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How to Write a Self-Reflection Essay: Format and 3 Examples

Mar 20, 2022

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Mar 20, 2022 | Blog

What is self-reflection?

Self-reflection is the process in which an individual takes time to deeply think about himself. During this time individuals will think about their character and their actions. Most of the time you will ask yourself different reflection questions concerning your life, what you do and where you want to be. The power of self-reflection is evident because it helps you to understand yourself even better. You can be able to know your strengths your weaknesses and how your emotions are through self-reflection. You will be able to understand your strengths too.

What is a Self-Reflective Essay

A self-reflective essay is a brief paper where you describe an experience and how it has changed you or helped you to grow. Self-reflective essays often require students to reflect on their academic growth from specific projects or assignments, though others might require you to have a critical examination of a life experience or think about the impact of a specific event in your life.

Self-reflection is a personal experience. Therefore, the tone and voice of the writing are personal as well. Written typically from a first-person point of view, these types of essays take the reader through a journey of growth and discovery. The structure and format follow a typical essay writing outline. Begin with an introduction that presents the thesis statement, followed by body paragraphs that further the thesis with detailed, thorough supporting information, and conclude with a recap of the thesis statement and summary of logical conclusions.

What Is the Purpose of a self-Reflection Essay?

The purpose of reflective writing is to:

  1. Help you learn from a particular practical experience.
  2. It will help you to make connections between what you are taught in theory and what you need to do in practice.
  3.  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.
  4. It’s useful for helping you develop critical thinking skills.
  5. Reflective writing helps you develop as a student and a thinker by examining your beliefs and assumptions, processing new valuable information, and recognizing patterns between knowledge gained through personal experiences and that acquired from outside sources.

The process of reflection can be used to inform future learning and practice.

Reflective essays writing is:

  • your response to experiences, opinions, events, or new information
  • your response to thoughts and feelings
  • a way of thinking to explore your learning
  • Self-reflection essay writing is not: just conveying much information, instruction, or argument
  • purely descriptive (e.g. what happened, a summary)
  • simply a description of your reaction
  • journalistic – a matter of fact account

What Do I Write About?

Here are some ideas subjects you can write about to help you begin:

  1. The moment you overcame a fear.
  2. A time you felt lost.
  3. The most difficult choice you had to make.
  4. A moment in your life you would like to relive.
  5. The happiest moment, or most frightening moment, of your life so far.
  6. An experience you will never forget.
  7. An introspective look at your choices, or a time you made the wrong choice.
  8. A time something changed your life.
  9. Ways you think you, or people can make the world a better place.
  10. A time your beliefs were challenged.

Reflection Paper Format

The format of a reflective essay greatly differs from that of a normal argumentative or research essay. A reflective essay is more of a well-structured story or an anecdote rather than an academic piece of writing. In order to write an effective reflection paper, it is imperative to understand what it is and what it entails. It can be compared to journaling in which you write about your daily experiences and happenings in your personal life.

You might be required to arrange your essay using the APA style or the MLA format.

Reflective Essay in MLA Format

  • 1” margins;
  • The top right includes last name and page number on every page;
  • The last page includes a Works Cited.
  • Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
  • The header should include your name, your professor’s name, course number, and the date (dd/mm/yy);
  • Titles are centered;

Reflective Essay in APA Style

  1. 1” margins;
  2. Insert page number on the right;
  3. Your reflective essay should be divided into four parts: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
  4. Include a page header on the top of every page;
  5. Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;

How To Write Self Reflection Essay


This is the part of the essay where you will have to introduce yourself to your readers. Your introduction must contain information about your past experiences, things that have changed in your life, how you have coped with those changes and how these things have impacted you in the long run. Tell them everything about yourself and make sure that it is not too boring or too lengthy.

An essay on self-reflection requires academic research. It is very important for the student to present a powerful thesis statement in order to get into the depth of reflection. The thesis statement must be clear and concise. It is advisable to make an outline before writing the introduction of the essay, which will help you to stay focused and provide clear and logical transitions between different points or events that you describe and analyze.

Plot and Narration

A plot defines the series of events in the main character’s life and narration is the style of telling the story. The author chooses the narration technique that best allows him to tell his story.

The author needs to find a plot or an event that defines him. This event can be small and insignificant but it should have had some impact on his life. The event should have given him some insight into himself that he would not have realized otherwise. This proper insight into the overall content is then used as the theme of the essay.

Personal Experiences

Self-reflection is a hard task because you need to be very sincere with yourself in order to write a meaningful essay. Before you start writing, think about the purpose of the whole paper. The main condition is that it has to be a certain personal experience on which the author has his very own perception. This experience involves personal ideas, opinions, and feelings about that situation, and how it affected the author.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Self-reflection can be difficult since we are often unaware of our own flaws. To discover our strengths and weaknesses, we need honest feedback from other people. However, it may be difficult to get honest feedback if others are reluctant to hurt our feelings or they do not want to deal with our reaction to criticism.

Writing a self-analysis can be both rewarding and challenging as you will have an opportunity to analyze your strengths, shortcomings, mistakes, and achievements. Writing about yourself may seem easy at first, but it can be extremely challenging when you start thinking about all the details that have influenced your life. In order to write a thorough self-reflection essay, you need to have a clear idea of what you will discuss in your paper.


Self-Reflective essays should have a clear conclusion. The conclusion should summarize everything you have discussed in your work. It should also highlight the lessons you have learned in the process. Ideally, you should state what you have learned from the experience and why it is important. In most cases, this type of essay does not require much research since it is based on your personal experiences. However, you still need to ensure that your points are well articulated and supported with evidence where necessary.

To enable you to compose an ideal conclusion for your great reflective essay, here are some tips:

  • Make a summary of your main points. This can serve as the concluding statement of your reflection paper.
  • Add recommendations. If you were assigned to talk about the lessons of the movie or book, you can make recommendations about it like what people should do after watching or reading such materials.
  • Include your personal summary and self-assessment. You can wrap up your paper by summarizing everything you have discussed in the body and then give a final assessment of the whole thing. You may also see personal essay examples and samples

Reflective Essay Examples

Example 1



Example 2



Example 3



Get Help from the Experts with your Reflective Essay

If you are having trouble writing a great reflective essay, our experts can help. It’s not unusual to feel stuck at the beginning when trying to write one of these essays on your own. We can help by pairing you with an expert who has been there before and knows exactly what it takes to get you through this assignment with flying colors. Our experts are available 24/7 to help you get started or improve on what you have already written. Don’t wait any longer!

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