ENC 1101 Ashford University the Greatest Shapers of My Life Essay


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Purpose:  Compose an essay that discusses three people who have influenced you in a positive way. Use one family member, one friend, and one famous person. 

Audience:  Middle-school students. Your goal is to show how important it is to surround yourself with positive influences. 

Strategy:  Narration. Base your observations and insights on your own personal experiences. 

Organization: Follow the basic 5-paragraph essay format:


Begin with a catchy hook (an interesting quote, a strong statement, an engaging question, or even a joke). Build on this idea through several sentences, and end the paragraph with a thesis statement that clearly states the three influential people you will discuss

Body paragraphs 1, 2, 3:

Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the person. Give multiple detailed examples of how they have influenced you. Be specific. For example, don’t just say, “My grandmother is a great person.” Instead, describe how your grandmother delivers food to her neighbors, knits hats for newborns, or taught you to drive.

When you discuss a famous influence, you must include a brief quote from them, either from a book or a website. Cite this according to MLA format. 


First, don’t begin with ‘In conclusion.’ It’s overused. Second, revisit the three people you’ve just discussed and make connections between them. What do they have in common? Is there a shared theme that ties together how they have influenced you? What have you learned from them, and how do you plan to use these lessons to enrich your life?

In your last sentence or two, refer back to your hook to give the essay a sense of completion. 

Format: Throughout this semester, we will use MLA format. This requires that your essay submissions

use double space,

use a 12-point font, either Times Roman or Arial, 

use 1″ margins.

Points will be taken off your grade if you fail to follow these guidelines. See the sample student essays in your textbooks.

Come up with an interesting title (not just “Essay 1”)!

Every essay this semester must end with a Work Cited list on a separate page. For this essay, the list will include one source. 

* To cite a website on your Work Cited page, follow format #31 on p. 151 of the Little Seagull Handbook. Here is an example, including the author/speaker’s name, the name of the page, the publisher of the website, the date of publication, the URL address, and the date you accessed the site.  (Also, note the use of a hanging indent (Links to an external site.)):

Gandhi, Mahatma. “Mahatma Gandhi Quotes.” Goodreads, 2022.


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