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How to Write an Essay About Your Strengths & Weaknesses

by Soheila Battaglia, Demand Media

    While you may be asked to write an essay about your strengths and weaknesses for an English course, this type of essay is more commonly requested for scholarship and school applications. Whoever its audience may be, the essay must have a focus, be well-organized and should paint a truthful and insightful picture of you.

    Focus

    Your essay should have a focus from the start. This will avoid turning the paper into no more than a list of strengths and weaknesses. The main point is expressed through the thesis statement, which should be included in the introduction of the essay. For example, you can write, "It was through my biggest failure as an older brother that I discovered my greatest strength." Or you can write, "While being a perfectionist is in many ways a strength, it also can be a weakness."

    Organization

    Make an outline charting the course of the essay before you write it. Begin with the thesis statement, then note the points you will make in each body of the paragraph. Make certain these points support the essay's main idea and that they are distinct from one another. List the evidence you will include in the body under each paragraph's topic sentence. Once it's complete, writing the essay will be more organized and quick, and you can flesh out the notes you made in the outline.

    Content

    The content of the essay can address your achievements, failures and values. Show how the strengths and weaknesses you present are related to your personality, goals, relationships and work ethic. You can write about a specific experience that has changed you or taught you something new about yourself or life in general. Be honest and provide details, analysis and evidence. In the case of a scholarship essay, the Borough of Manhattan Community College advises that it should be "about you, your ideals, and/or your opinions."

    Revising

    To write a strong essay, you always should write more than one draft. After the essay is complete, read through it carefully to identify spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as to verify that you have properly addressed the prompt. You also can show your essay to a peer or instructor for review to make certain there are no confusing or unclear aspects. Finally, incorporate all the feedback into a rewrite of the first draft. The revision should be more developed, organized and polished than the original.

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    About the Author

    Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker. She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley. She is a college professor of literature and composition.

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