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How to Write a Profile Essay – Step by Step Guide

In your journey as a college student, you will have to write a lot of papers. One of the most important papers that you will write as a student is an essay. There are many types of essays including argumentative essays and narrative essays. A profile essay is another important essay that students need to learn to write to be able to graduate with good grades. With that in mind, if you do not know how to write a profile essay, here is the best step-by-step guide on how to write a profile essay.

What is a Profile Essay?

By definition, a profile essay is a detailed description of a person, object, place, organization, and/or event. It aims to give the reader’s comprehensive understanding of the subject. So, it should be well-composed, comprehensive, and informative enough.

So, if you are asked to write an essay on a notable personality, an event, or an organization, you have to write a profile essay that should be able to answer the question that arises when someone is trying to understand the subject.

Writing a profile essay is a major part of a journalism student’s course. In such a case, it is an essay written by an interviewee. So, it should illustrate the in-depth knowledge, research, and organizational skills of the writer. In addition, there are three basic types of profile essays including:

  • Descriptive
  • Analytical
  • Dramatic

A descriptive profile essay focuses on providing a description of the subject while avoiding too much analysis. For instance, Adrian Mole, in his book, provides a detailed and vivid image of his mother at the beginning of the book. On the other hand, an analytical profile essay deeply analyzes the subject but still avoids the writer’s point of view.

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What is the Purpose of a Profile Essay?

A profile essay as the name suggests aims to describe the person, object, or event that is being discussed. So, we can say that its purpose is to:

  • Showcase your knowledge and observation of the subject.
  • Provide the reader with an understanding of the subject.
  • Give the expertise of writing a good profile essay.

Moreover, a profile essay as a college assignment is used to assess your organizational, research, and presentation skills. It is one of the most confusing types of essay assignments that students get in college. Therefore, you need a proper guide to learn how to write a profile essay.

Sample Outline of a Profile Essay

A profile essay like any other essay has the same basic elements such as introduction, body, and conclusion. However, one should also know what and how to include in each section. Ideally, the introduction should be of a few lines introducing the main topic. The body, then, should be a detailed section discussing and illustrating the main idea. And it can have as many paragraphs as required while the minimum number of paragraphs remains three. Lastly, the conclusion should restate the introduction and it should give a summary of your paper.

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Introduction

  • Hook
  • Background Knowledge
  • The thesis statement

Body

A. First Paragraph

  • Write the main idea of the first paragraph
  • Support the main idea by providing evidence
  • Explain the evidence
  • End the first paragraph with a concluding sentence

B. Second Paragraph

  • Write the main idea of the second paragraph
  • Support the main idea by providing evidence
  • Explain the evidence
  • End the second paragraph with a concluding sentence

C. Third Paragraph

  • Write the main idea of the third paragraph
  • Support the main idea by providing evidence
  • Explain the evidence
  • End the third paragraph with a concluding sentence

Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis
  • Write the summary of the three main ideas in the body paragraphs
  • Add closing remarks

How to Write a Profile Essay – The Best Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know what a profile essay is, what is its purpose, and its basic structure, you are good to start learning how to write a profile essay. So, follow the steps below to learn how to write the best profile essay.

Step 1: Pick a Topic

The first step of learning how to write a profile essay is to pick a topic. The topic of your profile essay is an important part of it. So, you can not take it lightly.

In most cases, the teachers assign the topic while assigning students to write a profile essay. If you have not been assigned a topic, you can pick one yourself. While choosing the subject of your profile essay, make sure that you select a topic that you find amusing. Or you can pick a subject that is trending or has any relevance to a specific date.

For instance, you can choose to write a profile essay on Elon Musk to illustrate the ongoing research on colonizing any other planet to save human civilizations. Besides, if you are writing about a well-known person, choosing the subject may not be very difficult. So should be writing a catchy subject line. Nevertheless, make sure that have fun while researching and writing about the topic.

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Step 2: Research

Once you know who you want to write about, you can take your time and find enough information for your profile essay. There are various ways that you can use to find information about your subject. But the best way is to interview your subject or their coordinator.

Interviewing the subject gives you first-hand information that you can not find elsewhere. Besides, while taking an interview, make sure to avoid any yes or no style questions. Try asking a question that can help you gain enough in-depth information.

Moreover, if you are writing about a well-known person, interviewing them personally may not always be possible. In such cases, you can take help from the internet by watching their interview and reading articles, memoirs, and books about them.

Step 3: Understanding the Writing Style

The writing style of a profile is a little different than other types of essays. In a profile essay, you must use the first person approach, specifically if you are writing a profile essay based on an interview. Because the reader will see it as a description of the subject written by the author. Therefore, they would expect the same tone in the writing too.

Because of the nature of this type of essay, we recommend using first person pronouns than second person. However, avoid using too many first-person pronouns to make sure that your essay does not lose its effectiveness. Using first-person pronouns too much will only cause the reader to focus more on the writer than the subject.

The key here is to maintain balance.

Step 4: Write the Introduction

The introduction of an essay is like a preview of the paper that aims to give the reader an idea of what is there in the paper. So, the sentences in the introduction act as subject lines for the subsequent paragraphs. So, the sentences should be descriptive and informative enough about the subject to make sure that they create interest in the reader.

Furthermore, the introduction consists of a hook, background knowledge, and the thesis statement.

A. Hook 

The hook is the first sentence of the introduction part of any essay. The main purpose of writing a hook is to trigger your reader’s interest. There are several strategies that one can use to write a hook. In the case of writing a profile essay, you can use a quote of or about the subject, make a comparison, add a surprising fact, or ask a question.

B. Background Knowledge

This part of the introductory paragraph answers the following questions:

  • Who or what is the subject?
  • What are the important characteristics of the subject?
  • Why is the subject important?

The answers to these questions give background information about the subject and help the writer narrow the scope of the objective of writing a profile essay.

C. Thesis Statement 

The thesis statement is the last part of the introductory paragraph of an essay. It tells the reader what is the main purpose of the paper in a signal sentence.

Step 5: Write the Body Paragraphs

The body of a profile essay is the actual part of an essay. It is also the longest part. Like any other essay, the body of your profile essay illustrates the main idea with facts and figures. And it should flow smoothly without being too boring.

Moreover, the body of a profile essay is consist of several paragraphs and each paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting details, an explanation, and a concluding sentence.

A. Topic Sentence

The topic sentence of a paragraph has the main idea of that particular paragraph. In a profile essay, topic sentences often do not state the author’s argument. Instead, if students are able to compose a topic sentence, they can respond to an interview question or a query that encourages authors to observe the subject with a succinct and straightforward response. Topic statements in turn aid in the creation of a thesis statement.

B. Supporting Details

Students give information that supports a topic sentence in this section of a body paragraph. In general, three basic strategies: direct citing, paraphrasing, and summarising can be used by students to provide evidence in a profile essay. Authors typically gather evidence from transcripts of interviews or observational sessions. In turn, authors must make careful that the evidence’s meaning is not distorted, particularly when paraphrasing and summarising. 

C. Explanation

Each supporting detail is further illustrated through facts and figures. In particular, the writer has to provide further details and necessary information for the reader to help them interpret the supporting details correctly. After all, supporting details are merely snapshots rather than an entire picture.

Moreover, the length of the explanation for each supporting detail in the body paragraphs varies which totally depends on the complexity of the supporting details.

D. Concluding Sentence

The concluding sentence is the last part of the body paragraphs. Generally, a concluding sentence is a single sentence that summarizes the whole paragraph and appears at the end of the paragraph. In addition, the main purpose of the concluding sentence is to build a smooth connection between paragraphs.

To put it into simple words, the concluding sentence connects a paragraph to the subsequent paragraph.

Step 6: Write the Conclusion

The last part of a profile essay is the concluding paragraph. This paragraph has three crucial elements including a restatement of the thesis statement, a summary of the main ideas, and a closing remark.

The concluding paragraph begins with a sentence which is the restatement of the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. Although the restatement of the thesis statement employs a new set of words, it has the same meaning.

Then, the writer has to summarize the main ideas of each paragraph without introducing any new idea or argument. Lastly, the author has to add one or two sentences that connect the introduction, thesis statement, and the body of the essay to create a uniform flow of information.

Step 7: Review And Edit

The last step of our guide on how to write a profile essay is to review your essay and edit it. But before you do that, we recommend you take a break and come back later with a fresh mind.

While reviewing your essay, you may have to read it at least a couple of times to make sure everything is on point. You have to check your paper for both grammar and content. To check whether your paper is grammar and spelling mistakes-free, you can use online tools such as Grammarly.

Moreover, to check whether each piece of information is correct, you have to read it at least twice. Or you can ask a friend to help you in this process.

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Tips to Write a Good Profile Essay

  • While selecting the subject of your profile essay, choose a person you know well enough to be able to describe their personality and behavior easily.
  • Avoid repeating information that your audience already knows.
  • Take as many notes as you can while researching and interviewing.
  • Include a summary of your subject’s personality or life in the introductory paragraph. However, do not give too many details. Instead, try maintaining suspense.
  • In a profile essay, use first-person pronouns such as “I” than “He” only if it does not create any ambiguity between the writer and subject.
  • Add quotes from your subject and related quotes about your subject to illustrate your subject’s life more easily.
  • Avoid commenting about the subject. As the author, you should narrate and describe the subject wherever required.
  • In the essay, if you have to narrate any event, use past tense. For instance, Peter knew nothing about …
  • A strong profile essay illustrates every important detail about the subject from his birth. It may also include details about his upbringing and background to help you depend on your audience’s understanding of the subject.
  • Avoid adding quotes that do not give any insight into the way your subject thinks or acts.

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