Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia.
She earned her Ph D in English from the University of Georgia in 2015.
Many times, high school students are told not to use first person (“I,” “we,” “my,” “us,” and so forth) in their essays.
As a college student, you should realize that this is a rule that can and should be broken—at the right time, of course.
However, academic essays differ from personal essays; they are typically researched and use a formal tone.
Because of these differences, when students write an academic essay, they quickly shy away from first person because of what they have been told in high school or because they believe that first person feels too informal for an intellectual, researched text.A formal essay may be a requirement in certain job applications, and may be required in certain professional reports and correspondences.Writing a formal essay requires an understanding of how to structure the essay, how to present it on the page, and how to write in a formal writing style.Try to write your introduction straight from your question analysis, then review it many times while you are writing the body of the essay—this will help you to keep your essay on target (i.e. Note that most introductions generally only include references if definitions are taken from an information source.The introduction to an essay is rather like a formal social introduction: How do you do!While first person can definitely be overused in academic essays (which is likely why your teachers tell you not to use it), there are moments in a paper when it is not only appropriate, but also more effective and/or persuasive to use first person.The following are a few instances in which it is appropriate to use first person in an academic essay: Now, the above list is certainly not exhaustive.Discuss the reasons for this problem and critically assess the effectiveness of university intervention writing programs.Because poor writing skills can affect students’ success in tertiary education, it is important that writing problems are understood so that university assistance programs are adequate.By now, you’ve probably written a personal essay, memoir, or narrative that used first person.After all, how could you write a personal essay about yourself, for instance, without using the dreaded “I” word?