The University of Edinburgh home

  • Schools & departments

Reflection Toolkit

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.

Introduction

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.

Explore experiences

  • 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.

Developed from:

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.

  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • College University and Postgraduate
  • Academic Writing

How to Write a Reflection Paper

Last Updated: July 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook . Alicia Cook is a Professional Writer based in Newark, New Jersey. With over 12 years of experience, Alicia specializes in poetry and uses her platform to advocate for families affected by addiction and to fight for breaking the stigma against addiction and mental illness. She holds a BA in English and Journalism from Georgian Court University and an MBA from Saint Peter’s University. Alicia is a bestselling poet with Andrews McMeel Publishing and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including the NY Post, CNN, USA Today, the HuffPost, the LA Times, American Songwriter Magazine, and Bustle. She was named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know and her poetry mixtape, “Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately” was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,779,031 times.

Reflection papers allow you to communicate with your instructor about how a specific article, lesson, lecture, or experience shapes your understanding of class-related material. Reflection papers are personal and subjective [1] X Research source , but they must still maintain a somewhat academic tone and must still be thoroughly and cohesively organized. Here's what you need to know about writing an effective reflection.

Things You Should Know

  • Write an introduction that outlines the expectations you had and provide a thesis statement in the last sentence.
  • State your conclusions in the body paragraphs of the paper. Explain how you arrived at your conclusions using logic and concrete details.
  • Conclude the paper with a concise summary of your overall experience.

Sample Outline and Paper

how to write an intro for a reflective essay

Brainstorming

Step 1 Identify the main themes.

  • These sentences should be both descriptive yet straight to the point.

Step 2 Jot down material that stands out in your mind.

  • For lectures or readings, you can write down specific quotations or summarize passages.
  • For experiences, make a note of specific portions of your experience. You could even write a small summary or story of an event that happened during the experience that stands out. Images, sounds, or other sensory portions of your experience work, as well.

Alicia Cook

  • In the first column, list the main points or key experiences. These points can include anything that the author or speaker treated with importance as well as any specific details you found to be important. Divide each point into its own separate row.
  • In the second column, list your personal response to the points you brought up in the first column. Mention how your subjective values, experiences, and beliefs influence your response.
  • In the third and last column, describe how much of your personal response to share in your reflection paper.

Step 4 Ask yourself questions to guide your response.

  • Does the reading, lecture, or experience challenge you socially, culturally, emotionally, or theologically? If so, where and how? Why does it bother you or catch your attention?
  • Has the reading, lecture, or experience changed your way of thinking? Did it conflict with beliefs you held previously, and what evidence did it provide you with in order to change your thought process on the topic?
  • Does the reading, lecture, or experience leave you with any questions? Were these questions ones you had previously or ones you developed only after finishing?
  • Did the author, speaker, or those involved in the experience fail to address any important issues? Could a certain fact or idea have dramatically changed the impact or conclusion of the reading, lecture, or experience?
  • How do the issues or ideas brought up in this reading, lecture, or experience mesh with past experiences or readings? Do the ideas contradict or support each other?

Organizing a Reflection Paper

Step 1 Keep it short and sweet.

  • Verify whether or not your instructor specified a word count for the paper instead of merely following this average.
  • If your instructor demands a word count outside of this range, meet your instructor's requirements.

Step 2 Introduce your expectations.

  • For a reading or lecture, indicate what you expected based on the title, abstract, or introduction.
  • For an experience, indicate what you expected based on prior knowledge provided by similar experiences or information from others.

Step 3 Develop a thesis statement.

  • This is essentially a brief explanation of whether or not your expectations were met.
  • A thesis provides focus and cohesion for your reflection paper.
  • You could structure a reflection thesis along the following lines: “From this reading/experience, I learned...”

Step 4 Explain your conclusions in the body.

  • Your conclusions must be explained. You should provide details on how you arrived at those conclusions using logic and concrete details.
  • The focus of the paper is not a summary of the text, but you still need to draw concrete, specific details from the text or experience in order to provide context for your conclusions.
  • Write a separate paragraph for each conclusion or idea you developed.
  • Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This topic sentence should clearly identify your major points, conclusions, or understandings.

Step 5 Conclude with a summary.

  • The conclusions or understandings explained in your body paragraphs should support your overall conclusion. One or two may conflict, but the majority should support your final conclusion.

As You Write

Step 1 Reveal information wisely.

  • If you feel uncomfortable about a personal issue that affects the conclusions you reached, it is wisest not to include personal details about it.
  • If a certain issue is unavoidable but you feel uncomfortable revealing your personal experiences or feelings regarding it, write about the issue in more general terms. Identify the issue itself and indicate concerns you have professionally or academically.

Step 2 Maintain a professional or academic tone.

  • Avoid dragging someone else down in your writing. If a particular person made the experience you are reflecting on difficult, unpleasant, or uncomfortable, you must still maintain a level of detachment as you describe that person's influence. Instead of stating something like, “Bob was such a rude jerk,” say something more along the lines of, “One man was abrupt and spoke harshly, making me feel as though I was not welcome there.” Describe the actions, not the person, and frame those actions within the context of how they influenced your conclusions.
  • A reflection paper is one of the few pieces of academic writing in which you can get away with using the first person pronoun “I.” That said, you should still relate your subjective feelings and opinions using specific evidence to explain them. [8] X Research source
  • Avoid slang and always use correct spelling and grammar. Internet abbreviations like “LOL” or “OMG” are fine to use personally among friends and family, but this is still an academic paper, so you need to treat it with the grammatical respect it deserves. Do not treat it as a personal journal entry.
  • Check and double-check your spelling and grammar after you finish your paper.

Step 3 Review your reflection paper at the sentence level.

  • Keep your sentences focused. Avoid squeezing multiple ideas into one sentence.
  • Avoid sentence fragments. Make sure that each sentence has a subject and a verb.
  • Vary your sentence length. Include both simple sentences with a single subject and verb and complex sentences with multiple clauses. Doing so makes your paper sound more conversational and natural, and prevents the writing from becoming too wooden. [9] X Research source

Step 4 Use transitions.

  • Common transitional phrases include "for example," "for instance," "as a result," "an opposite view is," and "a different perspective is."

Step 5 Relate relevant classroom information to the experience or reading.

  • For instance, if reflecting on a piece of literary criticism, you could mention how your beliefs and ideas about the literary theory addressed in the article relate to what your instructor taught you about it or how it applies to prose and poetry read in class.
  • As another example, if reflecting on a new social experience for a sociology class, you could relate that experience to specific ideas or social patterns discussed in class.

Expert Q&A

Alicia Cook

You Might Also Like

Write an Essay

  • ↑ https://www.csuohio.edu/writing-center/reflection-papers
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/assignments/reflectionpaper
  • ↑ Alicia Cook. Professional Writer. Expert Interview. 11 December 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-write-university/how-approach-any-assignment/how-write-reflection-paper
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
  • ↑ https://www.anu.edu.au/students/academic-skills/writing-assessment/reflective-writing/reflective-essays
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/scholarlyvoice/sentencestructure

About This Article

Alicia Cook

To write a reflection paper, start with an introduction where you state any expectations you had for the reading, lesson, or experience you're reflecting on. At the end of your intro, include a thesis statement that explains how your views have changed. In the body of your essay, explain the conclusions you reached after the reading, lesson, or experience and discuss how you arrived at them. Finally, finish your paper with a succinct conclusion that explains what you've learned. To learn how to brainstorm for your paper, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Stella Cheboi

Stella Cheboi

Jul 22, 2016

Did this article help you?

how to write an intro for a reflective essay

Luz Gisela Perez

Nov 19, 2017

Aubrey H.

Apr 27, 2016

Debra Cust Bramble

Debra Cust Bramble

Mar 20, 2016

Courtney Fulmer

Courtney Fulmer

May 22, 2020

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Deal with Friendship Problems at School

Trending Articles

Everything You Need to Know to Rock the Corporate Goth Aesthetic

Watch Articles

Cook Fresh Cauliflower

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Develop the tech skills you need for work and life

how to write an intro for a reflective essay

Guide on How to Write a Reflection Paper with Free Tips and Example

how to write an intro for a reflective essay

A reflection paper is a very common type of paper among college students. Almost any subject you enroll in requires you to express your opinion on certain matters. In this article, we will explain how to write a reflection paper and provide examples and useful tips to make the essay writing process easier.

Reflection papers should have an academic tone yet be personal and subjective. In this paper, you should analyze and reflect upon how an experience, academic task, article, or lecture shaped your perception and thoughts on a subject.

Here is what you need to know about writing an effective critical reflection paper. Stick around until the end of our guide to get some useful writing tips from the writing team at EssayPro — a research paper writing service

What Is a Reflection Paper

A reflection paper is a type of paper that requires you to write your opinion on a topic, supporting it with your observations and personal experiences. As opposed to presenting your reader with the views of other academics and writers, in this essay, you get an opportunity to write your point of view—and the best part is that there is no wrong answer. It is YOUR opinion, and it is your job to express your thoughts in a manner that will be understandable and clear for all readers that will read your paper. The topic range is endless. Here are some examples: whether or not you think aliens exist, your favorite TV show, or your opinion on the outcome of WWII. You can write about pretty much anything.

There are three types of reflection paper; depending on which one you end up with, the tone you write with can be slightly different. The first type is the educational reflective paper. Here your job is to write feedback about a book, movie, or seminar you attended—in a manner that teaches the reader about it. The second is the professional paper. Usually, it is written by people who study or work in education or psychology. For example, it can be a reflection of someone’s behavior. And the last is the personal type, which explores your thoughts and feelings about an individual subject.

However, reflection paper writing will stop eventually with one very important final paper to write - your resume. This is where you will need to reflect on your entire life leading up to that moment. To learn how to list education on resume perfectly, follow the link on our dissertation writing services .

Unlock the potential of your thoughts with EssayPro . Order a reflection paper and explore a range of other academic services tailored to your needs. Dive deep into your experiences, analyze them with expert guidance, and turn your insights into an impactful reflection paper.

order reflection paper

Free Reflection Paper Example

Now that we went over all of the essentials about a reflection paper and how to approach it, we would like to show you some examples that will definitely help you with getting started on your paper.

Reflection Paper Format

Reflection papers typically do not follow any specific format. Since it is your opinion, professors usually let you handle them in any comfortable way. It is best to write your thoughts freely, without guideline constraints. If a personal reflection paper was assigned to you, the format of your paper might depend on the criteria set by your professor. College reflection papers (also known as reflection essays) can typically range from about 400-800 words in length.

Here’s how we can suggest you format your reflection paper:

common reflection paper format

How to Start a Reflection Paper

The first thing to do when beginning to work on a reflection essay is to read your article thoroughly while taking notes. Whether you are reflecting on, for example, an activity, book/newspaper, or academic essay, you want to highlight key ideas and concepts.

You can start writing your reflection paper by summarizing the main concept of your notes to see if your essay includes all the information needed for your readers. It is helpful to add charts, diagrams, and lists to deliver your ideas to the audience in a better fashion.

After you have finished reading your article, it’s time to brainstorm. We’ve got a simple brainstorming technique for writing reflection papers. Just answer some of the basic questions below:

  • How did the article affect you?
  • How does this article catch the reader’s attention (or does it all)?
  • Has the article changed your mind about something? If so, explain how.
  • Has the article left you with any questions?
  • Were there any unaddressed critical issues that didn’t appear in the article?
  • Does the article relate to anything from your past reading experiences?
  • Does the article agree with any of your past reading experiences?

Here are some reflection paper topic examples for you to keep in mind before preparing to write your own:

  • How my views on rap music have changed over time
  • My reflection and interpretation of Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Why my theory about the size of the universe has changed over time
  • How my observations for clinical psychological studies have developed in the last year

The result of your brainstorming should be a written outline of the contents of your future paper. Do not skip this step, as it will ensure that your essay will have a proper flow and appropriate organization.

Another good way to organize your ideas is to write them down in a 3-column chart or table.

how to write a reflection paper

Do you want your task look awesome?

If you would like your reflection paper to look professional, feel free to check out one of our articles on how to format MLA, APA or Chicago style

Writing a Reflection Paper Outline

Reflection paper should contain few key elements:

Introduction

Your introduction should specify what you’re reflecting upon. Make sure that your thesis informs your reader about your general position, or opinion, toward your subject.

  • State what you are analyzing: a passage, a lecture, an academic article, an experience, etc...)
  • Briefly summarize the work.
  • Write a thesis statement stating how your subject has affected you.

One way you can start your thesis is to write:

Example: “After reading/experiencing (your chosen topic), I gained the knowledge of…”

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should examine your ideas and experiences in context to your topic. Make sure each new body paragraph starts with a topic sentence.

Your reflection may include quotes and passages if you are writing about a book or an academic paper. They give your reader a point of reference to fully understand your feedback. Feel free to describe what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt.

Example: “I saw many people participating in our weight experiment. The atmosphere felt nervous yet inspiring. I was amazed by the excitement of the event.”

As with any conclusion, you should summarize what you’ve learned from the experience. Next, tell the reader how your newfound knowledge has affected your understanding of the subject in general. Finally, describe the feeling and overall lesson you had from the reading or experience.

There are a few good ways to conclude a reflection paper:

  • Tie all the ideas from your body paragraphs together, and generalize the major insights you’ve experienced.
  • Restate your thesis and summarize the content of your paper.

We have a separate blog post dedicated to writing a great conclusion. Be sure to check it out for an in-depth look at how to make a good final impression on your reader.

Need a hand? Get help from our writers. Edit, proofread or buy essay .

How to Write a Reflection Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: create a main theme.

After you choose your topic, write a short summary about what you have learned about your experience with that topic. Then, let readers know how you feel about your case — and be honest. Chances are that your readers will likely be able to relate to your opinion or at least the way you form your perspective, which will help them better understand your reflection.

For example: After watching a TEDx episode on Wim Hof, I was able to reevaluate my preconceived notions about the negative effects of cold exposure.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas and Experiences You’ve Had Related to Your Topic

You can write down specific quotes, predispositions you have, things that influenced you, or anything memorable. Be personal and explain, in simple words, how you felt.

For example: • A lot of people think that even a small amount of carbohydrates will make people gain weight • A specific moment when I struggled with an excess weight where I avoided carbohydrates entirely • The consequences of my actions that gave rise to my research • The evidence and studies of nutritional science that claim carbohydrates alone are to blame for making people obese • My new experience with having a healthy diet with a well-balanced intake of nutrients • The influence of other people’s perceptions on the harm of carbohydrates, and the role their influence has had on me • New ideas I’ve created as a result of my shift in perspective

Step 3: Analyze How and Why These Ideas and Experiences Have Affected Your Interpretation of Your Theme

Pick an idea or experience you had from the last step, and analyze it further. Then, write your reasoning for agreeing or disagreeing with it.

For example, Idea: I was raised to think that carbohydrates make people gain weight.

Analysis: Most people think that if they eat any carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, and sugar, they will gain weight. I believe in this misconception to such a great extent that I avoided carbohydrates entirely. As a result, my blood glucose levels were very low. I needed to do a lot of research to overcome my beliefs finally. Afterward, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key to a healthy lifestyle.

For example: Idea: I was brought up to think that carbohydrates make people gain weight. Analysis: Most people think that if they eat any carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, and sugar, they will gain weight. I believe in this misconception to such a great extent that I avoided carbohydrates entirely. As a result, my blood glucose levels were very low. I needed to do a lot of my own research to finally overcome my beliefs. After, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key for having a healthy lifestyle.

Step 4: Make Connections Between Your Observations, Experiences, and Opinions

Try to connect your ideas and insights to form a cohesive picture for your theme. You can also try to recognize and break down your assumptions, which you may challenge in the future.

There are some subjects for reflection papers that are most commonly written about. They include:

  • Book – Start by writing some information about the author’s biography and summarize the plot—without revealing the ending to keep your readers interested. Make sure to include the names of the characters, the main themes, and any issues mentioned in the book. Finally, express your thoughts and reflect on the book itself.
  • Course – Including the course name and description is a good place to start. Then, you can write about the course flow, explain why you took this course, and tell readers what you learned from it. Since it is a reflection paper, express your opinion, supporting it with examples from the course.
  • Project – The structure for a reflection paper about a project has identical guidelines to that of a course. One of the things you might want to add would be the pros and cons of the course. Also, mention some changes you might want to see, and evaluate how relevant the skills you acquired are to real life.
  • Interview – First, introduce the person and briefly mention the discussion. Touch on the main points, controversies, and your opinion of that person.

Writing Tips

Everyone has their style of writing a reflective essay – and that's the beauty of it; you have plenty of leeway with this type of paper – but there are still a few tips everyone should incorporate.

Before you start your piece, read some examples of other papers; they will likely help you better understand what they are and how to approach yours. When picking your subject, try to write about something unusual and memorable — it is more likely to capture your readers' attention. Never write the whole essay at once. Space out the time slots when you work on your reflection paper to at least a day apart. This will allow your brain to generate new thoughts and reflections.

  • Short and Sweet – Most reflection papers are between 250 and 750 words. Don't go off on tangents. Only include relevant information.
  • Clear and Concise – Make your paper as clear and concise as possible. Use a strong thesis statement so your essay can follow it with the same strength.
  • Maintain the Right Tone – Use a professional and academic tone—even though the writing is personal.
  • Cite Your Sources – Try to cite authoritative sources and experts to back up your personal opinions.
  • Proofreading – Not only should you proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, but you should proofread to focus on your organization as well. Answer the question presented in the introduction.

'If only someone could write my essay !' you may think. Ask for help our professional writers in case you need it.

Do You Need a Well-Written Reflection Paper?

Then send us your assignment requirements and we'll get it done in no time.

Related Articles

How to Write a Concept Paper: Easy Guide for Students

Reflective Essay Writing

Caleb S.

Reflective Essay: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples & Tips

Published on: Apr 27, 2019

Last updated on: Oct 16, 2023

Reflective Essay

People also read

How to Create a Reflective Essay Outline | Easy Guide with Examples

Good Reflective Essay Topics For Your Paper

Share this article

Thought and reflection are a major part of our inner lives. Whenever we engage with art and literature or experience anything novel, we tend to reflect on it later.

What if we write our reflections down in a structured way? That is a reflective essay. 

Among various types of essays , reflective essays stand out for being the most personal form of writing. Reflective writing lets you explore your thoughts and experiences about something and gain profound insights into yourself and the world around you.

So how can you write a great reflective essay? Read on to understand reflective essays better with examples and get useful tips.

On This Page On This Page -->

What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is a type of writing where a writer explores their thoughts, feelings, and observations about a personal experience. These essays are deeply subjective, personal, and introspective.

At its core, a reflective essay prompts you to answer the question: "How did a particular experience impact me?" Unlike narrative or descriptive writing, reflective essays are not just about recounting events. The goal is to analyze and interpret the event with your unique perspective and insights. 

In addition, reflective essays do not require you to provide external evidence or validation, nor do you have to argue or prove something. However, it's important to follow a structured approach that allows you to organize your thoughts and engage your readers. 

So what is that structured approach to writing a reflective essay? Read below.

How to Write a Reflective Essay?

Writing a reflective essay can become a lot easier if you follow a structured writing process. It allows you to effectively communicate your insights to your audience. 

Here is a step-by-step process to start a reflective essay:

Step 1: Brainstorm and Choose a Topic

Begin by brainstorming a specific event, experience, or topic to reflect upon. It could be a personal experience, a book you've read, a class you've taken, or a significant life event.

Here are some helpful tips for choosing a topic:

  • Think about your personal experiences and select a topic that resonates with you and offers room for reflection. 
  • Consider which one is most relevant to the purpose of your reflective essay. 
  • Choose a topic that holds personal significance and allows you to explore and convey meaningful insights.

Step 2: Reflect Deeply & Gather Your Thoughts

Unlike other types of academic essays, reflection papers do not demand research or gathering sources. The source material for the essay can be found in your own thoughts. 

You can write down your thoughts in the form of a bulleted list, mind mapping, or other forms of note-taking. Take time to immerse yourself in the experience and consider its various aspects, including:

  • Specific details, emotions, and observations from the event or experience.
  • Your initial reactions and thoughts at the time. Recall how the experience affected you and what you learned.

You don’t have to write down complete sentences yet, you can simply note down keywords and phrases.

 Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts

To ensure a coherent and logical essay, organize the points you’ve gathered in an outline. The outline should clarify these aspects:

  • A clear thesis statement that indicates the main idea of the essay.
  • Body paragraphs that explore different aspects of your reflection, organized in a logical sequence.
  • Key points, experiences, and insights you want to include in each paragraph.

This is the last step of your pre-writing preparation. With an organized outline for your essay, you have everything you need to start writing. 

Learn more about crafting efficient outlines in our reflective essay outline guide

Step 4: Write Your First Draft

With your outline in hand, start writing your first draft. Follow your organizational structure and express your thoughts and experiences clearly and concisely. As you write:

  • Maintain a reflective and personal tone, as this is a chance to express your thoughts and emotions.
  • Use specific examples, anecdotes, and details to illustrate your points.
  • Ensure that each paragraph flows logically to the next, creating a smooth reading experience.

Don't worry too much about perfection at this stage; the first draft is about getting your thoughts on paper.

Step 5: Proofread and Revise

After completing your first draft, take a break before revising. Returning to your essay with fresh eyes will help you identify areas for improvement. During the revision process:

  • Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Ensure clarity and coherence in your writing.
  • Review the flow of your essay to ensure that it logically progresses from introduction to conclusion. Paragraphs should be connected to each other through transition phrases.
  • Trim unnecessary or repetitive content and add details or insights where needed.

By following these five steps, you'll be well on your way to crafting a well-organized and impactful reflective essay.

Reflective Essay Structure 

A reflective essay typically follows a standard structure that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Let’s delve into each of these parts here.

Reflective Essay Introduction

The introduction aims to draw the reader in by catching their interest and providing some context to the topic. A good introduction clearly indicates the subject and type of essay and tells the readers what to expect ahead.

Follow the tips below to craft an engaging introduction.

  • Start with a hook or an intriguing opening sentence to pique the reader's interest. For example, you might begin with a thought-provoking quote, a relevant anecdote, or a rhetorical question.
  • Provide context by briefly introducing the topic or the experience you will reflect upon. Mention any necessary background information to help the reader understand the context.
  • End your introduction with a thesis statement . The thesis statement for a reflective essay can be flexible and can be more than one sentence long. It states the main point you want to convey, such as what you learned, gained, or how were you changed by the experience.

Reflective Essay Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your essay are the heart of your reflection, where you dive deep into the experience and explore it from multiple angles. It's essential to organize your body paragraphs logically to maintain a coherent flow.

Here is how body paragraphs are organized in this type of paper:

First Body Paragraph

Provide a clear and detailed description of the experience or event you are reflecting upon. Set the stage by answering the basic questions: What, when, where, and who?

Share the most significant aspects of the experience. Consider the sensory details, the environment, the people involved, and other aspects. This will help your readers immerse themselves in the situation. 

Second Body Paragraph

Once you’ve described the structure of your experience in detail, now is the time to move on to your thoughts, experiences, and observations. 

Reflect on your immediate feelings and initial thoughts. Were you excited, anxious, or confused? 

What did you notice about the people or surroundings? This section allows the reader to connect with your emotional journey, helping them understand the initial impact of the experience.

Third & Fourth Body Paragraphs 

In the subsequent paragraphs, delve into in-depth reflection and analysis of your experience. 

This is where you critically examine the experience, asking yourself why it was significant and how it impacted you. Consider the implications and connections to your personal growth, beliefs, or values and analyze the experience in the context of your life, education, or career.

You should also engage in critical reflection. For instance, 

  • What did you learn from the experience? 
  • How did it challenge or reinforce your existing beliefs? 
  • Did it change your perspective on certain issues?

Feel free to use multiple paragraphs for this reflection if needed. Each paragraph can explore different facets of your experience and offer a more comprehensive analysis.

Reflective Essay Conclusion

The conclusion of your reflective essay brings your reflection to a meaningful closure. It ties together the entire essay and aims to leave the reader with a lasting impression.

Here are some tips for writing a good conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points you discussed in the body paragraphs without introducing new information. Reinforce the main message of your essay.
  • Present the significance of the experience and its impact on your personal growth, beliefs, or understanding.
  • Consider ending with a thought-provoking statement or a powerful insight to make it more impactful for the reader.

Reflective Essay Examples

Although you now know how to write a reflective essay, you should read some examples before you start writing. Reading the reflective essay samples below will help you get a feel of this type of writing. 

Reflective Essay Sample - Reflections on Reading a Book

Reflective Essay Example - A Visit to a Historical Place

Tips for Writing Better Reflective Essays

Only following the writing steps can help you write a good essay. But to make it even better, you should do something extra. Here are some writing tips that can help you polish your reflective writing.

  • Be Genuine and Authentic: Reflective essays thrive on authenticity. Share your true thoughts and feelings without embellishment or pretense. Readers appreciate sincerity and honesty in your reflections.
  • Show, Don't Just Tell: Instead of merely stating your emotions or thoughts, demonstrate them through concrete examples and anecdotes. Let readers experience your reflection alongside you.
  • Be Concise and Focused: Avoid unnecessary tangents or excessive details that may distract from your main reflection. Keep your essay focused on the central experience and its significance.
  • Engage the Reader's Emotions: Touch on universal emotions and experiences that resonate with readers. Connecting on an emotional level can make your reflective essay more relatable and memorable.
  • Seek Feedback: Don't hesitate to share your reflective essay with peers, mentors, or writing tutors. Their feedback can offer valuable insights and help you refine your writing.
  • Reflect on Your Reflection: After completing your reflective essay, take a moment to reflect on your own reflection process. Consider what you've learned about yourself and your writing style. Use this insight to improve future reflective essays.

Reflective Essay Topics

Reflective essays can be written on a variety of topics. Here are some ideas you can write about: 

  • Engaging with Art: Reflect on your experience of reading a book, watching a documentary etc. 
  • A Life-Changing Journey: Reflect lessons learned from a trip or adventure.
  • Mentorship and Learning: Reflect on the influence of a particular teacher, mentor, or role model on your life. 
  • Overcoming a Challenge: Write about a challenging experience or obstacle you've faced 
  • Life Milestones: Write about a major life event, such as graduating from school, getting married, or becoming a parent, etc.
  • Career Transitions: Share your reflections on transitioning between careers or jobs. 
  • A Turning Point: Reflect on a specific moment or decision in your life that marked a turning point. 
  • Relationships: Explore the dynamics of a significant friendship or relationship.
  • Ethical Dilemmas: Discuss a moral or ethical dilemma you faced and how you navigated it. 
  • Volunteer or Community Service: Share your experiences with community service. 

These are just a few general ideas. With the help of these topics, you can ignite your creativity and choose the most meaningful topic for yourself.

Need more ideas to find a great topic for your reflective paper? Here are 100+ engaging reflective essay topics for your help!

Reflective essays serve as powerful instruments for self-discovery. It allows you to delve into your thoughts and experiences and share them with others in a meaningful way. 

By following the steps, tips, and, examples above, you can explore the richness of your own experiences and engage others along the way. Trying to write a reflective essay can even become another one of your amazing experiences! So, embrace authenticity, engage your readers, and inspire those who read your words.

Need help writing a reflective essay? Don’t worry!

We understand the significance of these reflective journeys, and we've expert writers to assist you. At our reflective essay writing service , our team of writing professionals is dedicated to helping you craft insightful and impactful essays that meet your custom requirements.

So contact our essay writing service now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you say i in a reflective essay.

Yes! First-person pronouns are a great way to give the reader insight into your life and thoughts. I, me, we - these words all have personal meaning. So, they should be used in a reflective essay.

What person is a reflective essay?

A reflective essay is a type of academic writing that can take on many different forms. You might be asked to write it in the first person or third person, and there's no one correct way to do so!

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

Reflective Essay

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

  • Directories

Reflective essays

Reflective essays are academic essays; what makes an essay "good" will work for a reflective essay. What is different about a reflective essay is that the essay is about you and your thinking. However, you will need evidence from your course to back up your reflections.

You should structure a reflective essay as an essay, that is write to persuade your reader of your key reflections (or argument). The diagram above, details how to stucture your reflections through the essay. To find out more see the section on essay writing .

Business example

The following example comes from business. Thanks to Dr Colleen Hayes for the three samples.

Students were asked to write a reflective essay on their learning in the course by responding to the following question:

What key thing have you learned about corporate social responsibility in the course?

Example 1: Retelling

This writing is (1) descriptive/listing of content, not reflective and (2) not properly referenced (the definition of stakeholders is directly copied from Freeman in the lecture slides.

Example 2: Relating

This writing involves relating to personal experience and has some integration of course concepts (stakeholders).

Example 3: Reflecting

More reflective (forward-looking), better citation and integration of multiple course concepts, and reflection that links with personal experience.

An anthropology marking rubric

For this assessment, students were required to write a 1500-1800 word essay building on the themes of the course to address the question "We are all pirates". Attached under reference documents is the rubric used to mark the essay (thanks to Dr Caroline Schuster). Notice that it requires both the reflection (reflect, relate and retell) as well as the poor traditional requirements of an essay (Writing and organisation, Supporting claims with scholarly sources).

Reflective writing

Learning journals

Reference Documents

  • Sample rubric from Anthropology (PDF, 243.24 KB)

Use contact details to request an alternative file format.

  • ANU Library Academic Skills
  • +61 2 6125 2972

How to Write a Reflective Essay?

07 August, 2020

17 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

A reflective essay is a personal perspective on an issue or topic. This article will look at how to write an excellent reflexive account of your experience, provide you with reflexive essay framework to help you plan and organize your essay and give you a good grounding of what good reflective writing looks like.

Reflective Essay

What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay requires the writer to examine his experiences and explore how these experiences have helped him develop and shaped him as a person.  It is essentially an analysis of your own experience focusing on what you’ve learned.

Don’t confuse reflexive analysis with the rhetorical one. If you need assistance figuring out how to write a rhetorical analysis , give our guide a read!

Based on the reflective essay definition, this paper will follow a logical and thought-through plan . It will be a discussion that centers around a topic or issue. The essay should strive to achieve a balance between description and personal feelings.

It requires a clear line of thought, evidence, and examples to help you discuss your reflections. Moreover, a proper paper requires an analytical approach . There are three main types of a reflective essay: theory-based, a case study or an essay based on one’s personal experience.

How to choose reflective essay topics

Unlike most academic forms of writing, this writing is based on personal experiences and thoughts. As such, first-person writing position where the writer can refer to his own thoughts and feelings is essential. If the writer talks about psychology or medicine, it is best to use the first-person reference as little as possible to keep the tone objective and science-backed.

To write this paper, you need to recollect and share personal experience . However, there is still a chance that you’ll be asked to talk about a more complex topic.

By the way, if you are looking for good ideas on how to choose a good argumentative essay topic , check out our latest guide to help you out!

The Criteria for a Good Reflective Essay

The convention of an academic reflective essay writing will vary slightly depending on your area of study. A good reflective essay will be written geared towards its intended audience. These are the general criteria that form the core of a well-written piece:

  • A developed perspective and line of reasoning on the subject.
  • A well-informed discussion that is based on literature and sources relevant to your reflection.
  • An understanding of the complex nuance of situations and the tributary effects that prevent them from being simple and clear-cut.
  • Ability to stand back and analyze your own decision-making process to see if there is a better solution to the problem.
  • A clear understanding of h ow the experience has influenced you.
  • A good understanding of the principles and theories of your subject area.
  • Ability to frame a problem before implementing a solution.

These seven criteria form the principles of writing an excellent reflective essay.

Still need help with your essay? Handmade Writing is here to assist you!

What is the Purpose of Writing a Reflective Essay?

The purpose of a reflective essay is for a writer to reflect upon experience and learn from it . Reflection is a useful process that helps you make sense of things and gain valuable lessons from your experience. Reflective essay writing allows you to demonstrate that you can think critically about your own skills or practice strategies implementations to learn and improve without outside guidance.

Another purpose is to analyze the event or topic you are describing and emphasize how you’ll apply what you’ve learned.

How to Create a Reflective Essay Outline

  • Analyze the task you’ve received
  • Read through and understand the marking criteria
  • Keep a reflective journal during the experience
  • Use a reflective framework (Schon, Driscoll, Gibbs, and Kolb) to help you analyze the experience
  • Create a referencing system to keep institutions and people anonymous to avoid breaking their confidentiality
  • Set the scene by using the five W’s (What, Where, When, Who and Why) to describe it
  • Choose the events or the experiences you’re going to reflect on
  • Identify the issues of the event or experience you want to focus on
  • Use literature and documents to help you discuss these issues in a wider context
  • Reflect on how these issues changed your position regarding the issue
  • Compare and contrast theory with practice
  • Identify and discuss your learning needs both professionally and personally

Don’t forget to adjust the formatting of your essay. There are four main format styles of any academic piece. Discover all of them from our essay format guide!

Related Posts: Essay outline | Essay format Guide

Using Reflective Frameworks

Reflective writing frameworks

A good way to develop a reflective essay plan is by using a framework that exists. A framework will let help you break the experience down logical and make the answer easier to organize. Popular frameworks include: Schon’s (1983) Reflection in action and reflection on action .

Schon wrote ‘The Reflective Practitioner’ in 1983 in which he describes reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action as tools for learning how to meet challenges that do not conform to formulas learned in school through improvisation.  He mentioned two types of reflection : one during and one after. By being aware of these processes while on a work-experience trail or clinical assignment you have to write a reflective account for, you get to understand the process better. So good questions to ask in a reflective journal could be:

<td “200”>Reflection-pre-action <td “200”>Reflection-in-action <td “200”>Reflection-on-Action<td “200”>What might happen? <td “200”>What is happening in the situation? <td “200”>What were your insights after?<td “200”>What possible challenges will you face? <td “200”>Is it working out as you expected? <td “200”>How did it go in retrospect?<td “200”>How will you prepare for the situation? <td “200”>What are the challenges you are dealing with? <td “200”>What did you value and why?<td “200”>  <td “200”>What can you do to make the experience a successful one? <td “200”>What would you do differently before or during a similar situation?<td “200”>  <td “200”>What are you learning? <td “200”>What have you learned?

This will give you a good frame for your paper and help you analyze your experience.

Kolb’s (1984) Learning Cycle

Kolb’s reflective framework works in four stages:

  • Concrete experience. This is an event or experience
  • Reflective observation. This is reflecting upon the experience. What you did and why.
  • Abstract conceptualization. This is the process of drawing conclusions from the experience. Did it confirm a theory or falsify something? And if so, what can you conclude from that?
  • Active experimentation. Planning and trying out the thing you have learned from this interaction.

Gibb’s (1988) Reflection Cycle

Gibbs model is an extension of Kolb’s. Gibb’s reflection cycle is a popular model used in reflective writing. There are six stages in the cycle.

  • Description. What happened? Describe the experience you are reflecting on and who is involved.
  • Feelings. What were you thinking and feeling at the time? What were your thoughts and feelings afterward?
  • Evaluation. What was good and bad about the experience? How did you react to the situation? How did other people react? Was the situation resolved? Why and how was it resolved or why wasn’t it resolved? Could the resolution have been better?
  • Analysis. What sense can you make of the situation? What helped or hindered during the event? How does this compare to the literature on the subject?
  • Conclusion. What else could you have done? What have you learned from the experience? Could you have responded differently? How would improve or repeat success? How can you avoid failure?
  • Action plan. If it arose again what would you do? How can you better prepare yourself for next time?

Driscoll’s Method (1994) and Rolfe et al (2001) Reflexive Learning

The Driscoll Method break the process down into three questions. What (Description), So What (Analysis) and Now What (Proposed action). Rolf et al 2001 extended the model further by giving more in-depth and reflexive questions.

  • What is the problem/ difficulty/reason for being stuck/reason for feeling bad?
  • What was my role in the situation?
  • What was I trying to achieve?
  • What actions did I take?
  • What was the response of others?
  • What were the consequences for the patient / for myself / for others?
  • What feeling did it evoke in the patient / in myself / in others?
  • What was good and bad about the experience?
  • So, what were your feelings at the time?
  • So, what are your feelings now? Are there any differences? Why?
  • So, what were the effects of what you did or did not do?
  • So, what good emerged from the situation for yourself and others? Does anything trouble you about the experience or event?
  • So, what were your experiences like in comparison to colleagues, patients, visitors, and others?
  • So, what are the main reasons for feeling differently from your colleagues?
  • Now, what are the implications for you, your colleagues and the patients?
  • Now, what needs to happen to alter the situation?
  • Now, what are you going to do about the situation?
  • Now, what happens if you decide not to alter anything?
  • Now, what will you do differently if faced with a similar situation?
  • Now, what information would you need to deal with the situation again?
  • Now, what methods would you use to go about getting that information?

This model is mostly used for clinical experiences in degrees related to medicine such as nursing or genetic counseling. It helps to get students comfortable thinking over each experience and adapting to situations.

This is just a selection of basic models of this type of writing. And there are more in-depth models out there if you’re writing a very advanced reflective essay. These models are good for beginner level essays. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses. So, it is best to use one that allows you to answer the set question fully.

This written piece can follow many different structures depending on the subject area . So, check your assignment to make sure you don’t have a specifically assigned structural breakdown. For example, an essay that follows Gibbs plan directly with six labeled paragraphs is typical in nursing assignments. A more typical piece will follow a standard structure of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Now, let’s look into details on how to craft each of these essay parts.

How to Write an Introduction?

There are several good ways to start a reflective essay . Remember that an introduction to a reflective essay differs depending on upon what kind of reflection is involved. A science-based introduction should be brief and direct introducing the issue you plan on discussing and its context.

Related post: How to write an Essay Introduction

For example, a nursing student might want to discuss the overreliance on medical journals in the industry and why peer-reviewed journals led to mistaken information. In this case, one good way how to start a reflective essay introduction is by introducing a thesis statement. Help the reader see the real value of your work.

Do you need help with your thesis statement? Take a look at our recent guide explaining what is a thesis statement .

Let’s look at some reflective essay examples.

‘During my first month working at Hospital X, I became aware just how many doctors treated peer-views journal articles as a gospel act. This is a dangerous practice that because of (a), (b) and (c) could impact patients negatively.’

The reflective essay on English class would begin differently. In fact, it should be more personal and sound less bookish .

How to Write the Main Body Paragraphs?

The main body of the essay should focus on specific examples of the issue in question. A short description should be used for the opener. Each paragraph of this piece should begin with an argument supporting the thesis statement.

The most part of each paragraph should be a reflexive analysis of the situation and evaluation . Each paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that caps the argument. In a science-based essay, it is important to use theories, other studies from journals and source-based material to argue and support your position in an objective manner.

How to Write the Conclusion?

A conclusion should provide a summary of the issues explored, remind the reader of the purpose of the essay and suggest an appropriate course of action in relation to the needs identified in the body of the essay.

This is mostly an action plan for the future. However, if appropriate a writer can call readers to action or ask questions. Make sure that the conclusion is powerful enough for readers to remember it. In most cases, an introduction and a conclusion is the only thing your audience will remember.

Reflective Essay Topics

Here are some good topics for a reflective essay. We’ve decided to categorize them to help you find good titles for reflective essays that fit your requirement.

Medicine-related topics:

  • Write a reflective essay on leadership in nursing
  • How did a disease of your loved ones (or your own) change you?
  • Write a reflection essay on infection control
  • How dealing with peer-reviewed journals interrupts medical procedures?
  • Write a reflection essay about community service
  • Write a reflective essay on leadership and management in nursing

Topics on teamwork:

  • Write a reflective essay on the group presentation
  • What makes you a good team player and what stays in the way of improvement?
  • Write a reflective essay on the presentation
  • Write about the last lesson you learned from working in a team
  • A reflective essay on career development: How teamwork can help you succeed in your career?

Topics on personal experiences:

  • Write a reflective essay on the pursuit of happiness: what it means to you and how you’re pursuing it?
  • Write a reflective essay on human sexuality: it is overrated today? And are you a victim of stereotypes in this area?
  • Write a reflective essay on growing up
  • Reflective essay on death: How did losing a loved one change your world?
  • Write a reflective essay about a choice you regret
  • Write a reflective essay on the counseling session

Academic topics:

  • A reflective essay on the writing process: How does writing help you process your emotions and learn from experiences?
  • Write a reflective essay on language learning: How learning a new language changes your worldview
  • A reflective essay about a choice I regret
Related Posts: Research Paper topics | Compare&Contrast Essay topics

Reflective Essay Example

Tips on writing a good reflective essay.

Some good general tips include the following:

Do's and don'ts of reflective essay writing

As long as you use tips by HandMade Writing, you’ll end up having a great piece. Just stick to our recommendations. And should you need the help of a pro essay writer service, remember that we’re here to help!

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

Due to human nature, we draw conclusions only when life gives us a lesson since the experience of others is not so effective and powerful. Therefore, when analyzing and sorting out common problems we face, we may trace a parallel with well-known book characters or real historical figures. Moreover, we often compare our situations with […]

Ethical Research Paper Topics

Ethical Research Paper Topics

Writing a research paper on ethics is not an easy task, especially if you do not possess excellent writing skills and do not like to contemplate controversial questions. But an ethics course is obligatory in all higher education institutions, and students have to look for a way out and be creative. When you find an […]

Art Research Paper Topics

Art Research Paper Topics

Students obtaining degrees in fine art and art & design programs most commonly need to write a paper on art topics. However, this subject is becoming more popular in educational institutions for expanding students’ horizons. Thus, both groups of receivers of education: those who are into arts and those who only get acquainted with art […]

How to Write a Reflective Essay: Examples, Intro, Body, & Conclusion

22 December 2023

last updated

This article is a guideline on how to write a good reflective essay, addressing the areas students should pay attention to when their lecturers give them assignments to produce such papers. Basically, a reflective essay examines the writer’s experience in life. People explore how their involvement changed or developed their characters and gather accurate details to support the main argument. In this case, each topic is essential because it teaches readers most important details that should guide their writing, from choosing a topic, following the correct outline, and going through each technical step to produce a quality document. Reading this guideline gives writers critical insights on writing an outstanding reflective essay, guaranteeing they can create a high-quality paper under any context. Although the article focuses on students as the primary audience, anyone needs to understand that an effective reflective essay should have a proper introduction, a compelling body, and a conclusion that brings an appropriate closure and apply the knowledge to be an expert, thoughtful essay writer.

General Aspects for Writing an Outstanding Reflective Essay

When lecturers give students writing reflection papers, they aim to develop intellectuals. The writing process of different types of papers demands learners to utilize their academic training to produce knowledge that others can consume for enlightenment. As such, various types of essays are central to providing college students with a platform for their reflection papers, constructing their intellectual personas and influencing others. Reading this guideline helps students and anyone interested in writing to gain insights into essential requirements when organizing essays. Specifically, this article provides a guideline for writing a reflective essay by addressing key aspects that authors of reflection papers need to know and essay topics they can choose to produce a high-quality scholarly document.

How to Write a Reflective Essay: Examples, Intro, Body, & Conclusion

For writing your paper, these links will be helpful:

  • Essay Writers Online
  • 5 Parts of an Essay
  • How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay
  • How to Write a Critical Response Essay
  • Essay Rubric

Definition of What Is a Reflective Essay and Its Meaning

A reflective essay is a document whose primary focus is the writer’s self-reflection on his or her experience or a topic. Ideally, students writing a reflective essay must use their creative thinking skills to examine an experience or an issue and clearly state what it means to them without relying on others’ inputs. Therefore, the main purpose of writing a reflective essay is to present the writer’s own perspective on an issue. College professors assign their students tasks to write these essays because they understand that applying knowledge is the most effective strategy meaning to entrench knowledge. Self-reflection on an experience or topic means the way in which students apply what they have learned and create new knowledge through creative thinking. However, a reflective essay is not similar to an argumentative essay , an analytical essay , a cause and effect essay , an expository essay , or a research paper because, while writing about personal aspects allows students to use their own knowledge and experience, other papers have different purposes and requirements.

Common Types of Reflective Essays

Reflective essays take different forms because limiting what students can reflect on is impossible. Typically, English professors require students to write thoughtful texts about what they have read or studied in class and their experience on something personal as their reflection. The reasoning behind such expectation is that human beings have the imagination to judge events that occur in diverse contexts. Everyone learns something from experiences that shape their existence. Hence, when writing a reflective essay, students must first understand its purpose because it forms the foundation of their focus.

Join our satisfied customers who have received perfect papers from Wr1ter Team.

Reflection on an Assigned Reading

College students read various texts in any semester, including assigned textbooks, articles, research papers, essays, reflections, commentaries, and opinions. These documents have one similarity in common since they all address topics lecturers consider important to learners’ intellectual development. In this respect, it is common for students to receive paper assignments requiring them to write a reflective paper on an article, poem, play, novel, or research topic. While professors often specify essay topics, students may encounter scenarios where they must construct sentences themselves. The most important thing they must consider when organizing reflection papers properly is that they must reflect the text the tutor prescribes.

Writing a Reflective Essay About an Article

Articles are texts commonly found online where writers pick an issue of concern to society or a specific community and discuss it from various perspectives as a reflection. For example, authors of articles posted in the New York Times journal may write about how social policies of the New York state government have contributed to homelessness. Some authors may claim that these policies have resulted in high rental prices, forcing many individuals and families to seek alternative accommodation, including living with relatives and in homeless shelters. A lecturer may require students to write a reflective essay on such articles. In turn, one must read the online article to understand the author’s perspectives in such an instance. As a result, students must reflect on how these viewpoints apply to them, people they know, and society. Their reflection paper writing should underscore the article’s significance.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Poem

Poems are texts that paint a picture of society through words. Like art, they address many societal issues, such as leadership, love, family, morality, and tragedy. However, unlike most texts, poems are complex since their language requires readers to engage in critical thinking and reflection. Like an artist hides a message in a mural, a poet uses words to communicate deep insights. As such, lecturers often require students to read poems and write reflective papers. In such a scenario, students should read poems through their creative thinking lens and pick critical insights that they can expound on. However, their exposition and reflection should be based on what they think and not what others say.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Play

Like poems, plays serve the purpose of communicating ideas with a profound message or hidden meaning. It is common for college students to read plays as part of course content and write reflection papers. As such, reflecting on such literature plays helps learners to apply knowledge to specific contexts. Therefore, when writing a reflective essay on a poem, students should read assigned plays to understand the information or knowledge the author intends to convey. The next step is to write a paper that allows them to self-reflect by explaining how the profound message or hidden meaning applies to real life.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Novel

Unlike plays and poems, novels are long texts. Nonetheless, they are similar to the extent they address issues common in society. Most novelists use their creative imagination and reflection to communicate social problems through texts. Therefore, reading novels across generations is the best way to know how modern society reflects human civilization. With this understanding, English professors often require students to read novels and write reflective essays for the final semester assessment. In such a context, students should read the novel and interact with other materials about this work, such as commentaries and reviews by different authors. However, these texts should only help students to better understand the novel rather than form part of a reflective essay.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Research Topic

It is common for college students to read research topics as part of their academic work. Almost all disciplines have issues that attract the attention of researchers. However, social sciences tend to have the highest level of this attention and reflection because they are about the social world. One approach lecturers in social sciences develop students into intellectuals requires them to analyze different research topics and produce a reflection paper. If students receive such instructions, they should read the study to understand critical points. Because researchers tend to be broad in assessing issues, writers should narrow their focus by picking a problem they think has the greatest significance to them or an aspect of their academic or social environment.

Reflection on an Experience

The most effective way of helping students to gain a deeper understanding of concepts, thoughts, and ideas is to require them to apply what they have learned to their personal lives as their reflection. Like everyone else, learners have personal experiences that enrich their existence despite their impact. In other words, a unique experience may have been pleasant or unpleasant. In turn, people can always get a moral lesson if they view it through optimism. Lecturers often require students to write reflective essays on personal experiences, including a life event, work experience, peer relation, domestic experience, and a hobby.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Life Event

It is natural for everyone to experience a life event that leaves a lasting impact on them and close relations, including parents, siblings, friends, and even neighbors. Examples of these events include a near-death experience, such as an automobile accident, a chronic disease, or a personal loss, such as losing a parent. While these events are unique, they can trigger people’s creative imagination and reflection if they are discussing such topics. Lecturers understand this truth, and they give their learners assignments to write reflective essays about personal experiences. When students receive such instructions, they should use their imagination and reflection to link what they have learned with what happened to them in the past that remains significant today. Doing so gives a reelection essay a scholarly characteristic, allowing it to be an academic text others can consume.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Work Experience

Working is an activity that no one can avoid from adolescence. While students may not be employable because they are yet to complete their education, employers give them opportunities to gain practical work experience along their academic journey. Work attachments are integral to a college education because they allow students to experience the work environment before graduation. Moreover, some students come from families with established businesses, while others seek employment during holidays to fund their education. This reality explains why professors ask learners to write reflective essays about a work experience. Under such an instruction, students should recall and talk about an incident in a work environment with a lasting impact as their reflection.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Peer Relation

Peer relations are rich sources of personal experiences for college students. As social beings, adolescents develop friendships with their peers in diverse environments, including schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. For example, a significant peer relationship reflection can be romantic or friendly. Almost every college student has experienced a romantic encounter that left them with lasting memories. Professors can ask their audience to write a reflective essay on a romantic relationship and how it generally shapes their view of life. In such a reflection paper, writers should include how the relationship challenged their perceptions or entrenched ideals, like commitment and honesty. In turn, people can focus on friendship and how it changed their lives. Essentially, the text should focus on the dynamics that shaped the relationship, such as availability, and how they think they are essential or nonessential for a lasting engagement.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Domestic Experience

The domestic environment directly impacts people’s attitudes and behaviors. It is impossible for one to live without the influence of parents, whether biological or foster, guardians, or siblings. Standard domestic experiences for writing a reflection paper include family vacations, parental divorce, domestic violence, or events like family get-togethers. Lecturers often require students to think about how such experiences have impacted their worldview, including entrenching values, like hard work, empathy, and integrity. When students have to write a reflective essay on a domestic experience, their focus should be on events that have a lasting impact on their memory. Such events are easy to evaluate because they stand out in the writer’s behavior and mannerisms.

Writing a Reflective Essay About a Hobby

Hobbies are personal engagements that form part of a person’s social experience. People have different hobbies because only some of them are fascinated by one thing, like watching a football game or hiking a mountain. However, everyone has an interest they engage in as a form of unwinding after a difficult task or life season. College tutors view reflective essays as essential for students to relate their hobbies to a course concept or idea. When learners receive instructions to write such a paper, they should be honest and talk about their hobby, not someone else’s. Ideally, reflections enable students to view their hobbies through the lens of coursework .

Receive personalized assistance from our writers, ensuring your paper is both original and tailored to your needs..

Examples of Reflective Essay Topics

Since everyone has unique experiences and perspectives on different reflective essay topics , lecturers often instruct students to write reflective essays without specifying the topic. However, reflecting on a text differs because the lecturer can select the reading. When it comes to individual experience, students have a free hand in deciding personal essay topics . As a result, some examples of reflection essay topics students and other people can choose to write about are:

Sample Topics on Assigned Readings

  • How “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley Applies to Contemporary Society
  • The Moral Lesson in the Play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
  • The Essence of Morality Through the Lens of the Poem “Morality” by Mathew Arnold

Topics on a Personal Experience

  • Overcoming a Fear That Changed My Life
  • The Challenges of Long-Distance Dating
  • How Family Fosters Togetherness
  • How a Near-Death Experience Shaped My Ideals

Outline Example for Writing a Reflective Essay

I. College Essay Introduction

  • Attention-grabbing hook : Dating is a social experience shaped by multiple dynamics.
  • Overview of the topic: The challenges of long-distance dating.
  • Thesis statement : Long-distance dating has taught me that human beings are naturally dishonest, love cannot flourish without supervision, and faithfulness results from commitment.

II. Body Paragraphs

  • First paragraph : Open with a topic sentence about the first lesson and provide a reflection paper for this first lesson.
  • Second paragraph: Present the second lesson and reflect on this second lesson.
  • The third paragraph: Start by emphasizing the third lesson and write a reflection for this third lesson.

Note: The number of body paragraphs depends on the length of the assignment. Usually, the length of a reflective essay is about 500-1000 words, which means 2-4 double spaced pages or 1-2 single spaced pages.

III. Conclusion

  • Summary of body points
  • Restate the thesis statement of a reflection
  • Conclude with a final remark

Example of a Good Reflective Essay

Topic: The Challenges of Long-Distance Dating

I. Example of an Introduction for Writing a Personal Essay

Dating is an experience that enriches one’s worldview because of the dynamics that shape it. However, long-distance dating has significant drawbacks that create the wrong impression about dating as a social experience. My experience with long-distance dating is awful because I have learned that human beings are naturally dishonest, love cannot flourish without supervision, and faithfulness is a product of commitment.

II. Example of the First Body Paragraph for Writing a Personal Essay

Long-distance dating challenges the adage ‘honesty is the best policy’ because it reveals humans as naturally dishonest. After my reflection, I learned this painful lesson when I developed a relationship with a friend I met online in my early adolescence. Since this period of growth is when individuals develop most peer relationships, dating is common among youth, especially those in college. The essence of dating for many adolescents is the freedom it represents since one can choose whom they love without social restrictions. However, dating someone you do not regularly meet because of distance is troublesome. After meeting someone on the Internet I thought was a perfect match for me, I hoped to develop a lasting romantic relationship. However, things turned ugly when I learned that the person of my dreams was married. This experience convinced me that human beings are naturally dishonest.

III. Example of the Second Body Paragraph for Writing a Personal Essay

The greatest lesson from my dating experience is that love cannot flourish without supervision and reflection. I always tell myself it was good that I discovered the person was married because I would have continued investing emotionally in a relationship built on a lie. My desire to know my online date more closely saved me from the futile endeavor. Generally, this burning interest to learn more is a form of social supervision because it helps one to discover truths. Although my reflection quest for truth led to the end of the relationship, it helped me to learn that love cannot flourish if no one desires to know more about their partner. I consider this desire to know as supervising love.

IV. Example of the Third Body Paragraph for Writing a Personal Essay

More importantly, my experience with long-distance dating taught me that faithfulness is a product of commitment. I was committed to the relationship because I was faithful, neither married nor dating anyone else. Unfortunately, my partner was not trustworthy because this person was married, explaining why he was less committed to investing emotionally in the relationship. The genesis of my reflection quest for more information about him was that he turned down several of my requests for a physical meet-up. After learning he was married, I understood why he would not agree to meet physically because he was not committed to the relationship. To him, dating was a passive hobby.

V. Example of a Conclusion for Writing a Personal Essay

The above experiences with long-distance dating have shaped my worldview about people and love. While one may consider some individuals pleasant or unpleasant, all are transformative because they have shifted my perceptions. They have convinced me that people are naturally dishonest, one cannot nurture love without supervision, and commitment births faithfulness. While my experience was awful, these lessons are essential for my reflection and emotional well-being in my future romantic relationships.

4 Easy Steps for Writing a Reflective Essay

While reflection writing is straightforward, producing a reflective essay can be complex because one must observe technical details that shape a high-quality paper. Ideally, students should approach a reflective essay as an academic exercise because there are specific issues and rules they must observe and satisfy to make their work meet the requirements of such a document. These issues include sufficient preparation, setting up the stage, producing a first draft, and perfecting a final draft. Important rules include creating an error-free paper, meaning a good reflection paper must not have grammar or formatting mistakes or plagiarized information.

Step 1: Preparation

In this first step, students must prepare themselves by doing specific things. Firstly, they should choose a particular topic of interest and define it. Ideally, the topic should indicate the kind of essay they want to produce, whether a self-reflection about a text or a personal experience. In the case of the former, the lecturer specifies the topic. The next task is to prepare ideas through brainstorming with classmates or friends while considering the audience of their work. A good reflective essay should be an academic paper that meets quality standards because those who will consume it include the lecturer, fellow students, and anyone wanting to know more about the topic. When writing a reflective essay, students should understand that the purpose of their texts is to provide an opportunity for self-reflection by presenting their papers.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

The next step in writing a reflective essay is to set up the stage where students need to consider several tasks. The first aspect is to find credible sources if the mission is to talk about assigned readings, such as a poem, short story, or novel. Locating reliable sources is vital to ensure one stays within the topic. Secondly, one should read valid sources while making notes. For reflection papers, they should use the ideas generated in the preparation stage to guide note-taking. The third task is creating a well-organized essay structure and essay outline that reflects the standard format of this type of essay as described by the sample above. Lastly, writers should create an annotated bibliography to ensure that borrowed information in the text has a corresponding original source. Doing so helps avoid plagiarizing the work. However, this task does not apply to an essay about a personal experience.

Step 3: The Writing Process

The third step in producing a reflective essay is to create a first draft. At this stage of writing a reflective paper, students should focus on capturing all the ideas generated when preparing to execute the task. As such, they should not worry about the quality, like grammar and formatting. The importance of a first draft is that it allows writers to put their ideas together. If a particular reflection topic is about assigned readings, students may use this stage to find more sources that help to expand their reasoning. They may also alter the outline to accommodate any additional instructions, such as the length of the paper. The most important thing one should do is develop a clear thesis statement because it should guide their work.

Writing the Introduction

The introduction is the first part of any essay and contains the overall focus of the paper. When developing this part for a reflective essay, students should ensure they capture the reader’s attention, establish the topic’s background, and conclude with a thesis statement. They also should provide background information about the topic. In reflection papers, these three components are essential features of an essay’s opening section. To a greater extent, they determine whether the audience will complete reading the text. Students should know — people do not read unexciting texts when organizing this section. Such texts lack a hook that grabs one’s attention and ignites a desire to learn more in the rest of the paper.

Writing Body Paragraphs

The body of a reflective essay should capture all the ideas that writers have generated in the preparation stage. However, the tutor’s instructions regarding the college essay length should determine whether writers use all the ideas, add new ones, or drop some of them. Each paragraph should open with a topic sentence emphasizing an idea in the thesis statement. These ideas may be lessons for a reflection paper about a personal experience, but, if the focus is on reading the article, they should be arguments or observations since specific details and evidence make the work compelling. In turn, real-life examples make a reflection relevant and persuasive. Ideally, this part of a reflection paper should cover an evidence-based format by integrating course concepts and ideas. All parts must relate to one another, while achieving a proper flow of ideas improves the quality of a reflective essay. People should use the rest of the paragraph to explain the lesson or observation or enrich the argument. Other essential components of each paragraph include a concluding sentence and a transition. Therefore, body paragraphs of a reflection paper

Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph is the last part of a reflective essay. The most important features include summarizing the paper by emphasizing key lessons for a piece about a personal experience or arguments or observations for an article about a text. Basically, writers sum up all the main points discussed in the body. The next quality is restating the thesis statement by rewording it, and lastly, is to make a final remark about the topic. Such a remark must underscore writers’ primary worldviews as a product of their reflection. Therefore, when organizing this section, students should know that their focus is to finalize the text by making declarations that allow readers to be satisfied. It is illogical for a paper to leave a reader hanging unless it is fiction. Thus, one should bring a reflective essay to a logical closure.

Step 4: Wrapping Up the Paper

The last step in writing a reflective essay is to produce a final draft by perfecting a first draft. This wrap-up exercise involves revising the first version of the text to ensure it captures all the author’s ideas. The second task for writing a reflection paper is to edit the text by adding or eliminating sentences to provide a logical flow of ideas and thoughts. The next mission is to ensure all three parts — introduction, body, and conclusion — capture all essential features, including thesis, topic sentences, and final remarks, as appropriate. The last task is to eliminate all mistakes, including grammatical errors, incorrect punctuation, formatting flaws, and missing citations. To produce a perfect reflection paper, one must familiarize themselves with all rules of academic writing and use them as the measure for polishing a final draft.

Important Rules for Writing a Reflective Essay

When writing a reflective essay, students should observe all the rules applicable to their work, even if the lecturer does not emphasize them. The first convention that one should satisfy is to maintain a formal tone. Apart from using the first-person voice, students should ensure their work is academic. As such, they should avoid slang and any language that dilutes the formality of their text, and they need to write following the active voice. Another convention to consider when writing a reflection paper is to cite ideas that writers borrow from different sources. For example, when students use quotes from the text they are reflecting on, such as an online article, they should cite it properly by paying attention to APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian writing styles.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Reflective Essay

  • Reflective essays allow students to discuss relevant events or course readings that influenced their lives.
  • This guideline shows that writing a good reflective essay is a rigorous exercise that requires one to understand several tips.
  • Understand the topic when writing a reflection essay: whether one is to reflect on a text or a personal experience.
  • Brainstorm and create a mental database of ideas.
  • Develop a clear outline that emphasizes the introduction, body, and conclusion and the key features of each.
  • Review all the technical steps of producing a high-quality reflective essay.
  • Produce a first draft and then perfect a document into a final draft by eliminating all mistakes, like wrong grammar, poor formatting, and illogical sentences.
  • Proofread final drafts before presenting them to lecturers.
  • It is advisable to give the final draft to someone to read a reflection paper and avoid missing out key details or obvious mistakes.

The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

How to Write an Introduction to a Reflective Essay

How to Write a Speculative Essay

How to Write a Speculative Essay

A reflective essay incites the writer to reflect on topics from the framework of personal experience. Reflective essays must have a clearly defined focus with a consistent point of view. They should provide background information and include narrative elements such as plot, characters, setting and conflict. Reflective essays should present events in a clear format such as chronologically. Although they differ from other essays in their content, they follow the same basic format.

Introduce and define the essay topic. The first sentence should be strong to enable the reader to become immersed in the topic. Do this by providing interesting details and stating personal feelings and/or expectations. Provide background and personal information in the context of the essay topic. The point of view of your essay can be in first or third person but should be consistent.

Provide the purpose or rationale for writing the essay. Ensure that your stated purpose is clear as it will anchor your flow of ideas to the topic. Although this does not have to be persuasive or argumentative, your reader should be able to get a sense of why you chose the topic.

State your thesis about the topic. Your thesis should encapsulate your viewpoint about the topic. Make this statement realistic and able to be substantiated with information provided in the body of your essay.

Edit your introductory paragraph at the completion of your essay. Check that your flow of ideas is logical and you have avoided any ambiguity about the topic, rationale and thesis. Ensure the paragraph is free of grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.

Related Articles

How to Write an Anecdotal Essay

How to Write an Anecdotal Essay

How to Write an Introduction to an Analytical Essay

How to Write an Introduction to an Analytical Essay

How to Write a Controlling Idea Essay

How to Write a Controlling Idea Essay

How to Write a Thesis & Introduction for a Critical Reflection Essay

How to Write a Thesis & Introduction for a Critical Reflection Essay

How to write an essay with a thesis statement.

What Is a Bridge Statement in English Homework?

What Is a Bridge Statement in English Homework?

Should a Thesis Statement Be Included in an APA Style Outline?

Should a Thesis Statement Be Included in an APA Style Outline?

How to write a definition essay.

Emily Rose is a full-time freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2010. Rose's interests include psychology-driven topics such as mental health, human relationships, addiction and stigma and discrimination. She has a bachelor's degree in arts from the Queensland University of Technology and is currently obtaining a degree in creative writing (nonfiction narrative) at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Studyqueries logo final

Reflective Essay: Introduction, Structure, Topics, Examples For University

Table of Contents

If you’re not quite sure how to go about writing reflective essays, they can be a real stumbling block. Reflective essays are essentially a critical examination of a life experience, and with the right guidance, they don’t have to be too difficult to write. As with other essays, a reflective essay needs to be well structured and easily understood, but its content is more like a diary entry.

This guide discusses how to write a successful reflective essay, including what makes a great structure and some tips on the writing process. To make this guide the ultimate guide for anyone who needs help with reflective essays, we’ve included an example reflective essay as well.

Reflective Essay

Reflective essays require students to examine their life experiences, especially those which left an impact.

Reflective Essay

The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to challenge students to think deeply and to learn from their experiences. This is done by describing their thoughts and feelings regarding a certain experience and analyzing its impact.

Reflective essays are a unique form of academic writing that encourages introspection and self-analysis. They provide an opportunity for individuals to reflect upon their experiences, thoughts, and emotions, and effectively communicate their insights. In this article, we will explore the essential components of a reflective essay, discuss popular topics, provide guidance on how to start and structure the essay, and offer examples to inspire your writing.

I. Understanding Reflective Essays:

  • Definition and purpose of reflective essays
  • Key characteristics that distinguish them from other types of essays
  • Benefits of writing reflective essays for personal growth and development

II. Choosing a Reflective Essay Topic:

  • Exploring personal experiences and their impact
  • Analyzing significant life events or milestones
  • Examining challenges, successes, or failures and lessons learned
  • Reflecting on personal growth and transformation
  • Discussing the impact of specific books, movies, or artworks
  • Analyzing the influence of cultural or social experiences
  • Reflecting on internships, volunteer work, or professional experiences

III. Starting a Reflective Essay:

  • Engage the reader with a captivating hook or anecdote
  • Introduce the topic and provide context
  • Clearly state the purpose and objectives of the reflection
  • Include a thesis statement that highlights the main insights to be discussed

IV. Writing a Reflective Essay on a Class:

  • Assessing the overall learning experience and objectives of the class
  • Analyzing personal growth and development throughout the course
  • Reflecting on challenges, achievements, and lessons learned
  • Discussing the impact of specific assignments, projects, or discussions
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of teaching methods and materials

V. Common Mistakes to Avoid in Reflective Essay Writing:

  • Superficial reflection without deep analysis
  • Overuse of personal opinions without supporting evidence
  • Lack of organization and coherence in presenting ideas
  • Neglecting to connect personal experiences to broader concepts or theories
  • Failing to provide specific examples to illustrate key points

VI. Why “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell is Classified as a Reflective Essay:

  • Briefly summarize the essay’s content and context
  • Analyze the introspective and self-analytical elements in Orwell’s narrative
  • Discuss the themes of moral conflict, imperialism, and personal conscience
  • Highlight Orwell’s reflections on the psychological and emotional impact of his actions

VII. Reflective Essay Structure:

  • Engaging opening statement or anecdote
  • Background information and context
  • Clear thesis statement
  • Present and analyze personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions
  • Reflect on the significance and impact of those experiences
  • Connect personal reflections to broader concepts or theories
  • Provide supporting evidence and specific examples
  • Summarize key insights and reflections
  • Emphasize the personal growth or lessons learned
  • Conclude with a thought-provoking statement or call to action

VIII. Reflective Essay Examples:

  • Example 1: Reflecting on a life-changing travel experience
  • Example 2: Analyzing personal growth during a challenging academic year
  • Example 3: Reflecting on the impact of volunteering at a local shelter

During a reflective essay, the writer examines his or her own experiences, hence the term ‘reflection’. The purpose of a reflective essay is to allow the author to recount a particular life experience. However, it should also explore how he or she has changed or grown as a result of the experience.

The format of reflective writing can vary, but you’ll most likely see it in the form of a learning log or diary entry. The author’s diary entries demonstrate how the author’s thoughts have developed and evolved over the course of a particular period of time.

The format of a reflective essay can vary depending on the intended audience. A reflective essay might be academic or part of a broader piece of writing for a magazine, for example.

While the format for class assignments may vary, the purpose generally remains the same: tutors want students to think deeply and critically about a particular learning experience. Here are some examples of reflective essay formats you may need to write:

Focusing on personal growth:

Tutors often use this type of paper to help students develop their ability to analyze their personal life experiences so that they can grow and develop emotionally. As a result of the essay, the student gains a better understanding of themselves and their behaviors.

Taking a closer look at the literature:

The purpose of this type of essay is for students to summarize the literature, after which it is applied to their own experiences.

What am I supposed to write about?

When deciding on the content of your reflective essay, you need to keep in mind that it is highly personal and is intended to engage the reader. Reflective essays are much more than just recounting a story. As you reflect on your experience (more on this later), you will need to demonstrate how it influenced your subsequent behavior and how your life has consequently changed.

Start by thinking about some important experiences in your life that have had a profound impact on you, either positively or negatively. A reflection essay topic could be a real-life experience, an imagined experience, a special object or place, a person who influenced you, or something you’ve seen or read.

If you are asked to write a reflective essay for an academic assignment, it is likely that you will be asked to focus on a particular episode – such as a time when you had to make an influential decision – and explain the results. In a reflective essay, the aftermath of the experience is especially significant; miss this out and you will simply be telling a story.

Is Remote Learning a Genuine Alternative to More Traditional Methods?

Considerations

In this type of essay, the reflective process is at the core, so it’s important that you get it right from the beginning. Think deeply about how the experience you have chosen to focus on impacted or changed you. Consider the implications for you on a personal level based on your memories and feelings.

Once you have chosen the topic of your essay, it is imperative that you spend a lot of time thinking about it and studying it thoroughly. Write down everything you remember about it, describing it as clearly and completely as you can. Use your five senses to describe your experience, and be sure to use adjectives. During this stage, you can simply take notes using short phrases, but make sure to record your reactions, perceptions, and experiences.

As soon as you’ve emptied your memory, you should begin reflecting. Choosing some reflection questions that will help you think deeply about the impact and lasting effects of your experience is a helpful way to do this. Here are some suggestions:

  • As a result of the experience, what have you learned about yourself?
  • What have you developed as a result? How?
  • Has it had a positive or negative impact on your life?
  • Looking back, what would you do differently?
  • If you could go back, what would you do differently? Did you make the right decisions?
  • How would you describe the experience in general? What did you learn from the experience? What skills or perspectives did you acquire?

You can use these signpost questions to kick-start your reflective process. Remember that asking yourself lots of questions is crucial to ensuring that you think deeply and critically about your experiences – a skill at the heart of a great reflective essay.

Use models of reflection (like the Gibbs or Kolb cycles) before, during, and after the learning process to ensure that you maintain a high standard of analysis. Before you get to the nitty-gritty of the process, consider questions such as: what might happen (in regards to the experience)?

Will there be any challenges? What knowledge will be needed to best prepare? When you are planning and writing, these questions may be helpful: what is happening within the learning process? Has everything worked according to plan? How am I handling the challenges that come with it?

Do you need to do anything else to ensure that the learning process is successful? Is there anything I can learn from this? Using a framework like this will enable you to keep track of the reflective process that should guide your work.

Here’s a useful tip: no matter how well prepared you feel with all that time spent reflecting in your arsenal, don’t start writing your essay until you have developed a comprehensive, well-rounded plan. There will be so much more coherence in what you write, your ideas will be expressed with structure and clarity, and your essay will probably receive higher marks as a result.

It’s especially important when writing a reflective essay as it’s possible for people to get a little ‘lost’ or disorganized as they recount their own experiences in an erratic and often unsystematic manner since it’s an incredibly personal topic. But if you outline thoroughly (this is the same thing as a ‘plan’) and adhere to it like Christopher Columbus adhered to a map, you should be fine as you embark on the ultimate step of writing your essay. We’ve summarized the benefits of creating a detailed essay outline below if you’re still not convinced of the value of planning:

An outline can help you identify all the details you plan to include in your essay, allowing you to remove all superfluous details so that your essay is concise and to the point.

Think of the outline as a map – you plan in advance which points you will navigate through and discuss in your writing. You will more likely have a clear line of thought, making your work easier to understand. You’ll be less likely to miss out on any pertinent details, and you won’t have to go back at the end and try to fit them in.

This is a real-time-saver! When you use the outline as an essay’s skeleton, you’ll save a tremendous amount of time when writing because you’ll know exactly what you want to say. Due to this, you will be able to devote more time to editing the paper and ensuring it meets high standards.

As you now know the advantages of using an outline for your reflective essay, it is important that you know how to create one. There can be significant differences between it and other typical essay outlines, mostly due to the varying topics. As always, you need to begin your outline by drafting the introduction, body, and conclusion. We will discuss this in more detail below.

Introduction

Your reflective essay must begin with an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement. The goal of a ‘hook’ is to capture the attention of your audience or reader from the very beginning. In the first paragraph of your story, you should convey the exciting aspects of your story so that you can succeed in

If you think about the opening quote of this article, did it grab your attention and make you want to read more? This thesis statement summarizes the essay’s focus, which in this case is a particular experience that left a lasting impression on you. Give a quick overview of your experience – don’t give too much information away or you’ll lose readers’ interest.

Education Essay Can Come from Both a Brilliant and Mediocre Writer

Reflection Essay Structure

A reflective essay differs greatly from an argumentative or research paper in its format. Reflective essays are more like well-structured stories or diary entries that are rife with insights and reflections. Your essay may need to be formatted according to the APA style or MLA style.

In general, the length of a reflection paper varies between 300 and 700 words, but it is a good idea to check with your instructor or employer about the word count. Even though this is an essay about you, you should try to avoid using too much informal language.

The following shortcuts can help you format your paper according to APA or MLA style if your instructor asks:

MLA Format for Reflective Essay

  • Times New Roman 12 pt 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 contains a Works Cited list.

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 Outline

Look at your brainstorming table to start organizing your reflective essay. ‘Past experience’ and ‘description’ should make up less than 10% of your essay.

You should include the following in your introduction:

  • Grab the reader’s attention with a short preview of what you’ll be writing about.

Example:  We found Buffy head-to-toe covered in tar, starved and fur in patches, under an abandoned garbage truck.

  • It is important to include ‘past experiences’ in a reflective essay thesis statement; a brief description of what the essay is about.

Example:  My summer volunteering experience at the animal shelter inspired me to pursue this type of work in the future.

Chronological events are the best way to explain the structure of body paragraphs. Respond to the bold questions in the ‘reflection’ section of the table to create a linear storyline.

Here’s an example of what the body paragraph outline should look like:

  • Explicit expectations about the shelter

Example:  I thought it was going to be boring and mundane.

  • The first impression
  • Experience at the shelter

Example:  Finding and rescuing Buffy.

  • Other experiences with rescuing animals
  • Discoveries

Example:  Newly found passion and feelings toward the work.

  • A newly developed mindset

Example:  How your thoughts about animal treatment have changed.

Tips on How to Stay Productive While Working Remotely

Here’s How You Can Submit a Well-Written Reflective Essay for University

Even though writing a reflective essay may seem difficult at first, once you have a clear idea of what you will write and more importantly, how to write, it often gets easier as you go along. Here are five key writing tips to keep in mind when writing a reflective essay.

Choosing a Topic for Reflection

As a busy student, when was the last time you drowned yourself in thoughts and reflected on past experiences? Here is an assignment that intentionally puts you in that position.

Think about all of the experiences which have shaped you – a life-changing event, an interaction with someone you admire, a movie character that appealed to you, a book that gave you perspective, or any other experience which contributed to your character or thought process.

You should choose a topic that will help you reflect on your growth as an individual. Start brainstorming and record every idea that comes to mind.

Organize your thoughts in a mind map

The next step is to create a mind map to help you organize your essay once you have a rough idea of what you want to write.

You can use your mind map to quiz yourself by asking questions of relevance and putting together perspectives for your essay.

The purpose of this exercise is to give you an idea of what you want your essay to be about. It is important to keep pushing yourself to think more deeply and find meaning in your experiences in order to create a successful reflective essay.

From becoming a Writer Today, here are some tips on using mind maps to write better and faster

Start Freewriting

Sometimes, all you have to do is start writing. Essentially, that’s what freewriting is all about.

After brainstorming, creating a mind map, and organizing your thoughts, open a blank document and start writing. Do not stop to think or to edit – just write as your thoughts come to you.

The best part of freewriting is that it results in a steady flow of ideas you may not have thought of otherwise.

In other words, whether or not you’re motivated to write or are constantly second-guessing your ideas, it helps to let your ideas guide you and put them down on paper.

Structure the Essay

It’s time to put your ideas and thoughts into words and give them a proper structure. A reflective essay should have the following parts:

You should begin your essay with a hook to grab the reader’s attention. While setting the tone for the rest of the essay, your thesis statement should introduce the past experience you will be reflecting on;

In this section, you will elaborate on the experience and its significance, as well as its impact on your life. Avoid rambling on and on about the experience for readers to want to read more of your essay, you need to use your storytelling skills. If you can, use examples to strengthen your narrative;

A summary of your reflections is provided in the concluding paragraph. In your essay, you should describe how the experience shaped your life and how you intend to take your learnings and apply them.

Proofread, Proofread and Proofread

Be sure to proofread your reflective essay before submitting it. Before finalizing it, you need to do thorough proofreading. You will be surprised to see how many silly mistakes are made in the first draft.

Be on the lookout for grammatical, spelling, and sentence formation mistakes. Make sure your essay flows well and avoids plagiarism. If you want a fresh set of eyes on your essay, have a family member or friend read it too.

Reflective Essay Topics

Many students find choosing the right topic for a reflective essay difficult. Writing a reflective essay requires creativity and strong writing skills to express your emotions.

Reflective essays can be inspired by nature, places, relationships, and events. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right essay topic.

  • Decide on a topic idea for your reflective essay that you are familiar with. You will find it easier to write an essay about a topic you are interested in. Never choose a topic that is new to you. This makes the writing phase difficult.
  • Research your topic: Try to recollect minor details about it. Remember all the things that are related to your topic, and include them in your essay. Take notes about your topic.
  • Pick a topic that you can explain from a unique viewpoint: Choose a topic that you can explain from a different perspective. Writing something unique that demonstrates your personality in an interesting way is a good technique. Share a memorable and meaningful experience from your life.

Topics for Reflective Essays for Middle School Students

Essay topics can be difficult to choose for some students. The following list of topics can be classified according to grade level. Pick from them and make topic selection easier.

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 7

  • Taking a trip
  • To go scuba diving
  • Within your hometown
  • Was something you were proud of
  • Even when you were lost
  • To your favorite cartoon
  • During that time you lied
  • When you were hunting
  • Did your family play an important role in your life?
  • Spending time outdoors

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 8

  • Running in the outdoors
  • While picking berries
  • Will be your biggest loss
  • Who is your biggest inspiration?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • Tell me about your most exciting moment.
  • What is your least favorite course?
  • When you go on a date
  • To a birthday party
  • Which is your favorite online space?

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 9

  • A new school
  • Makes me think about the future.
  • You participated in or watched a sporting event.
  • You moved to a new city.
  • You had an unforgettable dream.
  • You were running and hunting.
  • You cannot forget that dream.
  • It was your childhood home.
  • Watching the sunrise
  • An award ceremony

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 10

  • Defending someone in a situation
  • While playing with friends
  • It was a memorable dream
  • About lying and hiding
  • The most recent meal
  • While getting lost in the dark
  • As an intern at a hospital
  • Or when someone’s life inspired you to change your own
  • Challenges as a college freshman
  • By participating in sports

Topics for Reflective Essays for College Students

For college students, the most difficult part of writing a reflective essay is choosing a topic. Some students are better at choosing the essay topic than others, but some will get stuck in this phase.

Here are some excellent reflective essay topics for college students for your convenience. Choose one and write a well-written essay.

  • First time writing a thesis statement
  • Your favorite video game
  • The impact of social media on students
  • A place you always try to avoid
  • What was the best birthday memory you had?
  • What is your favorite restaurant?
  • The moment when you were proud of yourself
  • The bravest moment of your life
  • The most beautiful thing you have ever seen
  • A time you were embarrassed

Getting Higher Scores for an Essay: Tested Tips from Students

Topics for Reflective Essays for High School Students

The choice of a topic for a reflective essay can be confusing for high school students. Your topic should be engaging and you should be able to explain your personal experience easily. Here is a list of good topics for high school students; choose something from the list for your essay.

  • Shop at your favorite outlet store
  • To relive your favorite childhood memory
  • Of the most memorable holiday
  • That scared you?
  • That’s when you met your best friend
  • And what you love about yourself
  • Is playing with friends.
  • What’s your favorite book?
  • I loved playing in the mud as a kid.
  • Having to move to a new town or city

Topics for Reflective Essays about Places

Reflective essays should be based on strong emotions and memories. You could write an essay about a day spent at your favorite café, favorite restaurant, etc.

It is easy to write a reflective essay about a place where you have really good memories. Here are some topic ideas that you can use and write an essay on.

  • Your grandparents’ house
  • A skating rink
  • A place where you feel safe
  • A favorite vacation spot
  • A popular lunch spot
  • On your first day at the circus
  • The mall or your favorite store
  • Your first trip abroad
  • Best park in your town
  • Your most memorable adventure

Topics for Reflective Essays about Events

A good way to grab the reader’s attention is to write about any event. Your essay can be about a birthday party, a farewell, or any other event that you have enough information about.

If you are writing a reflective essay about an event, include vivid details. Here are some interesting topics for reflection essays, choose one and write a good essay.

  • Unexpected gift
  • To travel on vacation
  • While you were lost
  • The first time you voted
  • On your trip to the zoo
  • When you got a new job
  • It was one of your most memorable trips
  • During the holiday season
  • When you moved to a new city
  • Or when you swam fishing

Topics for Reflective Essays on Nature

A reflective essay should provide the reader with a deeper and more meaningful experience. In addition to making your writing process more interesting, writing about nature also stimulates your imagination.

The following are some good reflective essay topics about nature:

  • Mountain climbing
  • Ocean diving
  • Hiking in the woods
  • Climbing rocks
  • And watching the sunset
  • While running in the forest.
  • Spending quality time with your pet.
  • Taking a hike in the woods
  • And going swimming
  • While watching animals at a zoo

How to write a term paper

Topics for reflection on relationships

As relationships are filled with strong emotions, writing a reflective essay about them means expressing those emotions. The following are some good reflective essay topics about relationships:

  • A wonderful family reunion
  • When you spoke publicly for the first time
  • What friendship means to me
  • When you were punished by your parents
  • During a family reunion
  • When you apologized
  • For a time you spent with friends without parental supervision
  • Tell me about your relationship with a family member
  • An angry conversation
  • Or a genuinely funny laugh

Some reflective essay topics are the same as some of the questions you may ask in a job interview.

Examples of Reflective Essay

Check out some examples for inspiration now that you know what it takes to write a reflective essay.

An Example of a Reflective Essay on “My Little Brother”

Essay example reflecting on the arrival of a younger sibling, written at a middle or high school level.

“There have been many life-changing experiences in my short life. Every new experience has been the first experience at one point in time. For good or for bad, each event altered the course of my life. But, the most transformative event was the birth of my youngest brother.”.

Joel is someone my parents often refer to as a happy accident. My mother became pregnant when I was 13 and my other brother, Jake, was 10. We were what you would call a well-rounded family of four. In almost every way, we fit the ideal classification. My youngest brother’s striking blue eyes were the moment when we realized what we were missing.

Honestly, I resented having another sibling. It wasn’t necessary to add to our family, and my mother, already 38 at the time, was considered high risk because of her age. A pregnancy full of complications sent my life on a rollercoaster-like ride that my 13-year-old mind could not comprehend. Now I can see how forging through those loops helped me cope with the unforeseen challenges of life.

Reflective Essay Example

My mother took me to the hospital instead of my father on the day Joel was born. I was the next best alternative because Jake and my father were both feverish; it wasn’t a planned move. With each contraction, I gained a new appreciation for just how strong and powerful a woman could be at her weakest. Through holding her hand and feeding her ice chips, I gained a connection with my mother that I didn’t realize we lacked.

Almost simultaneously, my new baby brother entered this world. One doesn’t realize how much you need something until it’s sitting in your lap. Secondly, my life after this moment would never be the same the moment he curled his chubby little finger around mine, I understood the meaning of the words “happy accident.”.y.

Life has given me many experiences that have shaped me as a person. But, nothing so profoundly changed my views and outlook on life as the birth of my youngest brother. Joel’s arrival was a life-altering event that caused me to see the world through new eyes.”

Assignment Writing Purposes You Need to Know

Reflective Essay Example for “ Reading My Favorite Book”

This reflective essay example about a favorite book is something you might find at the middle or high school level.

When it comes to books, I don’t understand the appeal. Every time I was given an assignment, I would read one after another, not understanding what all the fuss was about. Nevertheless, the moment I read Pride and Prejudice, it was as if my literary eyes were opened for the first time. It stirred love within me for classics I didn’t realize could exist.

When I was first given the assignment of reading Pride and Prejudice, like many of my friends, I scoffed. With an eye roll, I internally calculated how much time I would have to read the book and write a report. I sighed at the loss of time with my friends for a stupid classic.

Cracking open the cover, I was determined to hate it before even reading the first words. By the time I reached page 3, I nearly stopped reading. But there was something about Elizabeth Bennet that quietly piqued my interest. I can’t say where, but somewhere along the way, my eyes devoured the pages instead of trudging along.

The moment I reached the end, I was ecstatic and disappointed at the same time. Their ending had been perfect, but I realized I would miss them. Not just them, but I would also miss being a part of their world.

It was the first time the characters of a story had affected me this way, so I tried to shake it off. However, after several days, that sadness carried me to the classics section of the school library. The moment I cracked open my next classic, my soul instantly felt more at ease, and I’ve never looked back.

I never thought I’d say a book changed me, but in this case, it’s true. The love I found in Pride and Prejudice introduced me to a beautiful world of classic literature I can’t imagine living without. Despite not reading Pride and Prejudice for a while, it will always be my favorite book.

In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together. This will include providing a summary of both the points made throughout and what you have learned as a result. Try to include a few points on why and how your attitudes and behaviors have been changed.

Consider also how your character and skills have been affected, for example: what conclusions can be drawn about your problem-solving skills? What can be concluded about your approach to specific situations? What might you do differently in similar situations in the future? What steps have you taken to consolidate everything that you have learned from your experience?

Keep in mind that your tutor will be looking out for evidence of reflection at a very high standard.

Congratulations – you now have the tools to create a thorough and accurate plan which should put you in good stead for the ultimate phase indeed of any essay, the writing process.

How do you start off a reflective essay?

As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin with an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement. The point of having a ‘hook’ is to grab the attention of your audience or reader from the very beginning.

Can you say I in a reflective essay?

In your reflective essay, you should use the first person with terms like I, me, my, and mine. The essay is an account of something that actually happened to you as well as your thoughts on the event.

What is an example of a reflection?

Common examples include the reflection of light, sound, and water waves. The law of reflection says that for specular reflection the angle at which the wave is incident on the surface equals the angle at which it is reflected. Mirrors exhibit specular reflection.

How do you start the first paragraph of a reflective essay?

Describe the subject matter of the paper in more detail. Include one or two sentences after the first sentence in which you describe the basic features of whatever topic you will be discussing in your essay. Describe them in terms of your feelings, and how you felt and experienced whatever you are discussing.

How many paragraphs should a reflective essay have?

The number of paragraphs depends on the requested essay length. However, it is recommended to write at least three paragraphs in this part. In the body, present your main points, arguments, and examples. This is the part of an essay where you express all your main ideas, develop them, and express your feelings and emotions.

What are the three parts of a reflective essay?

However, some major elements go into a typical reflective essay: introduction, body, and conclusion.

How Do You Write A Reflective Essay?

To write a reflective essay, follow these steps:

  • Choose a topic: Select a specific event, experience, or concept that you want to reflect upon.
  • Brainstorm and outline: Reflect on your chosen topic and jot down key points, thoughts, and emotions associated with it. Create an outline to organize your ideas.
  • Introduction: Begin with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. Provide background information and context related to the topic. End the introduction with a clear thesis statement that expresses the main insights or lessons you will discuss.
  • Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or experience related to your topic. Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and observations, and support them with specific examples or evidence. Analyze the significance and impact of these experiences.
  • Use reflection techniques: Incorporate reflection techniques such as asking yourself questions, exploring the “why” behind your thoughts and emotions, and connecting your experiences to broader concepts or theories.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your key insights and reflections from the essay. Emphasize personal growth, lessons learned, or changes in perspective. Leave the reader with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action.

Which Of These Best Describes A Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is best described as a type of academic or personal writing that allows individuals to examine and reflect upon their experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It involves introspection, self-analysis, and the exploration of lessons learned or personal growth. Reflective essays provide a platform for individuals to communicate their insights and understanding of a particular event, concept, or life experience.

What Is A Reflective Essay And Examples?

A reflective essay is a form of writing where individuals express their thoughts, feelings, and observations about a specific experience, event, or topic. It goes beyond simply describing the experience and delves into analyzing the impact, significance, and lessons learned. Reflective essays encourage self-reflection and introspection, allowing writers to gain deeper understanding and insight.

Examples of reflective essay topics include:

  • Reflecting on a life-changing travel experience and its impact on personal growth.
  • Analyzing the challenges and successes encountered during a group project and the lessons learned.
  • Reflecting on the influence of a particular book, film, or artwork and its effect on personal perspectives.
  • Examining the role of personal values and beliefs in decision-making processes.

What Are The Parts Of A Typical Reflective Essay?

A typical reflective essay consists of the following parts:

  • Introduction: It provides an engaging hook, background information, and context for the topic. The introduction ends with a clear thesis statement that states the main insights or lessons to be discussed.
  • Body paragraphs: Each paragraph focuses on a specific aspect or experience related to the topic. Writers reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and observations, supporting them with examples or evidence. They analyze the significance and impact of these experiences and connect them to broader concepts or theories.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the key insights and reflections from the essay. It emphasizes personal growth, lessons learned, or changes in perspective. A thought-provoking statement or a call to action is often included to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

What Is A Goal Of The Introduction In A Reflective Essay?

The goal of the introduction in a reflective essay is to capture the reader’s attention and provide them with the necessary background information and context related to the topic. It should set the stage for the reflective journey that follows. The introduction concludes with a clear thesis statement that outlines the main insights or lessons the writer will discuss in the essay. It acts as a roadmap, guiding the reader through the writer’s reflections.

What Idea Would Most Likely Make The Best Reflective Essay?

The best idea for a reflective essay is a topic that holds personal significance and offers opportunities for introspection and deep reflection. An idea that involves a transformative experience, a significant life event, or a challenging situation often makes for a compelling reflective essay. It should be something that evokes strong emotions, prompts critical thinking, and allows for self-analysis. The best reflective essays are those that offer meaningful insights, growth, or lessons learned.

What Makes A Good Reflective Essay?

A good reflective essay possesses several key qualities:

  • Authenticity: It reflects the writer’s genuine thoughts, emotions, and observations.
  • Depth of reflection: It goes beyond surface-level descriptions and delves into meaningful analysis, exploring the “why” behind the experiences.
  • Coherence and organization: The essay is well-structured, with clear paragraphs and logical flow of ideas.
  • Use of specific examples: It supports reflections with specific examples, evidence, or anecdotes to enhance understanding and engagement.
  • Connection to broader concepts or theories: It links personal experiences to broader concepts, theories, or societal issues to demonstrate critical thinking and understanding.
  • Insight and personal growth: The essay offers meaningful insights, lessons learned, or personal growth as a result of the reflection.

By incorporating these elements, a good reflective essay effectively communicates the writer’s introspection and provides a thought-provoking reading experience.

Safe Freelancing: What Students Need to Know About Freelance Scammers

Related Post

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

Reflective Essay

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.

Reflective Essay

On this Page

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.

3. Brainstorm

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.

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

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

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

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.

5StarEssays.com is the best essay writing service online with exceptional quality work and insanely affordable rates. In addition, our round-the-clock customer support is ready to help you out with your academic growth.

Your essays are assigned to highly qualified essay writers who have years of experience and education. They make sure to provide you with mind-blowing, error-free, and on-time essays. They don’t just cater to the reflective essay but help with all types of essays.

So, contact us now and get the best write my essay for me? service at affordable rates.

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.

John K.

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.

Was This Blog Helpful?

Keep reading.

  • Best Reflective Essay Topics Recommended by Experts

Reflective Essay

People Also Read

  • essay outline
  • how to write a summary
  • reflective essay topics
  • improve writing skills for high school students
  • learn how to write descriptive essay

Burdened With Assignments?

Bottom Slider

Advertisement

  • Homework Services: Essay Topics Generator

© 2024 - All rights reserved

2000+ SATISFIED STUDENTS

95% Satisfaction RATE

30 Days Money-back GUARANTEE

95% Success RATE

linkedin

Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us

© 2024 5StarEssays.com. All rights reserved.

LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT

  • LOG IN Processing...

SIGN UP TO YOUR ACCOUNT

  • Your phone no.
  • Password Password must be minimum 8 characters.
  • Confirm Password
  •    I have read Privacy Policy and agree to the Terms and Conditions .
  • SIGN UP Processing...

FORGOT PASSWORD

  • SEND PASSWORD

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples

How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

  • Catch your reader’s attention.
  • Give background on your topic.
  • Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

  • Braille was an extremely important invention.
  • The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

  • The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
  • The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

  • Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing - try for free!

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

how to write an intro for a reflective essay

Try for free

Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

  • Historical, geographical, or social context
  • An outline of the debate you’re addressing
  • A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
  • Definitions of key terms

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
  • Style consistency

See an example

how to write an intro for a reflective essay

As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/introduction/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a thesis statement | 4 steps & examples, academic paragraph structure | step-by-step guide & examples, how to conclude an essay | interactive example, what is your plagiarism score.

Apr 16, 2023

How to Write a Reflection Essay | Outlines and Examples

Do you ever struggle to put your thoughts into words? If you've ever felt stumped by a reflective essay assignment, you're not alone. In this article, we'll explore some strategies for writing effective reflection essays that will help you communicate your ideas clearly and powerfully!

Reflective Essays take a look at a piece of writing or an experience in your life and write down how you feel about it. This strategy not only reveals fascinating insights about your perspective and personality, but it also makes for entertaining reading. Examining some model papers is a great way to hone your skills in outlining introspective essays.

What Is a Reflective Essay?

Reflection isn't something that comes naturally to everyone. Whether one is contemplating one's own life experiences or a piece of literature, it can be challenging to put one's thoughts into words and express them adequately. Because of this, utilising this ability effectively when writing is necessary. The more time you devote to contemplating and learning about a topic, the more straightforward and understandable it will become. This situation is more complex than it initially appears to be.

What is the Purpose of Reflective Writing?

Reflective writing is another way to convey both your growth and the feelings you've experienced. You can discover a lot about yourself and how you function by conducting an in-depth investigation of your interior workings. It is interesting to watch how they mature and change over time. The initial move is always the one that presents the greatest challenge. Because of this, developing a strategy for your reflective essay is a fantastic way to kick off the writing process.

How to Create a Reflective Essay Outline?

The first part of an essay, known as the introduction, is generally composed of three parts. On the other hand, as was stated earlier, a conventional formula might experience significant shifts when written down in this manner.

Introduction

The introduction needs to be so captivating to the reader that they feel compelled to keep going with the story. To achieve this, writers will often include ambiguities, sarcastic circumstances, and tense situations in their works. An outline can be used for any kind of essay, but it is especially helpful for introspective writing because it organizes your thoughts and makes it easier to read. The abstract, just like the remainder of the essay, should be broken up into three main sections that are presented in the same order as the rest of the essay. On the other hand, as was stated earlier, a conventional formula might experience significant shifts when written down in this manner.

An engaging and interesting opening statement will pique the interest of the audience and encourage them to continue reading. To achieve this, authors will often include ambiguities, irony, and conflict within their works. The expression "my first bachelor celebration" is a good example of this concept in action.

Reflection Essay Example:

This past weekend I attended my first college frat party thanks to some friends who invited me.

That one phrase perfectly exemplifies an attention-grabbing opening to a reflective essay. In just one phrase, you've hooked the reader and set the stage for what you'll be discussing. Your essay's opening should always provide a teaser for the more in-depth explanation that follows in the essay's body.

The conclusion of your reflective essay, which you'll write based on the most significant event, should be the last line of the introduction. This sentence effectively summarises the changes brought about by the catalytic event and their importance in the grand scheme of things. 

Body Paragraphs

The body of an introspective essay needs to expand on the topic presented in the essay's thesis. Students' first challenge in writing such essays is expressing their thoughts uninhibitedly. It's simple to get sidetracked and leap from one thought to the next. This leads us to a useful piece of advice: be consistent with the story arc you've established. If possible, create a distinct outline for the paragraphs in the main body.

You're free to include as many or as few body lines as you like. The text may have a one-sentence introduction and a secret closing, for instance, but the body will always be the largest section. Put your viewpoint on display as much as possible in the middle section. Put forth justifications to back up your claim or corroborating details to back up your statements. Examples, facts, occurrences of public life, events, real-life circumstances and experiences, scientific proof, references to scholars and scientists, etc., can all serve as argumentative points.

If you don't want to appear uncertain of your views, avoid giving too many examples. A personal reflective essay only needs one piece of proof. For reflective essays, interacting aspects of literary analysis, or speculative writing about a variety of phenomena, two examples will suffice. Overloading a free reflective essay with more than three examples of the facts to be discussed will be apparent.

For Example:

My weekend at a house party made it clear that the vast majority of my fellow college students have no tolerance for alcohol.

An effective introduction to a body paragraph is provided above. Your paragraph's subject sentence should tell the reader exactly what the paragraph is going to be about. The first line of each paragraph in the body of your writing should do what the introductory paragraph did: make the reader want to keep reading. Body paragraphs are where you can bring the essay to life with specific descriptions and examples.

In other terms, immerse the reader by providing relatable examples of circumstances and describing minor details with great care. A reader's excitement and interest will increase in proportion to the originality and literary charm of each phrase.

An independent closing paragraph is optional in reflective essays. If you choose an essay format that calls for a conclusion with supporting notes, keep it brief. The end must not be overly formal, however. The paragraphs in the body of the essay need to be supervised naturally by this section.

If you look for a model reflective essay online, you will most likely find one that has a complete, detailed conclusion. You could, of course, use them as models for your essays. However, if you want your viewers to be impressed and reflect deeper on your work, you shouldn't spoon-feed them your observations. Get your readers to ignore the surface-level explanations and focus on the meat of the text where your ideas and feelings are revealed.

As I reflect on my time spent at a college party, I realize that I can no longer advocate for the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors.

As you probably know by now, the end of your essay is where you restate your thesis and discuss its significance. Then, using the details from the body paragraph, you should draw a conclusion in which you quickly restate how this experience changed you physically and/or mentally. Conclude by giving the reader your concluding thoughts on the subject.

What is the Format of a Reflective Essay?

There is a unique structure for reflective writing. In this form of writing, the author employs a specific style, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Psychological Association (APA).

There are a few things to keep in mind when writing in APA style:

Use Time New Roman Font 

Double-space your work and use a font height of 12 points.

The page number appears in the upper right-hand area.

The major sections of an essay are the introduction, the body, and the bibliography or list of sources.

Equally to APA, there are a few things to keep in mind when using MLA format:

Use Time New Roman Font

Select 12 as a font size

Make sure to center all of your essay's names.

Include your name, the course number, the instructor's name, and the date in the header of your work.

On the last page of the essay, include the cited work.

Some Tips on Writing the Reflective Essay

The essay's structure serves as the paper's framework. You can't write a winning essay without first crafting a plan. If you have to write a reflective essay, here are some tips to follow.

References should be listed on the final page of the writing.

In the essay, try to avoid using the same phrase multiple times.

Give your take on the topic in the writing.

Verify that you have explained everything that was previously unclear.

Connect your parts with appropriate transitional language.

Make sure your plan covers everything important.

Avoid using difficult language and provide an argument to support your position.

Learn to identify your best qualities and highlight them in the writing.

Before sending or publishing the essay, make sure it has been thoroughly proofread.

Writing a reflective essay can be challenging, but you can make your way through the process with the help of a good plan. Some pupils simply don't have enough time to complete all of the required essay writing assignments. They lack the time necessary to offer essay writing their full attention.

3 Reflective Essay Examples

Impact of social media on students

Social media has become an integral part of our lives in recent years. With the advent of smartphones and the internet, social media platforms have become more accessible to everyone, including students. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and others have had a profound impact on the way students interact with each other, access information, and learn.

Social media has created a platform for students to interact with their peers, teachers, and other individuals from different parts of the world. Social media platforms provide students with the opportunity to express their thoughts, share their experiences, and discuss topics that interest them. Through social media, students can participate in discussions, exchange ideas, and learn from others.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media on Students’ Life

One of the primary benefits of social media is its ability to provide students with access to information. Social media platforms have become a significant source of news, information, and educational resources for students. Students can learn about various topics, including history, science, literature, and more, from different social media platforms. For instance, Twitter provides students with the latest news on various topics, while Facebook and LinkedIn provide them with access to professional networks and job opportunities.

However, the impact of social media on students is not all positive. Social media has become a distraction for students, and many students spend more time on social media than they do studying. Social media platforms are designed to be addictive, and many students find themselves spending hours scrolling through their feeds and interacting with their peers. As a result, many students experience a decline in their academic performance and find it difficult to focus on their studies.

Moreover, social media has also had a significant impact on the mental health of students. Social media platforms can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying and online harassment, which can have a profound impact on a student's mental health. Additionally, social media platforms have been linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in students. Many students feel pressured to present a perfect image of themselves on social media, which can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.

Furthermore, social media has also affected the way students interact with each other. Many students now prefer to communicate through social media rather than in person, which can lead to a lack of social skills and interpersonal communication skills. This can make it challenging for students to form meaningful relationships and communicate effectively in the workplace and other settings.

In conclusion, social media has had a significant impact on students, both positive and negative. While social media provides students with access to information and a platform to express themselves, it has also become a significant distraction and can hurt their mental health and social skills. Therefore, students need to use social media responsibly and balance their time between social media and other activities. Additionally, educators and parents can play a significant role in guiding students on how to use social media effectively and responsibly.

Taking a Hike Through Forest

Introduction:

Nature is a therapeutic and rejuvenating element in our lives. Walking through a forest is an excellent way to connect with nature, relieve stress, and experience a sense of calmness. A hike through the forest provides a sense of freedom, and the tranquillity of the trees helps to reconnect with oneself. In this essay, I will reflect on my experience of taking a hike through a forest.

I woke up early one morning, feeling the need to get out of the city and spend some time in nature. I packed my bag with essentials and set off on a drive to a nearby forest. Upon arriving, I took a deep breath and took in the fresh air, which filled my lungs with a sense of peace.

The path was lined with tall trees, and the forest floor was soft and covered with leaves. As I walked, I could hear the rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds. The serenity of the forest made me forget about the outside world and its pressures.

I kept walking deeper into the forest, and soon enough, I came across a stream. The sound of the water flowing over the rocks was soothing, and I sat down by the bank to take it all in. The quietness of the forest made me feel like I was in a different world altogether, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

As I continued my hike, I came across a clearing, and there, I saw a herd of deer grazing. I stood there, frozen, watching the beauty of nature unfold in front of my eyes. It was a moment of pure bliss, and I felt grateful for the opportunity to witness it.

I reached a hilltop, and from there, I could see the entire forest. The view was breathtaking, and it made me realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things. It also made me appreciate the beauty of the earth and the environment around us.

Conclusion:

Taking a hike through the forest was a humbling and rejuvenating experience for me. The calmness of the trees, the sound of the water, and the sight of the animals made me feel connected to nature. It reminded me that we are all a part of this beautiful planet and that it's our responsibility to take care of it. The forest gave me the space to reflect and connect with myself, and it was a reminder that sometimes, the best therapy is found in nature.

The role of Friendship in my Life

Friendship is one of the most essential aspects of human life. It is an integral part of our social fabric, as it provides a sense of belonging, support, and joy. Friendship is not just about having someone to talk to or hang out with; it is about having a deep and meaningful connection with someone who accepts and loves us for who we are. In my life, friendship has played a crucial role in shaping my personality and helping me navigate through different phases of life. This essay aims to explore the role of friendship in my life, its significance, and how it has impacted me.

The significance of friendship:

Friendship is essential for our well-being and mental health. It is a bond that helps us feel connected and loved , even in the most challenging times. A good friend can help us navigate through difficult situations, offer us a fresh perspective on our problems, and provide us with emotional support. Friends also provide us with a sense of belonging, a feeling that we are part of something greater than ourselves. The sense of community and companionship that comes with friendship can help us develop a positive outlook toward life and a strong sense of self-esteem.

Friendship in my life:

In my life, friendship has played a vital role in shaping my personality and helping me grow as an individual. Growing up, I was a shy and introverted child who struggled to make friends. However, I was fortunate enough to find a group of friends who accepted me for who I was and helped me come out of my shell. They encouraged me to pursue my passions and interests and supported me through the ups and downs of life.

As I grew older, I realized the true value of friendship. I have made many friends over the years, and each one of them has played a unique role in my life. Some have been there for me through thick and thin, while others have helped me discover new interests and passions. Some have challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, while others have offered me a shoulder to cry on. Regardless of the role they played, all my friends have helped me grow as a person and provided me with a sense of belonging.

Impact of friendship on my life:

The impact of friendship on my life has been profound. My friends have helped me develop a positive outlook toward life and have taught me to appreciate the little things. They have taught me to be more empathetic, kind, and compassionate toward others, and have helped me develop a strong sense of self-worth. They have been a source of strength and inspiration, and have helped me navigate through difficult times.

In conclusion, friendship is an essential aspect of human life. It provides us with a sense of belonging, support, and joy, and helps us grow as individuals. In my life, friendship has played a vital role in shaping my personality and helping me navigate through different phases of life. My friends have been there for me through thick and thin, and have taught me valuable life lessons. I am grateful for their presence in my life, and I believe that everyone should have a good friend or a group of friends who accept and love them for who they are.

Final Words

In conclusion, writing a reflection essay is a powerful tool for gaining self-awareness and insight into our experiences. By following a few simple steps, such as choosing a meaningful experience to reflect on, asking yourself critical questions, and structuring your thoughts into a clear and organized essay, you can effectively convey your thoughts and emotions to your reader. Essay topics like composing a reflective essay are a great opportunity to delve deeper into your own thoughts and feelings, and to connect with your readers on a deeper level.

However, we understand that the process of writing can sometimes be challenging, and that's where Jenni.ai comes in. Our AI-powered software can help you streamline the writing process, with features such as autocomplete and citation assistance that make it easier to create high-quality content efficiently.

Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, Jenni.ai can help you take your writing to the next level. So why not give it a try today, and see how it can help you create even better reflection essays, and other types of written content?

Try Jenni for free today

Create your first piece of content with Jenni today and never look back

  • AI Content Shield
  • AI KW Research
  • AI Assistant
  • SEO Optimizer
  • AI KW Clustering
  • Customer reviews
  • The NLO Revolution
  • Press Center
  • Help Center
  • Content Resources
  • Facebook Group

Reflective Essay Introduction Structure – an Effective Guide

Table of Contents

Writing an essay is daunting; what’s even more challenging is writing a brilliant introduction.

An essay introduction sets the tone for the entire piece. It is a concise overview of the key points and makes the first impression of your essay. A good  reflective essay introduction structure  is clear and concise, sparks compelling thoughts, and stimulates the readers to continue reading. 

A reflective essay introduction should begin with a hook and an insight into the topic of your reflection. It should also include a thesis that informs the reader about your viewpoint.

Not everyone is equipped to write a good essay introduction. But with some guidance, you’ll be able to write a great one. This guide discusses the reflective essay introduction structure, highlighting some expert tips for crafting a brilliant introduction.

Reflective Essay Introduction Structure

A reflective essay is a personal reflection, a written narrative from the author’s experience and opinion. The term “reflective” suggests that the writer examines his or her experiences, opinions, and thoughts.

In reflective essays, the author recounts a particular life experience and explores how he or she has learned or changed from those experiences. Such papers are written in the first person. Like any other essay, a reflective essay begins with an introductory paragraph.

The introduction provides a summary of the entire piece . It begins with a hook that attracts the reader’s attention and grabs their interest. It ends with a thesis statement that gives the reader a clear, concise idea of what the essay will be about. 

How to Write a Reflective Essay Introduction

The introduction is the frame of reference for the essay – it sets the tone for the piece. It should introduce your reader to the essay’s topic and focus. Here are the main parts of a reflective essay introduction .

1. Begin With the Hook

A hook is a solid prompt to convince readers to take a closer look at your essay. Begin with a powerful opening statement that grabs the reader’s attention and promises a fascinating insight into the essay. Highlight the exciting aspects of your paper in the first sentence to gain instant reader attention and hold the reader’s interest. 

Your essay’s hook can come in the form of a quote, a rhetorical question, or a personal anecdote. It may seem a little daunting or simply inaccessible. However, use your imagination, and you should be able to come up with something that connects with your audience. 

2. Provide Background

Provide more details on the subject matter. In one to two sentences, describe the main features of the topic you’ll be discussing.

Your description should be based on your opinions — what you experienced or how you felt. Take your time to provide enough information, so the reader gains a complete and thorough understanding of what you’re about to present. 

3. Present Your Thesis

The thesis statement is a summary of the essay’s main points. Present an overview of your experience and summarize how it influenced you significantly.

Don’t give away too much information; you have the essay’s body to do that. One sentence that concisely summarizes your thoughts about the topic, and the lesson you learned from the experience is sufficient.

Tips for Writing a Brilliant Reflective Essay Introduction

A good reflective essay introduction must create an excellent first impression. Here are some tips for crafting a compelling introduction.

  • Read other reflective pieces in newspapers or magazines to get familiar with the tone and format of a typical reflective essay introduction.
  • Draft out a roadmap and stick to it. Write down the first draft, and return later to edit anything you don’t find interesting. You might never find the perfect first sentence, so record your feelings and thoughts on your experiences and write whatever comes to mind. After a few edits, you’ll surely have the perfect introduction.
  • Write your introduction and every other essay part using the first-person narrative. Use a personal tone that is reflective of your personality.
  • Begin your introduction with a hook. You may consider starting with a quote or a short anecdote to grab the readers’ attention and make a personal connection with them. 

person holding on red pen while writing on book

The Bottom Line

The introduction of a reflective essay should begin with an attention-grabber, a line that lures the reader in and keeps them interested.

It should also provide background information and a setting for the following discussion . A thesis statement that summarizes the main points and focuses of the essay should be presented at the end of the introduction.

Reflective Essay Introduction Structure – an Effective Guide

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

Explore All Essay Intro Generator Articles

The different ways to start a comparative essay.

Some writers intend to compare two specific things or ideas through their articles. They write these essays to compare and…

  • Essay Intro Generator

Know The Best Way to Start an Expository Essay

Are you into writing essays that tackle a still-unknown fact? Do you know how to write an expository essay? Before…

Writing an Opinion Essay? Read This First!

Students are required to express their opinions on a topic in an opinion essay. Pertinent illustrations and explanations support their…

Identifying the Best Transitions to Start an Essay

A typical academic assignment is the essay, which must meet certain requirements in order to be written properly. Even students…

How to Write Introductions for Synthesis Essays

One of the most exciting assignments you could have is writing a synthesis essay. For a college or university student,…

How to Write Introductions for Music Essays

Music is food for the soul, or so they say. A music essay analyzes or describes a piece of music,…

IMAGES

  1. 50 Best Reflective Essay Examples (+Topic Samples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write an intro for a reflective essay

  2. 50 Best Reflective Essay Examples (+Topic Samples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write an intro for a reflective essay

  3. Example Of Reflection Paper College : Reflective Essay Examples

    how to write an intro for a reflective essay

  4. 50 Best Reflective Essay Examples (+Topic Samples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write an intro for a reflective essay

  5. 50 Best Reflective Essay Examples (+Topic Samples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write an intro for a reflective essay

  6. How To Write A Reflective Essay Introduction Example

    how to write an intro for a reflective essay

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Reflective Essay

    How to Write a Reflective Essay Lindsay Kramer Updated on May 17, 2023 Students You're probably used to responding to different sources in essays. For example, in an academic essay, you might compare two books' themes, argue for or against a position, analyze a piece of literature, or persuade the reader with facts and statistics.

  2. How to start a reflective essay + Introduction Examples

    Here are 4 steps in writing great reflective essay introduction paragraphs: -Don't give too much detail. You don't want to bore your reader or ruin the element of surprise. -Don't provide too much background information. As we said, you need to provide some context, but you don't want to write a whole history lesson. -Don't make it too long.

  3. A complete guide to writing a reflective essay

    If you are writing a reflective essay as part of an academic exercise, chances are your tutor will ask you to focus on a particular episode - such as a time when you had to make an important decision - and reflect on what the outcomes were.

  4. Structure of academic reflections

    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.

  5. How to Write a Reflection Paper: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    Write an introduction that outlines the expectations you had and provide a thesis statement in the last sentence. State your conclusions in the body paragraphs of the paper. Explain how you arrived at your conclusions using logic and concrete details. Conclude the paper with a concise summary of your overall experience.

  6. How to Write a Reflective Essay: Format, Tips and Examples

    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.

  7. How to Write a Reflection Paper: Guide with Examples

    10 min read Share the article A reflection paper is a very common type of paper among college students. Almost any subject you enroll in requires you to express your opinion on certain matters. In this article, we will explain how to write a reflection paper and provide examples and useful tips to make the essay writing process easier.

  8. How to Write a Reflection Paper in 5 Steps (plus Template and Sample Essay)

    Use these 5 tips to write a thoughtful and insightful reflection paper. 1. Answer key questions. To write a reflection paper, you need to be able to observe your own thoughts and reactions to the material you've been given. A good way to start is by answering a series of key questions. For example:

  9. How to Write a Reflective Essay: Definition, Steps & Example

    Step 1: Brainstorm and Choose a Topic. Begin by brainstorming a specific event, experience, or topic to reflect upon. It could be a personal experience, a book you've read, a class you've taken, or a significant life event. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a topic: Think about your personal experiences and select a topic that resonates ...

  10. Reflective essays

    What is different about a reflective essay is that the essay is about you and your thinking. However, you will need evidence from your course to back up your reflections. You should structure a reflective essay as an essay, that is write to persuade your reader of your key reflections (or argument).

  11. How to Write a Reflective Essay

    How to Write a Reflective Essay? A reflective essay is a personal perspective on an issue or topic. This article will look at how to write an excellent reflexive account of your experience, provide you with reflexive essay framework to help you plan and organize your essay and give you a good grounding of what good reflective writing looks like.

  12. 50 Best Reflective Essay Examples (+Topic Samples)

    A reflective essay is a type of written work which reflects your own self. Since it's about yourself, you already have a topic to write about. For reflective essay examples, readers expect you to evaluate a specific part of your life. To do this, you may reflect on emotions, memories, and feelings you've experienced at that time.

  13. How to Write a Reflective Essay With Sample Essays

    The first step of writing a great reflective essay is choosing a topic, so choose wisely! Example: " I'm visiting my mom who lives near the beach that I went to a lot growing up, so I'm going to write about that." 2. Study Your Subject. Depending on your topic, you may need to close your eyes and remember, read, watch, listen, or imagine.

  14. How to Write a Reflective Essay: Examples, Intro, Body, & Conclusion

    Although the article focuses on students as the primary audience, anyone needs to understand that an effective reflective essay should have a proper introduction, a compelling body, and a conclusion that brings an appropriate closure and apply the knowledge to be an expert, thoughtful essay writer. Table of contents

  15. How to Write an Introduction to a Reflective Essay

    How to Write an Introduction to a Reflective Essay Emily Rose - Updated May 10, 2019 A reflective essay incites the writer to reflect on topics from the framework of personal experience. Reflective essays must have a clearly defined focus with a consistent point of view.

  16. Reflective Essay: Introduction, Structure, Topics, Examples For University

    Introduction Reflection Essay Structure MLA Format for Reflective Essay Reflective Essay in APA Style Reflective Essay Outline Here's How You Can Submit a Well-Written Reflective Essay for University Choosing a Topic for Reflection Organize your thoughts in a mind map Start Freewriting Structure the Essay Introduction Body Conclusion

  17. How to Write A Reflective Essay

    How to Write A Reflective Essay - A Complete Guide In a reflective essay, the writer examines and writes about his personal experiences. Follow this easy guide and know how to write it like a pro.

  18. How To Write a Reflection Paper (Components and Examples)

    The components of a reflection paper include the introduction, the body and a conclusion: Introduction (Thesis) A reflection paper's introduction specifies the topic, identifies the points it'll cover, and gives your thesis statement. In a reflection paper, your thesis can state what you came away with but in thought-provoking terms.

  19. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Step 1: Hook your reader Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook. Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader's curiosity.

  20. How to Write a Reflection Essay

    If you have to write a reflective essay, here are some tips to follow. References should be listed on the final page of the writing. In the essay, try to avoid using the same phrase multiple times. Give your take on the topic in the writing. Verify that you have explained everything that was previously unclear.

  21. Reflective Essay Examples

    Seeing reflective essay examples can help you understand how to accomplish a reflective essay writing assignment. View examples of reflective essays. ... Begin with a great hook and a strong introduction. Pull the reader in without giving too much away, then provide a quick overview of the reflective topic. Next, in the body of the essay, move ...

  22. How to Write a Reflective Essay

    Every essay you write, including reflective essays, should have three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The reflective essay should have those parts as well. However, the way a reflective essay is organized might be a little different. Let's go through each of those parts for a reflective essay. Each part will include a sample.

  23. Reflective Essay Introduction Structure

    How to Write a Reflective Essay Introduction 1. Begin With the Hook 2. Provide Background 3. Present Your Thesis Tips for Writing a Brilliant Reflective Essay Introduction The Bottom Line Writing an essay is daunting; what's even more challenging is writing a brilliant introduction. An essay introduction sets the tone for the entire piece.