How to Write a “Who Am I” Essay: Free Tips With Examples

Essay writing is an exciting and challenging academic activity that helps students to develop essential writing skills, such as creative thinking, reflective, and analytical skills. When writing an essay on the topic “Who Am I,” students should understand what is required of them before writing a paper. Ideally, educational departments and tutors provide instructions that dictate the approach that students should take when writing academic texts. In principle, a “Who Am I” essay should reflect the first-person language because this prompt requires learners to tell the audience about themselves. In this respect, writers can use the narrative, philosophical, college application, or autobiographical approaches in writing a paper. Hence, learners need to understand how to write a “Who Am I” essay to provide high-quality papers and achieve desired outcomes.

General Guidelines of Writing a “Who I Am” Essay

Essay writing is an academic activity that exposes students to conventions of formal writing and enhances their critical thinking, analytical, and reflective skills. Although there are different types of essays, there are no significant differences in an essay structure, an essay outline, and applicable academic writing rules. Basically, the only areas that essays seem to be different are essay topics and its content. For example, an argumentative essay advances the writer’s perspective on an issue, while a narrative essay provides the author’s life story. In the former, students intend to persuade the audience by considering specific arguments, and, in the latter, they inform readers about personal experiences with life lessons. Therefore, in writing an essay on the topic “Who Am I,” writers should first understand what is required of them. Ideally, this type of essay asks authors to talk about themselves.

how to write a who am i essay

Differences Between a “Who Am I” Essay and Other Papers

In principle, essays that ask writers to talk about themselves tend to be different from standard formal papers. Basically, one point of difference is that students have to use the first-person language, which is discouraged in formal writing. By considering that a “Who Am I” essay requires learners to talk about themselves, such a paper takes several forms. For example, these structures include formats of narrative, philosophical, college application, and autobiographical papers. Although an essay topic is in a question form, it does not necessarily mean that writers are unsure about themself. In turn, such a format means that they intend to answer this question in a paper by following a particular way to the audience’s benefit.

1. Narrative Format

A narrative essay is one where the writer’s focus is to provide the audience with a life story. Basically, this life story can take many forms, including personal or family experiences. In short, a “Who Am I” essay in a narrative format utilizes personal anecdotes as a means of communication. Moreover, one of the strategies of writing these essays is adopting a “show, not tell” strategy that means using vivid descriptions rather than informative statements. Therefore, a narrative essay on the topic “Who Am I” should focus on the writer’s personal experiences that help the audience to understand an author. Since a topic is a question, one expectation is that students use personal anecdotes to provide an answer that benefits the audience more than them. When it comes to grading, what matters the most is whether writers have used narratives to educate the audience about who they are.

2. Philosophical Format

Philosophy is a discipline that focuses on unraveling the mysteries of life and nature. As such, a philosophical essay is one in which students engage the audience in a topic of discovery. In this case, one can argue that the essay’s type is informative. Since the topic “Who Am I” denotes an aspect of an investigation, learners who use a philosophical approach focuses on telling the audience things about themselves that advance an understanding of human nature. On expectations, the essay’s content should not dwell on the writer’s demographical background or personal experiences but who an author is in the context of human nature and its strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to grading, what matters is whether writers have applied a philosophical lens to describe themselves. In turn, a good example is unraveling what makes them strong, vulnerable, or weak.

3. College Application Format

College or university application is a type of essay that potential students write to the admissions board or committee of their choice institution. Basically, a “Who Am I” essay for colleges aims to convince and persuade the board or committee that applicants have all that it takes to be a student. To achieve this goal, learners provide essential details that are likely to advance their courses. For example, these details include personal attributes, academic performance (grades), work experiences, and future aspirations. Therefore, the expectation of a college application essay on the topic “Who Am I” is that it should inform the audience what makes writers outstanding and appropriate students for a higher learning admission. When it comes to grading, what matters the most is whether writers have emphatically made a case to college boards of why they are the best candidates for admission.

4. Autobiographical Format

By definition, an autobiography is a life story that captures the subject’s entire life. However, since it is hardly possible to write an individual’s life story – every detail about themselves since they were born – writers focus on what is relevant at any one given time. Therefore, when writing an autobiographical essay on the topic “Who Am I,” the expectation is that students provide details about themselves that help the audience to understand them better. For example, such details include their family lineage, demographical (race, ethnicity, gender, language, and nationality) background, academic credentials, and professional accomplishments. In this case, indicating one’s marital status and life’s philosophy are also crucial details in such an essay. On grading, the thing that matters the most is whether authors have offered a wholesome picture of who they are, from childhood to a present moment.

Essay Structures for “Who Am I” Papers

Academic writing standards require students and researchers to adopt a structure and an outline appropriate for their text when writing any academic paper. Typically, essays assume a three-component structure of introduction, main text (body), and conclusion. Also, when writing an essay on the topic “Who Am I” in narrative, philosophical, college application, or autobiographical forms, a student must use a structure that is appropriate for that paper. Besides a structure and an outline, there are other features that students must consider when writing a “Who Am I” essay in one of the formats.

1. Narrative Outline Format for a “Who Am I” Essay

When writing a narrative essay on the theme “Who Am I,” a student must follow an outline below:

I. Introduction

II. Body Paragraph(s)

  • Setting or background of an event.
  • People involved.
  • Short anecdote.
  • Climax.
  • Ending.

III. Conclusion

  • Lesson learned

Essential features. Students must address all the critical features in a “Who Am I” essay as applicable in these three sections. In the introduction, learners must briefly introduce themselves and clearly state a thesis of their papers. In the paper’s body, writers must use several paragraphs to tell the audience about themselves. Since the communication should be in a story form, authors can use each paragraph to tell a personal anecdote that enables the audience to understand them better. Besides, one of the features that writers must capture in the paper’s body is a “show, not tell” method, being an aspect of providing vivid details or descriptions. In turn, the most significant features that students should capture in the conclusion section are a restatement of a thesis sentence and a lesson learned. Also, the audience must see this lesson as a moral of a narrative story.

2. Philosophical Outline Format for a “Who Am I” Essay

When writing a philosophical essay on the theme “Who Am I,” students should follow an outline format below:

I. Introduction

  • Thesis statement (The question that a writer intends to answer).
  • Clarification of this question.
  • A reason why this question in critical.

II. Body Paragraph(s)

  • Answer a question through a topic sentence in one or several paragraphs.
  • Qualify and defend a thesis in one or several paragraphs.

III. Conclusion

  • Thesis restatement
  • Summary of the main point(s) in the body paragraph(s)

Essential features. In each of the three sections, learners must address crucial elements. Firstly, the introduction must be opened with a thesis statement that introduces a question that an author seeks to answer. Basically, learners should make the audience understand a question and explain its importance to them (writers) and the audience. Then, students can use one or more paragraphs in the body section, depending on their paper’s length. In the case of a one-page paper, there should be only one paragraph that opens with a topic sentence. In turn, this sentence should answer a question that forms the essay’s theme. Moreover, learners need to qualify and defend their thesis. In the conclusion section, writers must restate a thesis and summarize the main points.

3. College Application Outline Format for a “Who Am I” Essay

When writing a college application essay on the theme “Who Am I,” students must follow an outline that helps accomplish their objective- convince the admission committee that they are the best candidates among many applicants. Hence, such an outline should be as follows:

I. Introduction

  • Hook.
  • Thesis statement.

II. Body Paragraph(s)

  • First supporting idea.
  • Second supporting idea.
  • Third supporting idea.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate a thesis.
  • Reflect on the main ideas.
  • Closing remark.

Essential features. When writing the introduction for a “Who Am I” essay in a college application format, students should provide a hook to grab the attention of the audience. For example, this aspect should be an interesting fact or a quote from a famous personality. Then, another essential feature is contextualizing an essay by stating the purpose of writing concisely. Basically, this statement is what should be a thesis of such a paper. In the main body, learners should use body paragraphs, each introducing a critical idea. However, if a “Who Am I” essay is a one-page document, authors should write specific ideas in a single body paragraph. Also, these ideas are what help writers to strengthen their cases before the admission committee. In turn, such elements can be personal attributes, academic performance, or work experiences. In the conclusion section, learners need to restate a thesis and reflect on the main ideas, closing with a remark that impresses the audience.

4. Autobiographical Outline Format for a “Who Am I” Essay

When writing an autobiographical essay on the theme “Who Am I,” students should follow an outline below:

I. Introduction

  • Hook.
  • Introduce yourself to the audience.
  • Thesis statement.

II. Body Paragraph(s)

  • Early years.
  • Education.
  • Culture.
  • Future plans.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate a thesis statement.
  • Tie up all the experiences.

Essential features. Essential elements that students must address in the introduction of a “Who Am I” essay by following an autobiographical format are a hook that grabs the readers’ attention, a brief self-introduction, and a thesis statement. In this case, writers should use several body paragraphs in such a paper. However, if an essay is a one-page document, authors should use one body paragraph. Moreover, components of a body paragraph should be details about the writer’s life, such as childhood, early education, cultural orientation, and aspirations. In the conclusion section, learners need to restate a thesis and tie up all the details about their life addressed in the main text.

Effective Writing Strategies

When writing a “Who Am I” essay in different formats, students should use strategies that guarantee a high-quality product. For example, the first strategy is utilizing transitions to create a natural and logical flow from one paragraph to the next or section to section. In this case, common transitions are “therefore,” “additionally,” “put differently,” “hence,” “thus,” and “however.” Then, another strategy is subjecting an essay to a peer review. Here, writers give the first draft to a friend, tutor, or mentor to read and identify errors and mistakes. Also, if there are any mistakes, students revise and edit their papers to eliminate them. In turn, another strategy is proofreading the final draft to ensure that mistakes are not made during typing, or writers must revise and edit it accordingly.

Example of a Narrative Essay: Who Am I?

I. Introduction Sample

Adults say that adolescence is a period of development full of dramatic episodes. For me, it is a stage that saw my childhood friends become a significant influence on my worldview. The topic “Who Am I” focuses on investigating aspects of my life that define how I see myself and how others see me. As such, I can say that I am an individual who loathes social gatherings but always willing to let my friends push me out of my comfort zone.

II. Example of a Body

For me, friendships are not only social relationships but concepts that define how I view and relate with the world. Since when I was a child, I have never been a person who loves social gatherings. I get irritated quickly when people try to dictate what I should be doing or saying at any particular moment. For example, on one occasion, I caused a violent commotion when a friend tried to make me dance with a stranger in a nightclub. However, life is not that easy. We cannot avoid social interactions. For this reason, I have few friends who are also introverts but who are willing to push themselves to the edge. As a result, they always come up with plans to take ourselves outdoors to, at least, interact with others as human beings.

III. Conclusion Sample

When I look at my life, I can confidently say that I rarely interact with people. However, I always let my friends push me from my comfort zone. In turn, what I have learned so far in life is that close friends fundamentally and significantly influence how individuals see the world around them.

Example of a Philosophical Essay: Who Am I?

I. Introduction Sample

Although I am an insignificant player in the theatre of life, I hope to become an influential person one day. Basically, the question “Who Am I” underscores the fact that human nature is complicated, and it takes an entire lifetime for individuals to understand themselves fully. In particular, the essence of this question is that, despite sharing humanity’s title, people from all walks of life express themselves in diverse ways.

II. Example of a Body

On the question “Who Am I,” I can confidently say that I am an individual in the process of “becoming.” For example, when it comes to talking about human beings and the world, the discourse that attracts a significant audience is a discussion about men and women who have made a mark in the world. Moreover, these aspects include war heroes, successful businesspersons, influential political leaders, and controversial personalities. In this case, my contribution to the world stage can only be defined as insignificant. Nonetheless, I do not allow this reality to define my self-concept. I believe that “human life is a journey of a thousand miles,” and even those that we celebrate today are once insignificant personalities. Besides, I believe that a secret is to remain focused on what one desires to be in the coming future. In turn, I have a habit of volunteering in healthcare settings because I would love to become a nurse after college.

III. Conclusion Sample

Life is like a river that can carry an individual to familiar or strange destinations. In my case, I am hopeful that it will relocate me from a place of insignificance to a place of significance. For this reason, I always remain cheerful, optimistic, and hopeful, and, in one day, I will be influential like those we celebrate today.

Example of a College Application Essay: Who Am I?

I. Introduction Sample

Ever since I was a child, I have always loved to visit hospitals and other healthcare settings. Also, I believe this is why I love sciences and why I have always performed remarkably well in these subjects. In turn, my present application is an effort toward a realization of my dream to become a healthcare professional.

II. Example of a Body

My healthcare career journey started when I was a child, and all along, I have maintained this pursuit. When you look at my GPA, I have performed remarkably well in sciences, which, I believe, makes a perfect case for a healthcare career. Besides education, I have had opportunities to work closely with medical personnel in diverse settings, including first-aid simulations in community healthcare centers. Moreover, I have volunteered in local hospitals, experiences that I consider to have shaped my perspectives about patient care significantly. In this case, I believe that you should consider my application because I am a self-driven individual who always looks for opportunities in challenges. Hence, my admission into a Bachelor of Nursing Degree will orient me to nuisances of healthcare delivery. With such knowledge, my dream to become a healthcare professional would be within reach. 

III. Conclusion Sample

Applying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing is an effort to realize my lifelong dream of becoming a healthcare professional. As you consider my application, I implore you to consider the far I have come in preparation for this career. Thus, given an opportunity to study a program in your college, I will learn to become an effective healthcare professional.

Example of an Autobiographical Essay: Who Am I?

I. Introduction Sample

People say that the only way to know an individual is to know a personal heritage. As an African American, I take pride in being part of a race, being so rich in culture and one that leans on traditions. Talking about “Who Am I,” I can confidently say that I am a child of the world that takes pride in cultural heritage.

II. Example of a Body

I was born about three decades ago in a town famous for its natural beauty. As a whole, the State of Virginia is more rural than urban. Basically, this characteristic has played a significant role in defining my naturalist tendencies. Also, I am a lover of nature. For example, I habitually take walks every evening just to see nature – trees, birds, and butterflies. About education and career, I attended an Ivy League college and have built a career as a legal practitioner. On family, I have three siblings – one sister and two brothers. In turn, I am yet to marry as my career seems to take all of my time. What I prize the most is the fact that I am an African American young adult with a promising career in a world that seems intolerant to successful individuals of the African heritage.

III. Conclusion Sample

Being a successful African American in a world that seems to prejudice successful people of African heritage is a blessing to me. When I look at my life journey, I can only say that my cultural heritage is among the things I prize the most.

Defining Characteristics of a “Who Am I” Essay

A thesis statement appears in the introduction section in a “Who Am I” essay, thus setting the entire paper’s tone and theme. What follows is a body paragraph that opens with a topic sentence. Moreover, the body paragraph’s content revolves around a topic sentence that advances the essay’s central idea. Then, one of the defining characteristics of examples of “Who Am I” essays for different formats is the use of the first-person language. Basically, this aspect helps writers to “show, not tell.” Also, this aspect is evident in the body paragraph. In a narrative essay, it is an example of the nightclub commotion, and, in a philosophical essay, it is the habit of volunteering in healthcare settings. In a college application essay, the feature is evident in a story about working with medical personnel in first-aid simulations. In an autobiographical essay, it is about evening walks to appreciate nature.

Summing Up on How to Write a “Who Am I” Essay

Essay writing is an exciting and challenging academic exercise for students across all levels of education. Although there are different types of essays, structure and outline formats remain the same: introduction, body, and conclusion. In essence, what students need to understand is the essential features that enrich the content in the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. When writing an essay on “Who Am I” students need to know that such a paper is different from a standard format. Moreover, the central point of difference is that such an essay requires students to use the first-person language in a paper, which can take formats of narrative, philosophical, college application, or autobiographical essays. In writing such an essay, students must master the following tips:

  • use the first-person language;
  • make use of personal anecdotes;
  • “show, not tell” by providing vivid descriptions;
  • develop a thesis in the introduction;
  • use topic sentences to introduce ideas in a paragraph;
  • observe a maximum length requirement and a minimum length requirement of a “Who Am I” essay by considering a word count.