How to Write a Reflective Essay: Easy Guide with Pro Tips 2023
Defining What is a Reflective Essay: Purpose + Importance
Being present is a cornerstone of mindfulness and meditation. You must have often heard that staying in the moment helps you appreciate your surroundings, connects you with people and nature, and allows you to feel whatever emotions you must feel without anxiety. While this is helpful advice as you become more focused and avoid getting lost in thought, how can you truly appreciate the present without reflecting on your past experiences that have led you to the current moment?
We don't say that you should dwell on the past and get carried away with a constant thought process, but hey, hear us out - practice reflective thinking! Think back on your previous life events, paint a true picture of history, and make connections to your present self. This requires you to get a bit analytical and creative. So you might as well document your critical reflection on a piece of paper and give direction to your personal observations. That's when the need for reflective essays steps in!
In a reflective essay, you open up about your thoughts and emotions to uncover your mindset, personality, traits of character, and background. Your reflective essay should include a description of the experience/literature piece as well as explanations of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions. In this article, our essay writer service will share our ultimate guide on how to write a reflective essay with a clear format and reflective essay examples that will inspire you.
How to Write a Reflective Essay with a Proper Reflective Essay Outline
To give you a clear idea of structuring a reflective essay template, we broke down the essential steps below. Primarily, the organization of a reflective essay is very similar to other types of papers. However, our custom writers got more specific with the reflective essay outline to ease your writing process.
Reflective Essay Introduction
When wondering how to start a reflective essay, it is no surprise that you should begin writing your paper with an introductory paragraph. So, what's new and different with the reflection essay introduction? Let's dissect:
- Open your intro with an attention-seizing hook that engages your audience into reflective thinking with you. It can be something like: 'As I was sitting on my bed with my notebook placed on my shaky lap waiting for the letter of acceptance, I could not help but reflect, was enrolling in college the path I wanted to take in the future?'
- Provide context with a quick overview of the reflective essay topic. Don't reveal too much information at the start to prevent your audience from becoming discouraged to continue reading.
- Make a claim with a strong reflective essay thesis statement. It should be a simple explanation of the essay's main point, in this example, a specific event that had a big impact on you.
Reflective Essay Body Paragraphs
The next step is to develop the body of your essay. This section of the paper may be the most challenging because it's simple to ramble and replicate yourself both in the outline and the actual writing. Planning the body properly requires a lot of time and work, and the following advice can assist you in doing this effectively:
- Consider using a sequential strategy. This entails reviewing everything you wish to discuss in the order it occurred. This method ensures that your work is structured and cohesive.
- Make sure the body paragraph is well-rounded and employs the right amount of analysis. The body should go into the effects of the event on your life and the insights you've gained as a consequence.
- Prioritize reflecting rather than summarizing your points. In addition to giving readers insight into your personal experience, a reflective stance will also show off your personality and demonstrate your ability to handle certain challenges.
Reflective Essay Conclusion
The goal of your reflective essay conclusion should be to tie everything together by summarizing the key ideas raised throughout, as well as the lessons you were able to take away from experience.
- Don't forget to include the reasons for and the methods used to improve your beliefs and actions. Think about how your personality and skills have changed as well.
- What conclusions can you draw about your behavior in particular circumstances? What could you do differently if the conditions were the same in the future?
Remember that your instructor will be searching for clear signs of reflection.
Understanding a Reflection Paper Format
The format of reflective essay greatly differs from an argumentative or research paper. A reflective essay is more of a well-structured story or a diary entry rife with insight and reflection. You might be required to arrange your essay using the APA style or the MLA format.
And the typical reflection paper length varies between 300 and 700 words, but ask your instructor about the word length if it was assigned to you. Even though this essay is about you, try to avoid too much informal language.
If your instructor asks you to use an APA or MLA style format for reflective essay, here are a few shortcuts:
Reflective Essay in MLA Format
- Times New Roman 12pt font double spaced;
- 1" margins;
- The top right includes the last name and page number on every page;
- Titles are centered;
- The header should include your name, your professor's name, course number, and the date (dd/mm/yy);
- The last page includes a Works Cited.
Reflective Essay in APA Style
- Include a page header on the top of every page;
- Insert page number on the right;
- Your reflective essay should be divided into four parts: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
Reflective Essay Writing Tips
You may think we've armed you with enough tips and pointers for reflective writing, but it doesn't stop here. Below we gathered some expert-approved tips for constructing uncontested reflection papers.
- Be as detailed as possible while writing. To make your reflective essay writing come to life, you should employ several tactics such as symbolism, sentence patterns, etc.
- Keep your audience in mind. The reader will become frustrated if you continue writing in the first person without taking a moment to convey something more important, even though you will likely speak about something from your own perspective.
- Put forth the effort to allow the reader to feel the situation or emotion you are attempting to explain.
- Don't preach; demonstrate. Instead of just reporting what happened, use description appropriately to paint a clear picture of the event or sensation.
- Plan the wording and structure of your reflective essay around a central emotion or subject, such as joy, pleasure, fear, or grief.
- Avoid adding dull elements that can lessen the effect of your work. Why include it if it won't enhance the emotion or understanding you wish to convey?
- There must be a constant sense of progression. Consider whether the event has transformed you or others around you.
- Remember to double-check your grammar, syntax, and spelling.
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Reflective Essay Topic Ideas
As a reflective essay should be about your own views and experiences, you generally can't use someone else's ideas. But to help you get started, here are some suggestions for writing topics:
- An experience you will never forget.
- The moment you overcame a fear.
- The most difficult choice you had to make.
- A time your beliefs were challenged.
- A time something changed your life.
- The happiest or most frightening moment of your life so far.
- Ways you think you or people can make the world a better place.
- A time you felt lost.
- An introspective look at your choices or a time you made the wrong choice.
- A moment in your life you would like to relive.
You may find it convenient to create a chart or table to keep track of your ideas. Split your chart into three parts:
- In the first column, write key experiences or your main points. You can arrange them from most important to least important.
- In the second column, list your response to the points you stated in the first column.
- In the third column, write what, from your response, you would like to share in the essay.
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Reflective Essay Sample
Referring to reflective essay examples can help you a lot. A reflective essay sample can provide you with useful insight into how your essay should look like. You can also buy an essay online if you need one customized to your specific requirements.
How to Conclude a Reflective Essay
As we come to an end, it's only logical to reflect on the main points discussed above in the article. By now, you should clearly understand what is a reflective essay and that the key to writing a reflective essay is demonstrating what lessons you have taken away from your experiences and why and how these lessons have shaped you. It should also have a clear reflective essay format, with an opening, development of ideas, and resolution.
Now that you have the tools to create a thorough and accurate reflective paper, you might want to hand over other tasks like writing definition essay examples to our experienced writers. In this case, feel free to buy an essay online on our platform and reflect on your past events without worrying about future assignments!
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Reflective Essay Outline
Reflective Essay Outline - Samples & Template
Published on: Oct 3, 2020
Last updated on: Jul 18, 2023
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The best essay starts with the perfect essay outline. An essay outline helps to get everything in order. It is the layout of oneâs thoughts and ideas related to the specific topic. With an outline, you can easily structure it properly.
Here is a guide that helps you in creating the perfect reflective essay outline.
Creating the essay outline for a reflective essay is like getting your thoughts in order. It works as an essay bone structure. An essay outline is a way of organizing thoughts and ideas in one place.
Writing the outline is the first step of a well-written essay. An outline helps in your entire essay, and you donât forget the essayâs main points.
An outline gives you a clear roadmap and saves your writing time. With the outlineâs help, you wonât struggle to remember the important points of the essay.
An outline helps from the start to the end of the essay, and you can easily finish the essay before the deadline. Collect all information and create a well-structured essay outline. Without a perfect outline, you would never create a good college essay and make it difficult for you.
The structure of the college essay depends on the topic and purpose of the essay. A properly structured outline will help you to present the necessary information in the essay easily. When writing the reflective essay outline, keep some key points in mind, and create the perfect essay.
- Describe the significance of the essay
- Identify personal intentions and link them with previous experiences.
- Think about future options
- Recognize your own beliefs
- Organize information in a sensible manner.
- Categorize the main points
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How to Write a Reflective Essay Outline?
Writing a reflective essay is a way of describing your personal experience and explain how those life experiences influenced and how they changed your lives.
When writing the outline, one thing to keep in mind is the chronological order. Explain all the events in logical order. Creating a good outline will make your essay writing phase easy and quicker.
When you start creating the college essay outline, make sure you include three sections i.e., introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Attention-grabbing hook
- Overview of the topic
- Thesis statement
- Paragraph 1 with a detailed description of the event, person, or place
- Paragraph 2 with a description of thoughts and feelings
- Paragraph 3 with analysis and evaluation of the experience
- Summary of the essay
- Restate the thesis statement
Letâs discuss them in detail.
The essay introduction is based on your experiences, feelings, and situations. When you start writing the reflective paper introduction, focus on the main parts that make your introduction a good one.
The introduction part of the essay should start with an attention-grabbing hook statement. It is a statement that grabs the readerâs attention. A great hook statement makes the readers want to read more.
It is the first statement that the reader read and decide to read the entire essay or not. The hook statement should start with a quote or an interesting question.
The introduction is a small overview of the reflection essay topic. Briefly mention the main points related to the topic. In this section, you need to communicate directly with the purpose of the essay. The first few sentences give a glimpse of the big picture that you reveal in the body paragraphs.
The thesis statement describes what the essay is all about. It is your entire essayâs core statement, and it is called âreflective essay thesis.â The thesis statement is all about places, events, experiences, and thoughts described further in the essay.
The body paragraph is the next section after the introduction. Writing the body paragraphs is sometimes time-consuming if you have not prepared the perfect outline.
Start the body paragraph with a topic sentence and explain the main idea. The reflective essay body paragraph is categorized into three paragraphs, like other essays.
In the first body paragraph, describe the event, person, or place. But describe all the events in chronological order so the reader easily understands. Not define the events in the body paragraphs without any order.
Describe the main issues related to the topic. Use quotations and cite sources related to the literature. Include precise examples of the events that occurred during this period.
The third part will be related to your personal reflections about the event. You need to add supporting details about the event and make a successful essay. In this paragraph, you describe what lessons you have learned after experiencing the event.
The essayâs conclusion paragraph should be the finishing touch that brings the complete piece of the writing together. It contains two parts that make the essay successful.
The conclusion wraps the entire essay but does not add irrelevant details. Only add important points in the essay. It is the final part that the reader reads, so make it strong and powerful. In this part, encourage the reader to do further research.
In conclusion, restate the thesis statement and rewrite the main points. It is the closing part of the essay, and it must be concise. Inform the reader of your final opinion about the topic.
Reflective Essay Outline Format
The reflective essay format is different from other essays. It is a type of writing in which an essay writer uses the MLA format or APA style.
In APA style, you should consider a few points:
- Use Time New Roman
- The font size is 12, and all text should be double-spaced.
- The page number is located at the top right corner of the page.
- The title page, abstract, main body, and references are the main parts of the essay.
Similarly APA format, you should consider a few points in MLA format:
- The font size is 12.
- All the titles of the essay should be centered.
- Your paperâs header should have your name, course number, professor's name, and date.
- On the last page of the essay, include the cited work.
Reflective Essay Outline Template
Creating a good outline is necessary for all essays. Without an outline, you will not complete your essay on time. Here is a template that will help you in creating a good reflective essay.
Reflective Essay Outline Examples
If you write the reflective essay for the first time, get help from these examples and craft a good essay. These examples will help in your writing the perfect reflective essay.
Example of Reflective Essay
Personal Reflective Essay
Reflective Essay Example About Travel
Tips on Writing the Reflective Essay
The outline is the backbone of the essay. For writing the perfect essay, you have to create the outline. Here are some tips that you should follow when writing a reflective essay.
- Use the outline for your daily entries.
- Avoid repetitive sentences in the essay.
- State your own opinion in the essay.
- Make sure that you have supported every moment that seemed unclear to you before.
- Use transition words between paragraphs.
- Include all the key points in the outline.
- Donât use complex words in the essay and present your point of view.
- Know the strong points that you need to showcase in the essay.
- Proofread and edit the essay before submitting or publishing it.
Reflective essay writing might be tough, but you can easily write the essay with the right outline. Some students have too little time, and they are overloaded with essay writing tasks. They cannot give appropriate time to essay writing.
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Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.
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Structure of academic reflections
Guidance on the structure of academic reflections.
Academic reflections or reflective writing completed for assessment often require a clear structure. Contrary to some people’s belief, reflection is not just a personal diary talking about your day and your feelings.
Both the language and the structure are important for academic reflective writing. For the structure you want to mirror an academic essay closely. You want an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion.
Academic reflection will require you to both describe the context, analyse it, and make conclusions. However, there is not one set of rules for the proportion of your reflection that should be spent describing the context, and what proportion should be spent on analysing and concluding. That being said, as learning tends to happen when analysing and synthesising rather than describing, a good rule of thumb is to describe just enough such that the reader understands your context.
Example structure for academic reflections
Below is an example of how you might structure an academic reflection if you were given no other guidance and what each section might contain. Remember this is only a suggestion and you must consider what is appropriate for the task at hand and for you yourself.
Identifies and introduces your experience or learning
- This can be a critical incident
- This can be the reflective prompt you were given
- A particular learning you have gained
When structuring your academic reflections it might make sense to start with what you have learned and then use the main body to evidence that learning, using specific experiences and events. Alternatively, start with the event and build up your argument. This is a question of personal preference – if you aren’t given explicit guidance you can ask the assessor if they have a preference, however both can work.
Highlights why it was important
- This can be suggesting why this event was important for the learning you gained
- This can be why the learning you gained will benefit you or why you appreciate it in your context
You might find that it is not natural to highlight the importance of an event before you have developed your argument for what you gained from it. It can be okay not to explicitly state the importance in the introduction, but leave it to develop throughout your reflection.
Outline key themes that will appear in the reflection (optional – but particularly relevant when answering a reflective prompt or essay)
- This can be an introduction to your argument, introducing the elements that you will explore, or that builds to the learning you have already gained.
This might not make sense if you are reflecting on a particular experience, but is extremely valuable if you are answering a reflective prompt or writing an essay that includes multiple learning points. A type of prompt or question that could particularly benefit from this would be ‘Reflect on how the skills and theory within this course have helped you meet the benchmark statements of your degree’
It can be helpful to explore one theme/learning per paragraph.
- You should highlight and explore the experience you introduced in the introduction
- If you are building toward answering a reflective prompt, explore each relevant experience.
As reflection is centred around an individual’s personal experience, it is very important to make experiences a main component of reflection. This does not mean that the majority of the reflective piece should be on describing an event – in fact you should only describe enough such that the reader can follow your analysis.
Analyse and synthesise
- You should analyse each of your experiences and from them synthesise new learning
Depending on the requirements of the assessment, you may need to use theoretical literature in your analysis. Theoretical literature is a part of perspective taking which is relevant for reflection, and will happen as a part of your analysis.
Restate or state your learning
- Make a conclusion based on your analysis and synthesis.
- If you have many themes in your reflection, it can be helpful to restate them here.
Plan for the future
- Highlight and discuss how your new-found learnings will influence your future practice
Answer the question or prompt (if applicable)
- If you are answering an essay question or reflective prompt, make sure that your conclusion provides a succinct response using your main body as evidence.
Using a reflective model to structure academic reflections
You might recognise that most reflective models mirror this structure; that is why a lot of the reflective models can be really useful to structure reflective assignments. Models are naturally structured to focus on a single experience – if the assignment requires you to focus on multiple experiences, it can be helpful to simply repeat each step of a model for each experience.
One difference between the structure of reflective writing and the structure of models is that sometimes you may choose to present your learning in the introduction of a piece of writing, whereas models (given that they support working through the reflective process) will have learning appearing at later stages.
However, generally structuring a piece of academic writing around a reflective model will ensure that it involves the correct components, reads coherently and logically, as well as having an appropriate structure.
Reflective journals/diaries/blogs and other pieces of assessed reflection
The example structure above works particularly well for formal assignments such as reflective essays and reports. Reflective journal/blogs and other pieces of assessed reflections tend to be less formal both in language and structure, however you can easily adapt the structure for journals and other reflective assignments if you find that helpful.
That is, if you are asked to produce a reflective journal with multiple entries it will most often (always check with the person who issued the assignment) be a successful journal if each entry mirrors the structure above and the language highlighted in the section on academic language. However, often you can be less concerned with form when producing reflective journals/diaries.
When producing reflective journals, it is often okay to include your original reflection as long as you are comfortable with sharing the content with others, and that the information included is not too personal for an assessor to read.
Ryan, M., 2011. Improving reflective writing in higher education: a social semiotic perspective. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(1), 99-111.
University of Portsmouth, Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (date unavailable). Reflective Writing: a basic introduction [online]. Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth.
Queen Margaret University, Effective Learning Service (date unavailable). Reflection. [online]. Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University.
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A reflective essay is a type of writing where you explore how an event, experience, or concept has influenced your development or perspective. It involves deep thinking, self-analysis, and personal reflection. In a reflective essay, you explai what you learned and how you changed as a result of that experience.
In this article, you will learn how to write a reflective essay, and how to highlight impactful experiences. A reflection essay seems easy as you don’t have to defend one’s point of view or convince the reader of something. But it has its challenges, so we recommend to keep on reading and find out everything you need to know about this type of essay. More complex examples are available down below.
What Is a Reflective Essay: Definition
A good question to start with is, “What is a reflective essay?” A reflective essay is a type of academic writing, in which the student has to test personal life experience/position towards a particular topic. Unlike in argumentative writing, the student does not have to defend the personal position. It does not require a complicated, professional language with some terminology. Do not define something - focus on sharing personal life experience, skills, development, and the most vivid examples to illustrate the topic.
Reflective Essay Format
A reflection essay student writes to meet the college writing standards has a different format from the one a magazine writer should present to reach the issue’s audience. However, each reflective paper has a similar outline. Reflective essay format depends on the general requirements your teacher provides. Some of them can ask for a specific format for your essay. APA writing style , MLA, and Chicago are the basic formats you can use. But if you don’t know exactly which formatting to use, you can use reflective essay apa format. This is the most common college essay format, so knowing its requirements is critical: Font: Times New Roman, 12 points Interval: Double interval Margins: 1 inch all round Page Numbers: Insert a title in the upper left corner of each page.
Reflective Essay Outline and Structure
Knowing how to write a reflective essay is essential. Even if you feel confident about your thoughts and knowledge, don’t start your writing without a clear and well-designed plan. Without logical essay structure , your essay will likely achieve lower marks. To avoid this situation, follow 10 easy steps we provided below. The first thing every student needs to understand how to write a good reflective essay is an effective, detailed outline. It has 3 typical sections: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Writing a reflective essay does not require any references – the only person to refer is the student who decides to share his thoughts & ideas. Let’s look at 4 main reasons to include an outline of reflective essays.
- An outline assists in laying out the details the student wants to leave after narrowing down the draft before working on the final paper. It prevents them from concluding the essay by realizing something is missing.
- An outline provides a clear, concise roadmap, which prevents the writer from taking curvy paths and facing dead ends. It shows the way like a compass in the woods.
- An outline helps to save a lot of time.
- An outline helps the potential readers, including teachers & classmates, to avoid falling off the main point when reading the essay partially.
Reflective essay outline is not much different from other types of essays. Use this reflective essay template in creating your perfect reflective essay:
How to Start a Reflective Essay: Creating an Introduction
Let’s figure out how to write a reflective essay introduction. Start with stating the primary focus of the personal reflection. Avoid being indirect and covering a range of topics; stay direct and concise by underlining the basic purpose of sharing a life experience. Professional Opinion:
“Giving a preview of the most exciting part of the story is a clue. The target reader may lack time to read the full piece from cover to cover. “There are many things I have learned from Marketing class. The most valuable lesson I have obtained is checking the effectiveness of 2 different approaches or services through utilizing so-called A/B testing.” It will make the reader think about what is special about this specific method. The reader will go on reading the body paragraphs to find out!” Professor Hemsworth, History & Anthropology teacher and academic writer at StudyCrumb
Another way to attract attention in the introductory paragraph is to come up with the intriguing hook for essay sentences like statistics, fact, quote, metaphor, rhetorical question, or joke. It depends on the mood of your reflective narrative.
Working on Reflective Essay Thesis
Some people may say that a reflective essay does not need a thesis. However, the example shared in the previous section talking about introduction is an example of the inspiring thesis statement. Include at least a reflective summary of the primary idea. The best idea would be to focus on previewing the peak of the plot development or highlighting the most valuable lesson learned. Let’s take a look at this little reflective essay thesis sample.
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Writing a Reflection Essay Body Paragraph
What is the purpose of a body paragraph ? The body paragraphs of the reflective analysis interpret the way the author evolved or what he/she has absorbed from a particular life lesson (mention 3 different lessons). When writing your reflective essay you should mention the circumstances that forced you to pass a certain way. If you study a subject like English Literature or Arts, the paper’s prompt may ask you to describe how you changed as a field professional during the course of study. It is important to choose a specific interval of time to list the improvements. Compare & contrast the initial skills to the knowledge you have today. It is a great idea to tell the audience the ways various tasks, challenges, and lessons made the author grow since the beginning of his education. There is no need to conduct research to collect the supporting evidence. The author alone is responsible for defending every stated claim with the help of vivid samples that describe the topic the best. Example: In case the student has become more professional in the field of writing, he should list the causes of those changes (new English teacher, more practice at home, part-time job related to the field of writing). Who knows – some of the ideas may be used by other students to succeed!
How to Write a Reflective Essay Conclusion
The question of how to end a reflection paper is not less important. The last challenge is to prepare an impressive, inspiring, and powerful conclusion, which will make the target readers want to develop the same positive way. Write a reflective summary regarding the way you have changed over a given period of time. Share some forecast by looking ahead: how the experiences listed in the essay would influence further personal development. By looking at the past events, decide which of them was the most important. The good idea is to compare & contrast past and future events to stress the gaps between the obtained skills and experience, possibly gained in the future. Don't want to bother with writing any conclusions? Use a summary maker to generate e reflective essay conlusion in seconds.
How to Write a Reflective Essay: 10 Easy Steps
Writing personal reflection helps students to stress their individuality by highlighting various skills, knowledge, behavior, feelings, and even mood. The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to show how the person changed over time and what factors played an important role in those metamorphoses. Keep on reading this section to learn steps that will make your reflective writing perfect. Step 1: Think of the questions that interest you the most. It may be your experience, feelings, or an event in life. Make sure you analyzed the question well. Check credible sources and collect relevant information. Step 2: Decide what you want to write about. Make sure you know how to title an essay . Identify the topic. Step 3: After you decided on a topic, create an appealing title that will entice readers. Make sure your title is clear and to the point. Step 4: Create an outline of your essay. Step 5: Create an attention-grabbing hook for reflective essay. It should be some intriguing sentence or phrase that will arouse the interest of your readers. Step 6: Create an introduction of your reflection paper. Step 7: Think what you will include in the main body of your text. Start writing your body paragraphs. Step 8: Diversify your text with all the necessary details to make your readers see a clear picture of the environment in your story. It can be some place, people, atmosphere, etc. Step 9: After the reader is already familiar with the setting and characters, you should tell about yourself. What were your feelings? How has the situation affected you? What did you learn from this situation? Step 10: Conclude your reflective essay. Briefly summarize all the points that were mentioned in your text and provide a short moral with recommendations. You can use these steps as a checklist for your writing process. In case you need another step-by-step guide on response essays or any other type of writing, we've got you covered.
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Reflective Essays Sample From Successful College Students
No recommendations, tips & tricks help the students to understand the way a particular assignment should look like in the end as effectively as the examples. The article contains one of the up-to-date reflective essay examples from a college student.
Writing a Reflective Essay: Bottom Line
Congratulations, we have learned how to write a reflective essay. We really do hope that our guidelines, tips, and examples were useful to you. Now, you can definitely work on your reflection assignment with a clear understanding of its structure and main points. So start your writing, and the sky's the limit!
In case you need more writing tips, feel free to browse our Blog. Be it a diagnostic essay , a synthesis essay or a response paper , we have tutorials for any type of writing.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Writing a Reflective Essay
1. what is a common mistake when writing a reflective essay.
A common mistake when writing a reflective essay is to drift away from the subject you're writing about. It usually happens when you don’t stick to your initial plan. So plan your writing well and if you feel that you go a bit off topic, be sure that you return to the same topic you originally discussed.
2. What is the purpose of writing a reflective essay?
The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to make a student write about their personal experience, explore it, reflect on it and find positive and negative aspects. The goal is to analyze how a student changed due to this experience and what made them change. What lesson a student learned is an essential point in persuasive writing.
3. How to write a reflective essay on a book?
If you are writing a reflective essay on a book, the main task is to show your teacher how you reflect on a chosen book, how you understand the problem presented by an author. To create a good essay, start with brief information about the author. Then, without spoilers, briefly summarize the main points of a book. After that explain the main conflicts, share your impressions. Ask questions like: “What are the peculiarities of the main characters?”, “What did an author want to say by indicating the main issues?”
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“Try making the conscious effort to reflect on the link between your experience and the theory, policies or studies you are reading” Williams et al., Reflective Writing
Writing a reflective essay
When you are asked to write a reflective essay, you should closely examine both the question and the marking criteria. This will help you to understand what you are being asked to do. Once you have examined the question you should start to plan and develop your essay by considering the following:
- What experience(s) and/or event(s) are you going to reflect on?
- How can you present these experience(s) to ensure anonymity (particularly important for anyone in medical professions)?
- How can you present the experience(s) with enough context for readers to understand?
- What learning can you identify from the experience(s)?
- What theories, models, strategies and academic literature can be used in your reflection?
- How this experience will inform your future practice
When structuring your reflection, you can present it in chronological order (start to finish) or in reverse order (finish to start). In some cases, it may be more appropriate for you to structure it around a series of flashbacks or themes, relating to relevant parts of the experience.
Example Essay Structure
This is an example structure for a reflective essay focusing on a single experience or event:
When you are writing a reflective assessment, it is important you keep your description to a minimum. This is because the description is not actually reflection and it often counts for only a small number of marks. This is not to suggest the description is not important. You must provide enough description and background for your readers to understand the context.
You need to ensure you discuss your feelings, reflections, responses, reactions, conclusions, and future learning. You should also look at positives and negatives across each aspect of your reflection and ensure you summarise any learning points for the future.
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Reflective Essay Guide
Writing Reflective Essay
Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023
A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay
By: John K.
Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.
Published on: May 11, 2021
If you have been assigned the task of writing a reflective essay, it will be an excellent opportunity to polish your creativity and writing skills.
A reflective essay is slightly different from other essays as it requires a personal point of view of a chosen subject. Thus, you need to analyze a particular subject with your personal experience, understanding, and knowledge.
The only key to write a reflective paper is that you need to be more expressive. The more expressive you are, the merrier it will be for your essay. Feel free to talk about life experiences that are valid to your topic. Writing your reflections can actually be a strength in this kind of essay.
If this sounds like something that interests or concerns you, then keep reading! This blog contains every detail necessary to produce an impressive reflective essay.
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What Is a Reflective Essay?
A reflective essay describes an experience or event and analyzes the meaning of that particular experience and the lessons it delivers. One thing that makes it a reflective essay is that the writer analyzes an event of the past from the present.
When writing a reflective essay, you are required to open up about your emotions and thoughts to paint a clear picture of your personality, history, and individual traits.
It is required that you include a description and a vivid summary of the experience; it will make the reader feel that he has experienced it as well. Moreover, you need to explain your reactions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
A good reflective paper should be creative, insightful, and authentic. It needs to express your opinions on a specific topic interestingly so that the reader wants to follow what you're saying without getting bored or leaving it before reading.
Reflective Essay Format
REFLECTIVE ESSAY FORMAT AND TEMPLATE
How to Start a Reflective Essay?
Writing a great reflective essay is a chance to polish your skills of writing and enhance your creativity. However, sometimes, it gets difficult and confusing to write it. There are many high schools as well as college students who get confused thinking where to start.
So, we have compiled some steps that will help you to write a perfect essay.
Let’s discuss them in detail.
1. Choose Your Topic Carefully
If you are given the freedom to choose a topic and don’t have any idea regarding it, the best way is to brainstorm and research some trending and good topic ideas. Unfortunately, a common mistake when writing a reflective essay is to choose a topic that is too broad or too narrow.
2. Research About Your Subject
Make sure you do thorough research on your topic first. Close your eyes and start imagining or remembering. Then, watch, listen, and read the information regarding your topic.
Before you even start writing, brainstorm your ideas first. It is always a wise step to take before writing anything.
4. Choose Reflection Questions
Take a look at the questions below to get a better idea:
- What did I notice?
- What do I feel about it?
- Why am I feeling this way?
5. Answer the Questions You Have Chosen
After selecting your questions, you need to give their answers. Start from one essay question; make sure you answer it properly. After that, head on to the next one.
6. Recognize Your Experience Meaning
Before you even start writing, you need to choose the most significant lesson you have learned from your experience. This “most significant lesson or thing” is going to be the thesis of your essay.
7. Follow the Structure
Like all the other essays, the reflective essay also has the same format, which comprises the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraph.
Therefore, follow these steps and makes your essay writing process easy.
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How to Write a Reflective Essay?
Here are some steps that you should follow when you start writing your reflective paper.
1. Write the Introduction
To understand and know how to start a reflective essay introduction, you must first understand that an introduction is a piece of brief information about the main topic and its background.
In the reflective essay introduction, you will recognize the subject and provide the reader with an overview of the impression you have taken from it. Therefore, the introductory paragraph of your reflective essay needs to include a thesis statement that will act as a focal point of your paper.
2. Body Paragraphs
The first body paragraph should mention the impactful impression your subject has made on you. Then, provide relevant facts to support your thesis statement.
Moreover, the body of your essay will also describe most of the ideas you touched on in your introduction.
3. Write a Conclusion
Restate your thesis statement and summarize all the reasons you have mentioned in the essay’s body paragraphs. After that, sum up your essay with your final thoughts on the subject; close your essay with some reflective thoughts.
4. Proofread and Edit
Never submit your essay without editing or proofreading. Even though you have spent hours of effort and put a lot of hard work in doing your essay, your essay will have no worth if you haven’t proofread and edited it.
Here is the reflective essay outline sample for your ease.
Reflective Essay Outline
REFLECTIVE ESSAY OUTLINE
Reflective Essay Examples
We have compiled some perfect reflective essay examples below to help you get started on your paper.
Personal Reflective Essay Examples
PERSONAL REFLECTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLES
ENGLISH REFLECTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLES
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Reflective Essay Topics
Check out these reflective essay ideas on the most common subjects you can write about:
- Something from your imagination
- Something you have experienced in real
- A special object
- Something you have seen, heard, read, watched, touched, or smelled.
We are sure these subjects must have sparked your imagination, but here are a few essay topics that will help you get the bigger picture. In addition, these topics will help you understand the kind of topics teachers like to assign.
- The desert, mountains, countryside, or beach
- A special room or hideaway
- The house you grew up
- Home of some relative
- A person that taught me how to improve reflective writing skills
- New Experiences
- When your piece of writing published
- Important conversation
- The older man line of thought
- The time you overcame your fears
A list of topics will help you get a picture of what good ideas are like and how to come up with one of your own.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long is a reflective essay.
The reflective essay should be between 300 and 500 words. However, it will vary according to the chosen topic.
What is the purpose of a reflective essay?
A reflective essay is a great opportunity for the author to explore what has happened in their life and show how this specific event may have changed them.
PhD Essay, Literature
John K. is a professional writer and author with many publications to his name. He has a Ph.D. in the field of management sciences, making him an expert on the subject matter. John is highly sought after for his insights and knowledge, and he regularly delivers keynote speeches and conducts workshops on various topics related to writing and publishing. He is also a regular contributor to various online publications.
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