Barbara P
Barbara P

Simple Autobiography Format for Students to Follow

7 min read

Published on: Sep 14, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 24, 2023

Autobiography Format

An autobiography is a self-written life story that offers a great level of intimacy to readers.

Writing an autobiography is not a big deal if you are aware of the writing routine and have a format outline in hand.

There is no set pattern for writing an autobiography. Your story can take any form or structure as long as it is expressive and informative. However, you have to make an outline and choose one of the many possible writing styles.

In this blog, we will discuss a basic autobiography format that you can follow to get your story out into the world.

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Types of Autobiography Formats

There are many types of autobiography styles that you can choose for writing about yourself. Let’s take a look at the most common autobiography formats that can help you get started.

Traditional Autobiography

It covers the person’s life from birth to the present time. These are in the form of complete books with several chapters, each recounting a specific phase of the writer’s life.

Famous examples include “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” and “The Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela.


This format of autobiography focuses on certain moments or themes in a person’s life, such as philosophical, historical, religious, etc.

The main difference between autobiography vs. memoir is that an autobiography covers the writer’s whole life, whereas a memoir shares a specific personal memory. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank is an example of a famous memoir.

Personal Narratives

It is more narrow type of writing than a memoir. Simply put, it is just an essay about yourself. As a rule of thumb, it focuses on one moment at a time and expands the experience through dialogues. This is the most common type of assignment in high school and colleges.


These are short chapters that cover one specific event at a time. It focuses on a brief description, account, or episode.

A collection of vignettes can be published as a complete piece of work. However, each chapter in the collection does not necessarily relate to the other.

Graphic Novels

A unique genre in which drawings and cartoon panels are used to convey a true story. This form of writing is accompanied by drawn scenes and depictions from the author’s life.

Drama or Scripts

This is a form in which one can explore autobiographical topics through dialogues in film or on a stage.

However, presenting your life through a drama or script sometimes requires you to add a few fictional elements. That’s why such works claim to be “based on a true story” rather than depicting true events as they happened.

Remember, the most accepted autobiography format is chronological. This means writing about the life story in the order in which it happened.

Components of an Autobiography Format

Writing an autobiography is an easy task if you plan ahead and have a format outline in hand. Here is a proper autobiography format for students.

1. Title

Write the title of your work at the top of your page in bold font. Remember, you can come back and change your title at any time. You might come up with the perfect title at the end of the writing process.

Here are some tips to help you choose the best title for your autobiography:

  • Reflect on Themes: Consider the overarching themes or key moments in your life. What aspects do you want to highlight? Family, career, personal growth, overcoming challenges, etc. Use these themes as inspiration.
  • Emotional Impact: Think about the emotions you want to evoke in your readers. Whether it's joy, resilience, inspiration, or introspection, a title that resonates emotionally can make your autobiography more memorable.
  • Be Authentic: Choose a title that authentically represents your story. Avoid sensationalizing or misleading titles; instead, opt for one that reflects your true experiences and personality.
  • Memorable Phrases: Look through your autobiography for any memorable phrases, quotes, or expressions that capture the essence of your journey. These can serve as a great foundation for your title.

2. Dedication

Write about the person to whom you would like to dedicate your work. Better leave this part until last, as working through your autobiography will trigger many memories. So you might dedicate your work to more than one person.

3. Table of Contents

Once you are done with the writing, compile your table of contents as it will help the readers to easily navigate.

4. Acknowledgments

This is the section where you need to thank everyone who has helped you in composing your autobiography from start to end. Show your gratitude and appreciation in a few beautiful and inspirational lines.

5. Foreword

Here you need to jot down all the reasons for writing the autobiography. Discuss the purpose of writing it and what you want to achieve from it. A good approach is to include brief thoughts in this section, as it will help you stay focused throughout the writing process.

6. Introduction

Start your autobiography with an attention-grabbing introduction to pique your readers’ interest from the start and keep them reading until the end. This part should be clear, concise and to the point.

7. Body Section

Create a series of headings and subheadings in your autobiography format outline. Write your autobiography based on chronological events. Link all the information in an interesting story format. Include relevant material under each section, such as dates, experiences, etc.

8. Conclusion

Present your final thoughts in the end. Look back on your work and think about what you have learned from the experience and how it has changed you. Tie up all the information in an interesting manner for a perfect ending.

9. Memorabilia

The “memorabilia'' at the end of autobiographies generally refers to additional material or documents such as pictures, medals, letters, etc. These are meant to highlight some special moments, include some memorabilia 

You can include elements such as:

  • Photographs: A collection of personal photographs featuring the author, family members, friends, and significant events in the author's life.
  • Documents: Reproductions of important documents, letters, or handwritten notes that hold significance in the author's story.
  • Artifacts: In some cases, authors may include images or descriptions of physical items, objects, or artifacts that have personal meaning to them.
  • Timeline: A chronological timeline summarizing key events in the author's life, which can serve as a quick reference for readers.
  • Maps: Maps highlight important locations or places mentioned in the autobiography, especially if the author has had a diverse or international life.

10. Index

Once finished writing, compile the index to help the readers locate the information in the autobiography.

The index at the end of a book is a list of terms, names, and subjects, along with the page numbers where they can be found in the book. It serves as a helpful reference for readers who want to quickly locate specific information within the text.

The above format is simple and easy to use, but the actual writing process can be a real challenge. So spend hours of time brainstorming your ideas and memories in detail before getting started. 

Autobiography Format Sample

Autobiography is like a personal story where the writer shares his/her personal life events. It is based on facts, and every person has something different to share with readers. 

It revolves around the writer’s childhood, family members, career, relationships, and life experiences. Here is a sample paper of a short autobiography format for college students that can be used as a reference. 

In addition, here are a few autobiography format examples for middle school and high school students:

Finally, we have provided an MLA autobiography format that you can refer to. 

Expert Tip

Want to go through some sample autobiographies? Head to our blog to find more autobiography examples to read and learn from.

To conclude,

Your autobiography is your story, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to write it. Still, with the help of this blog, you’re now aware of the basic format and elements that you should include for a successful autobiography.

Although the above guide should help you grasp the idea of how to write an autobiography, don't expect it to be an easy task. 

There are too many things that you have to take care of for writing an autobiography worth reading. Such writing tasks take a lot of time and can be pretty daunting at some point.

If you have never dealt with such a writing task before and are looking for help, you are in the right place. Don't waste any more time and get help from a professional writer from the legit essay writing service online. 

Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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