How to Write a Narrative Statement

The word "narrative” refers to telling a story, and narrative statements and essays rely on telling a story to make a point. Narrative statements are typically true stories that come from the author’s personal life, but you can also write a narrative from experiences of other people. The narrative can be written in chronological order or a non-linear form, and it can be written in first or third person. Many students writing essays for undergraduate or graduate studies are asked to complete a narrative statement.

Step 1

Read the instructions for writing your narrative statement, if applicable. For example, if you are writing the statement to answer a question or assignment for entrance to an academic program, there are usually guidelines you must follow. Know what the requirements are before you write your statement.

Step 2

Brainstorm about your subject. You will likely have to write about why you want to be a part of the program for which you are applying, or why you chose the career path you are interested in. Think about your own personal experiences and write down some anecdotes that relate to why you want to study a certain subject. Think about what makes you special and what skills and abilities you have. Use a narrative to show your experience, knowledge and motivation. From your list of ideas, choose one you wish to write about.

Step 3

On a piece of paper, draw a diagram of the form of a narrative, which follows a pyramid shape. The narrative should begin with a character that faces some challenge, followed by the rising action, the climax at the top of the pyramid, the falling action and the resolution. The beginning should give some back story and introduce the character. The rising action presents the challenge. The climax describes the most tension, and the falling action begins to describe the character dealing with the challenge, and the resolution presents the end result. Your essay should generally follow a plot outline.

Step 4

Write an outline for your narrative statement. Write the part of the narrative next to the section with which it corresponds. The outline should show that your essay will have a beginning, middle and end. Write ideas of images and details you want to use in each section.

Step 5

Write a draft of your essay. Follow your outline, but do not be afraid to change it as you are writing. Do not worry too much about punctuation or grammar during this first draft.

Step 6

Read your first draft critically, and remove any poor word choices. You want to sound intelligent, but you also want to eliminate overused statements like “I believe that,” “my long term goal is to,” “received recognition” or “have improved.” Check for places where you used descriptive language and look for areas where you need more of those details. Take out any details that are not relevant to your story. Ask yourself if your statement tells a story and has a clear beginning, middle and end. Also ask yourself if your statement makes a powerful point. Have a friend, parent or peer read your statement and provide comments or suggestions for improvement.

Step 7

Take your comments and others’ opinions and rewrite your statement. Read your revised statement and proofread for grammatical errors and clarity. Double-check your statement to ensure that it follows the guidelines you were given.


Read examples of narrative statements to give you ideas of how to structure or word your statement.


Do not be afraid to continue rewriting your statement until it is just as you want it to be.

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