6 Tips for Writing an Outstanding Personal Essay

Photo: Thinkstock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Successfully obtaining an internship in the competitive world of nutrition and dietetics requires great attention to detail. You must complete many pieces of the application process, one of which is the personal essay. Here are six tips to help you successfully write a memorable, professional essay. 

Highlight your skills with personal stories. Most applicants will have dietetics experience and leadership skills. Sharing brief anecdotes highlighting specific skills and experiences helps you stand out from the crowd.

Be concise. Essay space is limited. Do not go over the word limit. Many internship directors only read the required word count out of fairness to all applicants. You do not want your excellent conclusion overlooked because you got a little carried away.

Pay attention to requirements. Internships vary in their essay requirements. Pay attention to these details to ensure you include the necessary information.

Write and rewrite. Your best essay will most likely not be your first draft. Start writing, set it aside, then come back to it with a fresh brain. Get feedback and repeat the process.

Ask for help from a dietetics professional. Ask someone familiar with dietetics to review your essay. This person should be able to give you feedback on the content of your essay and help you determine which of your experiences and skills internship directors would want to hear about. Start this process early to give yourself plenty of time to tweak your drafts and get feedback with each revision.

Last, but not least — watch your grammar. Small errors devalue your work even if the content is excellent. Have several people you trust as grammar experts proofread your essay. Even if you are an excellent writer, your brain can easily overlook mistakes when you are re-reading your essay for the fifth time.

Keep these simple tips in mind as you write your personal essay, and you will be well on your way to producing an outstanding piece that helps you reach your goal of obtaining an internship.

Kathleen Hahn on Instagram
Kathleen Hahn
Kathleen Hahn graduated from Messiah College in 2016 and is currently an intern at Geisinger Medical Center's dietetic internship. When not working, she and her husband travel the country in a converted camper van named Reggie​.