How to Write a Reflective Essay

What is a Reflective Essay 

A reflective essay is a type of analytical essay where a writer describes a real or imaginary experience and reflects on how that experience has changed their lives.

So, before you start writing a reflective essay, you should think about yourself, who you are, and how some of your experiences have changed your thinking, and your life in general.

You have to relate your life to past events and experiences.

From the information above, it is clear that a reflective essay is self-centred, and therefore, it is written in the first-person narrative.

You can reflect on more than one experience, as long as all the experiences are interlinked, and you can relate to your current situation or perception of life.

How to begin a reflective essay

Writing an excellent reflective essay is highly dependent on how well you prepare.

The preparation involves:

  • Identifying a topic. What are you going to write about? You could note down more than one topic and later choose the one to focus on.
  • Identify the material that relates to your topic. A reflective essay describes your experiences and your way of thinking. As such, you have to come up with content that adequately reflects on the topic you want to discuss. What experiences can support your topic?

Before you start writing on a particular topic, answer the following questions:

  • What experiences changed or challenged you emotionally, spiritually, or physically?
  • How did a particular experience change your way of thinking, or you view of a certain issue?
  • If you were not the only one involved in an experience you want to discuss, how did the others learn from the experience?

Structure Of A Reflective Essay

Like any other essay, the structure of a reflective essay includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • The introduction. In this section, introduce your reader to your topic, and briefly describe the main points in your essay. Use descriptive words, a question, or a fact, to hook your reader. Hooking the reader makes them interested in reading the rest of your essay.
  • The body. It is in this section that you discuss your experiences and show how they reflect on your topic. Present your main points in different paragraphs. You should use topic sentences to introduce each point (paragraph).
  • Conclusion. In this section, remind the reader, briefly, how your experiences changed your thinking and how they relate to your topic. Use transition words like finally, or all in all so that your reader will know you are concluding your essay.

The Don’ts Of Reflective Essay Writing

  • Don’t repeat any of your points.
  • Avoid including personal experiences you are not exactly comfortable sharing.
  • Avoid slung – as much as this type of essay is personal, it still is an academic write-up. Check your grammar and spelling after you finish writing.

Examples of reflective essay

The following examples will give you an idea on how to write a reflective essay and put the points discussed above into perspective.

Reflective Essay Example #1

Reflective Essay Example #2


Samples not only help you with the outline and structure but also with ideas on how to write your own essays.

The samples on this page, plus the guide, will go a long way in helping you write an impressive reflective essay on your own.

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