Whether for admissions or assignment, the personal narrative essay outline is essentially the same and should at least roughly conform to the following structure.
The Hook: Your first sentence should be compelling and make the reader want to continue.
You may want to use passive constructions here also. You will obviously move from past to present and back to past tenses in this essay, and that is expected. Choose an incident or experience that is a bit “extreme” – extremely frightening, extremely humorous, extremely sad or poignant, or different from the experiences that most people have.
Try to make it easy for a reader to understand when you give a retrospective and when the narration is in the present time. This will make your narration far more interesting to the reader. But also don’t forget to include the lessons you have learned from this extreme experience, otherwise the story will seem incomplete or even senseless. If you are responding to an essay prompt for college admissions, you will have options.
It will explain your choice to write about this event and show that you are mature enough to learn from your experience, even if it’s bad.
Usually these essays are written in the first person, so you will be using a lot of “I’s.” After you have written the piece, go back and see if you can replace some of those “I’s” by altering sentence structure.
For some students it makes the task easier, while others struggle even more with these given options.
Read those options carefully and make a list of what you might write about for each prompt.
Remember to use good transition sentences between your body paragraphs – they can come either at the end of a paragraph to introduce the next one, or at the beginning of the new paragraph with some reference back to the previous one.
All the paragraphs should be connected and the narration should be logical.