In a reflective essay, you open up about your personal experience with an event or your ideas on an article, lesson, lecture, or other similar topic. The fact that you, as a writer, analyze a past event from the present is what distinguishes that essay as reflective.
Under this article, our paper writing service writers will share with you our ultimate writing guideline on how to complete a reflective essay, which includes the definition, essay format, and reflective essay examples that will motivate you.
Definition of Reflective Essay
Reflective papers are about specific events or experiences. When you write one, you examine the experience, its meaning, and the lessons that can be drawn from it. That essay format needs you to be open about your feelings and ideas in order to discover your mindset, personality, character traits, and background. An overview of the experience/literature piece, and also explanations of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, should be included in your reflective essay.
Reflections are very relative and private, but they must keep a formal tone and be well structured.
Advantages of Reflective Writing
A reflective paper is a type of academic writing assignment that seeks to reveal more information about your personality.
Learning to write reflectively enables you to:
- Evaluate and draw conclusions from what you’ve read, heard, or seen.
- Draw parallels between the text and yourself, or between other texts and the globe.
- Consider what you’ve learned and how you can or will use the newly acquired knowledge.
- Write reflectively (from your perspective) to help you determine your interests.
The steps outlined below will assist you in writing the ideal reflective essay.
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What to Write About?
Since you are writing about your own thoughts and experiences, the reflective essay is probably one you can’t borrow a topic for. Moreover, here are some ideas for topics to write about to get you started:
- A once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- When you conquered a fear.
- The toughest decision you had to make.
- A time when your beliefs were questioned.
- A time when something in your life transformed.
- The happiest or most terrifying experience of your life so far.
- Ways you believe you or others can make the world a better place.
- A time when you felt lost.
- An introspective examination of your choices, or a time when you made the wrong decision.
- A time in your life that you wish you could relive.
You might find it useful to make a chart or table to keep track of your ideas. Divide your chart into three sections:
- In the first column, write about your most important experiences or points. You can arrange them in descending order of importance.
- In the second column, list your personal reaction to the points raised in the first column.
- In the third column, write what you want to share in the essay based on your reaction.
Table of ideas for reflective essays
How to Write a Reflection Paper?
If you’re writing a reflection on a particular text, make a note of your initial emotions and thoughts as you read it. If you’re writing about yourself or an event in your life, make a chart with three columns: previous experiences, descriptions, and reflections. This table should assist you in brainstorming and structuring your essay’s introduction and body.
Volunteering in an animal shelter is an example of prior experience.
Description: The shelter is close to a veterinary clinic. I was there with three other volunteers and the owner of the shelter…
Reflection: I was astounded by the number of homeless animals and how well-behaved they were. Working there was an extremely rewarding experience….
Structure of a Reflection Paper
The structure of a reflective essay differs significantly from that of an argumentative or research paper. A reflective essay is more akin to a well-formatted story or diary entry that is rich in knowledge and reflection. You may be needed to format your essay in either APA or MLA style.
And, while the average length of a reflection paper ranges between 300 and 700 words, make sure to check with your instructor or employer about the word count if it was assigned to you. Despite the fact that this essay is about you, you should avoid using too much informal language.
If your instructor requests that you format your paper in APA or MLA style, here are a few tips:
Structure of Reflective Essay in MLA Style
- Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
- 1” margins;
- Top right includes 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);
- Last page includes a Works Cited.
Structure of a Reflective Essay in APA Style
- Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
- 1” margins;
- 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.
Outline of a Reflective Essay
Examine your brainstorming table to begin organizing your reflective essay. The ‘past experience’ and ‘description’ sections should account for no more than 10% of your essay.
Your introduction should include the following elements:
- The hook: intrigue the reader’s interest with a brief preview of what you’ll be writing about.
Example: We encountered Buffy covered in tar from head to toe, starved, and with patches of fur under an abandoned garbage truck.
- Thesis statement: The thesis statement for a reflective essay must include that ‘past experience’ information, as well as a brief statement of what your essay will be discussing.
Example: Volunteering at the animal shelter that summer motivated me to do similar work in the future.
Body paragraph structure is best described in terms of chronological events. Answer the bold questions in the table’s’reflection’ section; this should naturally result in a linear storyline.
Here’s an illustration of how the body paragraph outline should look:
- Beliefs about the shelter
Example: I expected it to be tedious and mundane.
- First encounter
- Experience at the shelter
Example: Finding and saving Buffy.
- Other occasions with rescuing animals
Example: Recently establish passion and feelings to the work.
- Developed a new mindset
Example: How your perception and ideas on animal treatment have transformed.
Wrap up your thoughts and show how you’ve grown as a result of experiences. Describe your emotions, your findings, and, most importantly, your long term plans.
For Instance: Buffy’s case motivated me to pursue a profession as a veterinarian, with the goal of working in an animal shelter one day.