How to Write an Autobiographical Essay

Writing an autobiographical essay for your PLA portfolio submissions will give you the opportunity to examine your life: experiences, learning, challenges, and personal development. Constructing the essay can be challenging in that it may bring up incidences from your life that you may have forgotten or repressed. It can also be extremely helpful in putting your life in perspective and preparing you for the future, especially in the near-term challenges of achieving your educational goals. Since this specific essay is focused on your work and experiences as they contribute to your current educational goals and future plans, you should concentrate on those pieces which are pertinent.

 The autobiographical essay should be at least 750 words (3 pages) but not more than 1,500 words (6 pages), formatted as outlined below.  The structure of the essay should focus on aspects of your life, education, and experience which are relevant to your educational goals and future plans. For example, your personal background should include information such as where you grew up, the general nature of your family structure, and relevant highlights of your growing up years. This will be the same for your educational experiences, i.e. include highlights of specific faculty, courses or learning experiences, but don’t itemize your entire educational path. This will also apply to any work experiences you have had: mention those times of memorable impact from coworkers, supervisors, e.g. things you learned that you would want to repeat and things you learned you would not want to repeat. Finally, follow all that with a short paragraph of two to three sentences summarizing your. Loosley follow the format below. You will not need to include section breaks unless you wish to.

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·         Title

·         Personal background

·         Life Experiences

·         Education Experiences

·         Work Experiences

·         Conclusion

Please write your essay in a first person narrative as if you were telling the story of your life. Try not to simply list facts about your life. It is strongly recommended you write a draft version of your essay and let it set for at least a day before coming back to it and revising. Remember to read your essay out loud before you submit it, as a number of grammatical errors can be found and corrected this way.

Autobiographical Example


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