The best essays mix the intellectual with the personal. Your writing should convey intellect, thoughtfulness, insight, but also express who you are as an individual. In other words, approach a personal topic from an intellectual angle.
A few general tips:
- Follow the instructions.
- Make it memorable (e.g., by telling an interesting story).
- Make it personal—something only you could write.
- Be sure to actually answer the question.
- Start drafting early.