How to Write a Profile Essay: Comprehensive Guide

Over their high school and college years, students have to write various essays on different subject matters. While some are narrative and literary, others are more technical and detail-oriented. However, be they persuasive, expository, or argumentative, papers follow specific rules of academic writing.

Among other types, profile essays are some of the most common that professors assign. These assignments come in almost all disciplines, so it’s vital to understand the basics of the writing process.

What is a profile essay, and what features does it cover? Why is it critical to observe and discuss various individuals, events, or places? How do these literary works differ from other essay types?

This guide will help you grasp the fundamentals of profile essay writing and deconstruct its content with a clear overview of what each part contains. It will also highlight essential hacks you should consider when writing, plus a qualitative example.

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What is a Profile Essay?

In short, writing profile essays focuses on a narrow-scoped description of a famous individual, location, event, or activity. Your work should profile the topic you selected and provide qualitative information about the importance of the subject. Therefore, the writer must present vivid descriptions and thorough explanations through various methods.

You may choose to interview your subject to collect the necessary data. Alternatively, you can survey or research the topic to gather relevant insight if the person you’re discussing died. Observing a fair or visiting a town and then writing about it is also viable. Another unusual aspect of a profile assignment is that you can include objective facts and subjective or interpreted ideas.

In most cases, the essay will be factual. It will introduce valid and relevant questions and answers. For example, you may write about a distinguished USA president, civil rights activist, or athlete. Similarly, you can depict an ancient city, historical landmark, or high-rated festival. Last, consider dedicating your work to a local business, musical performance, or community service project.

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The Purpose of a Profile Essay

This essay type aims to offer the audience a comprehensive perspective of a particular topic and help them understand the concept. Hence, all data must be well-structured and presentable not to confuse the reader and raise doubts.

Moreover, anyone reading your work must be able to make informed judgments on the theme. In many cases, writing a short essay is a wise idea to portray the case or individual you’re discussing. Besides your writing skills, you will also showcase your organization and presentation abilities.

Difference Between Profile Papers and Other Essays

Most importantly, writing a profile essay will rely on valid and accurate facts. In short, focus on using first-hand information by conducting an interview, survey, or personal observation and involvement. Presenting amusing and authentic ideas will urge your target audience to enjoy your piece.

Unlike other essay types, these avoid using a secondary source. For instance, while writing a good opinion essay will involve your standpoints on a topic, the profile paper will concentrate on genuine insight supported by evidence. However, biographies and studies written by others are helpful when verifying the facts you collected yourself.

Overall, finding secondary sources is less demanding and time-consuming than establishing your pool of bibliographical information. Still, primary materials are ideal for writing a profile essay. Also, you must draft it in the third person to maintain an unbiased perspective of your subject.

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Comprehensive Profile Essay Structure

You probably wonder how to start a profile essay and keep your thoughts and ideas streamlined and concise. And while you can find online essay help, we prepared a detailed overview of the layout you should follow. Here are the roles of each part.


Undoubtedly, the first section of your work will be the opening which typically consists of a single segment. Its primary role is to lay the foundations of the subject and hook the readers to explore until the end. Hence, share intriguing background details such as a quote or anecdote.

Moreover, the excellent thesis statement must reflect the subject you will write about later in your manuscript. It should be well-thought and concise. The introductory part shouldn’t exceed 15% of the entire essay length. Also, ensure you avoid in-text citations except to begin the introduction with a direct quotation.

Body Paragraphs

This part presents the main idea and answers the most important interview questions. It is also the most substantial segment in terms of word count. According to the PapersOwl writing service, the body section should consist of at least two paragraphs. The number of paragraphs will depend on the distinct points the essay writers plan to cover.

Also, there is no specific length for body paragraphs, but you should avoid walls of text. Another guideline for a successful piece is to write at least four sentences in each body segment.


The closing paragraph offers a concise overview of the body paragraphs. It will focus on restating your thesis statement in a final attempt to emphasize the role and value of the selected subject.

The ending should also revisit the topic sentences and demonstrate the impact on our society. Therefore, don’t write about something not mentioned before. This section takes about 10% of the total word count and can contain an in-text citation as a call to action.

Tips to Write an Outstanding Profile Essay

Below, we share a thorough list of advice to teach you how to write a profile essay worth your professor’s attention.

  1. Read a few essays. You can look for quality articles in popular magazines that regularly publish interviews. A narrative essay might also prove helpful if you need to adjust your tone and language.
  2. Ensure the subject of interest is easy to reach. If you get stuck with an unreachable goal, PapersOwl can write your essay for money in the shortest timeframe possible.
  3. Study the topic by analyzing the background of your subject and focus on what makes their lives so unique. If it’s a place or activity, learn about its past and future.
  4. The most impactful way is to write in simple language. Steer away from jargon or idiomatic phrases to avoid misunderstandings, particularly in the thesis.
  5. Use vivid adjectives and transitions to convey your central point.
  6. Each body paragraph shouldn’t exceed 150 words.
  7. Keep your facts in check and avoid sharing your personal opinion unless based on authentic data.
  8. Engage all senses by visualizing events, telling jokes, or describing sounds.
  9. Follow a pre-defined structure where each body paragraph tackles a different point.
  10. Proofread your work for grammar errors and typos.
  11. Run your essay through an online plagiarism checker to avoid copied content.
  12. Ensure your ideas are concise and clear and split run-on sentences.

Crafting a profile essay requires an in-depth understanding of the chosen topic, whether it's a person, place, or thing. The writer must be able to convey clear and engaging information that fully describes and explains the subject. It's essential to have a writing style that can capture the reader's interest and keep them engaged throughout the essay. To make the process easier, working with a quick essay writer can be helpful, as they can provide the necessary expertise and experience to create a high-quality profile essay that stands out.

Your Qualitative Profile Essay Example

The best approach is to go with the standard 5-paragraph structure. Here’s an excellent profile sample.

The Incredible Story of Wilma Rudolf

“My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.” This famous quote by Wilma Rudolph, an African American athlete, tells tales about her life journey. She made history in the Olympic Games in Rome, becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals and break three world records. Her life, full of obstacles and hardship, took her to the throne of athletics and the heart of burning social issues.

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Early Childhood

Born on June 23, 1940, in Tennessee, Wilma had 21 siblings. While she had the support and care from her extended family, it was challenging for the family to make ends meet. Things worsened when Rudolph contracted polio, double pneumonia, and scarlet fever. Though she survived the severe bouts, her illness left her paralyzed, and Wilma had to wear a leg brace. The doctor’s prognosis was grim, but with her family’s help, Rudolph started to hop on one leg in two years. Soon, she began to move, and by 12, Vilma regained her walking ability and took up basketball. She soon proved a natural athlete, challenging every boy in the neighborhood at running.

Olympic Fame

The Olympic Games were a pipe dream to young Rudolph. Yet, she caught steam and never lost a race in all high school track meets. At 16, Vilma brought a bronze medal from the Summer Olympics in Melbourne. In 1960 she participated in the Olympic Games in Rome, Italy, and won three gold medals. A striking fact about this triple victory is that in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, Wilma finished three yards before the closest contestant. In addition, her relay team won the 400-meter race thanks to her exceptional performance. Vilma attracted the world’s attention; the crowds cheered her and called her “La Gazelle.” However, she decided not to participate in the next Olympic Games, fearing that she won’t duplicate her success.

Fighting for a Social Cause

Rudolph dedicated the rest of her life to teaching the lessons she learned the hard way. She was particularly keen on coaching underprivileged children. Wilma even wrote her autobiography and worked in several community sports centers. She also gave numerous motivational speeches and founded the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote amateur athletics. Wilma died in 1994 of a brain tumor. Survived by two daughters and two sons, Rudolph has left a remarkable inspirational legacy.

Wilma played a critical role in the way we see sports today. Her poor health as a child instilled the “never give up” attitude in her mindset. Learning to overcome fear and weakness gave Rudolph the courage to aim high. Vilma’s personality proves that a strong will and perseverance can take you to stardom.

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