Personal Narrative Essay


Personal Narrative Essay

Monster is written as an autobiographical story; in it, Steve is examining an experience in his life and its impact on him. While we may not have experienced the same events as Steve, in each of our lives there have been experiences, achievements, and dilemmas we have faced that have impacted us. You are to write a two page autobiographical essay responding to the following prompt:

Describe and evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced, and its impact on you.

The purpose of this essay is twofold: first, you are demonstrating proper writing skills while examining an experience in your own life, just as Steve is doing with his life; secondly, this prompt is taken from the Common Application--the application accepted by over 400 colleges and universities in the US! While you won’t be able to use this exact essay when it comes time to apply to colleges (they limit the length of the essay they accept), doing this will give you a big leg up when the time to apply comes!


(adapted from   The essay asks you to “describe and evaluate.” Evaluation requires you to think critically and analytically about your topic. You are not JUST being asked to "describe" or "summarize" an experience—this is only part of it. After you describe the experience, you will need to conclude with a thoughtful discussion of how the experience affected you. Examine how the experience made you grow and change as a person. A "Significant" Experience Can Be Small. Even if your life has been smooth and comfortable, you've had significant experiences. Think about the first time you challenged authority, the first time you disappointed your parents, or the first time you pushed yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone. A significant risk can be choosing to go against the family tradition of playing soccer and trying out for the school play instead. Any experience that taught you something is worthwhile and can be written about.  An "Ethical Dilemma" Doesn't Need to be Newsworthy. Think broadly about what can be defined as an "ethical dilemma." An ethical dilemma is simply a time you faced a decision between right & wrong. The most difficult ethical dilemmas facing high school students are often about high school. Should you turn in a friend who cheated? Is loyalty to your friends more important than honesty? Should you risk your own comfort or reputation to do what you think is right? Should you break a friend’s trust if they need help, even if they swore you to secrecy? Should you stand up against something your friends are doing? Again, anything that impacted you and taught you a lesson can be used!


 2 Pages Minimum! This will require you to go into detail and be descriptive!    Your essay MUST BE TYPED AND IN MLA FORMAT! MLA will account for a significant portion of your grade; on my website there is a step-by-step document explaining how to set up your paper properly, so you now have NO excuses! Your grade will count for TWO 100 point grades. Do your best! Because it is a personal narrative, you CAN use “I, me, my, etc.”


 Your grade will be calculated from a rubric based on the following categories: FOCUS ORGANIZATION DETAILS/DESCRIPTION SENTENCE STRUCTURE MUGS MLA FORMATTING