A picture of a white piece of paper in a typewriter written autobiography: How to write an Autobiographical essay

How To Write An Autobiographical Essay

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An autobiographical essay is a compulsory requirement for many scholarships, college, and even job applications. So, without a doubt, you will be required to write it at some point in your life. However, it can be a daunting task that comes with a lot of pressure for some people who opt to get essay writing services to help them. That being said, there is no other better time to learn how to write an autobiographical essay than now.

An autobiographical essay is a narration of your true life story told from your point of view. In simple terms, it is an essay about your personal story written by yourself. It is written in the first person and uses the pronoun ‘I.’  

When you write an autobiography essay, you are basically telling the reader about who you are, your personality, experiences, and opinion about different facets of life. The reader should be able to get a snapshot of your life from you’re piece. This is your chance to tell what you couldn’t include on your resume or application.

Autobiographical essays recount the experiences that you went through at some point in your life. As you write an autobiographical essay, the focus is on telling your story to trigger an emotional reaction from the reader. This post will guide you on how to write an autobiographical essay. 

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The difference between an autobiography and a biography

While an autobiography is an account of your own life story, a biography is a narrative of events and experiences of a person’s life written by another person. For example, an author can write a book based on the 44th president of America. Below are some of the notable major differences between the two.


  • A story of a person’s life written by the subject matter
  • Written in the first person narrative
  • Based on facts of the subject’s life
  • Meant to explain the motivation behind the subject’s thoughts and choices.


  • A story of a person’s life written by another person.
  • Written in the third person narrative
  • Can be written with or without the person’s consent
  • Written after an in-depth study of the subject’s life

The difference between an autobiography and a memoir

A memoir is a collection of memories related to a person’s life experiences written by the subject. Just like an autobiography, memoirs are written in the first person. So what makes memoirs different from autobiographies?


  • Collection of the author’s memories while an autobiography is the story of their life
  • Less formal compared to an autobiography
  • Less factual as it represents the perspective of the author
  • It can be written chronologically or made to hop around different periods.

Format On How To Write An Autobiographical Essay

  • Center the essay on your story
  • Understand the purpose of writing
  • Planning your essay

Center The Autobiographical Essay On Your Story 

When it comes to an autobiographical essay, the essay centers on your story. The reader’s main interest is in knowing how a particular event shaped your life. 

For most people, they go wrong when they try to write someone else’s story. It is advisable to make yourself the central theme of the essay. Depending on the essay question or the purpose for which you are writing, you can decide to cover a segment of your life or your entire life. 

Whichever the case, it is crucial that you offer as much detail as possible about this segment that will help the reader get a better understanding of you. The most outstanding autobiographical essays are those that make the reader feel a part of the story that you share. 

An alternative way of writing your autobiographical essay is by focusing on a particular lesson learned in your life. You can make this lesson the central theme of your essay and focus on the events around it, which is to put a point across to the reader. 

Understanding The Purpose For Writing 

Before you can attempt to write an autobiographical essay, the most important bit of it all is understanding the purpose as to why you are writing it. There are several reasons why someone may want to write an autobiographical essay. 

As an Assignment 

This purpose is one of the common reasons why people write this type of essay. Many learning institutions will at one time ask their students to write an autobiographical essay. In this type of essay, the examiner will want to test how well a student can narrate his or her story. 

Application Purposes 

College and scholarship applications are another reason why someone may write an autobiographical essay. In this type of essay, the main focus is to try to gain the favor of the approval board by narrating to them about yourself. When writing for such a purpose, it is important to focus on a significant life lesson that stands out the most when you look back at your life. Putting your truth out there allows you to appeal to the reviewer and helps increase the chances of your application’s approval. 

For Empowerment 

Autobiographical essays are a powerful empowerment tool. Whether you are looking to empower an underprivileged group of people or to highlight how you overcame a tribulation. This type of essay can serve that purpose well. It is advisable to reflect on a success story that you have that can help inspire others. 

Planning Your Autobiographical Essay 

An autobiographical essay requires a lot of effort in planning for it. For the most part, this is so because you will need to use yourself as the main source of the data you need for the essay. It is therefore important to have a plan that allows you to brainstorm on the ideas that you feel would have the most impact when written in the essay. 

Planning your essay will also include deciding on which part of your life to highlight in the essay. Additionally, you need to also decide on which other characters or events in your life you will need more data on to increase the credibility of your essay.

You will also need to organize the data that you decide to use in a sequential manner. This organization allows you to write the essay effortlessly once you sit down to write it. Lastly, you need to set aside a specific time to write and have the right writing prompts to guide you. 

What to include in your autobiographical essay 

When writing an autobiographical essay, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. These will make or break your essay. 

A unique title

The title of your autobiographical essay is the first thing the reader will see. So it should be both intriguing and point out the main point of your essay. So take your time and come up with a creative and appealing title

First-person narrative voice

An autobiography is your story. So tell it from your perspective and use a tone that makes it personal. Ensure to use only ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘my,’ and ‘mine’ pronouns. Please do not write it in a second or third-person perspective or switch back and forth between them. 

Significant experiences

Avoid writing about anything that comes to mind. Instead, think carefully and summarize all the experiences that are relevant to the application. This way, you will directly relate these experiences to your application and explain why these experiences influenced your decision. 

Recollections from your professional life

Remember to include the professional life experiences that have pushed you into making your decision. For example, experiences in the ward as a nursing assistant might have pushed you into the decision to get your nursing degree to offer the patients better care. 

Final Thoughts 

An autobiographical essay focuses on your story to ignite a particular emotional reaction in the reader. To write an impressive autobiographical essay, planning to the end is important, as is the organization of the data you will use in the essay. Ensure that as you write the essay, your story forms the spine on which all else attaches.

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An Example Of An Autobiographical Essay 

An example of an autobiographical essay

How do you start an autobiographical essay?

There are different approaches in starting an autobiographical essay, but the main point is to draw the attention of the reader and to make them read more about you and your life story. Once you find out how to capture the readers’ attention, then you can write an autobiographical essay.

How many paragraphs should an autobiography have?

A precise autobiography should be written in five paragraphs or less.

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