Regardless of the topic, body paragraphs follow a standard formula.
When writing a five-paragraph autobiographical essay, each paragraph must count. Five paragraphs isn’t a lot when trying to explore an entire life in essay format. However, with careful planning and attention to detail when preparing your paragraphs, you can make every sentence count so that you will be able to present as much of your life as possible within the allotted maximum space.
1. Write a topic sentence. In a five paragraph autobiographical essay, the topic sentence for a body paragraph should highlight an event, theme or category of your life that you will be exploring. The topic sentence should briefly outline the main point of the paragraph and should avoid going into too much detail. For instance, you may start a body paragraph by outlining an important experience in your life: “My twentieth summer was one of my most important, since it was the summer I went away on exchange to Europe.”
2. Follow your topic sentence with support points. Each body paragraph for your autobiographical essay should include between 3 and 5 supporting sentences. These sentences should go into detail about the date, time, place, persons and events that will flesh out your topic. But do not go too deeply into detail; since you only have five paragraphs, you should only include the most salient details.
3. End with a concluding sentence. The concluding sentence should, if possible, summarize the main point of the paragraph while also transitioning to the next paragraph. This sentence can serve as a chronological or thematic link. For example, using the above event of a summer spent in Europe, the paragraph might end like this: “But while that summer was one of the most important of my life, a few years later it would be replaced in significance by the summer in which I met the woman I would later marry.”