Following is an actual student essay ( for a scholarship application personal essay). Yours can be very different than this, so don't try to mold yours into someone else's format. It can be helpful though to see an example of how others have put theirs together. You should read yours to others, and have others read theirs to you. As you read other's essays, ask yourself, "Does this essay reflect what this person is all about and convey to the reader everything that was intended?" Also ask yourself, "How would I have written this differently to more effectively convey these ideas?"

Personal Essay - Scholarship Application
(actual student essay)

Hands-on experience is the greatest teaching mechanism one can employ through life. I believe that while one may go to school to learn, that this is not the only place to learn. One's educational experience may greatly be enriched by outdoor fieldwork and hands-on exposure. This is what I would like to do. I would like to get a degree through an academic program which would take my learning experiences out of the classroom and into the field. I would like to study the Earth Sciences by being an actively involved participant rather than a passive bystander.

My long range goals would be to teach what I have learned to others. Teaching people how to solve some of societies problems will be challenging and environmentally significant. I would like to help find ways to dispose of hazardous wastes or help to solve the many water problems that many of our big cities have. I would also like to teach people about what I love--the earth and the processes that go on within it. To achieve this goal I realize that I will need a good education.

I strive very hard for the best. My academic GPA is 3.5. Although I do well in school, I do not strive for only that, but for personal enrichment as well. In every class I take I to try my hardest to get the most out of that class personally as well as academically. Getting the most out of a class is what got me interested in geology. At first I found geology difficult, But through perseverance I quickly overcame the difficulty and found that I was enjoying what I was learning. I began to participate in field work and go on many of the field trips. Here I got hands-on experience in geology and realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Not only will geology be challenging for me but it will always be an ongoing learning experience--something I really look forward to.

Challenge in life is something that I have always looked for. When I was younger, I twirled baton in competition for eight years. This instilled a competitive spirit in me at an early age. I enjoy challenges, but sometimes they have not been put forth in a good way. Difficult challenges have tested my strengths and revealed my weaknesses. I feel though that my character has been enhanced and strengthened in learning to overcome these challenges. My house was burned down in the Painted Cave Fire which claimed over 300 homes in the Santa Barbara area. This was the biggest challenge I have ever been put through. Although all my securities were gone I worked hard to overcome this setback and to learn and grow from the experience. I did not let this personal tragedy interfere with my schooling. I completed my summer session courses with straight A's. This event, however, will impact my way of thinking for the rest of my life. This experience has positively affected my life in that I can now better empathize with people who have gone through difficult times. I have also learned that through hard work and perseverance I can get through really hard times, whatever the circumstances.

A good college education is my primary goal at this time in my life. I would like to build a good future for myself and to make my mark in our society by helping others. Getting a good education is very difficult when one does not have the funds to succeed. I am one of those who is in need. My parents are trying to recover after a total loss on their house. With that, and three other children dependent upon them, they have no money to help me. I hope, through your efforts that you will help me to achieve my most prominent goal in life--a good education.