

On the other hand, you can describe only one day in your life if you want. Though, this day must carry an important meaning to whatever you are trying to say to your readers. Overall, the right format will come to you as soon as you know the purpose of your writing and understand the readers’ expectations of your work. 

You can also approach this task creatively, and come up with more unusual formats, like a graphic novel or a script, for example. Overall, as long as any creative approaches seem to be appropriate to your college, you can go ahead and surprise them with your rather untraditional take on this assignment. 

Make Several Drafts

How to start autobiography essays depends on where you want to go with them. Do you want to go with a personal story? Do you want to address your readers? Do you want to identify your goals and drives right away? There are plenty of ways you can go here. Take your time. This paper is important for your future. So you don’t need to hurry. Make several drafts before you approve the final version of your future essay. Making drafts will help you find the right voice and trust yourself in the process. 

Writing about yourself may feel a bit odd at first. However, with some time, you’ll find out that you have a lot to say. You just need to release that inner voice and find the confidence to share your individuality and personal thoughts with strangers. 

Stick to the Traditional Structure

As we have mentioned previously, the given assignment is still a form of academic writing. Hence, it requires traditional formatting, perfect grammar, and full compliance with academic style, so don't forget to properly revise it. The only exceptions you have here are the allowance to use the first-person pronoun and adding personal opinions. After all, this is the text about yourself, so you can’t do much without going personal. 

As for the rest of it, you should stick to the five paragraphs rules. It means that your paper needs to have the classical structure:

1. Title
2. Introduction
3. Main body
  1. 3.1 First paragraph
  2. 3.2 Second paragraph
  3. 3.3 Third paragraph
4. Conclusion

Of course, you can add as many paragraphs as you’d like or as allowed by the total length of your paper. However, maintaining the exact structure is important to keep your paper look professional. Moreover, such structure helps you to form your thoughts in a coherent and effective manner. Just don’t forget to make smooth transitions between each paragraph. 

Stay Authentic

We’d urge you to be yourself, but it’s hard to tell what that is supposed to mean. Instead, we encourage you to be authentic. Be honest, true, and sincere. Don’t try to lie, manipulate, or embellish your stories. Any time you try, you are not completely honest with your readers, it is noticeable. It is the magic of writing. Those pages can always reveal the truth lying underneath, so don’t try to hide it. 

Instead, you should allow yourself to be vulnerable. Showing your true self requires courage, and your readers (college admission board) will definitely appreciate your efforts. Unfortunately, no amount of autobiography essay examples can teach you that. You’ll have to find the strength within.