Personal essays include the writer’s opinion and emotional take on a topic. Academic thesis essays support or refute the thesis using facts.
Beginning paragraph. Personal essays begin with a topic charged with emotion (negative or positive) and an opinion statement that is like an academic thesis statement: “I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t recycle this candy wrapper recycling would save the planet.”
Academic essays begin with a thesis statement that is factual: “Recycling saves the planet.”
Succeeding paragraphs. Personal essays go on in the succeeding paragraphs to explore the writer’s opinion through examples of frustration or pleasure (i.e. emotional connection) with those that don’t or do recycle: “George, my next door neighbor, makes me crazy - he never uses his recycling bin.”
Academic essays are careful to cite facts and also have a transition sentence in the first line of the one of three succeeding paragraphs supporting or rebutting their thesis statement: “Although everyone should recycle, recent statistics from the State of IL show only 8% of us do.”
Conclusion. A personal essay concludes with paragraph summing up: “I love to put this candy wrapper in the recycling bin knowing I am saving the planet. Then, too, I love to see the look on my neighbor’s face when I am taking my carefully sorted recyclables to the recycling bin and he is chucking everything into the garbage can. I wonder if he feels even a little guilty.”
The academic essay supports/refutes the initial thesis statement: “Recycling saves the planet” mentioning negative statements and ending with the writer’s conclusion” “Everyone should recycle even though x, y statistics show a major impact has not been made yet. L and M show in everyday life recycling has brought us innovation saving energy even in the use of the common light bulb. Everyone should recycle and we will have more innovation and even save the planet.”