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My First Experience: a Reflection on The Impact of College Life

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Published: Mar 8, 2024

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Broadening horizons, skills and knowledge, personal growth and development, sense of purpose and direction.

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reflective essay on college experience

Essay Papers Writing Online

A journey of self-discovery through the written word.

Reflective essay on writing

In the realm of writing, reflection is a powerful tool that allows writers to delve deep into their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Reflective essays serve as a platform for introspection and self-discovery, enabling individuals to explore their innermost feelings and perspectives on a particular topic or event. Through the art of reflection, writers can examine their past actions, analyze their growth, and gain valuable insights that contribute to personal and professional development.

The process of writing a reflective essay involves more than just recounting events; it requires a thoughtful examination of one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding those events. By articulating their thoughts in a structured and coherent manner, writers can gain clarity, insight, and understanding of their experiences. This introspective exercise not only enhances self-awareness but also encourages critical thinking, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

As writers navigate the intricate terrain of reflection, they embark on a journey of self-exploration and self-expression. Through the written word, individuals can articulate their innermost thoughts, fears, joys, and struggles, creating a narrative that is both personal and universal. By sharing their reflections with others, writers foster dialogue, connection, and understanding, creating a unique space for empathy, growth, and solidarity.

Understanding Reflective Writing

Reflective writing is a form of writing that allows individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It involves looking back on past events or situations and analyzing them to gain insight and understanding. Reflective writing is often used in academic settings to encourage students to think critically and reflect on their learning process.

When engaging in reflective writing, it is important to be honest and open about your experiences. You should consider how you felt at the time, what you learned from the experience, and how it has influenced your thinking or behavior. Reflective writing can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your personal growth.

What is Reflective Writing?

Reflective writing is a form of personal, introspective writing that explores and analyzes thoughts, experiences, and emotions. It involves looking back on a particular event or experience, reflecting on how it affected you, and considering what you’ve learned or gained from it. Reflective writing often involves a deep level of self-awareness and critical thinking.

Through reflective writing, individuals can gain insight into themselves, their actions, and their relationships. It can be a powerful tool for personal growth, self-discovery, and learning. Reflective writing can be therapeutic, helping individuals make sense of their experiences and emotions.

Benefits of Reflective Essay

A reflective essay offers numerous benefits for writers and readers alike. Here are some key advantages of writing a reflective essay:

  • Self-awareness: Reflective essays encourage introspection and self-reflection, leading to a deeper understanding of oneself and one’s experiences.
  • Critical thinking: Writing reflectively requires critical analysis of events and ideas, fostering critical thinking skills.
  • Empathy: Reflective essays often involve exploring emotions and perspectives, enhancing empathy and understanding towards others.
  • Personal growth: By reflecting on past experiences, individuals can identify areas for personal growth and development.
  • Improved writing skills: Engaging in reflective writing helps writers enhance their storytelling and communication abilities.
  • Enhanced problem-solving: Reflective essays can help individuals identify patterns and lessons learned, aiding in problem-solving and decision-making.

Overall, the act of writing a reflective essay can lead to increased self-awareness, personal growth, and improved communication skills.

Personal Growth and Development

Reflective writing allows for personal growth and development by providing a space for self-exploration and introspection. Through the process of reflecting on our experiences, thoughts, and emotions, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

By engaging in reflective writing, we can identify patterns in our behavior, uncover hidden motivations, and gain insights into our strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness is essential for personal growth, as it enables us to make informed choices and take intentional action towards our goals.

Moreover, reflective writing encourages us to learn from our experiences and mistakes, fostering a growth mindset that embraces challenges and setbacks as opportunities for learning and development. It helps us develop resilience, adaptability, and emotional intelligence, all of which are crucial for personal growth and success.

In conclusion, personal growth and development are central to the practice of reflective writing, as it allows us to cultivate self-awareness, learn from our experiences, and navigate life’s challenges with wisdom and resilience.

Steps to Writing a Reflective Essay

Step 1: Select a Topic

Choose a topic that reflects on your personal experiences or emotions that you wish to explore and reflect upon.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas

Reflect on the topic and jot down key points, memories, and emotions that you want to include in your essay.

Step 3: Create an Outline

Organize your thoughts and ideas into an outline to structure your essay. Include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Step 4: Write the Introduction

Start with an engaging introduction that captures the reader’s attention and introduces the topic of your reflection.

Step 5: Develop the Body Paragraphs

Elaborate on the key points and experiences in the body paragraphs. Include concrete examples and details to support your reflections.

Step 6: Reflect on the Experience

Reflect on the significance of your experiences and emotions. Analyze how they have impacted you and what you have learned from them.

Step 7: Write the Conclusion

Summarize your reflections and insights in the conclusion. Reflect on how the experience has shaped your thoughts and actions.

Step 8: Revise and Edit

Review your reflective essay, revise for clarity and coherence, and edit for grammar and punctuation errors.

Step 9: Seek Feedback

Share your reflective essay with peers, instructors, or mentors for feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Step 10: Finalize Your Essay

Make final revisions based on feedback and polish your reflective essay for a compelling and insightful piece of writing.

Choosing a Topic and Brainstorming

When starting a reflective essay, the first step is to choose a topic that resonates with you and allows for introspection. Consider events, experiences, or emotions that have had a significant impact on you. Reflect on moments of growth, challenges overcome, or lessons learned.

Once you have selected a topic, start brainstorming to generate ideas for your essay. Jot down key points, memories, and thoughts related to your chosen topic. Consider how the experience made you feel, what you learned from it, and how it shaped your perspective.

Brainstorming allows you to explore different angles and details of your chosen topic, helping you to delve deeper into your reflections and craft a well-rounded essay that captures the essence of your thoughts and emotions.

Structuring a Reflective Essay

Structuring a Reflective Essay

When structuring a reflective essay, it is important to carefully outline the different components to ensure a clear and cohesive piece of writing. Here are some key elements to consider:

1. Introduction: Begin your essay with an engaging introduction that sets the stage for your reflection. Provide some context for the experience or event you will be reflecting on.

2. Body: The body of your essay should include detailed reflections on the experience. Share your thoughts, feelings, and insights on the situation, and provide examples to support your reflections.

3. Analysis: After sharing your reflections, take some time to analyze the experience. Consider what you have learned, how it has impacted you, and what changes it has brought about in your thinking or behavior.

4. Conclusion: Conclude your essay by summarizing your key reflections and insights. Reflect on the significance of the experience and any lessons you have learned. Leave the reader with a final thought or reflection.

By following these guidelines, you can create a structured and thought-provoking reflective essay that effectively communicates your reflections and insights.

Reflective Essay Examples

Here are some examples of reflective essays:

  • Example 1: Reflecting on my first year of college and the lessons I’ve learned
  • Example 2: Exploring the impact of a personal challenge on my growth and development
  • Example 3: Reflecting on a life-changing experience that shaped my perspective

These examples provide insight into the reflective essay process and can inspire you to explore your own experiences through writing.

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reflective essay on college experience

A complete guide to writing a reflective essay

(Last updated: 3 June 2024)

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“The overwhelming burden of writing my first ever reflective essay loomed over me as I sat as still as a statue, as my fingers nervously poised over the intimidating buttons on my laptop keyboard. Where would I begin? Where would I end? Nerve wracking thoughts filled my mind as I fretted over the seemingly impossible journey on which I was about to embark.”

Reflective essays may seem simple on the surface, but they can be a real stumbling block if you're not quite sure how to go about them. In simple terms, reflective essays constitute a critical examination of a life experience and, with the right guidance, they're not too challenging to put together. A reflective essay is similar to other essays in that it needs to be easily understood and well structured, but the content is more akin to something personal like a diary entry.

In this guide, we explore in detail how to write a great reflective essay , including what makes a good structure and some advice on the writing process. We’ve even thrown in an example reflective essay to inspire you too, making this the ultimate guide for anyone needing reflective essay help.

Types of Reflection Papers

There are several types of reflective papers, each serving a unique purpose. Educational reflection papers focus on your learning experiences, such as a course or a lecture, and how they have impacted your understanding. Professional reflection papers often relate to work experiences, discussing what you have learned in a professional setting and how it has shaped your skills and perspectives. Personal reflection papers delve into personal experiences and their influence on your personal growth and development.

Each of these requires a slightly different approach, but all aim to provide insight into your thoughts and experiences, demonstrating your ability to analyse and learn from them. Understanding the specific requirements of each type can help you tailor your writing to effectively convey your reflections.

Reflective Essay Format

In a reflective essay, a writer primarily examines his or her life experiences, hence the term ‘reflective’. The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to provide a platform for the author to not only recount a particular life experience, but to also explore how he or she has changed or learned from those experiences. Reflective writing can be presented in various formats, but you’ll most often see it in a learning log format or diary entry. Diary entries in particular are used to convey how the author’s thoughts have developed and evolved over the course of a particular period.

The format of a reflective essay may change depending on the target audience. Reflective essays can be academic, or may feature more broadly as a part of a general piece of writing for a magazine, for instance. For class assignments, while the presentation format can vary, the purpose generally remains the same: tutors aim to inspire students to think deeply and critically about a particular learning experience or set of experiences. Here are some typical examples of reflective essay formats that you may have to write:

A focus on personal growth:

A type of reflective essay often used by tutors as a strategy for helping students to learn how to analyse their personal life experiences to promote emotional growth and development. The essay gives the student a better understanding of both themselves and their behaviours.

A focus on the literature:

This kind of essay requires students to provide a summary of the literature, after which it is applied to the student’s own life experiences.

Pre-Writing Tips: How to Start Writing the Reflection Essay?

As you go about deciding on the content of your essay, you need to keep in mind that a reflective essay is highly personal and aimed at engaging the reader or target audience. And there’s much more to a reflective essay than just recounting a story. You need to be able to reflect (more on this later) on your experience by showing how it influenced your subsequent behaviours and how your life has been particularly changed as a result.

As a starting point, you might want to think about some important experiences in your life that have really impacted you, either positively, negatively, or both. Some typical reflection essay topics include: a real-life experience, an imagined experience, a special object or place, a person who had an influence on you, or something you have watched or read. 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. Note also, that the aftermath of the experience is especially important in a reflective essay; miss this out and you will simply be storytelling.

reflective essay on college experience

What Do You Mean By Reflection Essay?

It sounds obvious, but the reflective process forms the core of writing this type of essay, so it’s important you get it right from the outset. You need to really think about how the personal experience you have chosen to focus on impacted or changed you. Use your memories and feelings of the experience to determine the implications for you on a personal level.

Once you’ve chosen the topic of your essay, it’s really important you study it thoroughly and spend a lot of time trying to think about it vividly. Write down everything you can remember about it, describing it as clearly and fully as you can. Keep your five senses in mind as you do this, and be sure to use adjectives to describe your experience. At this stage, you can simply make notes using short phrases, but you need to ensure that you’re recording your responses, perceptions, and your experience of the event(s).

Once you’ve successfully emptied the contents of your memory, you need to start reflecting. A great way to do this is to pick out some reflection questions which will help you think deeper about the impact and lasting effects of your experience. Here are some useful questions that you can consider:

  • What have you learned about yourself as a result of the experience?
  • Have you developed because of it? How?
  • Did it have any positive or negative bearing on your life?
  • Looking back, what would you have done differently?
  • Why do you think you made the particular choices that you did? Do you think these were the right choices?
  • What are your thoughts on the experience in general? Was it a useful learning experience? What specific skills or perspectives did you acquire as a result?

These signpost questions should help kick-start your reflective process. Remember, asking yourself lots of questions is key to ensuring that you think deeply and critically about your experiences – a skill that is at the heart of writing a great reflective essay.

Consider using 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. For example, before you really get stuck into the process, consider questions such as: what might happen (regarding the experience)? Are there any possible challenges to keep in mind? What knowledge is needed to be best prepared to approach the experience? Then, as you’re planning and writing, these questions may be useful: what is happening within the learning process? Is the process working out as expected? Am I dealing with the accompanying challenges successfully? Is there anything that needs to be done additionally to ensure that the learning process is successful? What am I learning from this? By adopting such a framework, you’ll be ensuring that you are keeping tabs on the reflective process that should underpin your work.

How to Strategically Plan Out the Reflective Essay Structure?

Here’s a very useful tip: although you may feel well prepared with all that time spent reflecting in your arsenal, do not, start writing your essay until you have worked out a comprehensive, well-rounded plan . Your writing will be so much more coherent, your ideas conveyed with structure and clarity, and your essay will likely achieve higher marks.

This is an especially important step when you’re tackling a reflective essay – there can be a tendency for people to get a little ‘lost’ or disorganised as they recount their life experiences in an erratic and often unsystematic manner as it is a topic so close to their hearts. But if you develop a thorough outline (this is the same as a ‘plan’) and ensure you stick to it like Christopher Columbus to a map, you should do just fine as you embark on the ultimate step of writing your essay. If you need further convincing on how important planning is, we’ve summarised the key benefits of creating a detailed essay outline below:

Now you’re familiar with the benefits of using an outline for your reflective essay, it is essential that you know how to craft one. It can be considerably different from other typical essay outlines, mostly because of the varying subjects. But what remains the same, is that you need to start your outline by drafting the introduction, body and conclusion. More on this below.

Introduction

As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin within 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. You must portray the exciting aspects of your story in the initial paragraph so that you stand the best chances of holding your reader’s interest. Refer back to the opening quote of this article – did it grab your attention and encourage you to read more? The thesis statement is a brief summary of the focus of the essay, which in this case is a particular experience that influenced you significantly. Remember to give a quick overview of your experience – don’t give too much information away or you risk your reader becoming disinterested.

Next up is planning the body of your essay. This can be the hardest part of the entire paper; it’s easy to waffle and repeat yourself both in the plan and in the actual writing. Have you ever tried recounting a story to a friend only for them to tell you to ‘cut the long story short’? They key here is to put plenty of time and effort into planning the body, and you can draw on the following tips to help you do this well:

Try adopting a chronological approach. This means working through everything you want to touch upon as it happened in time. This kind of approach will ensure that your work is systematic and coherent. Keep in mind that a reflective essay doesn’t necessarily have to be linear, but working chronologically will prevent you from providing a haphazard recollection of your experience. Lay out the important elements of your experience in a timeline – this will then help you clearly see how to piece your narrative together.

Ensure the body of your reflective essay is well focused and contains appropriate critique and reflection. The body should not only summarise your experience, it should explore the impact that the experience has had on your life, as well as the lessons that you have learned as a result. The emphasis should generally be on reflection as opposed to summation. A reflective posture will not only provide readers with insight on your experience, it’ll highlight your personality and your ability to deal with or adapt to particular situations.

In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together by 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 behaviours 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.

reflective essay on college experience

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Reflective Essay

As with all written assignments, sitting down to put pen to paper (or more likely fingers to keyboard) can be daunting. But if you have put in the time and effort fleshing out a thorough plan, you should be well prepared, which will make the writing process as smooth as possible. The following points should also help ease the writing process:

  • To get a feel for the tone and format in which your writing should be, read other typically reflective pieces in magazines and newspapers, for instance.
  • Don’t think too much about how to start your first sentence or paragraph; just start writing and you can always come back later to edit anything you’re not keen on. Your first draft won’t necessarily be your best essay writing work but it’s important to remember that the earlier you start writing, the more time you will have to keep reworking your paper until it’s perfect. Don’t shy away from using a free-flow method, writing and recording your thoughts and feelings on your experiences as and when they come to mind. But make sure you stick to your plan. Your plan is your roadmap which will ensure your writing doesn’t meander too far off course.
  • For every point you make about an experience or event, support it by describing how you were directly impacted, using specific as opposed to vague words to convey exactly how you felt.
  • Write using the first-person narrative, ensuring that the tone of your essay is very personal and reflective of your character.
  • If you need to, refer back to our notes earlier on creating an outline. As you work through your essay, present your thoughts systematically, remembering to focus on your key learning outcomes.
  • Consider starting your introduction with a short anecdote or quote to grasp your readers’ attention, or other engaging techniques such as flashbacks.
  • Choose your vocabulary carefully to properly convey your feelings and emotions. Remember that reflective writing has a descriptive component and so must have a wide range of adjectives to draw from. Avoid vague adjectives such as ‘okay’ or ‘nice’ as they don’t really offer much insight into your feelings and personality. Be more specific – this will make your writing more engaging.
  • Be honest with your feelings and opinions. Remember that this is a reflective task, and is the one place you can freely admit – without any repercussions – that you failed at a particular task. When assessing your essay, your tutor will expect a deep level of reflection, not a simple review of your experiences and emotion. Showing deep reflection requires you to move beyond the descriptive. Be extremely critical about your experience and your response to it. In your evaluation and analysis, ensure that you make value judgements, incorporating ideas from outside the experience you had to guide your analysis. Remember that you can be honest about your feelings without writing in a direct way. Use words that work for you and are aligned with your personality.
  • Once you’ve finished learning about and reflecting on your experience, consider asking yourself these questions: what did I particularly value from the experience and why? Looking back, how successful has the process been? Think about your opinions immediately after the experience and how they differ now, so that you can evaluate the difference between your immediate and current perceptions. Asking yourself such questions will help you achieve reflective writing effectively and efficiently.
  • Don’t shy away from using a variety of punctuation. It helps keeps your writing dynamic! Doesn’t it?
  • If you really want to awaken your reader’s imagination, you can use imagery to create a vivid picture of your experiences.
  • Ensure that you highlight your turning point, or what we like to call your “Aha!” moment. Without this moment, your resulting feelings and thoughts aren’t as valid and your argument not as strong.
  • Don’t forget to keep reiterating the lessons you have learned from your experience.

Bonus Tip - Using Wider Sources

Although a reflective piece of writing is focused on personal experience, it’s important you draw on other sources to demonstrate your understanding of your experience from a theoretical perspective. It’ll show a level of analysis – and a standard of reliability in what you’re claiming – if you’re also able to validate your work against other perspectives that you find. Think about possible sources, like newspapers, surveys, books and even journal articles. Generally, the additional sources you decide to include in your work are highly dependent on your field of study. Analysing a wide range of sources, will show that you have read widely on your subject area, that you have nuanced insight into the available literature on the subject of your essay, and that you have considered the broader implications of the literature for your essay. The incorporation of other sources into your essay also helps to show that you are aware of the multi-dimensional nature of both the learning and problem-solving process.

Reflective Essay Example

If you want some inspiration for writing, take a look at our example of a short reflective essay , which can serve as a useful starting point for you when you set out to write your own.

Some Final Notes to Remember

To recap, the key to writing a reflective essay is demonstrating what lessons you have taken away from your experiences, and why and how you have been shaped by these lessons.

The reflective thinking process begins with you – you must consciously make an effort to identify and examine your own thoughts in relation to a particular experience. Don’t hesitate to explore any prior knowledge or experience of the topic, which will help you identify why you have formed certain opinions on the subject. Remember that central to reflective essay writing is the examination of your attitudes, assumptions and values, so be upfront about how you feel. Reflective writing can be quite therapeutic, helping you identify and clarify your strengths and weaknesses, particularly in terms of any knowledge gaps that you may have. It’s a pretty good way of improving your critical thinking skills, too. It enables you to adopt an introspective posture in analysing your experiences and how you learn/make sense of them.

If you are still having difficulties with starting the writing process, why not try mind-mapping which will help you to structure your thinking and ideas, enabling you to produce a coherent piece. Creating a mind map will ensure that your argument is written in a very systematic way that will be easy for your tutor to follow. Here’s a recap of the contents of this article, which also serves as a way to create a mind map:

1. Identify the topic you will be writing on.

2. Note down any ideas that are related to the topic and if you want to, try drawing a diagram to link together any topics, theories, and ideas.

3. Allow your ideas to flow freely, knowing that you will always have time to edit your reflective essay .

4. Consider how your ideas are connected to each other, then begin the writing process.

And finally, keep in mind that although there are descriptive elements in a reflective essay, we can’t emphasise enough how crucial it is that your work is critical, analytical, and adopts a reflective posture in terms of your experience and the lessons you have learned from it.

reflective essay on college experience

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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

One of the most important things I have learned so far is the stakeholder view of the firm. I was very interested to learn that Australia is more of a shareholder-oriented country (similar to UK/US). I come from country X, and I believe that it is also very shareholder-oriented. For example the company I used to work for did not seem to have much concern for its stakeholders. As staff, we were worked extremely hard in poor conditions without overtime pay or paid leave (employees are a stakeholder group), and the company did not care at all about its impact on the environment. The company was just so concerned with cutting costs and making more profit for shareholders - usually at the expense of other stakeholders.

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

Example 3: Reflecting

The notion of the stakeholder challenged many of the assumptions I have about the role of corporations in society. I hope to run my own business one day, and the distinction between stakeholders and shareholders really makes me think about what responsible leadership might look like. What I appreciate about Friedman's view is its simplicity - the idea that companies pursuing their own profits creates the best outcomes for society (ref included). Adopting a stakeholder orientation (consistent with Freidman), and managing multifarious accountabilities and balancing trade-offs between them, would seem to be much more complex and a far greater challenge for leaders to navigate. However, today's internet age allows stakeholders to have global reach and a powerful voice, so I'm not sure that it would be so easy to silence or ignore them in pursuit of profit. 

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)

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  • ANU Library Academic Skills
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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?

A reflective essay (also called a critical reflection) involves a deep examination of one's assumptions, beliefs, and reactions to knowledge, events, or experiences. This type of writing encourages the author to introspect and articulate their personal insights on various subjects, influenced by literature, experiences, or lectures. Unlike traditional academic essays, reflective essays focus on the writer's individual perspective, employing a more subjective and expressive language without the necessity for scholarly sources. Essentially, while maintaining the core criteria of effective essay writing, a reflective essay distinguishes itself by centering on the writer's internal dialogue and personal growth.

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.

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Reflective Essay Guide

Writing Reflective Essay

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay

By: John K.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: May 11, 2021

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.

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How to Write a Reflective Essay?

Here are some steps that you should follow when you start writing your reflective paper.

1. Write the Introduction

To understand and know how to start a reflective essay introduction, you must first understand that an introduction is a piece of brief information about the main topic and its background.

In the reflective essay introduction, you will recognize the subject and provide the reader with an overview of the impression you have taken from it. Therefore, the introductory paragraph of your reflective essay needs to include a thesis statement that will act as a focal point of your paper.

2. Body Paragraphs

The first body paragraph should mention the impactful impression your subject has made on you. Then, provide relevant facts to support your thesis statement.

Moreover, the body of your essay will also describe most of the ideas you touched on in your introduction.

3. Write a Conclusion

Restate your thesis statement and summarize all the reasons you have mentioned in the essay’s body paragraphs. After that, sum up your essay with your final thoughts on the subject; close your essay with some reflective thoughts.

4. Proofread and Edit

Never submit your essay without editing or proofreading. Even though you have spent hours of effort and put a lot of hard work in doing your essay, your essay will have no worth if you haven’t proofread and edited it.

Here is the reflective essay outline sample for your ease.

Reflective Essay Outline

REFLECTIVE ESSAY OUTLINE

Reflective Essay Examples

We have compiled some perfect reflective essay examples below to help you get started on your paper.

Personal Reflective Essay Examples

PERSONAL REFLECTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLES

ENGLISH REFLECTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLES

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Reflective Essay Topics

Check out these reflective essay ideas on the most common subjects you can write about:

  • Something from your imagination
  • Something you have experienced in real
  • A special object
  • Something you have seen, heard, read, watched, touched, or smelled.

We are sure these subjects must have sparked your imagination, but here are a few essay topics that will help you get the bigger picture. In addition, these topics will help you understand the kind of topics teachers like to assign.

  • The desert, mountains, countryside, or beach
  • A special room or hideaway
  • The house you grew up
  • Home of some relative
  • A person that taught me how to improve reflective writing skills
  • New Experiences
  • When your piece of writing published
  • Important conversation
  • The older man line of thought
  • The time you overcame your fears

A list of topics will help you get a picture of what good ideas are like and how to come up with one of your own.

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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.

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Reflective Essay Examples

50 best reflective essay examples (+topic samples).

If you have ever read reflective essay examples, you would know that these types of written works examine the writer’s life experiences . When you write a reflective paper example, you write about your own experiences and explore how you’ve changed, grown or developed because of those experiences. There’s no standard format for this essay as it may vary depending on the target audience.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Reflective Essay Examples
  • 2 What is a reflective essay?
  • 3 Reflective Paper Examples
  • 4 Format of reflective essay
  • 5 Creating the outline of reflective essay examples
  • 6 Reflective Paper Samples
  • 7 Tips for writing reflective essay
  • 8 Reflective Essay Samples

Free reflective essay example 01

What is a reflective essay?

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.

Since you’re writing reflection essay samples about yourself, make sure that they’re interesting and exciting. This is very important so that your readers don’t get bored with what you’ve written. Reflective essays are very personal thus, they’re a special type of essay. As you write one, you need to reflect, think, and explain.

In the essay, you should demonstrate and describe different feelings or emotions which you’ve felt in the past. These statements breathe life into your essay as your readers start picturing what you’ve written in their minds. Reflective essays are very honest, personal, and emotional, especially those which describe painful experiences.

Reflective Paper Examples

Free reflective essay example 10

Format of reflective essay

As aforementioned, reflective essay examples don’t have a standard format. They seem easy enough to write but once you’ve sat down to start writing, you may suddenly find the task very challenging! Besides the format, you must think about the life experience you want to write about and remember everything about it.

A reflective paper example is a lot like a personal journal or diary. Of course, the difference is that other people will read your essay. Therefore, you must write it with good structure and coherence. In this regard, reflective essays are a lot like the other types of essays too.

When writing a reflective essay, you will have to examine your own life experiences. The purpose of writing such an essay is to provide yourself with a platform to share your most meaningful life experiences with other people. You can also use it as a way to explore how your experiences have changed you as a person.

You can present reflective writing in different formats. Most of the time though, people use a learning log or a diary entry format. You can use these formats and others. Just make sure that your essay has a good flow and that it’s easy for other readers to understand.

The format to use for your reflection essay samples would depend on your target audience. You can make an academic reflective essay or you can make it as a general and informal piece of writing. If you need to write the essay for a class assignment, follow the format given to you by your teacher.

No matter what format you choose, you may write an essay which:

  • Focuses on your personal growth Such an essay helps you learn how to evaluate and analyze the experiences you have had in your personal life. This helps promote emotional development and growth. It also helps you understand yourself and your behaviors better.
  • Focuses on literature For this type of essay, you may have to include references to literature and apply these to your own life experiences. Such essays are commonly given as assignments to students in school.

Free reflective essay example 20

Creating the outline of reflective essay examples

Before you write your reflective essay examples, you must create an outline for them. Although you’d write about your own life, creating an outline gives structure to your essay to serve as a guide for what you want to write about.

Whether you need to write an essay for school, for a magazine or for any other reason, creating an outline is the very first step. With a good outline, you have a better idea of how your essay will flow from one paragraph to the next all the way to the conclusion.

When creating the outline of your reflective paper example, keep it organized. Develop the outline gradually and put a lot of thought into it. In doing this, you make the writing process much easier. Here is a rundown of the steps involved in the essay-writing process:

  • Choose a topic (a significant life experience you want to write about)
  • Gather information
  • Create an outline
  • Write a draft
  • Finalize your essay

Reflective Paper Samples

Free reflective essay example 30

Tips for writing reflective essay

As you think about the content of your reflection essay samples, remember that the important thing is that such an essay must be highly personal but also engaging to readers. There’s so much more to reflective essays than just writing your story. You must also reflect on your experiences to engage your audiences.

For your starting point, think about the most significant experiences you had in your life. Those which had either a negative or a positive impact on you as a person. If the reflective essay is a school assignment, your professor would probably specify what you must write about. Here are some tips for you for writing your reflective paper example:

  • Reflection The most important part of writing your reflective essay is the reflective process. Think about the personal experience you want to write about. Focus on what happened, how this experience made you feel, and how it affected your life. Explore your memories and emotions for this part of the process. As you’re recalling and reflecting on your life experience, take a lot of notes . Write down all the details you remember and try to be as clear and as detailed as you possibly can. Take as much time as you need for reflection. You can even close your eyes as you try to remember those experiences vividly. When you’re confident that you have recalled all of the details of your life experience, it’s time to write your essay. To make it more meaningful, try to answer some important questions about your life experience including: Did you learn anything new about yourself because of this experience? Have you grown or developed because of this experience? If so, in what way? Did this experience impact your life positively or negatively? If you had the chance to experience this all over again, would you do anything differently? Why did you behave in such a way at the time of this experience? Did you make the right choices? What are your general thoughts and feelings about this experience? Can you say that you learned from this experience? Did you gain any new perspectives or skills because of this experience? These are “signpost questions” which can help you write a more meaningful essay. These are just some examples, you can also think of your own questions to ask yourself. The point of these questions is to make sure that you think critically and deeply about the experience you’re writing about.
  • Planning After you’ve reflected on your life experience, it’s time to start planning your essay. When it’s time to start, you might feel as if you’re not adequately prepared even though you’ve done a lot of reflection. This is a normal feeling, especially if you want to create a written piece which people will love reading. To ease your anxiety and doubt, come up with a well-rounded and comprehensive plan. The best way to do this is through an outline. With an outline to guide your writing process, you can come up with an essay that’s more coherent and which has a clear structure. An outline or plan is important for reflective essays. Since you’re writing about an emotionally-charged topic, you might find yourself getting “lost” along the way. This is especially true if you’re writing about a painful experience which still affects you until now. The outline serves as a map for you to keep your thoughts organized. In your outline, make sure to establish all of the fundamental details you wish to include in your essay. This helps you pick out and remove any superfluous information to make it easier to read and understand. Planning the points you want to write about makes it easier for you to stay on point. As such, your writing becomes a lot clearer and your readers can follow your line of thought. An outline also prevents you from missing out any relevant information. It’s very difficult and frustrating to go back after you’ve written the whole essay just to fit in this information! Planning your essay also saves you a lot of time. Coming up with the structure makes you more familiar with your essay even before you start writing it. Thus, you can spend more time writing, revising, and proofreading your essay to make it the best version possible.

Reflective Essay Samples

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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A reflective essay is a type of writing where you explore how an event, experience, or concept has influenced your development or perspective. It involves deep thinking, self-analysis, and personal reflection. In a reflective essay, you explai what you learned and how you changed as a result of that experience.

In this article, you will learn how to write a reflective essay, and how to highlight impactful experiences. A reflection essay seems easy as you don’t have to defend one’s point of view or convince the reader of something. But it has its challenges, so we recommend to keep on reading and find out everything you need to know about this type of essay. More complex examples are available down below.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Writing a Reflective Essay

1. what is a common mistake when writing a reflective essay.

A common mistake when writing a reflective essay is to drift away from the subject you're writing about. It usually happens when you don’t stick to your initial plan. So plan your writing well and if you feel that you go a bit off topic, be sure that you return to the same topic you originally discussed.

2. What is the purpose of writing a reflective essay?

The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to make a student write about their personal experience, explore it, reflect on it and find positive and negative aspects. The goal is to analyze how a student changed due to this experience and what made them change. What lesson a student learned is an essential point in persuasive writing.

3. How to write a reflective essay on a book?

If you are writing a reflective essay on a book, the main task is to show your teacher how you reflect on a chosen book, how you understand the problem presented by an author. To create a good essay, start with brief information about the author. Then, without spoilers, briefly summarize the main points of a book. After that explain the main conflicts, share your impressions. Ask questions like: “What are the peculiarities of the main characters?”, “What did an author want to say by indicating the main issues?”

Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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A good question to start with is, “What is a reflective essay?” A reflective essay is a type of academic writing, in which the student has to test personal life experience/position towards a particular topic. Unlike in argumentative writing, the student does not have to defend the personal position. It does not require a complicated, professional language with some terminology. Do not define something - focus on sharing personal life experience, skills, development, and the most vivid examples to illustrate the topic.

A reflection essay student writes to meet the college writing standards has a different format from the one a magazine writer should present to reach the issue’s audience. However, each reflective paper has a similar outline. Reflective essay format depends on the general requirements your teacher provides. Some of them can ask for a specific format for your essay. APA writing style , MLA, and Chicago are the basic formats you can use. But if you don’t know exactly which formatting to use, you can use reflective essay apa format. This is the most common college essay format, so knowing its requirements is critical: Font:  Times New Roman, 12 points Interval:  Double interval Margins:  1 inch all round Page Numbers:  Insert a title in the upper left corner of each page.  

Knowing how to write a reflective essay is essential. Even if you feel confident about your thoughts and knowledge, don’t start your writing without a clear and well-designed plan. Without logical essay structure , your essay will likely achieve lower marks. To avoid this situation, follow 10 easy steps we provided below. The first thing every student needs to understand how to write a good reflective essay is an effective, detailed outline. It has 3 typical sections: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Writing a reflective essay does not require any references – the only person to refer is the student who decides to share his thoughts & ideas. Let’s look at 4 main reasons to include an outline of reflective essays.  

Reflective essay outline is not much different from other types of essays. Use this reflective essay template in creating your perfect reflective essay:

Let’s figure out how to write a reflective essay introduction. Start with stating the primary focus of the personal reflection. Avoid being indirect and covering a range of topics; stay direct and concise by underlining the basic purpose of sharing a life experience. Professional Opinion:

Another way to attract attention in the introductory paragraph is to come up with the intriguing hook for essay sentences like statistics, fact, quote, metaphor, rhetorical question, or joke. It depends on the mood of your reflective narrative.

Some people may say that a reflective essay does not need a thesis. However, the example shared in the previous section talking about introduction is an example of the inspiring thesis statement. Include at least a reflective summary of the primary idea. The best idea would be to focus on previewing the peak of the plot development or highlighting the most valuable lesson learned. Let’s take a look at this little reflective essay thesis sample.

If you find it challenging, rely on our  professional essay writing service  and have your reflective essay done with academic standards in mind. 

What is the purpose of a body paragraph ? The body paragraphs of the reflective analysis interpret the way the author evolved or what he/she has absorbed from a particular life lesson (mention 3 different lessons). When writing your reflective essay you should mention the circumstances that forced you to pass a certain way. If you study a subject like English Literature or Arts, the paper’s prompt may ask you to describe how you changed as a field professional during the course of study. It is important to choose a specific interval of time to list the improvements. Compare & contrast the initial skills to the knowledge you have today. It is a great idea to tell the audience the ways various tasks, challenges, and lessons made the author grow since the beginning of his education. There is no need to conduct research to collect the supporting evidence. The author alone is responsible for defending every stated claim with the help of vivid samples that describe the topic the best. Example: In case the student has become more professional in the field of writing, he should list the causes of those changes (new English teacher, more practice at home, part-time job related to the field of writing). Who knows – some of the ideas may be used by other students to succeed!  

The question of how to end a reflection paper is not less important. The last challenge is to prepare an impressive, inspiring, and powerful conclusion, which will make the target readers want to develop the same positive way. Write a reflective summary regarding the way you have changed over a given period of time. Share some forecast by looking ahead: how the experiences listed in the essay would influence further personal development. By looking at the past events, decide which of them was the most important. The good idea is to compare & contrast past and future events to stress the gaps between the obtained skills and experience, possibly gained in the future. Don't want to bother with writing any conclusions? Use a summary maker to generate e reflective essay conlusion in seconds.

Writing personal reflection helps students to stress their individuality by highlighting various skills, knowledge, behavior, feelings, and even mood. The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to show how the person changed over time and what factors played an important role in those metamorphoses. Keep on reading this section to learn steps that will make your reflective writing perfect. Step 1:  Think of the questions that interest you the most. It may be your experience, feelings, or an event in life. Make sure you analyzed the question well. Check credible sources and collect relevant information. Step 2:  Decide what you want to write about. Make sure you know how to title an essay . Identify the topic. Step 3:  After you decided on a topic, create an appealing title that will entice readers. Make sure your title is clear and to the point. Step 4:  Create an outline of your essay. Step 5:  Create an attention-grabbing hook for reflective essay. It should be some intriguing sentence or phrase that will arouse the interest of your readers. Step 6:  Create an introduction of your reflection paper. Step 7:  Think what you will include in the main body of your text. Start writing your body paragraphs. Step 8:  Diversify your text with all the necessary details to make your readers see a clear picture of the environment in your story. It can be some place, people, atmosphere, etc. Step 9:  After the reader is already familiar with the setting and characters, you should tell about yourself. What were your feelings? How has the situation affected you? What did you learn from this situation? Step 10:  Conclude your reflective essay. Briefly summarize all the points that were mentioned in your text and provide a short moral with recommendations. You can use these steps as a checklist for your writing process. In case you need another step-by-step guide on response essays  or any other type of writing, we've got you covered.

>> Read more: How to Write Essays

No recommendations, tips & tricks help the students to understand the way a particular assignment should look like in the end as effectively as the examples. The article contains one of the up-to-date reflective essay examples from a college student.

Congratulations, we have learned how to write a reflective essay. We really do hope that our guidelines, tips, and examples were useful to you. Now, you can definitely work on your reflection assignment with a clear understanding of its structure and main points. So start your writing, and the sky's the limit! 

In case you need more writing tips, feel free to browse our Blog. Be it a diagnostic essay , a synthesis essay  or a response paper , we have tutorials for any type of writing. 

  • An outline assists in laying out the details the student wants to leave after narrowing down the draft before working on the final paper. It prevents them from concluding the essay by realizing something is missing.
  • An outline provides a clear, concise roadmap, which prevents the writer from taking curvy paths and facing dead ends. It shows the way like a compass in the woods.
  • An outline helps to save a lot of time.
  • An outline helps the potential readers, including teachers & classmates, to avoid falling off the main point when reading the essay partially.

What Is a Reflective Essay: Definition

Reflective essay format, reflective essay outline and structure, how to start a reflective essay: creating an introduction, working on reflective essay thesis, writing a reflection essay body paragraph, how to write a reflective essay conclusion, how to write a reflective essay: 10 easy steps, reflective essays sample from successful college students, writing a reflective essay: bottom line.

Reflective essay outline

“Giving a preview of the most exciting part of the story is a clue. The target reader may lack time to read the full piece from cover to cover. “There are many things I have learned from Marketing class. The most valuable lesson I have obtained is checking the effectiveness of 2 different approaches or services through utilizing so-called A/B testing.” It will make the reader think about what is special about this specific method. The reader will go on reading the body paragraphs to find out!” Professor Hemsworth, History & Anthropology teacher and academic writer at StudyCrumb

The Reflective Essay

The reflective essay serves two key purposes in your portfolio:

  • First, it gives your reviewers some insight into your development as a writer and the role writing has played in your Carleton education.
  • Second, it allows you to tell your readers about each individual essay in the portfolio–where and how you came to write it, why you included it, what it reveals about you as a writer, etc.
  • Third, and perhaps most importantly, writing the reflective essay allows you, the writer, to stop and consider what you have gained from your varied writing experiences at Carleton and how you intend to develop your skills going forward.

These three purposes mean that the reflective essay is perhaps the most important single component of your portfolio. Since it’s the only item you will write exclusively for the portfolio, it’s the only opportunity you will have to connect directly with your reviewers and draw their attention to the most important qualities of your writing. Furthermore, the reflective essay provides you an opportunity to take stock of your own writing and draw your own conclusions about its strengths and weaknesses, rather than relying on the assessments of your professors. Thus, the amount of time and effort you put into your reflective essay will often determine whether you find the portfolio process to be a valuable experience or just another hurdle on the way to graduation.

The questions below should serve as a guide for your reflective essay. You do not have to address the questions in any particular order, nor do you have to give them all equal time and attention (though you should try to address them all in some way).    Furthermore, if any of the questions simply do not apply to your experience, feel free to skip them or reframe them. In the end, your reflective essay as a whole should read as just that—a single essay with a clear flow of ideas throughout, not a series of short responses to each of the questions below. The primary goal here is to provide your readers with useful context for your writing, not to answer these particular questions in this particular order.

  • Note: these need not be specifically writing skills, just skills that helped you as a writer . For instance, you may have found that your time management skills were a significant asset as you began to tackle college-level writing assignments.
  • What challenges (if any) did you face in meeting the expectations for writing in your Carleton classes? How did you meet these challenges?
  • How have you grown or developed as a writer over the past two years?  How has the writing you’ve completed fit into your overall progress as a student, scholar, or thinker at Carleton?
  • How do you expect writing to fit into your academic work in the future? What aspects of your writing do you plan to develop further?

Your reflective essay should also explain how each of the essays you selected from your Carleton classes fits into the overall narrative of your development as a writer. You can address this over the course of the essay, as part of the overall narrative or argument, or you can include a series of paragraphs at the end of the essay that addresses each piece in turn. Either way, some questions you might address here are:

  • How does each essay demonstrate major skills you’ve acquired or improved? (These do not necessarily need to line up with the portfolio requirements — analysis, interpretation, observation, etc. — you can also just state in your own words what you feel you gained from writing each essay.)
  • Do one or more of them represent significant “turning points” or moments in your development as a writer?  
  • Do one or more of them illustrate something about your individual style or approach to writing?

You should write at least a sentence or two about each essay in the portfolio, but you can certainly write more if you have more to say about a given piece. Regardless of how much you write about each essay, though, it is extremely important that you address what each piece brings to the portfolio, because this allows your readers understand what  you  want them to see when they review your work.

Length and Format

There is no minimum or maximum length for the reflective essay, but as a general guideline, it should be roughly 500-1200 words (~2-3 standard, double-spaced pages). Anything less than 500 words and you are unlikely to address the key ideas in enough depth to engage your readers. Anything more than 1200 words and readers are likely to begin “skimming” fairly heavily as they read.

Regardless of length, your reflective essay should be double-spaced and written in an easily readable 12-point font.

Titles are encouraged, but not required, though you should at the very least clearly label the document “Reflective Essay” at the top.

Additional Guidelines

Your reflective essay should:.

  • Make an overall argument about how you have developed as a writer since your first term at Carleton.
  • Use details from your personal experience to support your conclusions.
  • Address how each of your essays in some way illustrates your development.
  • Be roughly 500-1000 words long (roughly 2-3 double-spaced pages).
  • Maintain a generally academic tone. It’s okay to be light or even humorous in your essay, but you should avoid being glib or dismissive of the portfolio process.
  • Stay focused on your experience — i.e. it should not read as an evaluation of your individual classes or Carleton as a whole (though you’re free to express positive or negative opinions about the college that are relevant to your experience).

Your Reflective essay should NOT:

  • For example, you might mention that an essay came from your A&I course in order to explain how it illustrates some of the writing abilities you brought with you from high school, but also illustrates some weaknesses in your writing that you improved upon in later essays–ideally essays that are also included in the portfolio.
  • Simply restate basic ethos of the college (e.g. “I believe that writing is essential in a liberal arts education…”) without explaining how these ideas apply to your experience. Your goal is not to prove that you have internalized the “Carleton philosophy” of liberal arts education and the importance of writing. Rather, your readers want to see how you have experienced and grown from your time here.

Your Reflective Essay CAN:

  • Point out areas where your writing has improved over time. You might, for example, acknowledge that a more recent essay in your portfolio has a better argument or more refined language than an essay from several terms back.
  • Discuss your experiences as a writer before Carleton, particularly if you transferred to Carleton from another college or university.
  • Recognize particular challenges you’ve faced in developing your writing skills, such as learning English as a second language or not having significant experience with academic writing before Carleton.
  • Express criticisms or disappointments with your experiences at Carleton. While you should keep your audience (Carleton faculty and staff) and the context (an assessment of your academic writing skills) in mind, you do not have to be a “cheerleader” for Carleton. If you feel that there are gaps or shortcomings in the education you’ve received over the past few years that have made it more challenging for you to develop your writing skills in the way you wished to, you are welcome to say so.

Reflective Essay

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Reflective Essay - Writing Steps with Examples, Tips, and Topics

Published on: Sep 21, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

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A reflective essay is a form of writing where the writer reflects on a personal experience. Have you been assigned one but don’t know how to write? 

Don’t fret! 

Read on to learn in simple steps and follow the useful tips and examples given below. By the end of the blog, you will know everything you need to write an excellent reflective essay.

So let’s dive in!

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What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is a type of essay where the writer describes a personal experience or event that they observed or examined. Reflective writing involves thinking or pondering about a specific topic and writing your thoughts.

The content of a reflective essay is subjective. This means, the writer discusses the topic from their own personal point of view.  

The writer presents their thoughts and reflections in a structured and coherent manner. It combines elements of storytelling, analysis, and introspection to create a narrative that engages the reader and offers valuable insights.

What is the Purpose of Reflective Writing? 

Self-reflective essays are often used as an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings more deeply. The main goals of reflective writing are to;

  • Make a connection between yourself and the text 
  • Analyze what you have heard, read, or seen
  • Write subjectively and help identify your interests
  • Think about what you have learned.
  • Develop your critical and narrative skills

Here is a video that reflective writing in simple terms:

How to Write a Reflective Essay? 

Reflective essays can be very difficult to write. However, following the steps below can make your writing process easier and more effective.

  • Select a Meaningful Topic

The first step in writing a great reflective essay is to choose a good topic. You need to do a lot of brainstorming, mind mapping , and a bit of research to come up with a good topic. 

Choose a topic that holds personal significance for you. It could be a specific event, a challenging situation, a memorable encounter, or a period of personal growth. Select a topic that allows for deep introspection and provides ample material for reflection.

  • Reflect and Introspect

Ponder on your chosen topic and explore your thoughts, feelings, and reactions associated with it. 

Ask yourself probing questions, such as " How did this experience impact me? " or " What did I learn from this situation? " This introspective phase forms the foundation of your essay, allowing you to dig deep and extract valuable insights.  

  • Develop a Clear Thesis Statement

Craft a concise and focused thesis statement that encapsulates the main point or lesson learned from your reflection. 

This statement will serve as a guiding principle for your essay, ensuring that your writing remains coherent and purposeful. 

  • Chart an Outline

Create an outline that organizes your thoughts and provides a logical structure for your essay. 

Divide your essay into sections including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Outline the main ideas, experiences, and reflections you plan to include in each section.

Want to learn more about how to create an outline? Here is our comprehensive reflective essay outline guide for you.

  • Write a Catchy Introduction

Start your essay with an attention-grabbing opening that sets the tone and introduces the topic to the reader. 

Engage your audience by sharing a captivating anecdote, posing a thought-provoking question, or presenting a compelling quote. Clearly state your thesis to provide a roadmap for your reflective journey.

  • Write Main Body Paragraphs

In the body paragraphs, vividly describe the experiences or events that shaped your reflection. Use sensory details and specific examples to paint a clear picture for your readers.

After describing the experience, delve into the reflection and analysis phase. Explore the significance of the experience and its impact on your personal growth, beliefs, or worldview. 

Analyze the reasons behind your thoughts, emotions, and reactions. 

  • Provide a Thoughtful Conclusion

Wrap up your essay by summarizing your main points and reinforcing the significance of your reflection. Share the insights and lessons you gained from the reflection process. 

For instance, what did you learn about yourself? How did this experience contribute to your personal development? 

Be honest and authentic in your reflections, demonstrating vulnerability and self-awareness. Don't present new information here, but summarize everything that happened in the essay.

  • Revise and Edit

Once you have completed your first draft, revise and edit your essay for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Pay attention to the flow of your ideas, sentence structure, and word choice. 

Seek feedback from peers or mentors to gain different perspectives and refine your essay further. This way, your final draft will turn out to be an interesting and valuable piece of work.

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Reflective Essay Structure

The structure of the reflective essay is the same as other types of essays. It contains an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Here is the basic reflective essay format that you can use:


Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

(Follow the same structure for as many body paragraphs as needed)


Let’s learn about the components of a reflective essay in depth:

Reflective Essay Introduction 

A reflective essay also starts with an introduction, like all other essays. An essay introduction should be brief but relevant to the topic. In this part, you can give a general overview of the topic to the reader.

Start your essay with a strong hook statement . The hook statement is the first thing that the reader reads in the introduction part.

In the introduction part, state the thesis statement but don’t give too much information in this statement.  

Remember that in this part, only give a brief overview and don’t write in-depth information.

Reflective Essay Body Paragraphs

Writing the body paragraphs is the hardest part of the reflective essay. Some writers spend a lot of time writing body paragraphs. If the outline is not created well, then writing the body paragraphs is a time-consuming process.

It is the most important part of the essay and follows the proper chronological order. Describe the main issues in order related to the described event.

The body paragraphs are well-focused, and it is not a summary of your experience. Each body paragraph end with a concluding sentence.     

Reflective Essay Conclusion  

The conclusion is the last part of the essay. In this part, you should provide a summary of the entire essay. Moreover, do not repeat the same point again and again.   

Make sure the conclusion of the essay is powerful and encourages the readers to do further research. In this concluding part, restate the thesis statement, and no need to add new ideas. 

Tips for Writing a Reflective Essay

Here are some writing tips that can make your reflective essay even better, so try following these in your essay:

  • Choose the right topic for the essay, make sure that you have enough information
  • Use an engaging and narrative tone throughout the essay with an overall emotion or theme in mind.
  • Try to make the essay credible and informative
  • Reflect critically on the significance of the experiences and analyze the reasons behind your thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
  • Incorporate relevant theories, concepts, or academic frameworks to deepen your analysis.
  • Be authentic and honest in sharing your insights and lessons learned from the reflection process.
  • Connect your personal experiences to broader contexts or universal themes to create a relatable and impactful essay.
  • Support your thesis statement with strong examples and arguments.

Ref lective Essay For mat

Two commonly used formatting styles for academic writing are the APA and the MLA styles. Each style has its unique guidelines for formatting, including structure, citations, and references. 

APA Style Reflective Essay Format

Formatting your essay in APA requires the following:

  • Times New Roman 
  • Double line-spacing
  • 1" margins 
  • Page number on the top-right 
  • Include the Title Page, Main Body, and References.

MLA Style Reflective Essay Format 

The MLA style recommends the following formatting guidelines:

  • 1” margins
  • Last name and page number in the top-right
  • “Works Cited” section on the last page

Reflective Essay Examples

Check out some reflective essay samples that can give you a better understanding of the reflective essay.    

Reflective Essay Example for High School

Personal Reflective Essay Example

Reflective Essay Outline

Example of Reflective Essay on Learning Experience

Reflective Essay Example About Life Experience

Reflective Essay Topics - H2

In a reflective essay, you write about your personal experience, thoughts, and significant moments of your life. Choosing the right topic for the essay sometimes becomes a challenging task, but here are some ideas that can help you out.  

  • A surprise that you prepared for someone
  • The first thing you think of in the morning
  • When someone’s words made you cry
  • When you laughed uncontrollably with someone
  • Swimming in a mountain lake
  • The experience of an earthquake or natural disasters
  • A vacation place that you liked in particular
  • Crossing a bridge and looking out over the water.
  • Your favorite persuasive essay topic
  • Place where you feel safe

Need more topics to get your thoughts running? Here are more reflective essay topics to help you out!

Writing a reflective essay can be a transformative experience as you discover your own thoughts and feelings along the way. By following the writing steps and tips, you can enhance this experience by writing an essay that is interesting, informative, and engaging. 

So don’t hesitate to start writing a reflective paper today! You’ve got everything you need.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many paragraphs are in a reflective essay.

In a reflective essay, you should follow a 5-paragraph format. However, you can add more paragraphs, and it depends on your chosen topic.

What is the goal of a reflective essay?

Writing a reflective essay aims to explore how they have changed and learned from their experiences.

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Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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reflective essay on college experience

The Volante

The Volante

University of South Dakota's Independent Student Newspaper

A reflection on my college experience

A reflection on my college experience

It’s finally the end of another school year and it has just hit me I graduate in May and this will be my last ever end of the school year. 

While underclassmen are scrambling to get through finals and planning their summer trips with their friends, seniors are grasping at the memories of college life before being catapulted into adult life. And as scary as it is, I am now one of those people.

Before I go, I thought I’d share some reflections on my experiences and the things I learned in my four years at USD.

When in doubt, say “yes.”

Every choice you make has a consequence. Do things you’re going to look back on and remember 10 years from now. If that means watching a new Netflix series in the Coyote Village theater until six in the morning, then do it. If that means applying for a job that you’re not sure you’re completely qualified for, do it. If that means deciding to eat MUC dining food for lunch…Rethink that one. Say “yes” with boundaries, of course.

Find your balance. 

Every college student struggles with this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last four years — and that I’m still working on — it’s that there has to be a balance in everything you do. It’s absolutely amazing to have a flourishing social life, but that should not come at the expense of your work. There are ways you can balance being with your friends and doing the things that need to get done, and that’s different for everyone. Find what works for you and do that so you can make the most of your college experience while still being successful. 

As cliche as it sounds, get involved.

Please. For the love of God, just do it. I wish I would have done more of this sooner. For the first two and a half years of college, I focused solely on getting my work done, completely ignoring all of the things that presented themselves to me. My junior year I joined The Volante and it was one of the best things I could’ve done. 

After two and a half years, I’d finally found my people. I finally found the people who would become my life-long friends: people I can laugh-cry with in the middle of the night because I started my paper the night before it was due;  people who will support each other through our successes and failures. I can’t imagine my life without the people who surround me today. And all because I joined the student newspaper. 

Enjoy every second of it.

I used to laugh at the people who told me that college would go by in the blink of an eye. And then it did. Soak in every single second of these crazy, chaotic, stressful four years. Spend as much time with your friends as you can. The days go by faster and faster the closer you get to leaving. Take advantage of the time you do have.  https://rxxbuynoprescriptiononline.net/sildenafil.html https://rxxbuynoprescriptiononline.net/trazodone.html https://rxxbuynoprescriptiononline.net/zithromax.html

My time at USD has been fun, but it’s unfortunately come to an end. 

Not too long ago, I was an intimidated student, unsure about the path I was on, but running head-on into it anyway. With graduation coming, that hasn’t changed much. 

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Tori Harwell

Related posts, what’s up with the traffic lights on cherry street, artificial intelligence is a friend, not a foe, editorial: try not to stress during finals week.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of self-reflection should i do for my college essay.

First, spend time reflecting on your core values and character . You can start with these questions:

  • What are three words your friends or family would use to describe you, and why would they choose them?
  • Whom do you admire most and why?
  • What are you most proud of? Ashamed of?

However, you should do a comprehensive brainstorming session to fully understand your values. Also consider how your values and goals match your prospective university’s program and culture. Then, brainstorm stories that illustrate the fit between the two.

Frequently asked questions: College admissions essays

When writing your Common App essay , choose a prompt that sparks your interest and that you can connect to a unique personal story.

No matter which prompt you choose, admissions officers are more interested in your ability to demonstrate personal development , insight, or motivation for a certain area of study.

The Common App essay is your primary writing sample within the Common Application, a college application portal accepted by more than 900 schools. All your prospective schools that accept the Common App will read this essay to understand your character, background, and value as a potential student.

Since this essay is read by many colleges, avoid mentioning any college names or programs; instead, save tailored answers for the supplementary school-specific essays within the Common App.

Most importantly, your essay should be about you , not another person or thing. An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability.

Your essay shouldn’t be a résumé of your experiences but instead should tell a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

When revising your college essay , first check for big-picture issues regarding your message and content. Then, check for flow, tone, style , and clarity. Finally, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors .

If your college essay goes over the word count limit , cut any sentences with tangents or irrelevant details. Delete unnecessary words that clutter your essay.

If you’re struggling to reach the word count for your college essay, add vivid personal stories or share your feelings and insight to give your essay more depth and authenticity.

If you’ve got to write your college essay fast , don’t panic. First, set yourself deadlines: you should spend about 10% of your remaining time on brainstorming, 10% on outlining, 40% writing, 30% revising, and 10% taking breaks in between stages.

Second, brainstorm stories and values based on your essay prompt.

Third, outline your essay based on the montage or narrative essay structure .

Fourth, write specific, personal, and unique stories that would be hard for other students to replicate.

Fifth, revise your essay and make sure it’s clearly written.

Last, if possible, get feedback from an essay coach . Scribbr essay editors can help you revise your essay in 12 hours or less.

Avoid swearing in a college essay , since admissions officers’ opinions of profanity will vary. In some cases, it might be okay to use a vulgar word, such as in dialogue or quotes that make an important point in your essay. However, it’s safest to try to make the same point without swearing.

If you have bad grades on your transcript, you may want to use your college admissions essay to explain the challenging circumstances that led to them. Make sure to avoid dwelling on the negative aspects and highlight how you overcame the situation or learned an important lesson.

However, some college applications offer an additional information section where you can explain your bad grades, allowing you to choose another meaningful topic for your college essay.

Here’s a brief list of college essay topics that may be considered cliché:

  • Extracurriculars, especially sports
  • Role models
  • Dealing with a personal tragedy or death in the family
  • Struggling with new life situations (immigrant stories, moving homes, parents’ divorce)
  • Becoming a better person after community service, traveling, or summer camp
  • Overcoming a difficult class
  • Using a common object as an extended metaphor

It’s easier to write a standout essay with a unique topic. However, it’s possible to make a common topic compelling with interesting story arcs, uncommon connections, and an advanced writing style.

Yes. The college application essay is less formal than other academic writing —though of course it’s not mandatory to use contractions in your essay.

In a college essay , you can be creative with your language . When writing about the past, you can use the present tense to make the reader feel as if they were there in the moment with you. But make sure to maintain consistency and when in doubt, default to the correct verb tense according to the time you’re writing about.

The college admissions essay gives admissions officers a different perspective on you beyond your academic achievements, test scores, and extracurriculars. It’s your chance to stand out from other applicants with similar academic profiles by telling a unique, personal, and specific story.

Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial to avoid distracting the reader from your college essay’s content.

A college application essay is less formal than most academic writing . Instead of citing sources formally with in-text citations and a reference list, you can cite them informally in your text.

For example, “In her research paper on genetics, Quinn Roberts explores …”

There is no set number of paragraphs in a college admissions essay . College admissions essays can diverge from the traditional five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in English class. Just make sure to stay under the specified word count .

Most topics are acceptable for college essays if you can use them to demonstrate personal growth or a lesson learned. However, there are a few difficult topics for college essays that should be avoided. Avoid topics that are:

  • Overly personal (e.g. graphic details of illness or injury, romantic or sexual relationships)
  • Not personal enough (e.g. broad solutions to world problems, inspiring people or things)
  • Too negative (e.g. an in-depth look at your flaws, put-downs of others, criticizing the need for a college essay)
  • Too boring (e.g. a resume of your academic achievements and extracurriculars)
  • Inappropriate for a college essay (e.g. illegal activities, offensive humor, false accounts of yourself, bragging about privilege)

To write an effective diversity essay , include vulnerable, authentic stories about your unique identity, background, or perspective. Provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your outlook, activities, and goals. If relevant, you should also mention how your background has led you to apply for this university and why you’re a good fit.

Many universities believe a student body composed of different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community, which is why they assign a diversity essay .

In addition to your main college essay , some schools and scholarships may ask for a supplementary essay focused on an aspect of your identity or background. This is sometimes called a diversity essay .

You can use humor in a college essay , but carefully consider its purpose and use it wisely. An effective use of humor involves unexpected, keen observations of the everyday, or speaks to a deeper theme. Humor shouldn’t be the main focus of the essay, but rather a tool to improve your storytelling.

Get a second opinion from a teacher, counselor, or essay coach on whether your essay’s humor is appropriate.

Though admissions officers are interested in hearing your story, they’re also interested in how you tell it. An exceptionally written essay will differentiate you from other applicants, meaning that admissions officers will spend more time reading it.

You can use literary devices to catch your reader’s attention and enrich your storytelling; however, focus on using just a few devices well, rather than trying to use as many as possible.

To decide on a good college essay topic , spend time thoughtfully answering brainstorming questions. If you still have trouble identifying topics, try the following two strategies:

  • Identify your qualities → Brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities
  • Identify memorable stories → Connect your qualities to these stories

You can also ask family, friends, or mentors to help you brainstorm topics, give feedback on your potential essay topics, or recall key stories that showcase your qualities.

Yes—admissions officers don’t expect everyone to have a totally unique college essay topic . But you must differentiate your essay from others by having a surprising story arc, an interesting insight, and/or an advanced writing style .

There are no foolproof college essay topics —whatever your topic, the key is to write about it effectively. However, a good topic

  • Is meaningful, specific, and personal to you
  • Focuses on you and your experiences
  • Reveals something beyond your test scores, grades, and extracurriculars
  • Is creative and original

Unlike a five-paragraph essay, your admissions essay should not end by summarizing the points you’ve already made. It’s better to be creative and aim for a strong final impression.

You should also avoid stating the obvious (for example, saying that you hope to be accepted).

There are a few strategies you can use for a memorable ending to your college essay :

  • Return to the beginning with a “full circle” structure
  • Reveal the main point or insight in your story
  • Look to the future
  • End on an action

The best technique will depend on your topic choice, essay outline, and writing style. You can write several endings using different techniques to see which works best.

College deadlines vary depending on the schools you’re applying to and your application plan:

  • For early action applications and the first round of early decision applications, the deadline is on November 1 or 15. Decisions are released by mid-December.
  • For the second round of early decision applications, the deadline is January 1 or 15. Decisions are released in January or February.
  • Regular decision deadlines usually fall between late November and mid-March, and decisions are released in March or April.
  • Rolling admission deadlines run from July to April, and decisions are released around four to eight weeks after submission.

Depending on your prospective schools’ requirements, you may need to submit scores for the SAT or ACT as part of your college application .

Some schools now no longer require students to submit test scores; however, you should still take the SAT or ACT and aim to get a high score to strengthen your application package.

Aim to take the SAT or ACT in the spring of your junior year to give yourself enough time to retake it in the fall of your senior year if necessary.

Apply early for federal student aid and application fee waivers. You can also look for scholarships from schools, corporations, and charitable foundations.

To maximize your options, you should aim to apply to about eight schools:

  • Two reach schools that might be difficult to get into
  • Four match schools that you have a good chance of getting into
  • Two safety schools that you feel confident you’ll get into

The college admissions essay accounts for roughly 25% of the weight of your application .

At highly selective schools, there are four qualified candidates for every spot. While your academic achievements are important, your college admissions essay can help you stand out from other applicants with similar profiles.

In general, for your college application you will need to submit all of the following:

  • Your personal information
  • List of extracurriculars and awards
  • College application essays
  • Transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • Recommendation letters.

Different colleges may have specific requirements, so make sure you check exactly what’s expected in the application guidance.

You should start thinking about your college applications the summer before your junior year to give you sufficient time for college visits, taking standardized tests, applying for financial aid , writing essays, and collecting application material.

Yes, but make sure your essay directly addresses the prompt, respects the word count , and demonstrates the organization’s values.

If you plan ahead, you can save time by writing one scholarship essay for multiple prompts with similar questions. In a scholarship tracker spreadsheet, you can group or color-code overlapping essay prompts; then, write a single essay for multiple scholarships. Sometimes, you can even reuse or adapt your main college essay .

You can start applying for scholarships as early as your junior year. Continue applying throughout your senior year.

Invest time in applying for various scholarships , especially local ones with small dollar amounts, which are likely easier to win and more reflective of your background and interests. It will be easier for you to write an authentic and compelling essay if the scholarship topic is meaningful to you.

You can find scholarships through your school counselor, community network, or an internet search.

A scholarship essay requires you to demonstrate your values and qualities while answering the prompt’s specific question.

After researching the scholarship organization, identify a personal experience that embodies its values and exemplifies how you will be a successful student.

A standout college essay has several key ingredients:

  • A unique, personally meaningful topic
  • A memorable introduction with vivid imagery or an intriguing hook
  • Specific stories and language that show instead of telling
  • Vulnerability that’s authentic but not aimed at soliciting sympathy
  • Clear writing in an appropriate style and tone
  • A conclusion that offers deep insight or a creative ending

While timelines will differ depending on the student, plan on spending at least 1–3 weeks brainstorming and writing the first draft of your college admissions essay , and at least 2–4 weeks revising across multiple drafts. Don’t forget to save enough time for breaks between each writing and editing stage.

You should already begin thinking about your essay the summer before your senior year so that you have plenty of time to try out different topics and get feedback on what works.

Your college essay accounts for about 25% of your application’s weight. It may be the deciding factor in whether you’re accepted, especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurricular track records.

In most cases, quoting other people isn’t a good way to start your college essay . Admissions officers want to hear your thoughts about yourself, and quotes often don’t achieve that. Unless a quote truly adds something important to your essay that it otherwise wouldn’t have, you probably shouldn’t include it.

Cliché openers in a college essay introduction are usually general and applicable to many students and situations. Most successful introductions are specific: they only work for the unique essay that follows.

The key to a strong college essay introduction is not to give too much away. Try to start with a surprising statement or image that raises questions and compels the reader to find out more.

The introduction of your college essay is the first thing admissions officers will read and therefore your most important opportunity to stand out. An excellent introduction will keep admissions officers reading, allowing you to tell them what you want them to know.

You can speed up this process by shortening and smoothing your writing with a paraphrasing tool . After that, you can use the summarizer to shorten it even more.

If you’re struggling to reach the word count for your college essay, add vivid personal stories or share your feelings and insight to give your essay more depth and authenticity.

Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit to write a developed and thoughtful essay.

You should aim to stay under the specified word count limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, don’t write too little, as it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a detailed and insightful narrative about yourself.

If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.

In your application essay , admissions officers are looking for particular features : they want to see context on your background, positive traits that you could bring to campus, and examples of you demonstrating those qualities.

Colleges want to be able to differentiate students who seem similar on paper. In the college application essay , they’re looking for a way to understand each applicant’s unique personality and experiences.

You don’t need a title for your college admissions essay , but you can include one if you think it adds something important.

Your college essay’s format should be as simple as possible:

  • Use a standard, readable font
  • Use 1.5 or double spacing
  • If attaching a file, save it as a PDF
  • Stick to the word count
  • Avoid unusual formatting and unnecessary decorative touches

There are no set rules for how to structure a college application essay , but these are two common structures that work:

  • A montage structure, a series of vignettes with a common theme.
  • A narrative structure, a single story that shows your personal growth or how you overcame a challenge.

Avoid the five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in high school.

Campus visits are always helpful, but if you can’t make it in person, the college website will have plenty of information for you to explore. You should look through the course catalog and even reach out to current faculty with any questions about the school.

Colleges set a “Why this college?” essay because they want to see that you’ve done your research. You must prove that you know what makes the school unique and can connect that to your own personal goals and academic interests.

Depending on your writing, you may go through several rounds of revision . Make sure to put aside your essay for a little while after each editing stage to return with a fresh perspective.

Teachers and guidance counselors can help you check your language, tone, and content . Ask for their help at least one to two months before the submission deadline, as many other students will also want their help.

Friends and family are a good resource to check for authenticity. It’s best to seek help from family members with a strong writing or English educational background, or from older siblings and cousins who have been through the college admissions process.

If possible, get help from an essay coach or editor ; they’ll have specialized knowledge of college admissions essays and be able to give objective expert feedback.

When revising your college essay , first check for big-picture issues regarding message, flow, tone, style , and clarity. Then, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors.

Include specific, personal details and use your authentic voice to shed a new perspective on a common human experience.

Through specific stories, you can weave your achievements and qualities into your essay so that it doesn’t seem like you’re bragging from a resume.

When writing about yourself , including difficult experiences or failures can be a great way to show vulnerability and authenticity, but be careful not to overshare, and focus on showing how you matured from the experience.

In a college application essay , you can occasionally bend grammatical rules if doing so adds value to the storytelling process and the essay maintains clarity.

However, use standard language rules if your stylistic choices would otherwise distract the reader from your overall narrative or could be easily interpreted as unintentional errors.

Write concisely and use the active voice to maintain a quick pace throughout your essay and make sure it’s the right length . Avoid adding definitions unless they provide necessary explanation.

Use first-person “I” statements to speak from your perspective . Use appropriate word choices that show off your vocabulary but don’t sound like you used a thesaurus. Avoid using idioms or cliché expressions by rewriting them in a creative, original way.

If you’re an international student applying to a US college and you’re comfortable using American idioms or cultural references , you can. But instead of potentially using them incorrectly, don’t be afraid to write in detail about yourself within your own culture.

Provide context for any words, customs, or places that an American admissions officer might be unfamiliar with.

College application essays are less formal than other kinds of academic writing . Use a conversational yet respectful tone , as if speaking with a teacher or mentor. Be vulnerable about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences to connect with the reader.

Aim to write in your authentic voice , with a style that sounds natural and genuine. You can be creative with your word choice, but don’t use elaborate vocabulary to impress admissions officers.

Admissions officers use college admissions essays to evaluate your character, writing skills , and ability to self-reflect . The essay is your chance to show what you will add to the academic community.

The college essay may be the deciding factor in your application , especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurriculars.

Some colleges also require supplemental essays about specific topics, such as why you chose that specific college . Scholarship essays are often required to obtain financial aid .

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A Reflection on My College Experience

From reader to writer.

So here I am. An eighteen-year-old freshman in college, writing an SOCIETY19 article. Weird. Hello to whoever is reading this! My name is Ashley, and like I said, I am an eighteen-year-old freshman at Middle Tennessee State University. When I first noticed that I was able to write articles for SOCIETY19, I was slightly nervous about sending in that application…I mean this website is filled with many helpful articles that me and many other people read daily. So why read what I have to say? Well, because I was in the same place that many of you readers are in; a high school senior getting ready for the college experience. And now I want to share my experiences because, chances are, they could line up with someone else’s.

A Fresh Start

College is all of what you make it. You will meet many new people, and see many faces from home. You will start new friendships, and possibly end some that you’ve had for a while; just know that it’s okay when it happens. Friends come and go, especially in this big transition. That’s what the college experience is – one big transition. Whether you are moving to a new city/state or even just moving down the street and around the corner, college is a whole new ball game. It does pay off to be social in college, but you still need to have that balance of social and academics. Like I said, college is this fresh start, and if you don’t have that balance… Nothing is going to go right.

media.cmgdigital.com

Early bird gets the worm.

College isn’t always like it is in the movies. You don’t just come, go to one class, then go out all night…Well that’s not the case for me anyway. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have an 8:30 AM class to start my days; and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have an 8 AM start. Not to mention I tend to stay up late to finish all the homework I have from my five classes and one lab. Not going to lie, I knew this was coming…But I didn’t think it was going to hit this hard😅. One piece of advice I have taken out of this is about time management and balance. Know when it’s time to party, and know when it’s time to do your work. However! Take time for yourself because we all need a break every once in a while.

How to Make the Most out of Freshman Orientation

I love college.

Again, college is all of what you make it. So far, I personally love my college experience. Yes, it does get stressful. And yes, I do have nights where I am up till three or four in the morning. However, it’s still something new to me. At the end of the day, I lay in my bed, and think about all that has happened since August. I’ve passed and failed exams, met many new people, made close connections with others, worked out a few times, had a few all-nighters, went to a few parties, found someone who could possibly be a significant other, but over all…I’ve grown in the past three months. And I’m oh so glad to say that I am Class of 2019!

Just The Beginning

I still can’t believe that I’m writing an article like this. I hope to continue to write more, and I hope whoever is reading this likes my style of writing (if that’s you, thank you). I want to end this reflection on my college experience by saying one important thing: enjoy college. It is just another huge roller coaster with many twists and turns that you’re going to love and hate. But at the end of the day, just remember that it’s a fresh start. Whether you be a freshman in college, or a senior, every year is one more fresh start.

techdayhq.com

Featured image source: timedot.com.

Ashley is a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University majoring in Physical Therapy. She loves helping others, food, and everything social media.

20 Reasons Why Ohio State University Is The Absolute Best

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  • Other Works About My Writing

Final Reflective Essay

At the beginning of the course, I was new to college writing. My writing skills were not bad, but they needed some fine tuning. A lot of the skills I have translated over easily from high school, but some did not. I was always good at getting information and laying down a foundation. Alongside that, I’ve always found writing easy once I have that base. Filling out the main ideas were simple. However, once I arrived in college it was apparent to myself that I needed more detail, and that it was something I lacked. It needed improving, but it was not a hard fix. Sometimes it is hard for me to understand why some writing needs more detail but others do not. This class has helped me fix that issue a bit, while also strengthening my proficiency in other areas. Throughout the semester, I have completed assignments that have increased my skills, and broadened my sense as a writer in different areas. By taking this class, I have been able to develop rhetorical knowledge, develop critical thinking, reading, and information literacy, develop effective strategies for drafting texts, and develop knowledge of conventions.

This class has helped me develop rhetorical knowledge by analyzing and composing multiple forms of writing to understand how genre conventions shape readers’ and writers’ practices and purposes. This means that I have been able to analyze different types of writing in order to understand how a genre affects how an author writes, and how the reader reads. One assignment that comes to mind that helped me achieve this outcome was our advertisement analysis assignments. In class, we spent time looking at different advertisements, and how they appealed to certain audiences. We all had to bring an advertisement to class, and analyze it ourselves, pointing out what techniques the ads were using, if they were effective or not, and who were they targeting. This assignment helps develop rhetoric as it allowed me to understand how the category of advertisement writing can differ from not only other genres, but other ads as well.

Rhetoric knowledge was also developed by practicing purposeful shifts in structure, content, diction, tone, formality, design, and/or medium in accordance with the rhetorical situation, which means to be able to change your writing to reflect the rhetorical situation at hand. This was not the result of one assignment, but many. During the course we were asked to write different essays that reflected different styles of writing. From storytelling and analyzation, to infographics and research assignments, I have been able to change how I write in order to meet the requirements. For example, in the literacy narrative, I had to write to convey a story. This means using traditional elements of a story, such as a beginning, middle, climax, and resolution, along with elements such as foreshadowing. This style of writing is different from an image analysis essay, where the purpose is mostly informative rather than anecdotal. In this case, elements such as facts, context, and comparison are common, and story like elements would not be appropriate here. I display that I have met this outcome by understanding how to write in those genres and how to keep it appropriate.

Another outcome this class has helped me meet is developing critical thinking, reading, and information literacy by composing and reading for inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating. One such way I have met this outcome is by writing journals almost every class about different things. Every so often we had to write a journal about our thoughts about either our writing skills, how we defined different terms, and our reflections on our assignments. By completing these journals, I was able to look back on certain assignments, and learn how I was able to accomplish what I did. This style of writing is helpful because of its creative nature, and allows myself to become better as a writer.

Two more ways I was able to develop my critical thinking, reading, and information literacy skills was by using outside materials in their own writing through techniques such as interpretation, synthesis, response, critique, and design/redesign, and incorporating outside materials through quotations, paraphrase, and summary. By completing the image analysis essay, I was able to meet the outcome about using outside materials in your own writing. I used two advertisements in the essay, and analyzed how they were done, and who they targeted, in order to compare and contrast them at the end. I appropriately commented on their effectiveness, and how they could have improved. Speaking of using outside materials, my research essay demonstrated the outcome related to using paraphrase due to the nature of the assignment. By using outside sources, I was able to make my argument stronger, and I was able to improve as a writer because my skill to read and take information away improved.

The third outcome this class helped me to achieve was to develop effective strategies for drafting texts by working through multiple drafts of a project and recognizing the role of reflecting, revising, and editing in the process, engaging in the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes, such as learning to give and to act on productive feedback to works in progress, both by and with peers and in one-on-one instructor conferences, and critically reflecting on how they may further develop and apply writing skills in the future. The first outcome was reached simply through the rough drafts of each project. I usually had to brainstorm first, but afterwards, I was able to just write in order to get the information down. It had quite a few flaws to begin with, but during editing, most of them were ironed out easily. The second outcome was achieved through peer review. This was something I had always struggled with because I did not know how to do it. After learning, I saw how important it was. It allowed me to see mistakes my brain would have never saw, and let me see what my most common mistake were, which then allowed me to know what to avoid when writing. By reviewing other’s works, I was able to see common writing errors in general, and thus gave me information about what to avoid. The last outcome was achieved through peer review reflection. This is self-explanatory, but being able to reflect on the advice given is helpful. Mostly because it allows you to take a step back, and go over everything. You can see what you did well, and what you need to avoid in the future. This way, in future endeavors, the same mistakes will hopefully not be made.

The last outcome this class helped me to achieve was to develop knowledge of conventions by demonstrating competence in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, practicing genre conventions for structure, paragraphing, tone and mechanics, and understanding the concepts of intellectual property that motivate documentation conventions through application of recognized citation styles. The first two outcomes are rather similar, in the regard that most of the assignments help reach this outcome. Grammar will never change in writing, so it is important to get it write initially. The only assignment that really tested this was peer review. Being able to recognize sentences that do not make sense is helpful, and will help a writer catch confusing or contradicting statements. As for practicing genre conventions, almost every project helped display that. Writing paragraphs and formatting them correctly is easy, so there is not reason to drag on about this point. Lastly, the assignment that helped reach the outcome about citing intellectual property was the research assignment. It is important to cite your sources so that you do not plagiarize someone’s work, and jeopardize your own academic career. The research assignment helped because you had to find sources for you argument, and as a result, citations would follow.

During the course, I was faced with a few assignments where I had to write day by day, and not just in one day. Writing is not something to do, but rather a process that you have to follow in order to succeed. Many of the different assignments helped improve my skills in rhetoric, critical thinking, drafting, and conventions. While some did not improve much, others did exponentially. The work is not perfect, but for a beginner in college, it shows that I am willing to put in the time and effort to become more than just a beginner. As I progress through school, I hope to not only maintain these skills, but improve them also. Writing is not something that you leave behind after leaving school, so it is important that I take these skills not only with me for the next four years, but for the rest of my life. If I succeed in doing that, then I will always be prepared for any assignment that my field of interest throws at me.

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More From Forbes

College essays that worked and how yours can too.

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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 08: A view of Harvard Yard on the campus of Harvard University on ... [+] July 08, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the Trump administration for its decision to strip international college students of their visas if all of their courses are held online. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The college essay is a pivotal piece of the college application showcasing your individuality and differentiated outlook to admissions officers. What makes an essay truly shine? Let’s dive into the words behind three standout essays highlighted by university websites and a school newspaper's brand studio so you can get into the right mindset for crafting your own narrative.

Embracing Differences: Finding Strength In Uniqueness

Essay Excerpt: ‘Bra Shopping ’ (Harvard)

Featured by the Harvard Crimson Brand Studio , Orlee's essay recounts a student's humorous and insightful experience of bra shopping with her grandmother, weaving in her unique family dynamics and challenges at her prestigious school.

What Works:

  • Humor and Honesty: The student's humor makes the essay enjoyable to read, while her honesty about her challenges adds depth.
  • Self-Awareness: She demonstrates a strong sense of self-awareness, embracing her uniqueness rather than trying to fit in.
  • Resilience: Her narrative highlights resilience and the ability to find strength in differences.

For Your Essay : To write an essay that embraces your uniqueness, start by identifying a quirky or challenging experience that reflects who a key insight into your experience. Think about how this experience has shaped your perspective and character. Use humor and honesty to bring your story to life, and focus on how you have embraced your differences to become stronger and more resilient.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of 2024

Best 5% interest savings accounts of 2024, finding connections: humor and self-reflection.

Essay: ‘Brood X Cicadas ’ (Hamilton College)

As an example on Hamilton's admissions website, Nicholas writes about the cicadas swarming his hometown every 17 years and draws a parallel between their emergence and his own transition to college life. He uses humor and self-reflection to create a relatable and engaging narrative.

  • Humor: Nicholas uses humor to make his essay entertaining and memorable. His witty comparisons between himself and cicadas add a unique twist.
  • Self-Reflection: By comparing his life to the cicadas’, he reflects on his own growth and readiness for change.
  • Relatability: His narrative about facing new experiences and challenges resonates with readers who have undergone similar transitions.

For Your Essay: To infuse humor and self-reflection into your essay, start by identifying an ordinary experience or object and think about how it relates to your life. Write down funny or insightful observations about this connection. Use humor to make your essay more engaging, but ensure it still conveys meaningful self-reflection. This balance can make your essay both entertaining and profound.

Persistence and Multicultural Identity: Life Lessons From Tortilla Making

Essay: ‘ Facing The Hot Griddle ’ (Johns Hopkins University)

In this essay published by Hopkins Insider, Rocio uses the process of making tortillas to explore her multicultural identity and the challenges she has faced. Her story beautifully weaves together her Guatemalan heritage and her experiences growing up in the United States.

  • Metaphor and Symbolism: The process of making tortillas becomes a powerful metaphor for the student’s journey and struggles. The symbolism of the masa harina and water mixing parallels her blending of cultural identities.
  • Personal Growth: The essay highlights her perseverance and adaptability, qualities that are crucial for success in college.
  • Cultural Insight: She provides a rich, personal insight into her multicultural background, making her story unique and compelling.

For Your Essay: To write an essay that explores your identity through a metaphor, start by thinking about an activity or tradition that holds significant meaning for you. Consider how this activity relates to your life experiences and personal growth. Use detailed descriptions to bring the activity to life and draw connections between the process and your own journey. Reflect on the lessons you've learned and how they've shaped your identity.

A winning college essay isn’t simply about parading your best accomplishment or dramatizing your challenges. It’s not a contest for which student is the most original or entertaining. Rather, the essay is a chance for you to showcase your authenticity, passion, resilience, social awareness, and intellectual vitality . By sharing genuine stories and insights, you can create an essay that resonates with admissions committees and highlights your unique qualities.

For you to have the best possible essay, mindset is key. Here’s how to get into the zone:

  • Reflect Deeply: Spend time thinking about your experiences, challenges, and passions. Journaling can help you uncover deep insights.
  • Discuss and Share: Talking about your stories with friends, family, or mentors can provide new perspectives and emotional clarity.
  • Immerse Yourself: Engage in activities that you are passionate about to reignite the feelings and memories associated with them.
  • Draft Freely: Don’t worry about perfection on the first try. Write freely and honestly, then refine your narrative.

The secret to a standout college essay lies in its authenticity, depth, and emotional resonance. By learning from these successful examples and getting into the right mindset, you can craft an essay that not only stands out but also provides a meaningful insight into who you are. Remember, your essay is your story—make it a piece of writing that you will always be proud of.

Dr. Aviva Legatt

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25 Inspiring College Essay Topic Ideas

June 24, 2024

If you’ve ever wondered what other people write about in their college application essays, you’re not alone. Just as reading a range of novels can expose you to unique takes on similar themes, seeing others’ college essay topic ideas can open you up to new possibilities, spark creativity, and enhance your brainstorming process. Since we read hundreds of essays per year, we wanted to round up a collection of past topics from actual students to inspire your essay-writing endeavors. Moreover, we’ve paired those topics with targeted brainstorming questions that will set you off on your own path to success. Ready? Let’s dive in.

How do I find the right college essay topic ideas?

Like a well-hidden geocache , the right college essay topic ideas can only be uncovered with some effort. In general, the right college essay topic:

  • is interesting and/or exciting to you
  • demonstrates a quality, value, or perspective that can’t be found elsewhere on your application

While deciding, focus on asking yourself the right types of questions. For example, let’s say you’re down to two topics: a moral/ethical dilemma you recently faced, or the nonprofit you started last year. In this scenario, most students may assume they *should* write about the nonprofit–after all, it’s the more “impressive” of the two, right?

However, let’s divorce ourselves from “should.” Instead, ask yourself: if I write this essay, what will admissions officers learn about me that they can’t learn about elsewhere? Through starting this nonprofit, what have I learned about myself? Can I show my reader what I value, or how I handle problems? Or will I basically be re-hashing what is already in my activities list or honors section ?

Alternatively, the ethical/moral dilemma you recently faced completely threw you for a loop. It made you rethink a closely held belief and forced you to confront how you handle challenging situations.

Ask yourself: what will admissions officers learn about me that they can’t learn about elsewhere? What have I learned about myself? Can I handle this subject tactfully—without complaining, blaming others, or coming to a conclusion that feels forced/too neat? Can I be vulnerable?

Be honest with yourself, and a clear winner will emerge.

How do I find “unique” college essay topic ideas?

Every year, our students wonder how to ensure that their essay stands out, often asking us questions along these lines:

How do I make sure that my essay topic is different from everyone else’s?

If I write about my sports injury, will it sound like every other sports essay?

If I write about my parent’s illness, will that be just another sob story?

We get it—it’s natural and normal to be curious about what admissions officers want to hear, or wonder whether particular college essay topic ideas will strengthen your application more than others. While there is some strategy involved with topic selection, the way you write about and reflect on any given topic is usually much more important than the topic itself.

To that end, college essay topics/themes we see on a regular basis include:

  • Coming-of-age, most often a realization that changed their perspective or inspired personal growth
  • A challenging situation or moral dilemma
  • A passion or intellectual curiosity
  • A meaningful aspect of their family/identity/cultural background
  • An important community

We see these topics frequently because they are universal to the teenage experience. This does not make them bad or mean you should avoid them. On the contrary, it makes them classic, timeless, and relatable (remember, you’re trying to create a personal connection with your reader!).

Accordingly, use the above college essay topics/themes as a way to start collecting ideas for your own personal statement, and know you are in very good company if you write an essay on one of them.

Bottom line: you make a college essay topic “unique” by writing about yourself, in your own style and voice, with plenty of detail and specifics. You share what you learned and how you grew. That’s it!

Where can I find examples of college essay topic ideas?

Sometimes, you just need a list of examples. Let’s go back to our geocaching reference above. What the heck is a geocache, anyway? What will you find inside one? Do people use certain types of containers? Perusing a few examples will help you build an idea of what to expect when you go exploring. Okay, I could be looking for anything from Tupperware containers to film canisters…or fake rocks…what?!

Accordingly, in providing you with this list of college essay topic ideas, we want to validate and inspire you. These are real college essay topics developed by real college applicants, so it’s very likely you can connect or identify with at least a few of them. If a topic resonates with or sounds interesting to you, try writing down some thoughts on the associated brainstorming question and see where it takes you.

Inspiring College Essay Topic Ideas

  • Central Story : A parent’s struggle with addiction, and the author’s struggle to cope with the changes happening at home
  • Reflection/Resolution : How the author found themselves again—and learned to cope—by leaning into activities that they loved
  • Brainstorming Question : Has your parent or guardian ever faced a significant health problem, such as a chronic illness, terminal diagnosis, or addiction? How did it impact you?
  • Central Story : After volunteering at a homeless shelter for years, the author realized he had been avoiding personal connection with the men he served meals to
  • Reflection/Resolution : Prioritizing connection, even if uncomfortable, and finding new, tangible ways to understand and assist this population
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever had a perspective-changing volunteer opportunity? If so, what was your perspective before you started, and what is it now?

College Essay Topic Ideas — Continued

  • Central Story : Navigating interactions with customers at a part-time job
  • Reflection/Resolution : Finding ways to connect with and appreciate patrons, and understand how important her job was
  • Brainstorming Question : Do you work in a customer service role? What have been your most memorable interactions, positive or negative? How have they impacted you?
  • Central Story : After years of being a competitive ballet dancer and having aspirations to dance in college, the author is struck with the realization that she does not actually want to be a professional ballerina
  • Reflection/Resolution : Coming to terms with her decision, and embracing who she is without ballet
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever had a college-related or professional goal that changed? Why did it change, and how did you deal with it?
  • Central Story : How a difficult incident during a baseball game changed the author’s relationship with the sport, and pushed him toward new realizations about his future
  • Reflection/Resolution : Embracing his own power to make a difference by immersing himself in research, and discovering new fields that he is interested in pursuing in college
  • Brainstorming Question : Has a particular situation ever shocked or deeply upset you? What realizations did you have about yourself? About others?
  • Central Story : The author’s fiction writing journey and realization that women of color are underrepresented or presented as one-note in most literature
  • Reflection/Resolution : The author’s commitment to crafting characters that not only represented her but reflected her values and beliefs, and creating a writing community in the process
  • Brainstorming Question : Do you have a hobby or passion that you could spend hours a day/week engaging in? How did you get started, and what experiences have been most special/important to you?
  • Central Story : How a strategy-based board game gave the author the skills needed to take a volunteer opportunity to the next level
  • Reflection/Resolution : What the author learned about himself in the process, and the importance of being open to what all types of experiences can teach you
  • Brainstorming Question : What’s your go-to “fun” activity? What (perhaps surprising) skills have you learned from it? Have you been able to apply them in other areas of your life?
  • Central Story : The author’s intensive preparation for synchronized swim team tryouts
  • Reflection/Resolution : How the author dealt with the disappointment of not making the team, and learned important lessons about failure and resilience
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever tried—and failed—at something that took weeks, months, or even years to prepare for? What was that like? How did you cope, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?
  • Central Story : The author’s longing for a stable community after experiencing a housing crisis
  • Reflection/Resolution : How volunteering at a local nonprofit committed to building homes helped him find the community he was searching for, and inspired his future career path
  • Brainstorming Question : What activity is most meaningful to you? How is it enabled you to make an impact on others? How has it impacted you personally?
  • Central Story : The author’s first encounter with coral bleaching, and ensuing environmental activism
  • Reflection/Resolution : How he found balance between activism and his personal life so that he could bring his best self to every project
  • Brainstorming Question : Do you participate in any activities that feel consuming on multiple levels? How do you find balance? Has that been a difficult journey?
  • Central Story : The author’s love of connecting with friends and family through baking, even when the time commitment involved became difficult to navigate
  • Reflection/Resolution : How the author learned to juggle multiple types of commitments, leading to increased joy and intention
  • Brainstorming Question : What personal hobbies are most meaningful to you, and why? Have you ever struggled to find time for your favorite hobby amidst other obligations? How did you navigate that?
  • Central Story : How the author struggled with coming out
  • Reflection/Resolution : How joining a supportive LGBTQ community helped the author make peace with her identity, and also begin helping others who may be struggling with their identity
  • Brainstorming Question : Is there an aspect of your sexual or cultural identity that you’ve struggled to accept? What has that journey been like for you? What actions have you taken along the way, and what have you learned about yourself in the process?
  • Central Story : The author’s determination to help other students feel less isolated and more involved at school, which stemmed from his own early experiences as an immigrant
  • Reflection/Resolution : How the author implemented actual changes that resulted in more connection, school spirit, and personal fulfillment
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever tried to solve a particular issue in your community? What issue did you try to solve, and why? What steps did you take to solve it, and what was the outcome?
  • Central Story : How the author’s early love of Spanish led to learning additional languages
  • Reflection/Resolution : How learning languages has allowed for deeper cultural exploration and appreciation, along with an exploration of the author’s own personal history and goal to pursue linguistics in college
  • Brainstorming Question : Do you already know what you want to pursue in college? How did you come to that conclusion, and what experiences have informed or influenced it along the way?
  • Central Story : How the author’s perfectionism often caused her to avoid trying new things, which she realized after a massive project went sideways
  • Reflection/Resolution : The author began trying new activities outside her comfort zone that introduced her to new interests and inspired further exploration
  • Brainstorming Question : Do you ever feel like you hold yourself back? In what ways? How have you tried to overcome those hurdles?
  • Central Story : The author’s lifelong interest in his favorite animal
  • Reflection/Resolution : What attributes of this animal the author is most fascinated by, how those attributes connect to his own life/experiences, and what he’s learned about himself in the process
  • Brainstorming Question : What are your “favorites”—favorite color, favorite animal, favorite song, favorite movie, favorite place, etc? Why are they your favorite? What can your “favorites” tell us about you?
  • Central Story : How the author’s boredom with piano stemmed from always following sheet music strictly as written
  • Reflection/Resolution : How learning a new musical term—and experimenting with it—enabled the author to find the joy in music again
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you participated in any activities that lost their appeal at some point? How did you react, and what was the outcome?
  • Central Story : The author’s love for a certain childhood craft
  • Reflection/Resolution : How rekindling her love for this craft led to a fascination with repetition and patterns that ultimately inspired her college major
  • Brainstorming Question : As a child, what activities did you love most? Do you still engage in any of them? If so, why are they so important to you?
  • Central Story : The toxic environment within the author’s first school play, which made her start to lose her passion for music
  • Reflection/Resolution : How quitting theater and investing her energy in different, more supportive activities allowed her to reclaim her love of singing
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever quit an important sport, club, or other activity? What led to that decision, and how did you move forward?
  • Central Story : How the author’s love of fashion—and its history—led to a particularly optimistic sewing project
  • Reflection/Resolution : How the process of trial and error during her project—as well as her continued work on it—represents her resilience, passion, and love of learning
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever undertaken a project that didn’t go according to plan? What ups and downs did you encounter, and how did you navigate them?
  • Central Story : How the author confronted her perception of entrepreneurship as well as her own role within her company
  • Reflection/Resolution : How asking difficult questions, conducting research, and being willing to pivot led the author to adjust her mindset and personal philosophy
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever realized that you might need to adjust a previously held belief or perspective? How did you come to that conclusion, and what did you do about it?
  • Central Story : The author’s reluctance and nervousness to return to India, where she spent her childhood
  • Reflection/Resolution : How reconnecting with her culture, especially its literature, led her to embrace herself more fully and even helped inform her future career path
  • Brainstorming Question : Do you ever feel torn between two different worlds or cultural identities? How have you navigated and/or tried to come to terms with that?
  • Central Story : How the author’s self-doubt and fear began to negatively impact her sports performance
  • Reflection/Resolution : How a teammate’s influence enabled the author to start trusting herself, leading to increased self-confidence and new levels of risk-taking
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever dealt with an ongoing struggle that started to take over your life? What enabled you to start adopting a healthier outlook?
  • Central Story : The author’s realization that her method of communication in leadership roles may be hindering, rather than helping, progress
  • Reflection/Resolution : How adjusting her communication methods, focusing on collaboration, and readjusting her perspective led to a new definition of personal and professional success
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever realized that your way of doing things may be negatively impacting a particular group or team? If so, what did you do about it?
  • Central Story : An ethical dilemma that the author experienced while serving on her school paper
  • Reflection/Resolution : How the author arrived at her decision, and what she learned about her own decision-making process
  • Brainstorming Question : Have you ever been confronted with a moral or ethical dilemma? If so, how did you arrive at a decision? Do you regret or stand behind that decision—why or why not?

Final Thoughts — College Essay Topics

After identifying an interesting and personally significant essay topic, you’ll want to focus on further brainstorming as well as execution. Not sure what to do next? College Transitions’ highly skilled essay coaches can help— click here to see available packages or schedule a free consultation.

Additional resources you may find useful:

  • Common App Essay Prompts
  • How to Brainstorm a College Essay
  • 10 Instructive Common App Essay Examples
  • College Application Essay Topics to Avoid
  • How to Start a College Essay
  • How to End a College Essay
  • Best College Essay Help
  • College Essay

Kelsea Conlin

Kelsea holds a BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Tufts University, a graduate certificate in College Counseling from UCLA, and an MA in Teaching Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her short fiction is forthcoming in Chautauqua .

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COMMENTS

  1. Reflective My Learning Experience: [Essay Example], 595 words

    As a college student, I have had the privilege of engaging in a multitude of learning experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. In this reflective essay, I will delve into the transformative moments and the valuable lessons I have learned, highlighting the impact they have had on my personal and intellectual development.

  2. My First Experience: a Reflection on The Impact of College Life

    My life has been transformed in countless ways by my first experience in higher education. Going beyond mere academic pursuits, my college experience has fundamentally changed how I see myself, the world around me, and the future that awaits.

  3. Exploring the Art of Reflection: A Writing Reflective Essay

    Step 1: Select a Topic. Choose a topic that reflects on your personal experiences or emotions that you wish to explore and reflect upon. Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas. Reflect on the topic and jot down key points, memories, and emotions that you want to include in your essay. Step 3: Create an Outline.

  4. PDF Personal Reflective Essay on My University Experience

    Personal Reflective Essay on My University Experience Being reflective on my time at university is a positive one. Whilst I have encountered challenges during this time, I have overcome them and am proud of my achievements and use of the opportunities given to me during this time. University has always been a personal and professional goal of mine.

  5. The Writing Center

    A reflection is an essay, so provide full, thoughtful responses to the questions in your instructor's prompt. The style and tone of your reflective essay should match the purpose of the overall assignment. This is a personal essay meant to showcase what you learned from the text, event, or experience that you are writing about.

  6. A complete guide to writing a reflective essay

    Identify the topic you will be writing on. 2. Note down any ideas that are related to the topic and if you want to, try drawing a diagram to link together any topics, theories, and ideas. 3. Allow your ideas to flow freely, knowing that you will always have time to edit your reflective essay. 4.

  7. 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 ...

  8. How to Write a Reflection Essay

    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.

  9. How to Write A Reflective Essay

    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.

  10. Reflective Essay

    Any experience that leads to self-improvement, from a mental, physical, or emotional standpoint. ... writing a reflective essay for a college course and an academic audience will have slight ...

  11. 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.

  12. Reflection Of My College Experience

    Reflection Of My College Experience. Decent Essays. 1150 Words. 5 Pages. Open Document. This course like my entire first semester of university have provided me with both many challenges as well as taught me many lessons not only for my university career, but for the rest of my life. As I reflect back on the semester, I recall telling myself at ...

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

    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.

  14. How to Write a Reflective Essay: A Detailed Overview

    Check credible sources and collect relevant information. Step 2: Decide what you want to write about. Make sure you know how to title an essay. Identify the topic. Step 3: After you decided on a topic, create an appealing title that will entice readers. Make sure your title is clear and to the point.

  15. The Reflective Essay

    The reflective essay serves two key purposes in your portfolio: First, it gives your reviewers some insight into your development as a writer and the role writing has played in your Carleton education. Third, and perhaps most importantly, writing the reflective essay allows you, the writer, to stop and consider what you have gained from your ...

  16. Reflective Essay- Definition, Writing Steps, Examples & More

    A reflective essay is a type of essay where the writer describes a personal experience or event that they observed or examined. Reflective writing involves thinking or pondering about a specific topic and writing your thoughts. The content of a reflective essay is subjective. This means, the writer discusses the topic from their own personal ...

  17. A reflection on my college experience

    For the first two and a half years of college, I focused solely on getting my work done, completely ignoring all of the things that presented themselves to me. My junior year I joined The Volante and it was one of the best things I could've done. After two and a half years, I'd finally found my people. I finally found the people who would ...

  18. Reflective Essay Examples

    Seeing reflective essay examples can help you understand how to accomplish a reflective essay writing assignment. View examples of reflective essays. ... Discuss your feelings and the meaning of the experience. Experience in a college class - Class experiences are designed to change or mold you in some way. Discuss how you grew and fell short.

  19. What kind of self-reflection should I do for my college essay?

    Most topics are acceptable for college essays if you can use them to demonstrate personal growth or a lesson learned. However, there are a few difficult topics for college essays that should be avoided. Avoid topics that are: Overly personal (e.g. graphic details of illness or injury, romantic or sexual relationships)

  20. A Reflection on My College Experience

    Ashley is a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University majoring in Physical Therapy. She loves helping others, food, and everything social media. My college experience in hopes in can help others. College can be fun and intimidating. I can tell you from my college experience and you won't make the mistakes I made.

  21. Final Reflective Essay

    Final Reflective Essay. At the beginning of the course, I was new to college writing. My writing skills were not bad, but they needed some fine tuning. A lot of the skills I have translated over easily from high school, but some did not. I was always good at getting information and laying down a foundation.

  22. College Essays That Worked And How Yours Can Too

    For Your Essay: To infuse humor and self-reflection into your essay, start by identifying an ordinary experience or object and think about how it relates to your life. Write down funny or ...

  23. Reflective Essay On College Experience

    Reflective Essay On College Experience. Many people come into college feeling unprepared, nervous, and unconfident, and while being convinced that I was indeed prepared, I couldn't help but feel some of these stressful emotions. Over the past month and a half, I have adapted to my new environment that is Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), and ...

  24. 25 Inspiring College Essay Topic Ideas

    Accordingly, use the above college essay topics/themes as a way to start collecting ideas for your own personal statement, and know you are in very good company if you write an essay on one of them. Bottom line: you make a college essay topic "unique" by writing about yourself, in your own style and voice, with plenty of detail and specifics.

  25. PDF My Journey Through CT: HORT 3080- in the College Classroom

    3080- in the College Classroom CT2 Faculty Learning Institute June 11, 2024 ... CT2 Visual Reflection Essay New knowledge + reflection/past experience = ... New knowledge II.Affective: Reflection/past experience III.Experiential: Resulting personal actions Diversity: Alternate view (assessment measure); Photo (self expression; adds art to text ...