Essays About Identity: 18 Writing Prompts for Students

Get inspiration for your essays about identity with these 18 inspiring writing prompts.

There are many times when a student needs to write an essay. Many colleges will ask for a personal essay when entering college, and the topic may be open-ended for these projects. You may also be asked to write a “who am I” essay for this.

Who am I essays are a great opportunity for self-reflection. You can delve into what makes you tick and what actions have defined your character over the years. Writing these essays also allows you to showcase your writing skills. However, this is one place where you have to do the writing yourself, not ask for help from a writing service with professional writers because you need to write about your own life and your experiences. Someone else cannot do this for you.

Essays about who am I can be challenging to write because they are so open-ended. Unless you have a clear direction from the assignment, you may need to get a little creative with the direction you take this essay. Here are some sample essay topics that deeply explore “who am I.” Consider using one to start your ideas flowing as you create an excellent personal essay.

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Essays About Identity

1. I Am a Good Leader

Depending on the purpose of your who am I essay, describing your leadership skills could be a great option. You could explain how your life experiences have transformed you into someone with strong leadership potential. You could explore the character traits that lend themselves well to leadership.

This essay topic has a lot of room for interpretation. For example, even if you don’t see yourself as a leader, you might have much leadership potential when you dig into your character. So, pull out that leadership and build it into a personal essay.

2.  Exploring My Future

This personal essay topic allows you to explore what you anticipate for your future. If you are writing an essay in high school as part of the college application process, you can incorporate why you are a good fit for the school into this essay to help your essay stand out.

When exploring your future in an essay, be sure to explore who you are as a person and why your future goals make sense based on your character traits and passions. This self-reflection will make for a powerful essay.

3. Who I Want to Be

Not all who I am essays need to be about who you currently are. Instead, you can write a powerful essay about the person you hope to become. Every human being has tremendous potential, and you can showcase that potential in an essay sample.

Think about your character traits and life goals. What could you do with those traits to reach those goals? Exploring these ideas could create a strong essay example.

4. Who I Am and How I Change

The human experience is all about change. We change as we grow and develop into more mature individuals. You could explore how you change in an essay that would talk about how your growth and development make you into a better person.

Exploring things that are the catalyst for change in your life can be a good starting point for a personal essay. Since you are unique, your changes will come from a different place than other people. There is quite a bit to talk about with this topic.

5. My Likes and Dislikes

Essays About Identity: My Likes and Dislikes
Because you have many things that you like or do not like, this can be a lengthy essay topic idea

Your likes and dislikes are what make you who you are. If you are focused on personal essay writing, this can be a good place to start. Because you have many things that you like or do not like, this can be a lengthy essay topic idea.

Go beyond the surface here. While you could talk about foods you like and dislike, is there something deeper you could explore? Are there particular topics that inspire you and others that turn you away? The answers to these questions will help you explore this essay topic.

6. My Worldview

A worldview is a platform through which you view the world, politics, and social concerns. It could be religious, sociological, or even ethical. Spending time figuring out your worldview helps you understand your way of relating to the world.

Once you know what your worldview is, you will be able to expound on it in your essay. Explain what you believe, but also explain why. Being able to support your reasons with self-reflection and logic will make your final essay exceptional.

7. How I am Similar to My Father/Mother

Do you take after one of your parents? Compare your character traits to theirs to see how you connect. Seeing yourself in another person is a great way to reflect on what makes you, you.

Again, this is a place to dig deep. Look beyond the surface like physical characteristics and look at your character traits and how they are similar to your parent. You might find that you have quite a bit in common as you start analyzing the answer to this question.

8. Who I Am in Three Words

Can you describe yourself in just three words? This essay topic is an exercise in brevity, giving you the chance to hone in on who you are. But, of course, an essay is not just three words.

Once you decide what your three words are, you can expound on them. For example, if one of your words is “student,” you can explore what that means. Likewise, if you choose to state your race, you can discuss why that is a defining feature.

9. I Am a Survivor

Essays About Identity: I Am a Survivor
You can show in your essay how you can move past difficulties and embrace the change that they bring

Have you survived something traumatic in your life? If so, you could write an engaging essay about how you are a survivor. Many people who go through traumatic circumstances suffer a victim mentality, but you could focus on how you are choosing to be a survivor, not a victim.

Focus on the trail a little, but discuss how the trial has grown you as a person. You can show in your essay how you can move past difficulties and embrace the change that they bring. This essay can clearly show your resistance as a human being.

10. My Ethnicity

A person’s ethnicity is an important part of who they are. This can be an engaging essay topic, as it gives you the chance to celebrate your ethnicity, beliefs, and family history.

This topic is quite fascinating to delve into, but be careful. You do not want to come across as being fully defined by your race alone. Be sure to weave other character traits into this particular essay topic so that you come across as a well-rounded, balanced person. Remember, your ethnicity is just a portion of who you are as a whole person.

11. I Am More Than Just Good Grades

The academic world often gets too focused on grades and reports. While grades are important, you should be more than just a grade card. Hard work should matter just as much as the actual score, especially if you have some challenges that make learning and test-taking more difficult.

If you are more than just good grades, what does define you? When writing this essay, make sure you define your character traits in a positive light. Keep the essay upbeat and show how your hard work will define you even when grades do not.

12. My Bravest Moment

Is there a time when you expressed a significant amount of bravery? It does not have to be a mountaintop rescue or a near-death experience. It could be as simple as standing up in front of a class for the first time to deliver a speech.

Find an example of bravery from your life and expound on it in your essay. Explain what made you feel afraid and how you overcame the fear to do something truly brave. Use this exploration to showcase some characteristics that help you act bravely in frightening situations.

13. How My Childhood Experiences Made Me

Most people have quite a bit of development from their personal childhood experiences. Can you find some of these and point to specific ways they influenced your character as an adult? This idea could be a great way to explore who you are today.

Are you a social person because you spent a lot of time with people when you were young? Are you more introverted because you did not? You might find that your childhood significantly impacts your character, giving you an engaging essay topic to explore.

14. I Am a Good Friend

If you are a good friend to others, it says quite a bit about your character. Can you showcase how you are a good friend to others in your essay? What makes you someone people want to spend time with?

Character traits that make you a good friend can also make you a good student. Are you trustworthy or particularly friendly? These traits will help you in the classroom and your social life, so highlight them in your essay.

15. Why I Will Succeed

Do you picture yourself as a success in the future? If so, explain why in your essay. For example, you may think that you will succeed in starting your own business. Or maybe you have specific skills that make you confident of your abilities in the classroom.

Showing your confidence in your essay is helpful as you try to promote yourself to your potential college or your high school teacher. First, spend some time evaluating what it is about you that means you are likely to succeed, then compile that into an essay that shows your skills in the best possible light.

16. I Am a Product of My Choices

Our choices define us. Can you turn that into an essay topic? Can you showcase how your choices have created the person you are today, or can you write about one particular choice that was defining in your life?

This essay topic gives you quite a bit of time for self-reflection. You can easily highlight a particularly good choice you made or focus on a mistake and how you overcame the consequences of that mistake. Either way, you can use the choices in your life to outline who you are and why.

17. I Am a Failure (And What I Learned From It)

We all have failures in our life. This essay topic shocks the reader and gets their attention, which can make it powerful, but it also gives room to discuss failure positively. Talk about one of the biggest failures you have had in life and what you learned from it.

You can use this essay topic to transform something negative into something positive. First, think about how that monumental failure defined you and how the lessons you learned from the failure have made you a better person today.

18. I Am My Role in the Family

Are you a parent, sibling, or child? Are you the only child or one of many? These family dynamics can significantly impact who you are as a person, so consider exploring them as part of your essay.

Discuss how your role within your family has defined you and what it means for your future. Focus on the strengths that your role gave you rather than any drawbacks. Remember, your essay promotes you as a person and a writer, so keep it positive.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips!