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What is a Reflective Essay?

Students are supposed to prepare tons of various academic papers on different disciplines during the whole period of getting an education. A reflective essay is one of them. Even though crafting this assignment doesn’t differ a lot from the rest of the projects, you should learn its main peculiarities and rules. But let’s start with the definition of a “what is a reflective essay”. It is a paper that aims to describe experience or event and analyze received experience to understand what may be learned from it. The writer is expected to analyze all past events from the view of the present.

When you write a reflective essay, you need to open the emotions and thoughts to paint a real image of the personality, history, and personal traits. A description must be vivid so that a reader has the feeling that he/she has experienced it too. The most common subjects for a reflective essay are:

  • A special place or an object
  • A real experience
  • Something that you touched, read, tasted, heard, or seen
  • Something that you have imagined

This assignment requires the author to demonstrate advanced critical thinking skills and express a point of view on a particular topic despite whether it was assigned by a tutor or chosen on his/her own.

How to Write a Reflective Essay?

Knowing the steps that you should take will help you save a lot of time. Arrange the writing process correctly, and come up with great content easier. Here are steps for crafting a brilliant reflective essay:

1. Recall one of the memorable events that may become your reflective essay topic. Then try to think about your own feelings connected with a particular event. How did it affect your personality and life in general? Why? As a result, you will be able to write a thesis that serves as an essay focal point.

2. Arrange a mind map. Draw a circle with a thesis in it. Then think about the key ideas and arguments that will support your thesis and guide the readers so that they can follow the flow of your experience and thoughts. Connect these ideas to the central circle and group them. Such a diagram will help you better understand the reflective essay structure and get a clear picture. At last, decide how to order these paragraphs logically to get well-structured content.  

3. Work well as the introductory part to make it eye-catching. Its main purpose is to engage the target audience and make people keep reading your reflective essay.

4. Now, you need to provide supporting examples, ideas, and arguments. Mind to mention only one experience/point and your reflection on it, per a paragraph.

How To Finish a Reflective Essay?

The first sentence of your conclusion must summarize all your thoughts. Analyze how your experience may be efficient to the readers. It is recommended to add a rhetorical question at the very end of the reflective essay to encourage people to think about how they might behave in an identical situation. Or inspire them to come up with their own idea related to a particular topic.

Once your reflective essay is ready, you need to proofread it. Have some rest and back to the content check-up. If there is somebody who can also read the paper and give you a few recommendations on boosting its quality, then take advantage of it, and polish the reflective essay well.

Key Points to Consider

There are a few key points to make your paper stand out from the crowd. First of all, you can use the personal pronoun “I” as a reflective essay is based on your personal experience. Using quotations in the opening part will be your great advantage. Along with writing about things that were right, think about mentioning things that went wrong, mentioning the ways how a particular experience could be improved. Pay attention that your introduction may give the readers an idea about your final conclusions. It is a nice approach to start the introduction with some anecdotes to let the audience feel comfortable. Other engaging techniques will also be helpful. Mind the vocabulary that you use. Remembering that a reflective essay includes a descriptive component; you are supposed to use lots of adjectives. Still, you should avoid such words as “nice,” “okay,” as they actually do not give any insights into the personality. Being specific will make your writing more engaging.

Also, think about using extra sources like newspapers, books, articles, etc. Usually, the sources you may include in the paper highly depend on your study’s field. Analyzing and including external ideas will prove that you have studied available literature and come up with a broader meaning of the chosen topic. It will also demonstrate your advanced learning and problem-solving skills.

Do’s and Don’ts for a Reflective Essay Writing

If you want to write an excellent reflective essay, then these do’s and don’ts will be efficient for you:


  • Follow a traditional reflective essay structure that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a summary.
  • Arrange all your ideas in a descriptive manner. You should state your own thoughts clearly to let the readers understand what you want to say.
  • You need to craft a paper based on personal experience and feelings and include a few common facts.
  • Even if the paper reflects your ideas and sounds personal, it is still an academic assignment, so you should arrange it in a formal style.     


  • Avoid including all your thoughts at once. Create a mind map to follow the paper outline smoothly.
  • Mentioning a few events and experiences in one paper is a bad idea. Choose the most significant ones not to make a target audience feel overwhelmed.
  • Do not make your reflective essay an ordinary analysis without any structure. Sort all your ideas properly and include them logically.
  • Avoid including words that do not sound formal enough, even if they better explain your feelings and emotions.

What Are Good Topics for a Reflective Essay?

It seems that choosing a good topic for a reflective essay is not challenging at all. Still, sometimes people can’t make up their minds and do not know what idea is suitable for high-quality content. If you also lack inspiration, then have a look at a collection of nice reflective essay topics:

  1. What may break your heart?
  2. The sources of the biggest inspiration for you
  3. How do you achieve your goals?
  4. Experience that you would hardly ever forget
  5. Your main dreams for the nearest five years
  6. How do you cope with stressful situations?
  7. What do you like about yourself best?
  8. The biggest fears that you have
  9. What future do you want to have?
  10. What are your special qualities?

Example of a Reflective Essay

You can look at a paragraph from a reflective essay example to understand better all tips and nuances that have been mentioned above:

Most people value honesty above all. It is considered to be a top ethical rule in work relationships, marriage, friendship, and other numerous areas. However, there are situations when being honest is not helpful. Personally, I faced so many situations when lying seems to be the best option to survive. That’s why I would like to discuss the cases when being honest can be fair or the opposite. 

Even though the concept of honesty seems to be subjective, I prefer recognizing everything as constructive or destructive. In simpler words, I tell the truth if this notion is constructive, and I give a white lie when the truth gets destructive. Being destructive or constructive doesn’t affect only a single person but lots of other people around…”


A reflective essay is a type of college paper that must describe some experience or moment from the writer’s life. Despite being a personal assignment, it must sound academic. The best way to introduce an original paper is to follow a classic reflective essay format and work well at each part. Follow all recommendations, and you will cope with the task quickly and easily. Once you choose what event or experience to write about, you can start arranging supportive ideas and thinking about the sequence of paragraphs.

If you have no time for crafting a good-quality reflective essay, or you feel a lack of expertise, then do not postpone cooperation with professional reflective essay writers. They will help you create a unique paper and get a high grade for it. Finally, you can breathe with relief and do not worry that other students or your teacher will learn that you didn’t write the paper. Safety and confidentiality are top values of a professional writing company. 

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