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How to Write a Good Reflective Essay

How to Write a Good Reflective Essay

Published by on 2021-04-12 09:20:08

You are once again stuck with a reflective essay assignment, but this time the professor is out to get you, so you have to come up with a topic on your own. Before you start to panic, let us reassure you. We know all the tricks of selecting the best reflective essay topics, and we will gladly assist you in your quest for an A+ you need to pass the class.

What Is a Reflective Essay?

Let's begin by defining what a reflective essay is. The reflection essay format is very simple and straightforward. In short, it is a paper about personal life events that a writer experienced. The writer needs to showcase a particular period or event that happened in their life. Besides, the writer needs to analyze that experience in life. Students are free to write about their feelings, professional growth, and skills learned through those experiences.

A reflective essay shows a story of growth from the first-person point of view. The tone in a reflective essay should be formal and personal at the same time. Even though a reflective paper format may vary, it is still to be written by following detailed guidance. It's vital to develop a professional outline if you want to create a top-grade paper. In case you have zero experience in paper writing, it's recommended to surf the internet to discover how to write a self-reflection essay first.

The Why of Writing a Reflective Essay

Let's discuss the practical skills writing a reflective essay at school will afford you:

  • Writing essays prepares you for compiling reports, memos, and other documents. Believe it or not, professors do not derive sadistic pleasure from piling writing assignments on you. They want you to be ready for your future job, where you will most likely be required to put together some documents. Writing essays is a great way to practice the skills of structuring your thoughts, ideas, and information you gather from outside sources.
  • Reflective essays make you analyze your own experiences and choices. It is an overall useful life skill, but it can also be of great help when you apply for a job. Interviewers can ask you the strangest questions about your character, aspirations, fears, and achievements. Unless you go through the most popular questions and prepare answers beforehand, your reflective writing skills will come in handy. They will condition you to analyze yourself and provide insightful answers instead of standard replies.
  • A reflective essay is your pass to a good college. Every admission committee requires you to supply a reflective essay as a part of your application package. Without practice, you can ruin your chance to get into the school of your dreams. Do you really want to settle for a state college? And if you complete your reflective essay assignments in high school, you will be able to write an original, compelling admission essay.

There are other reasons to write your reflective essays, like getting to know yourself better, honing your writing style, etc. We have chosen three of the most practical reasons, and hope they will provide enough motivation for you.

The How of Writing a Reflective Essay

Reflective essays are no different from other papers when it comes to their structure. You need an intriguing introduction, a solid body, and a fulfilling conclusion to make your essay worthy of the highest grade. However, there are some finer points, characteristic of reflective writing.

Build your introduction around the thesis statement. It should point out the topic of your essay, as well as outline the key arguments or ideas of your paper. Reflective essays tend to be more personal and intimate than other types of papers, so don't be shy about adding interesting personal anecdotes to hook your readers from the first paragraph.

Body paragraphs can be structured any way you prefer. But besides describing your experience or the people in your life, they should include analysis. Instead of simply stating WHAT happened, address the issues of HOW and WHY it happened. After you write the first sentence, ask yourself So what?. Try to answer this question. Explain to your readers why they should care about the events or people you describe. Continue asking and answering this question until you have nothing more to add. Then repeat the process with the next paragraph.

Each paragraph should contain one key statement, your reactions, feelings, the lessons you have learned from it. If you describe an event, you can structure the paragraphs in chronological order; otherwise, go from your weakest ideas to the strongest. People tend to remember the last arguments best, so you should capitalize on this.

The conclusion should bring you back towards your thesis statement, rounding up the key arguments you have made throughout the essay. Avoid repeating your thesis statement word-for-word. Rephrase it to put it into a new perspective in the light of the arguments you have made.

Importance of a Reflective Essay Outline

Although you may know the basics of reflective essay writing, the process itself will still be challenging. At this point, a well-structured outline will be a top solution. A self-reflective essay outline is a plan of your ideas that will be expanded into a full-length paper. An outline provides a lot of benefits for students.

For starters, it helps create a paper structure that simplifies the process of essay writing significantly. As a consequence, students write faster and without distractions from the subject. Besides, it helps make smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs. A detailed outline helps batch a text on small pieces that can be completed fast. It helps make writing more concise.

Helpful Tips on Reflective Essay Outline Writing

First of all, you need to develop a reflective essay topic. It's the starting point for creating an essay outline. There are no limitations for undergraduates. Students are free to choose any topic that covers a particular period in their lives.

Develop Thesis Statement

It's important to start a self-reflective essay on writing a thesis statement that presents a paper's main idea. Remember, the thesis statement isn't the same as a paper's topic. It should consist of a few sentences briefly describing the event and its impact on a writer.

Even though the thesis statement can be changed at any time, some students experience a lot of problems at this stage. They reach paper writing companies or use online tools for generating a thesis statement to get it developed with no hassle.

Create a Catchy Introduction

The introduction needs to take one paragraph only. A lot of learners waste their time because they don't know how to start a reflective essay introduction. Well, a good introduction should begin with a hook. It is a small piece of text that captivates readers' attention and drives them to read the following text. The hook may have different types:

  • engaging question;
  • strong declaration;
  • interesting statistics;
  • quotation;
  • hilarious fact.

After writing an essay hook, a writer must specify the paper's central details and add the thesis statement.

Be Concise Writing the Essay Body

It is the main part of a reflective essay that should imply three paragraphs. If the question "What is a reflective paragraph?" arises in your mind, there is a simple answer. A paragraph is a short piece of content that consists of sentences. As usual, a paragraph includes up to five sentences and aims to deliver a finished thought that doesn't need to be explained in a new paragraph.

Since the essay body is the largest part, it foresees the opportunity to write about life-changing events. Nevertheless, students are limited by three paragraphs of the essay body, so they need to be concise. The best way to write the paper body is to use an outline that helps create a whole text's structure.

A good outline helps batch ideas and create a smooth flow of thoughts. An essay body's main parts in a reflective essay are a subject sentence, confirmation, details, and outcomes.

Don't Underestimate the Conclusion

What should the conclusion do in a reflective essay? It is the final part that wraps up a reflection essay. In mere words, it is the last paragraph that should summarize your paper. 

It has to start with a summary of your paper. Students need to highlight the key details and rephrase the thesis statement. Then, they need to share their perspectives on the event in their lives and write what they learned.

Reflective Essay Outline Templates

It's always easy to do something new by using a template. A reflective essay outline template helps not to miss crucial points. Don't hesitate to use a reflective paper template if you want to save your time. Remember, all the templates can be customized according to your needs and story. However, it's vital to keep a reflective essay construction that consists of the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Brief Reflective Essay Outline Template

  1. Introduction
    1.1 Hook (story preview)
    1.2 Thesis Statement (the impact of the story and outcomes)
  2. Body Paragraph 1 (detailed description of an event)
  3. Body Paragraph 2 (main idea, key elements, supporting sentences)
  4. Body Paragraph 3 (lessons learned, a summary of the experience)
  5. Conclusion
    5.1 Concluding Words (thesis statement repeat, key points)
    5.2 Closing Sentence (overall impact, possible resulting)

Detailed Reflective Essay Outline Template

  1. Introduction
    1.1 Catch readers' attention with a few sentences of engaging content like a joke, statistics, controversial statements, quotes, etc.
    1.2 Provide background information to showcase the reviewed event.
    1.3 Share the main purposes of a reflective essay.
    1.4 Write the thesis statement.
  2. Body
    2.1 Paragraph 1
    2.1.1 Write a few sentences about the approach to the issue and provide valuable information to understand the event.
    2.1.2 Specify the circumstances that caused a particular event or drove you in a particular direction.
    2.2 Paragraph 2
    2.2.1 Make a deep dive and present the situation in more detail.
    2.2.2 Provide supporting arguments to justify it and strengthen the main idea.
    2.3 Paragraph 3
    2.3.1 Tell about the impact of the situation.
    2.3.2 Specify the lessons learned.
  3. Conclusion
    3.1 Summarise the reflective essay, share key points.
    3.2 Restate thesis statement.
    3.3 Write the conclusion sentence.

Three Types of Reflective Essay Topics

By definition, the writer, meaning you, should be at the center of every self-reflection essay. But if you imagine yourself on a first date with a hot guy (or girl) who asks you to tell more about yourself, you will be speechless for a long time. You’ve lived a certain number of years and have thousands of memories both good and bad. You have a distinct personality with little quirks and endearing flaws. There are dozens of people in your life who influence you in distinctive ways. So what should you write about? To make a choice easier, let’s divide all reflective essay topics into three groups. Select the one you like best, and you’re golden.

Self-Reflection Essay About Your Character

There must be several distinct character traits that make you who you are. Select one or two qualities and describe them in your essay. Discuss the importance of these character traits and how you think they have developed, and the ways they manifest in your everyday life or critical situations.

If you can’t pick one quality, ask a couple of close friends to describe you with a single word. You might be surprised by their answers. But this little experiment will encourage you to look at yourself in a new light. You don’t have to choose a good character trait to describe. If you want your essay to stand out in the sea of bragging papers, select a quality you would like to eliminate. Here are some interesting reflective essay topics to inspire you:

Reflection Essay Topics on Your Experiences

Life is just a series of random experiences stitched together in your memory. Some of them are more vivid and exciting, even though for some people they might seem mundane. You can choose both good and bad memories to use as titles for reflective essays, but remember that you might have to share them with the whole class. Don’t write about the memories you are not comfortable discussing with your teacher and classmates.

Remember that a reflective essay is not just another academic writing assignment. Besides explaining WHAT happened, concentrate on HOW it influenced your life and WHY this experience is so valuable to you. Don’t turn an analysis of your life into a narrative essay. Get inspired by our short list of unhackneyed reflective essay topics:

Titles for Reflective Essays on Your Relationships

Unless you are a hermit or live under a rock, there must be dozens of people with whom you interact daily. Some have known you since the day you were born, like your parents and older siblings, others only see you for a few minutes on workdays when you stop for a cup of joe at the local coffee shop. Pick one person who has profoundly influenced your life. You can, of course, write about your mother or grandfather, but you can also be a little more creative and describe your passive-aggressive relationship with an old neighbor who frightens all the kids on your block.

As reflection essay topics go, you don’t have to choose a personal acquaintance. If you are a fan of Donald Trump or feel like you know Oprah, write about your role models. But always remember to concentrate on the WHY and the HOW if you want to get the highest grade for your essay. Here are some reflective essay topics to kickstart your writing:

As you see, there are hundreds of possible reflection essay topics. You just need to understand which aspect of your life you feel comfortable sharing with your class. If you need to write a college admission essay, remember to make your topic unorthodox and eye-catching to grab the attention of the admissions board. Our writers are just a couple of mouse clicks away in case you don’t have the time or energy to complete this assignment.