How to Write a Paper on Your Best Qualities

Man holding black reading book.jpg

A common writing prompt for students involves self-describing their best qualities. When the college application process begins, describing your strengths or personality appears quite often. As a result, students need to reflect on their character traits and be able to articulate their personal strengths through writing. Students do not want to appear arrogant, so they must craft their essay carefully and deliberately. There are several basic steps that will help students write this type of personal narrative.

1 Make a list

Make a list of your best qualities. Do not just think, jot down as many as you can. Look over the list and then number them from most to least exhibited. Cross out qualities that are superficial in nature such as "beautiful." Stick with qualities that describe your overall personality.

2 Look at the list

Look at the list and come up with an example for each. Cross out the quality if you cannot come up with an example for the attribute. Whittle down the list to two or three qualities, at the most, that you feel truly represent you. Come up with a story that you feel encapsulates all of these defining characteristics.

3 Paint a picture for the reader

Paint a picture for the reader. Do not begin by describing yourself. Describe the setting for your story and how you felt. Draw the reader in by being creative. The first paragraph should be descriptive writing. If perseverance is your quality, you might begin with an anecdote that reflects this strength of character. Describing swimming in the ocean, for example, might be an ideal way to begin.

4 Use the next paragraph

Use the next paragraph to formally describe yourself. Point out the quality or qualities you will describe in the essay. Include the factors that contributed to this personality trait. Did your family, or perhaps a personal hardship, help create this quality in you? Be sure to consider what influenced you to develop these qualities.

5 Give examples of your best qualities

Give examples of your best qualities in the paragraphs that follow. Use the influences noted in the previous paragraph and explain them. Do not list, but rather describe and develop the emergence of these traits in your personality. Make sure there are logical transitions between the paragraphs. "When did this quality first surface?" "Was there a major event that sparked the emergence of this trait?" "Was this quality ever tested?" Use the paragraphs to answer these type of questions and develop your essay.

6 Come back to your anecdote

Come back to your anecdote in the conclusion paragraph. Connecting the introduction to the conclusion will give the paper a logical sense of progression. End the essay with something creative as it gives a lasting impression to the reader.

Residing in New Jersey, Kerry O'Neill has been a teacher of English for over 17 years and a writer since 2000. She began by writing curriculum about American and British literature and is now a contributing content writer for various online publications. She graduated summa cum laude from the College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in English.