Reflective Essay: Stap By Stap Guide | Studyfy

How to Write a Reflective Essay

This guide navigates through crafting a reflective essay, encompassing topic selection, structuring insights, and personal reflection.
Kelly Spancer
min read
Sep 13, 2023
To write a reflective essay, choose a personal experience and reflect on its impact. Outline your thoughts, starting with an introduction. In the body, describe the experience and your reflections. Conclude by summarizing your insights. Revise for clarity and coherence.

Reflective essay definition: "Reflective writing is a practice of analyzing a situation from a perspective that may differ from the viewpoint of the audience. Reflective writing entails the process of collecting data, organizing and synthesizing the gathered data, and expressing a personal opinion about the collected data and opinion." Reflection on one's experiences is reflected in one's writing.

This type of writing challenges your ability to look back onto one's own experiences and put it on paper in a well-structured and sort of a narrative way. The aim is to describe your feelings, a certain perspective on the event. Later on, you will need to make a conclusion on what impact something particular has had on you. There will be a need to describe what you have learned from that and how this new knowledge may have changed your perception.

Let's dive in!

What Is a Reflective Essay?

"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." - E.L. Doctorow.

A reflective essay is a type of writing where the author explores and analyzes their life experiences. Through this exploration, the writer reflects on how these experiences have contributed to their personal evolution, growth, or development.

Knowing how to write a reflection essay involves more than a predetermined format but is an art of creative expression. As an aspiring writer, you must delve into personal experiences. From topics like your first day in college to pivotal global events, you must infuse unique perspectives into your narrative.

*Choosing the Right Theme

Whether given a prompt by a teacher or the autonomy to choose, theme selection is pivotal. Your topics may range widely, but remember to engage your emotions to breathe life into the words. If youre unsure what to do, you can buy essays online to be your guide.

*Weaving a Compelling Narrative

Create a story that envelops the reader by ensuring meticulous attention to adjectives and details. A reflective essay transcends mere recounting and immerses readers in a world where emotions and experiences unfold naturally.

*The Power of Honest Reflection

Consistency and relevance are the bedrock of compelling reflective essays. Be clear and coherent so your readers can seamlessly follow your train of thought. Embrace your emotions for authenticity in expression.To craft an excellent reflection essay, blend creativity with honesty. Let emotions flow naturally, and carefully choose vocabulary that aligns with your chosen format.

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How to Start Writing a Reflection Essay

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Comprehend and condense the content.
  2. Examine the material thoroughly.
  3. Choose a central theme.
  4. Draw connections among your viewpoints.
  5. Start with an introductory segment.
  6. Craft the main body of the essay.
  7. Conclude effectively.
  8. Review and refine your writing.

Now you might already have an idea of what the reflection writing is. Yet, before you get to the actual writing process, let's take a look at some steps that a student should take. Their overview is highly likely to help you define your course of action.

First, think of events, places, people, books, and whatnot. Pick a certain object or an event that has had an impact on you, notwithstanding whether it was negative or positive.

Choose a certain thing that you really feel like talking about at this particular moment in time. Think of the effects it had on you; be ready to describe this experience in detail.

A reflection essay requires having your thoughts and views on particular subjects on paper. Some students choose to abstain from storytelling here. Still, never forget to add your personality in writing, make your own voice heard.

  • Choose the topic

  • Reflect on it

  • Make an outline

  • Write a draft

  • Compose specific body parts

  • Make a conclusion

So, let's proceed with answering the key question - how to write a reflective essay? What to start with? What is the structure?

Although reflective writing has a similar format with any other essay, it has some special features that each writer working on such a piece should bear in mind. In the sections below, you will find answers to all these questions.

We will reveal the crucial components of A-grade worth writing for you.

Reflective Essay Outline&Structure

As all the types of academic writing, a reflection essay requires a proper outline with all the crucial elements indicated. It will lead a writer throughout the whole piece as well as you as an author through each step of creating the material.

In this case, it is even more essential, as while writing and reflecting on your own experience, it's risky to lose the train of thoughts and go the wrong direction.

That is why you must have a clear structure at hand. Following it closely would guarantee a coherent writing piece as a result.

Let's take a look at the basic parts that you may stick to while working on your reflective essay paragraphs.

This is a pretty common reflective essay scheme. Yet, it is still able to help you follow the topic without any risk of going too far or in a completely wrong direction with this text.

A reflection essay outline always consists of good old traditional parts, which are as follows:

  • Introduction;

  • Main body;

  • Conclusion.

An Introduction is a part where the main reflective essay thesis must be coherently outlined and presented. Readers should get to know at this point what the whole paper is going to be about.

In this section, you are also free to convey to the audience a particular impression you might have had on the subject matter. It of crucial importance to be consistent here in this part. Don't forget to mention all the main points in the right order with appropriate linking.

Example of the thesis: "The moment I'd read "Pride and Prejudice" when I was eleven, it was like my eyes opened for the first time. This masterpiece stirred unconditional love for classics within me that I didn't realize could exist."

The Body part is usually the core of the work, and it must include all the main ideas. Each sentence must be well presented and clearly structured.

In this part, a writer is answering the following question. How the event or a situation has changed him, and in what way? It is important to indicate several main effects and describe each one in a separate paragraph. A short summary must be provided by examples as supporting details.

For example, if you write that something has made you more motivated, give a particular example from life. Note down when you felt motivated and how a certain situation has helped you succeed.

In the Conclusion section the main points from the body of the text need to be re-translated. Recap the ideas you've already provided, offer some final thoughts. You may finish the paper with a rhetorical question aimed at the audience. You may also contemplate possible future events in your life that might result from the experience you've already covered.

Having the main aspects covered, let's talk about the actual business now.

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How to Start a Reflective Essay: Introduction

In the introductory part of your reflective essay, you'll articulate the essay's objective and theme. It's here where you'll present the thesis of your paper and provide the reader with an understanding of the motivations behind your choice of subject.

If youre stuck wondering how do I write my essay, you are not alone. Completing this assignment is challenging for many students. The pivotal first sentence of the essay is often a stumbling block.

Pondering, how do you write a reflective essay? Remember that the introduction holds the power to captivate or lose your reader. You must enthrall your audience by weaving in a compelling hook like:

*Inspiring quote*Rhetorical question

*Interesting anecdote

*Intriguing fact

Capture attention by highlighting your narratives most intriguing facets. Unveil a potent thesis statement, making it succinct yet impactful.

Avoid delving into excessive details. Instead, kindle curiosity, inviting readers to journey through every line. Another approach is offering a glimpse of forthcoming conclusions, creating anticipation.

Check this example, "A childhood incident forced me into premature adulthood." Mastering this art ensures your introduction resonates, leaving readers eager for the rest of your narrative.

How to Write a Body Section

Ideally, the main part should be divided into three paragraphs. Each one should include a separate idea or reflect a particular thought on the matter. Here's how you can do it:

1. In the first paragraph, mention one reason the subject impressed you and why. Give more details and describe your emotions. This piece is all about reflective writing, so there are no right answers. The core is to offer your original perspective. Speculate, be open, but don't forget about the "conclusion reason example" format that is key here.

2. In the second part you should present the reasoning for choosing to write on a specific subject. Mention what impact it has had on you. Stick to the formula outline in the aforementioned paragraph.

3. In the third part, mention yet another point that you might have on your mind. You should write about how the person, event, book, news, etc. have influenced you and why.

When reflecting on the subject, remember to ask yourself the following questions. They will give you more food for thought and will help in keeping you in the right direction:

  • What have you found out about your personality after this experience?

  • Was it a good or bad experience?

  • What are the lessons you've learned from it?

  • Why do you think this specific event has happened? Did you make the right decision at a time?

  • If you had a chance to change something, what exactly would it be?

  • What are your general thoughts on a matter? Was it useful (rewarding?) experience or not? Why?

Bear these reflection examples in mind when you write each body part paragraph. Reflect on every chosen aspect in a separate paragraph.

The Conclusion of a Reflection Essay

There are several ways to finish writing a reflective essay. Let's take a look at some of them:

  • Summarize all the points;

  • Reflect on the "What if" situation. How would you act with your current experience and the views you have now? Would your actions remain the same, or would you change anything?

  • You can also approach this point in another way. Try to answer the following question in your text - how will you act in the future, if this event repeats? Will you do anything differently? Why?

  • Formulate a rhetorical question aimed at your readers.

  • Outline what exactly you've learned from the situation in question.

Your conclusion should be brief and comprehensive. Every reader should experience the feeling of a story that has been told with all the t's crossed.

Tips for Writing a Good Reflective Essay

  • Even though you are working on a personal story, it is still academic writing, which requires appropriate language and sources.

    So, do your research, study the subject from as many viewpoints as possible. Reference relevant sources. This will show your awareness of the topic and the ability to analyze the subject from different angles.
  • Don't mention not credible resources like: "a friend of mine thinks," "my mom says," etc.
  • To get a deeper understanding of what reflective writing looks like, read some samples, and get used to the format.
  • Use the first-person narrative like "I" or "Me," but don't overwork it. There is no need to get too personal.
  • To make your story more captivating and logical, don't forget to mention a turning point that has influenced you.

Reflective Essay Examples

To make you have a more vivid picture of a reflection essay, we've prepared a sample, with a detailed description of its structure.

The example above demonstrates a coherent story that covers the writer's feelings, one's standpoint, thought on the experience, and life-changing conclusions reached afterward.

It is spiced with a nice choice of adjectives, so readers may vividly imagine the story and stay focused on it. Pay attention, that there is no extra information given, besides the actual subject and its impact.

Reflective Essay Topics

A reflective essay topic may be assigned by a teacher or chosen by a student. Since the task is all contemplating personal experience, you may treat such a piece as an excerpt from a diary that you are ready to share with others.

Choose something that does matter in your book. If you're a bit lost and don't have a clue about the right theme, here're some guiding examples.

Important people:

  • Someone, you've enjoyed learning from (nor necessarily a teacher.) It may be your best friend, somebody from your family, etc.


  • A house from your childhood;
  • A city or a country you've been to;
  • An important place that has inspired you.

Life-changing events:

  • A time of your biggest achievement\failure;
  • An overwhelming experience;
  • A concert, a match or a performance that you've visited;
  • A significant memory from your childhood;
  • An important dialog.


  • A movie that has impressed you;
  • A book that happened to change your perception;
  • A magazine that you used to read a lot;
  • Social media platform that has changed your life.

These are some reflective essay ideas, which you may consider covering in your writing.

To Sum Up

Whether you're good at reflecting on your life or not, mastering the skill of self-awareness is crucial. We all experience ups and downs, and it's important to learn from our mistakes and make conscious decisions in our lives.

To become self-aware, be willing to admit failure, accept critical feedback, consider different perspectives, and be open to changing your views. Reflective writing is not just about creating, but also about critical thinking. Be prepared to assess and evaluate your own choices and decisions.

Frequently asked questions

How to Write a Good Reflective Essay? Check Out These Helpful Hacks

Need to understand how to create a reflective essay? Worry not! Crafting a standout reflective essay is a breeze with these essential tips. Start by capturing attention with a compelling hook. Unveil intriguing aspects of your story, and wrap it up with a potent thesis statement. Keep it concise captivating, and let your personal journey shine through until the end.

How to End a Reflective Essay? Heres How to Conclude with Impact

A professional custom essay writing service recommends ending your reflective essay with a bang! Wrap up your reflection writing with a strong conclusion. Make it impactful and memorable by summarizing key points, offering final thoughts, providing lessons, and perhaps posing a rhetorical question for more reflection. Keep things concise to ensure your ending leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

Writing a Reflective Essay? Do It Without Losing Your Focus

Discover how to do a reflective essay without losing focus by skillfully crafting a clear introduction that hooks your reader. Ensure a seamless flow by presenting the main ideas coherently in the body of your essay. Conclude with impact, leaving a lasting impression with a strong summary.

Engage your reader throughout, guaranteeing captivation from your opening lines to the concluding salvo. Let your body paragraphs tell an intimate story while your introduction captures the reader's attention.