Some say not to use the word I in an essay. Others say it is fine. If you do use it, it is best to use I only in an introduction (and to a lesser extent, the conclusion), rather than in the body of the essay. But use it sparingly; otherwise you can come across as too self-important.
How to Write the First Section of Your College Essay. In a 500-word essay, this section will take up about the first half of the essay and will mostly consist of a brief story that illuminates a key experience, an important character trait, a moment of transition or transformation, or a step toward maturity.