How to Help Kids to Write a Personal Profile

Child writing in notebook.
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Elementary and middle school teachers often help their students learn to write basic personal profiles, so they'll be equipped to handle scholarship and summer job applications and college applications down the road. Students might also write personal profiles to accompany academic, art or music submissions for local or state competitions. You can help your students learn to write effective personal profiles by teaching them to focus on their achievements, activities, goals and interests.

1 Brainstorming Session

Give students a blank piece of paper and have them write "Special Things About Me" at the top. They must brainstorm a list of 10 character traits, interests, activities or achievements that they're proud of. Instruct them to turn their papers over and pass them to a neighbor. Tell the recipients to list three positive attributes about the student whose paper they received, such as "good speller," "friendly and easy to get along with" or "has a good sense of humor." Brainstorming helps students gain insight about what to include on their personal profiles, according to the University of Alaska System.

2 Introductory Information

Explain to students the importance of listing basic information on their student profile -- first and last name, age, grade level, school name and home state. Show them how to organize the information at the top of the page by justifying the left or center margin, leaving space between entries and including subheadings, such as "Name" or "Age," with a colon after each. Young students who don't know how to type can handwrite their profiles, and older students might also include the year they expect to graduate from high school. Warn them not to put personal information, such as Social Security numbers or cell phone numbers, on their profiles.

3 First Impressions

Ask your students to write a rough draft that gives details about three or four achievements, goals or interests from their brainstorming list. Encourage them to use the same polite, everyday language they would use if they were writing an intelligent letter to a friend or a teacher, the National Scholarships Office at the University of Maryland recommends. One or two concise, descriptive paragraphs should suffice. Instruct them to start with a phrase such as, "I would describe myself as ..." or "One of my favorite hobbies is … ." The goal is to help them focus on their hobbies and achievements in positive, interesting ways to make a good first impression.

4 Specific Details

Have your students rewrite their personal profiles and remove any general, obvious or vague information. Write "I like school because it's fun" on your blackboard or white board to illustrate the type of content they should edit out. Explain that a better personal profile sentence might read, "One of my favorite hobbies is chess, and I enjoy organizing matches with my chess club that meets every week at school." Encourage your students to focus on specific activities and experiences that help readers get to know them better. You might have your students exchange papers with one another to make final edits, suggestions and revisions.

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.