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Examples of Reflective Writing

Types of reflective writing assignments.

A journal  requires you to write weekly entries throughout a semester. May require you to base your reflection on course content.

A learning diary is similar to a journal, but may require group participation. The diary then becomes a place for you to communicate in writing with other group members.

A logbook is often used in disciplines based on experimental work, such as science. You note down or 'log' what you have done. A log gives you an accurate record of a process and helps you reflect on past actions and make better decisions for future actions.

A reflective note is often used in law. A reflective note encourages you to think about your personal reaction to a legal issue raised in a course.

An essay diary  can take the form of an annotated bibliography (where you examine sources of evidence you might include in your essay) and a critique (where you reflect on your own writing and research processes).

a peer review  usually involves students showing their work to their peers for feedback.

A self-assessment task  requires you to comment on your own work.

Some examples of reflective writing

Social science fieldwork report (methods section), engineering design report, learning journal (weekly reflection).

Brookfield, S 1987, Developing critical thinkers: challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting , Open University Press, Milton Keynes.

Mezirow, J 1990, Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: a guide to transformative and emancipatory learning , Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Schön, DA 1987, Educating the reflective practitioner , Jossey-Bass. San Francisco.

We thank the students who permitted us to feature examples of their writing.

Prepared by Academic Skills, UNSW. This guide may be distributed or adapted for educational purposes. Full and proper acknowledgement is required. 

Essay and assignment writing guide

  • Essay writing basics
  • Essay and assignment planning
  • Answering assignment questions
  • Editing checklist
  • Writing a critical review
  • Annotated bibliography
  • How do I write reflectively?
  • Examples of reflective writing
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Reflective practice toolkit, introduction.

  • What is reflective practice?
  • Everyday reflection
  • Models of reflection
  • Barriers to reflection
  • Free writing
  • Reflective writing exercise
  • Bibliography

how to write a reflective essay for university example

Many people worry that they will be unable to write reflectively but chances are that you do it more than you think!  It's a common task during both work and study from appraisal and planning documents to recording observations at the end of a module. The following pages will guide you through some simple techniques for reflective writing as well as how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

What is reflective writing?

Writing reflectively involves critically analysing an experience, recording how it has impacted you and what you plan to do with your new knowledge. It can help you to reflect on a deeper level as the act of getting something down on paper often helps people to think an experience through.

The key to reflective writing is to be analytical rather than descriptive. Always ask why rather than just describing what happened during an experience. 

Remember...

Reflective writing is...

  • Written in the first person
  • Free flowing
  • A tool to challenge assumptions
  • A time investment

Reflective writing isn't...

  • Written in the third person
  • Descriptive
  • What you think you should write
  • A tool to ignore assumptions
  • A waste of time

Adapted from The Reflective Practice Guide: an Interdisciplinary Approach / Barbara Bassot.

You can learn more about reflective writing in this handy video from Hull University:

Created by SkillsTeamHullUni

  • Hull reflective writing video transcript (Word)
  • Hull reflective writing video transcript (PDF)

Where might you use reflective writing?

You can use reflective writing in many aspects of your work, study and even everyday life. The activities below all contain some aspect of reflective writing and are common to many people:

1. Job applications

Both preparing for and writing job applications contain elements of reflective writing. You need to think about the experience that makes you suitable for a role and this means reflection on the skills you have developed and how they might relate to the specification. When writing your application you need to expand on what you have done and explain what you have learnt and why this matters - key elements of reflective writing.

2. Appraisals

In a similar way, undertaking an appraisal is a good time to reflect back on a certain period of time in post. You might be asked to record what went well and why as well as identifying areas for improvement.

3. Written feedback

If you have made a purchase recently you are likely to have received a request for feedback. When you leave a review of a product or service online then you need to think about the pros and cons. You may also have gone into detail about why the product was so good or the service was so bad so other people know how to judge it in the future.

4. Blogging

Blogs are a place to offer your own opinion and can be a really good place to do some reflective writing. Blogger often take a view on something and use their site as a way to share it with the world. They will often talk about the reasons why they like/dislike something - classic reflective writing.

5. During the research process

When researchers are working on a project they will often think about they way they are working and how it could be improved as well as considering different approaches to achieve their research goal. They will often record this in some way such as in a lab book and this questioning approach is a form of reflective writing.

6. In academic writing

Many students will be asked to include some form of reflection in an academic assignment, for example when relating a topic to their real life circumstances. They are also often asked to think about their opinion on or reactions to texts and other research and write about this in their own work.

Think about ... When you reflect

Think about all of the activities you do on a daily basis. Do any of these contain elements of reflective writing? Make a list of all the times you have written something reflective over the last month - it will be longer than you think!

Reflective terminology

A common mistake people make when writing reflectively is to focus too much on describing their experience. Think about some of the phrases below and try to use them when writing reflectively to help you avoid this problem:

  • The most important thing was...
  • At the time I felt...
  • This was likely due to...
  • After thinking about it...
  • I learned that...
  • I need to know more about...
  • Later I realised...
  • This was because...
  • This was like...
  • I wonder what would happen if...
  • I'm still unsure about...
  • My next steps are...

Always try and write in the first person when writing reflectively. This will help you to focus on your thoughts/feelings/experiences rather than just a description of the experience.

Using reflective writing in your academic work

Man writing in a notebook at a desk with laptop

Many courses will also expect you to reflect on your own learning as you progress through a particular programme. You may be asked to keep some type of reflective journal or diary. Depending on the needs of your course this may or may not be assessed but if you are using one it's important to write reflectively. This can help you to look back and see how your thinking has evolved over time - something useful for job applications in the future. Students at all levels may also be asked to reflect on the work of others, either as part of a group project or through peer review of their work. This requires a slightly different approach to reflection as you are not focused on your own work but again this is a useful skill to develop for the workplace.

You can see some useful examples of reflective writing in academia from Monash University ,  UNSW (the University of New South Wales) and Sage . Several of these examples also include feedback from tutors which you can use to inform your own work.

Laptop/computer/broswer/research by StockSnap via Pixabay licenced under CC0.

Now that you have a better idea of what reflective writing is and how it can be used it's time to practice some techniques.

This page has given you an understanding of what reflective writing is and where it can be used in both work and study. Now that you have a better idea of how reflective writing works the next two pages will guide you through some activities you can use to get started.

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Reflective essays

Reflective essays are academic essays; what makes an essay "good" will work for a reflective essay. What is different about a reflective essay is that the essay is about you and your thinking. However, you will need evidence from your course to back up your reflections.

You should structure a reflective essay as an essay, that is write to persuade your reader of your key reflections (or argument). The diagram above, details how to stucture your reflections through the essay. To find out more see the section on essay writing .

Business example

The following example comes from business. Thanks to Dr Colleen Hayes for the three samples.

Students were asked to write a reflective essay on their learning in the course by responding to the following question:

What key thing have you learned about corporate social responsibility in the course?

Example 1: Retelling

This writing is (1) descriptive/listing of content, not reflective and (2) not properly referenced (the definition of stakeholders is directly copied from Freeman in the lecture slides.

Example 2: Relating

This writing involves relating to personal experience and has some integration of course concepts (stakeholders).

Example 3: Reflecting

More reflective (forward-looking), better citation and integration of multiple course concepts, and reflection that links with personal experience.

An anthropology marking rubric

For this assessment, students were required to write a 1500-1800 word essay building on the themes of the course to address the question "We are all pirates". Attached under reference documents is the rubric used to mark the essay (thanks to Dr Caroline Schuster). Notice that it requires both the reflection (reflect, relate and retell) as well as the poor traditional requirements of an essay (Writing and organisation, Supporting claims with scholarly sources).

Reflective writing

Learning journals

Reference Documents

  • Sample rubric from Anthropology (PDF, 243.24 KB)

Use contact details to request an alternative file format.

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Reflective writing: Reflective essays

  • What is reflection? Why do it?
  • What does reflection involve?
  • Reflective questioning
  • Reflective writing for academic assessment
  • Types of reflective assignments
  • Differences between discursive and reflective writing
  • Sources of evidence for reflective writing assignments
  • Linking theory to experience
  • Reflective essays
  • Portfolios and learning journals, logs and diaries
  • Examples of reflective writing
  • Video summary
  • Bibliography

On this page:

“Try making the conscious effort to reflect on the link between your experience and the theory, policies or studies you are reading” Williams et al., Reflective Writing

Writing a reflective essay

When you are asked to write a reflective essay, you should closely examine both the question and the marking criteria. This will help you to understand what you are being asked to do. Once you have examined the question you should start to plan and develop your essay by considering the following:

  • What experience(s) and/or event(s) are you going to reflect on?
  • How can you present these experience(s) to ensure anonymity (particularly important for anyone in medical professions)?
  • How can you present the experience(s) with enough context for readers to understand?
  • What learning can you identify from the experience(s)?
  • What theories, models, strategies and academic literature can be used in your reflection?
  • How this experience will inform your future practice

When structuring your reflection, you can present it in chronological order (start to finish) or in reverse order (finish to start). In some cases, it may be more appropriate for you to structure it around a series of flashbacks or themes, relating to relevant parts of the experience.

...

Example Essay Structure

This is an example structure for a reflective essay focusing on a single experience or event:

how to write a reflective essay for university example

When you are writing a reflective assessment, it is important you keep your description to a minimum. This is because the description is not actually reflection and it often counts for only a small number of marks. This is not to suggest the description is not important. You must provide enough description and background for your readers to understand the context.

You need to ensure you discuss your feelings, reflections, responses, reactions, conclusions, and future learning. You should also look at positives and negatives across each aspect of your reflection and ensure you summarise any learning points for the future.

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Reflective Essay: Introduction, Structure, Topics, Examples For University

Table of Contents

If you’re not quite sure how to go about writing reflective essays, they can be a real stumbling block. Reflective essays are essentially a critical examination of a life experience, and with the right guidance, they don’t have to be too difficult to write. As with other essays, a reflective essay needs to be well structured and easily understood, but its content is more like a diary entry.

This guide discusses how to write a successful reflective essay, including what makes a great structure and some tips on the writing process. To make this guide the ultimate guide for anyone who needs help with reflective essays, we’ve included an example reflective essay as well.

Reflective Essay

Reflective essays require students to examine their life experiences, especially those which left an impact.

Reflective Essay

The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to challenge students to think deeply and to learn from their experiences. This is done by describing their thoughts and feelings regarding a certain experience and analyzing its impact.

Reflective essays are a unique form of academic writing that encourages introspection and self-analysis. They provide an opportunity for individuals to reflect upon their experiences, thoughts, and emotions, and effectively communicate their insights. In this article, we will explore the essential components of a reflective essay, discuss popular topics, provide guidance on how to start and structure the essay, and offer examples to inspire your writing.

I. Understanding Reflective Essays:

  • Definition and purpose of reflective essays
  • Key characteristics that distinguish them from other types of essays
  • Benefits of writing reflective essays for personal growth and development

II. Choosing a Reflective Essay Topic:

  • Exploring personal experiences and their impact
  • Analyzing significant life events or milestones
  • Examining challenges, successes, or failures and lessons learned
  • Reflecting on personal growth and transformation
  • Discussing the impact of specific books, movies, or artworks
  • Analyzing the influence of cultural or social experiences
  • Reflecting on internships, volunteer work, or professional experiences

III. Starting a Reflective Essay:

  • Engage the reader with a captivating hook or anecdote
  • Introduce the topic and provide context
  • Clearly state the purpose and objectives of the reflection
  • Include a thesis statement that highlights the main insights to be discussed

IV. Writing a Reflective Essay on a Class:

  • Assessing the overall learning experience and objectives of the class
  • Analyzing personal growth and development throughout the course
  • Reflecting on challenges, achievements, and lessons learned
  • Discussing the impact of specific assignments, projects, or discussions
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of teaching methods and materials

V. Common Mistakes to Avoid in Reflective Essay Writing:

  • Superficial reflection without deep analysis
  • Overuse of personal opinions without supporting evidence
  • Lack of organization and coherence in presenting ideas
  • Neglecting to connect personal experiences to broader concepts or theories
  • Failing to provide specific examples to illustrate key points

VI. Why “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell is Classified as a Reflective Essay:

  • Briefly summarize the essay’s content and context
  • Analyze the introspective and self-analytical elements in Orwell’s narrative
  • Discuss the themes of moral conflict, imperialism, and personal conscience
  • Highlight Orwell’s reflections on the psychological and emotional impact of his actions

VII. Reflective Essay Structure:

  • Engaging opening statement or anecdote
  • Background information and context
  • Clear thesis statement
  • Present and analyze personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions
  • Reflect on the significance and impact of those experiences
  • Connect personal reflections to broader concepts or theories
  • Provide supporting evidence and specific examples
  • Summarize key insights and reflections
  • Emphasize the personal growth or lessons learned
  • Conclude with a thought-provoking statement or call to action

VIII. Reflective Essay Examples:

  • Example 1: Reflecting on a life-changing travel experience
  • Example 2: Analyzing personal growth during a challenging academic year
  • Example 3: Reflecting on the impact of volunteering at a local shelter

During a reflective essay, the writer examines his or her own experiences, hence the term ‘reflection’. The purpose of a reflective essay is to allow the author to recount a particular life experience. However, it should also explore how he or she has changed or grown as a result of the experience.

The format of reflective writing can vary, but you’ll most likely see it in the form of a learning log or diary entry. The author’s diary entries demonstrate how the author’s thoughts have developed and evolved over the course of a particular period of time.

The format of a reflective essay can vary depending on the intended audience. A reflective essay might be academic or part of a broader piece of writing for a magazine, for example.

While the format for class assignments may vary, the purpose generally remains the same: tutors want students to think deeply and critically about a particular learning experience. Here are some examples of reflective essay formats you may need to write:

Focusing on personal growth:

Tutors often use this type of paper to help students develop their ability to analyze their personal life experiences so that they can grow and develop emotionally. As a result of the essay, the student gains a better understanding of themselves and their behaviors.

Taking a closer look at the literature:

The purpose of this type of essay is for students to summarize the literature, after which it is applied to their own experiences.

What am I supposed to write about?

When deciding on the content of your reflective essay, you need to keep in mind that it is highly personal and is intended to engage the reader. Reflective essays are much more than just recounting a story. As you reflect on your experience (more on this later), you will need to demonstrate how it influenced your subsequent behavior and how your life has consequently changed.

Start by thinking about some important experiences in your life that have had a profound impact on you, either positively or negatively. A reflection essay topic could be a real-life experience, an imagined experience, a special object or place, a person who influenced you, or something you’ve seen or read.

If you are asked to write a reflective essay for an academic assignment, it is likely that you will be asked to focus on a particular episode – such as a time when you had to make an influential decision – and explain the results. In a reflective essay, the aftermath of the experience is especially significant; miss this out and you will simply be telling a story.

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Considerations

In this type of essay, the reflective process is at the core, so it’s important that you get it right from the beginning. Think deeply about how the experience you have chosen to focus on impacted or changed you. Consider the implications for you on a personal level based on your memories and feelings.

Once you have chosen the topic of your essay, it is imperative that you spend a lot of time thinking about it and studying it thoroughly. Write down everything you remember about it, describing it as clearly and completely as you can. Use your five senses to describe your experience, and be sure to use adjectives. During this stage, you can simply take notes using short phrases, but make sure to record your reactions, perceptions, and experiences.

As soon as you’ve emptied your memory, you should begin reflecting. Choosing some reflection questions that will help you think deeply about the impact and lasting effects of your experience is a helpful way to do this. Here are some suggestions:

  • As a result of the experience, what have you learned about yourself?
  • What have you developed as a result? How?
  • Has it had a positive or negative impact on your life?
  • Looking back, what would you do differently?
  • If you could go back, what would you do differently? Did you make the right decisions?
  • How would you describe the experience in general? What did you learn from the experience? What skills or perspectives did you acquire?

You can use these signpost questions to kick-start your reflective process. Remember that asking yourself lots of questions is crucial to ensuring that you think deeply and critically about your experiences – a skill at the heart of a great reflective essay.

Use models of reflection (like the Gibbs or Kolb cycles) before, during, and after the learning process to ensure that you maintain a high standard of analysis. Before you get to the nitty-gritty of the process, consider questions such as: what might happen (in regards to the experience)?

Will there be any challenges? What knowledge will be needed to best prepare? When you are planning and writing, these questions may be helpful: what is happening within the learning process? Has everything worked according to plan? How am I handling the challenges that come with it?

Do you need to do anything else to ensure that the learning process is successful? Is there anything I can learn from this? Using a framework like this will enable you to keep track of the reflective process that should guide your work.

Here’s a useful tip: no matter how well prepared you feel with all that time spent reflecting in your arsenal, don’t start writing your essay until you have developed a comprehensive, well-rounded plan. There will be so much more coherence in what you write, your ideas will be expressed with structure and clarity, and your essay will probably receive higher marks as a result.

It’s especially important when writing a reflective essay as it’s possible for people to get a little ‘lost’ or disorganized as they recount their own experiences in an erratic and often unsystematic manner since it’s an incredibly personal topic. But if you outline thoroughly (this is the same thing as a ‘plan’) and adhere to it like Christopher Columbus adhered to a map, you should be fine as you embark on the ultimate step of writing your essay. We’ve summarized the benefits of creating a detailed essay outline below if you’re still not convinced of the value of planning:

An outline can help you identify all the details you plan to include in your essay, allowing you to remove all superfluous details so that your essay is concise and to the point.

Think of the outline as a map – you plan in advance which points you will navigate through and discuss in your writing. You will more likely have a clear line of thought, making your work easier to understand. You’ll be less likely to miss out on any pertinent details, and you won’t have to go back at the end and try to fit them in.

This is a real-time-saver! When you use the outline as an essay’s skeleton, you’ll save a tremendous amount of time when writing because you’ll know exactly what you want to say. Due to this, you will be able to devote more time to editing the paper and ensuring it meets high standards.

As you now know the advantages of using an outline for your reflective essay, it is important that you know how to create one. There can be significant differences between it and other typical essay outlines, mostly due to the varying topics. As always, you need to begin your outline by drafting the introduction, body, and conclusion. We will discuss this in more detail below.

Introduction

Your reflective essay must begin with an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement. The goal of a ‘hook’ is to capture the attention of your audience or reader from the very beginning. In the first paragraph of your story, you should convey the exciting aspects of your story so that you can succeed in

If you think about the opening quote of this article, did it grab your attention and make you want to read more? This thesis statement summarizes the essay’s focus, which in this case is a particular experience that left a lasting impression on you. Give a quick overview of your experience – don’t give too much information away or you’ll lose readers’ interest.

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Reflection Essay Structure

A reflective essay differs greatly from an argumentative or research paper in its format. Reflective essays are more like well-structured stories or diary entries that are rife with insights and reflections. Your essay may need to be formatted according to the APA style or MLA style.

In general, the length of a reflection paper varies between 300 and 700 words, but it is a good idea to check with your instructor or employer about the word count. Even though this is an essay about you, you should try to avoid using too much informal language.

The following shortcuts can help you format your paper according to APA or MLA style if your instructor asks:

MLA Format for Reflective Essay

  • Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
  • 1” margins;
  • The top right includes the 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);
  • The last page contains a Works Cited list.

Reflective Essay in APA Style

  • 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.

Reflective Essay Outline

Look at your brainstorming table to start organizing your reflective essay. ‘Past experience’ and ‘description’ should make up less than 10% of your essay.

You should include the following in your introduction:

  • Grab the reader’s attention with a short preview of what you’ll be writing about.

Example:  We found Buffy head-to-toe covered in tar, starved and fur in patches, under an abandoned garbage truck.

  • It is important to include ‘past experiences’ in a reflective essay thesis statement; a brief description of what the essay is about.

Example:  My summer volunteering experience at the animal shelter inspired me to pursue this type of work in the future.

Chronological events are the best way to explain the structure of body paragraphs. Respond to the bold questions in the ‘reflection’ section of the table to create a linear storyline.

Here’s an example of what the body paragraph outline should look like:

  • Explicit expectations about the shelter

Example:  I thought it was going to be boring and mundane.

  • The first impression
  • Experience at the shelter

Example:  Finding and rescuing Buffy.

  • Other experiences with rescuing animals
  • Discoveries

Example:  Newly found passion and feelings toward the work.

  • A newly developed mindset

Example:  How your thoughts about animal treatment have changed.

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Here’s How You Can Submit a Well-Written Reflective Essay for University

Even though writing a reflective essay may seem difficult at first, once you have a clear idea of what you will write and more importantly, how to write, it often gets easier as you go along. Here are five key writing tips to keep in mind when writing a reflective essay.

Choosing a Topic for Reflection

As a busy student, when was the last time you drowned yourself in thoughts and reflected on past experiences? Here is an assignment that intentionally puts you in that position.

Think about all of the experiences which have shaped you – a life-changing event, an interaction with someone you admire, a movie character that appealed to you, a book that gave you perspective, or any other experience which contributed to your character or thought process.

You should choose a topic that will help you reflect on your growth as an individual. Start brainstorming and record every idea that comes to mind.

Organize your thoughts in a mind map

The next step is to create a mind map to help you organize your essay once you have a rough idea of what you want to write.

You can use your mind map to quiz yourself by asking questions of relevance and putting together perspectives for your essay.

The purpose of this exercise is to give you an idea of what you want your essay to be about. It is important to keep pushing yourself to think more deeply and find meaning in your experiences in order to create a successful reflective essay.

From becoming a Writer Today, here are some tips on using mind maps to write better and faster

Start Freewriting

Sometimes, all you have to do is start writing. Essentially, that’s what freewriting is all about.

After brainstorming, creating a mind map, and organizing your thoughts, open a blank document and start writing. Do not stop to think or to edit – just write as your thoughts come to you.

The best part of freewriting is that it results in a steady flow of ideas you may not have thought of otherwise.

In other words, whether or not you’re motivated to write or are constantly second-guessing your ideas, it helps to let your ideas guide you and put them down on paper.

Structure the Essay

It’s time to put your ideas and thoughts into words and give them a proper structure. A reflective essay should have the following parts:

You should begin your essay with a hook to grab the reader’s attention. While setting the tone for the rest of the essay, your thesis statement should introduce the past experience you will be reflecting on;

In this section, you will elaborate on the experience and its significance, as well as its impact on your life. Avoid rambling on and on about the experience for readers to want to read more of your essay, you need to use your storytelling skills. If you can, use examples to strengthen your narrative;

A summary of your reflections is provided in the concluding paragraph. In your essay, you should describe how the experience shaped your life and how you intend to take your learnings and apply them.

Proofread, Proofread and Proofread

Be sure to proofread your reflective essay before submitting it. Before finalizing it, you need to do thorough proofreading. You will be surprised to see how many silly mistakes are made in the first draft.

Be on the lookout for grammatical, spelling, and sentence formation mistakes. Make sure your essay flows well and avoids plagiarism. If you want a fresh set of eyes on your essay, have a family member or friend read it too.

Reflective Essay Topics

Many students find choosing the right topic for a reflective essay difficult. Writing a reflective essay requires creativity and strong writing skills to express your emotions.

Reflective essays can be inspired by nature, places, relationships, and events. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right essay topic.

  • Decide on a topic idea for your reflective essay that you are familiar with. You will find it easier to write an essay about a topic you are interested in. Never choose a topic that is new to you. This makes the writing phase difficult.
  • Research your topic: Try to recollect minor details about it. Remember all the things that are related to your topic, and include them in your essay. Take notes about your topic.
  • Pick a topic that you can explain from a unique viewpoint: Choose a topic that you can explain from a different perspective. Writing something unique that demonstrates your personality in an interesting way is a good technique. Share a memorable and meaningful experience from your life.

Topics for Reflective Essays for Middle School Students

Essay topics can be difficult to choose for some students. The following list of topics can be classified according to grade level. Pick from them and make topic selection easier.

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 7

  • Taking a trip
  • To go scuba diving
  • Within your hometown
  • Was something you were proud of
  • Even when you were lost
  • To your favorite cartoon
  • During that time you lied
  • When you were hunting
  • Did your family play an important role in your life?
  • Spending time outdoors

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 8

  • Running in the outdoors
  • While picking berries
  • Will be your biggest loss
  • Who is your biggest inspiration?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • Tell me about your most exciting moment.
  • What is your least favorite course?
  • When you go on a date
  • To a birthday party
  • Which is your favorite online space?

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 9

  • A new school
  • Makes me think about the future.
  • You participated in or watched a sporting event.
  • You moved to a new city.
  • You had an unforgettable dream.
  • You were running and hunting.
  • You cannot forget that dream.
  • It was your childhood home.
  • Watching the sunrise
  • An award ceremony

Topics for Reflective Essays in Grade 10

  • Defending someone in a situation
  • While playing with friends
  • It was a memorable dream
  • About lying and hiding
  • The most recent meal
  • While getting lost in the dark
  • As an intern at a hospital
  • Or when someone’s life inspired you to change your own
  • Challenges as a college freshman
  • By participating in sports

Topics for Reflective Essays for College Students

For college students, the most difficult part of writing a reflective essay is choosing a topic. Some students are better at choosing the essay topic than others, but some will get stuck in this phase.

Here are some excellent reflective essay topics for college students for your convenience. Choose one and write a well-written essay.

  • First time writing a thesis statement
  • Your favorite video game
  • The impact of social media on students
  • A place you always try to avoid
  • What was the best birthday memory you had?
  • What is your favorite restaurant?
  • The moment when you were proud of yourself
  • The bravest moment of your life
  • The most beautiful thing you have ever seen
  • A time you were embarrassed

Getting Higher Scores for an Essay: Tested Tips from Students

Topics for Reflective Essays for High School Students

The choice of a topic for a reflective essay can be confusing for high school students. Your topic should be engaging and you should be able to explain your personal experience easily. Here is a list of good topics for high school students; choose something from the list for your essay.

  • Shop at your favorite outlet store
  • To relive your favorite childhood memory
  • Of the most memorable holiday
  • That scared you?
  • That’s when you met your best friend
  • And what you love about yourself
  • Is playing with friends.
  • What’s your favorite book?
  • I loved playing in the mud as a kid.
  • Having to move to a new town or city

Topics for Reflective Essays about Places

Reflective essays should be based on strong emotions and memories. You could write an essay about a day spent at your favorite café, favorite restaurant, etc.

It is easy to write a reflective essay about a place where you have really good memories. Here are some topic ideas that you can use and write an essay on.

  • Your grandparents’ house
  • A skating rink
  • A place where you feel safe
  • A favorite vacation spot
  • A popular lunch spot
  • On your first day at the circus
  • The mall or your favorite store
  • Your first trip abroad
  • Best park in your town
  • Your most memorable adventure

Topics for Reflective Essays about Events

A good way to grab the reader’s attention is to write about any event. Your essay can be about a birthday party, a farewell, or any other event that you have enough information about.

If you are writing a reflective essay about an event, include vivid details. Here are some interesting topics for reflection essays, choose one and write a good essay.

  • Unexpected gift
  • To travel on vacation
  • While you were lost
  • The first time you voted
  • On your trip to the zoo
  • When you got a new job
  • It was one of your most memorable trips
  • During the holiday season
  • When you moved to a new city
  • Or when you swam fishing

Topics for Reflective Essays on Nature

A reflective essay should provide the reader with a deeper and more meaningful experience. In addition to making your writing process more interesting, writing about nature also stimulates your imagination.

The following are some good reflective essay topics about nature:

  • Mountain climbing
  • Ocean diving
  • Hiking in the woods
  • Climbing rocks
  • And watching the sunset
  • While running in the forest.
  • Spending quality time with your pet.
  • Taking a hike in the woods
  • And going swimming
  • While watching animals at a zoo

How to write a term paper

Topics for reflection on relationships

As relationships are filled with strong emotions, writing a reflective essay about them means expressing those emotions. The following are some good reflective essay topics about relationships:

  • A wonderful family reunion
  • When you spoke publicly for the first time
  • What friendship means to me
  • When you were punished by your parents
  • During a family reunion
  • When you apologized
  • For a time you spent with friends without parental supervision
  • Tell me about your relationship with a family member
  • An angry conversation
  • Or a genuinely funny laugh

Some reflective essay topics are the same as some of the questions you may ask in a job interview.

Examples of Reflective Essay

Check out some examples for inspiration now that you know what it takes to write a reflective essay.

An Example of a Reflective Essay on “My Little Brother”

Essay example reflecting on the arrival of a younger sibling, written at a middle or high school level.

“There have been many life-changing experiences in my short life. Every new experience has been the first experience at one point in time. For good or for bad, each event altered the course of my life. But, the most transformative event was the birth of my youngest brother.”.

Joel is someone my parents often refer to as a happy accident. My mother became pregnant when I was 13 and my other brother, Jake, was 10. We were what you would call a well-rounded family of four. In almost every way, we fit the ideal classification. My youngest brother’s striking blue eyes were the moment when we realized what we were missing.

Honestly, I resented having another sibling. It wasn’t necessary to add to our family, and my mother, already 38 at the time, was considered high risk because of her age. A pregnancy full of complications sent my life on a rollercoaster-like ride that my 13-year-old mind could not comprehend. Now I can see how forging through those loops helped me cope with the unforeseen challenges of life.

Reflective Essay Example

My mother took me to the hospital instead of my father on the day Joel was born. I was the next best alternative because Jake and my father were both feverish; it wasn’t a planned move. With each contraction, I gained a new appreciation for just how strong and powerful a woman could be at her weakest. Through holding her hand and feeding her ice chips, I gained a connection with my mother that I didn’t realize we lacked.

Almost simultaneously, my new baby brother entered this world. One doesn’t realize how much you need something until it’s sitting in your lap. Secondly, my life after this moment would never be the same the moment he curled his chubby little finger around mine, I understood the meaning of the words “happy accident.”.y.

Life has given me many experiences that have shaped me as a person. But, nothing so profoundly changed my views and outlook on life as the birth of my youngest brother. Joel’s arrival was a life-altering event that caused me to see the world through new eyes.”

Assignment Writing Purposes You Need to Know

Reflective Essay Example for “ Reading My Favorite Book”

This reflective essay example about a favorite book is something you might find at the middle or high school level.

When it comes to books, I don’t understand the appeal. Every time I was given an assignment, I would read one after another, not understanding what all the fuss was about. Nevertheless, the moment I read Pride and Prejudice, it was as if my literary eyes were opened for the first time. It stirred love within me for classics I didn’t realize could exist.

When I was first given the assignment of reading Pride and Prejudice, like many of my friends, I scoffed. With an eye roll, I internally calculated how much time I would have to read the book and write a report. I sighed at the loss of time with my friends for a stupid classic.

Cracking open the cover, I was determined to hate it before even reading the first words. By the time I reached page 3, I nearly stopped reading. But there was something about Elizabeth Bennet that quietly piqued my interest. I can’t say where, but somewhere along the way, my eyes devoured the pages instead of trudging along.

The moment I reached the end, I was ecstatic and disappointed at the same time. Their ending had been perfect, but I realized I would miss them. Not just them, but I would also miss being a part of their world.

It was the first time the characters of a story had affected me this way, so I tried to shake it off. However, after several days, that sadness carried me to the classics section of the school library. The moment I cracked open my next classic, my soul instantly felt more at ease, and I’ve never looked back.

I never thought I’d say a book changed me, but in this case, it’s true. The love I found in Pride and Prejudice introduced me to a beautiful world of classic literature I can’t imagine living without. Despite not reading Pride and Prejudice for a while, it will always be my favorite book.

In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together. This will include providing a summary of both the points made throughout and what you have learned as a result. Try to include a few points on why and how your attitudes and behaviors have been changed.

Consider also how your character and skills have been affected, for example: what conclusions can be drawn about your problem-solving skills? What can be concluded about your approach to specific situations? What might you do differently in similar situations in the future? What steps have you taken to consolidate everything that you have learned from your experience?

Keep in mind that your tutor will be looking out for evidence of reflection at a very high standard.

Congratulations – you now have the tools to create a thorough and accurate plan which should put you in good stead for the ultimate phase indeed of any essay, the writing process.

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How do you start off a reflective essay?

As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin with an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement. The point of having a ‘hook’ is to grab the attention of your audience or reader from the very beginning.

Can you say I in a reflective essay?

In your reflective essay, you should use the first person with terms like I, me, my, and mine. The essay is an account of something that actually happened to you as well as your thoughts on the event.

What is an example of a reflection?

Common examples include the reflection of light, sound, and water waves. The law of reflection says that for specular reflection the angle at which the wave is incident on the surface equals the angle at which it is reflected. Mirrors exhibit specular reflection.

How do you start the first paragraph of a reflective essay?

Describe the subject matter of the paper in more detail. Include one or two sentences after the first sentence in which you describe the basic features of whatever topic you will be discussing in your essay. Describe them in terms of your feelings, and how you felt and experienced whatever you are discussing.

How many paragraphs should a reflective essay have?

The number of paragraphs depends on the requested essay length. However, it is recommended to write at least three paragraphs in this part. In the body, present your main points, arguments, and examples. This is the part of an essay where you express all your main ideas, develop them, and express your feelings and emotions.

What are the three parts of a reflective essay?

However, some major elements go into a typical reflective essay: introduction, body, and conclusion.

How Do You Write A Reflective Essay?

To write a reflective essay, follow these steps:

  • Choose a topic: Select a specific event, experience, or concept that you want to reflect upon.
  • Brainstorm and outline: Reflect on your chosen topic and jot down key points, thoughts, and emotions associated with it. Create an outline to organize your ideas.
  • Introduction: Begin with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. Provide background information and context related to the topic. End the introduction with a clear thesis statement that expresses the main insights or lessons you will discuss.
  • Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or experience related to your topic. Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and observations, and support them with specific examples or evidence. Analyze the significance and impact of these experiences.
  • Use reflection techniques: Incorporate reflection techniques such as asking yourself questions, exploring the “why” behind your thoughts and emotions, and connecting your experiences to broader concepts or theories.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your key insights and reflections from the essay. Emphasize personal growth, lessons learned, or changes in perspective. Leave the reader with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action.

Which Of These Best Describes A Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is best described as a type of academic or personal writing that allows individuals to examine and reflect upon their experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It involves introspection, self-analysis, and the exploration of lessons learned or personal growth. Reflective essays provide a platform for individuals to communicate their insights and understanding of a particular event, concept, or life experience.

What Is A Reflective Essay And Examples?

A reflective essay is a form of writing where individuals express their thoughts, feelings, and observations about a specific experience, event, or topic. It goes beyond simply describing the experience and delves into analyzing the impact, significance, and lessons learned. Reflective essays encourage self-reflection and introspection, allowing writers to gain deeper understanding and insight.

Examples of reflective essay topics include:

  • Reflecting on a life-changing travel experience and its impact on personal growth.
  • Analyzing the challenges and successes encountered during a group project and the lessons learned.
  • Reflecting on the influence of a particular book, film, or artwork and its effect on personal perspectives.
  • Examining the role of personal values and beliefs in decision-making processes.

What Are The Parts Of A Typical Reflective Essay?

A typical reflective essay consists of the following parts:

  • Introduction: It provides an engaging hook, background information, and context for the topic. The introduction ends with a clear thesis statement that states the main insights or lessons to be discussed.
  • Body paragraphs: Each paragraph focuses on a specific aspect or experience related to the topic. Writers reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and observations, supporting them with examples or evidence. They analyze the significance and impact of these experiences and connect them to broader concepts or theories.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the key insights and reflections from the essay. It emphasizes personal growth, lessons learned, or changes in perspective. A thought-provoking statement or a call to action is often included to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

What Is A Goal Of The Introduction In A Reflective Essay?

The goal of the introduction in a reflective essay is to capture the reader’s attention and provide them with the necessary background information and context related to the topic. It should set the stage for the reflective journey that follows. The introduction concludes with a clear thesis statement that outlines the main insights or lessons the writer will discuss in the essay. It acts as a roadmap, guiding the reader through the writer’s reflections.

What Idea Would Most Likely Make The Best Reflective Essay?

The best idea for a reflective essay is a topic that holds personal significance and offers opportunities for introspection and deep reflection. An idea that involves a transformative experience, a significant life event, or a challenging situation often makes for a compelling reflective essay. It should be something that evokes strong emotions, prompts critical thinking, and allows for self-analysis. The best reflective essays are those that offer meaningful insights, growth, or lessons learned.

What Makes A Good Reflective Essay?

A good reflective essay possesses several key qualities:

  • Authenticity: It reflects the writer’s genuine thoughts, emotions, and observations.
  • Depth of reflection: It goes beyond surface-level descriptions and delves into meaningful analysis, exploring the “why” behind the experiences.
  • Coherence and organization: The essay is well-structured, with clear paragraphs and logical flow of ideas.
  • Use of specific examples: It supports reflections with specific examples, evidence, or anecdotes to enhance understanding and engagement.
  • Connection to broader concepts or theories: It links personal experiences to broader concepts, theories, or societal issues to demonstrate critical thinking and understanding.
  • Insight and personal growth: The essay offers meaningful insights, lessons learned, or personal growth as a result of the reflection.

By incorporating these elements, a good reflective essay effectively communicates the writer’s introspection and provides a thought-provoking reading experience.

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  • Academic Skills
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Reflective writing

Advice on how to write reflectively.

Reflective writing gives you an opportunity to think deeply about something you've learned or an experience you've had.

Watch the video below for a quick introduction to reflective writing. The video includes an example of reflecting on practice, but the approach is equally useful when reflecting on theory.

Video tutorial

Reflecting on practice.

Reflective writing may ask you to consider the link between theory (what you study, discuss and read about at university) and practice (what you do, the application of the theory in the workplace). Reflection on practical contexts enables you to explore the relationship between theory and practice in an authentic and concrete way.

"Yesterday’s class brought Vygotsky’s concepts of scaffolding and the ‘significant other’ into sharp focus for me. Without instruction, ‘Emily’ was able to scaffold ‘Emma’s’ solving of the Keystone Puzzle without directing her or supplying her with the answer – she acted as the ‘significant other’. It really highlighted for me the fact that I do not always have to directly be involved in students’ learning, and that students have learning and knowledge they bring to the classroom context."

What this example does well:

  • Links theory to practice.
  • Clearly states where learning occurred.

De-identify actual people you have observed or dealt with on placement or work experience using pseudonyms (other names, job titles, initials or even numbers so that real identities are protected). E.g.:

  • "It was great to observe ‘Lee’ try to..."
  • "Our team leader’s response was positive…"
  • "I observed G’s reaction to this..."
  • "Student Four felt that this was…"

"The lectures and tutes this semester have broadened my views of what sustainability is and the different scales by which we can view it . I learned that sustainability is not only something that differs at an individual level in terms of how we approach it ourselves, but also how it differs in scale. We might look at what we do individually to act sustainably, such as in what and how we recycle, but when we think about how a city or state does this, we need to consider pollution, rubbish collection and a range of other systems that point to sustainability on a much larger scale."

  • Clearly states where learning occurred
  • Elaborates on key issues
  • Gives examples.

"On the ward rounds yesterday, I felt Mr G’s mobility had noticeably improved from last week. This may be due to the altered physio program we have implemented and it allowed me to experience a real feeling of satisfaction that I had made a real difference."

Action verbs are usually expressing feelings and thoughts in reflective writing, e.g. felt, thought, considered, experienced, wondered, remembered, discovered, learned.

Reflecting on theory

Some reflection tasks are purely theoretical, where you are asked to consider texts you have read, or ideas you may have discussed in tutorials, and reflect on them.

"Comparing the approaches of Mayr and Ulich (2009) and Laevers (2005) to what 'wellbeing' means for the early childhood setting was very illustrative in that I discovered they seek to do similar things but within different frameworks. Analysing the two constructs highlighted that the detail in Mayr and Ulich’s framework provided a much richer framework in defining and measuring wellbeing than Laevers’ does."

  • References correctly.
  • Considers what the theory has shown.

Using the DIEP model

When writing reflectively for the first time, it’s not uncommon to produce a summary or description of the event or experience without deeply reflecting on it.

Reflective writing needs to go beyond simply summarising what happened. Your reader needs to gain an insight into what the experience meant to you, how you feel about it, how it connects to other things you’ve experienced or studied and what you plan to do in response.

To be sure you don’t leave out any of these critical elements of reflection, consider writing using the describe, interpret, evaluate, plan (DIEP) model to help.

DIEP approach adapted from: RMIT Study and Learning Centre. (2010). Reflective writing: DIEP .

You can and should refer to yourself in your reflection using personal pronouns, e.g. I, we...

Begin by describing the situation. What did you see, hear, do, read or see? Be as brief and objective as possible.

Starting phrases:

  • The most interesting insight from my lecture this week is ...
  • A significant issue I had not realised until now is ...
  • I now realise (understand ...) that ...

Interpret what happened. What new insights have you gained? How does this experience connect with other things you’ve learned or experienced before? How did the experience make you feel?

  • This experience idea is relevant to me because…
  • This reminded me of the idea that…
  • A possible implication could be…

Make a judgement. How useful was this experience for you? What is your opinion? Why do you think this might be?

  • Having realised the importance of ..., I can now understand…
  • This experience will change the way I view ...
  • Being able to see… in this way is extremely valuable for me because…

Comment on how this experience might inform your future thoughts or actions. How could you apply what you’ve learned from the experience in the future? How might the experience relate to your degree or future professional life?

  • This is beneficial to me as my future career requires…  
  • In order to further develop this skill…I will…
  • Next time…I will…by…

[TS] The most surprising insight I have gained so far is how important recording and distributing succinct and accurate information is to the success of the project. [D] In the first week of my internship, I was asked to record some meeting minutes and distribute them to the project team and the client. [I] I initially felt offended as the task appeared trivial to me; it was something we rarely did during team meetings at university. [E] However, after speaking with my industry supervisor, I began to understand how important it is to keep a clear record of the meaningful points raised during meetings. [I] Making accurate notes of the key outcomes was harder than I expected as the rest of my team was relying on my minutes to know what they needed to do. [D]After reviewing my minutes, my supervisor agreed that they were sufficiently clear and accurate. [I] I’ve realised that poorly recorded minutes could have resulted in missed deadlines, miscommunication and costly implications for our contract. [P] To improve my ability to take notes I plan on reviewing the minutes made by my colleagues for other meetings and to investigate note taking techniques such as mind mapping (Trevelyan, 2014). Mind mapping uses links and annotations to record relationships between words and indicate significance. [I] This will help me to continue to develop my skills in this area and develop my ability to “prepare high quality engineering documents” as part of attaining the Stage 1 competency of written communication (Engineers Australia, 2018).

Trevelyan, J. P. (2014).  The making of an expert engineer: How to have a wonderful career creating a better world and spending lots of money belonging to other people . Leiden, The Netherlands: CRC Press/Balkema.

Ask yourself:

  • Have I based my reflection on a specific incident, activity, idea or example?
  • Have I sufficiently critically analysed the situation?
  • Have I integrated theory in a meaningful way? Can I elaborate further to demonstrate the relevance of the idea and my understanding of it?
  • Are my plans specific enough? Can I be more concrete?

When editing your draft, try colour coding each element of DIEP to be sure you have a balance of elements.

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how to write a reflective essay for university example

Guide on How to Write a Reflection Paper with Free Tips and Example

how to write a reflective essay for university example

A reflection paper is a very common type of paper among college students. Almost any subject you enroll in requires you to express your opinion on certain matters. In this article, we will explain how to write a reflection paper and provide examples and useful tips to make the essay writing process easier.

Reflection papers should have an academic tone yet be personal and subjective. In this paper, you should analyze and reflect upon how an experience, academic task, article, or lecture shaped your perception and thoughts on a subject.

Here is what you need to know about writing an effective critical reflection paper. Stick around until the end of our guide to get some useful writing tips from the writing team at EssayPro — a research paper writing service

What Is a Reflection Paper

A reflection paper is a type of paper that requires you to write your opinion on a topic, supporting it with your observations and personal experiences. As opposed to presenting your reader with the views of other academics and writers, in this essay, you get an opportunity to write your point of view—and the best part is that there is no wrong answer. It is YOUR opinion, and it is your job to express your thoughts in a manner that will be understandable and clear for all readers that will read your paper. The topic range is endless. Here are some examples: whether or not you think aliens exist, your favorite TV show, or your opinion on the outcome of WWII. You can write about pretty much anything.

There are three types of reflection paper; depending on which one you end up with, the tone you write with can be slightly different. The first type is the educational reflective paper. Here your job is to write feedback about a book, movie, or seminar you attended—in a manner that teaches the reader about it. The second is the professional paper. Usually, it is written by people who study or work in education or psychology. For example, it can be a reflection of someone’s behavior. And the last is the personal type, which explores your thoughts and feelings about an individual subject.

However, reflection paper writing will stop eventually with one very important final paper to write - your resume. This is where you will need to reflect on your entire life leading up to that moment. To learn how to list education on resume perfectly, follow the link on our dissertation writing services .

Unlock the potential of your thoughts with EssayPro . Order a reflection paper and explore a range of other academic services tailored to your needs. Dive deep into your experiences, analyze them with expert guidance, and turn your insights into an impactful reflection paper.

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Free Reflection Paper Example

Now that we went over all of the essentials about a reflection paper and how to approach it, we would like to show you some examples that will definitely help you with getting started on your paper.

Reflection Paper Format

Reflection papers typically do not follow any specific format. Since it is your opinion, professors usually let you handle them in any comfortable way. It is best to write your thoughts freely, without guideline constraints. If a personal reflection paper was assigned to you, the format of your paper might depend on the criteria set by your professor. College reflection papers (also known as reflection essays) can typically range from about 400-800 words in length.

Here’s how we can suggest you format your reflection paper:

common reflection paper format

How to Start a Reflection Paper

The first thing to do when beginning to work on a reflection essay is to read your article thoroughly while taking notes. Whether you are reflecting on, for example, an activity, book/newspaper, or academic essay, you want to highlight key ideas and concepts.

You can start writing your reflection paper by summarizing the main concept of your notes to see if your essay includes all the information needed for your readers. It is helpful to add charts, diagrams, and lists to deliver your ideas to the audience in a better fashion.

After you have finished reading your article, it’s time to brainstorm. We’ve got a simple brainstorming technique for writing reflection papers. Just answer some of the basic questions below:

  • How did the article affect you?
  • How does this article catch the reader’s attention (or does it all)?
  • Has the article changed your mind about something? If so, explain how.
  • Has the article left you with any questions?
  • Were there any unaddressed critical issues that didn’t appear in the article?
  • Does the article relate to anything from your past reading experiences?
  • Does the article agree with any of your past reading experiences?

Here are some reflection paper topic examples for you to keep in mind before preparing to write your own:

  • How my views on rap music have changed over time
  • My reflection and interpretation of Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Why my theory about the size of the universe has changed over time
  • How my observations for clinical psychological studies have developed in the last year

The result of your brainstorming should be a written outline of the contents of your future paper. Do not skip this step, as it will ensure that your essay will have a proper flow and appropriate organization.

Another good way to organize your ideas is to write them down in a 3-column chart or table.

how to write a reflection paper

Do you want your task look awesome?

If you would like your reflection paper to look professional, feel free to check out one of our articles on how to format MLA, APA or Chicago style

Writing a Reflection Paper Outline

Reflection paper should contain few key elements:

Introduction

Your introduction should specify what you’re reflecting upon. Make sure that your thesis informs your reader about your general position, or opinion, toward your subject.

  • State what you are analyzing: a passage, a lecture, an academic article, an experience, etc...)
  • Briefly summarize the work.
  • Write a thesis statement stating how your subject has affected you.

One way you can start your thesis is to write:

Example: “After reading/experiencing (your chosen topic), I gained the knowledge of…”

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should examine your ideas and experiences in context to your topic. Make sure each new body paragraph starts with a topic sentence.

Your reflection may include quotes and passages if you are writing about a book or an academic paper. They give your reader a point of reference to fully understand your feedback. Feel free to describe what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt.

Example: “I saw many people participating in our weight experiment. The atmosphere felt nervous yet inspiring. I was amazed by the excitement of the event.”

As with any conclusion, you should summarize what you’ve learned from the experience. Next, tell the reader how your newfound knowledge has affected your understanding of the subject in general. Finally, describe the feeling and overall lesson you had from the reading or experience.

There are a few good ways to conclude a reflection paper:

  • Tie all the ideas from your body paragraphs together, and generalize the major insights you’ve experienced.
  • Restate your thesis and summarize the content of your paper.

We have a separate blog post dedicated to writing a great conclusion. Be sure to check it out for an in-depth look at how to make a good final impression on your reader.

Need a hand? Get help from our writers. Edit, proofread or buy essay .

How to Write a Reflection Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: create a main theme.

After you choose your topic, write a short summary about what you have learned about your experience with that topic. Then, let readers know how you feel about your case — and be honest. Chances are that your readers will likely be able to relate to your opinion or at least the way you form your perspective, which will help them better understand your reflection.

For example: After watching a TEDx episode on Wim Hof, I was able to reevaluate my preconceived notions about the negative effects of cold exposure.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas and Experiences You’ve Had Related to Your Topic

You can write down specific quotes, predispositions you have, things that influenced you, or anything memorable. Be personal and explain, in simple words, how you felt.

For example: • A lot of people think that even a small amount of carbohydrates will make people gain weight • A specific moment when I struggled with an excess weight where I avoided carbohydrates entirely • The consequences of my actions that gave rise to my research • The evidence and studies of nutritional science that claim carbohydrates alone are to blame for making people obese • My new experience with having a healthy diet with a well-balanced intake of nutrients • The influence of other people’s perceptions on the harm of carbohydrates, and the role their influence has had on me • New ideas I’ve created as a result of my shift in perspective

Step 3: Analyze How and Why These Ideas and Experiences Have Affected Your Interpretation of Your Theme

Pick an idea or experience you had from the last step, and analyze it further. Then, write your reasoning for agreeing or disagreeing with it.

For example, Idea: I was raised to think that carbohydrates make people gain weight.

Analysis: Most people think that if they eat any carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, and sugar, they will gain weight. I believe in this misconception to such a great extent that I avoided carbohydrates entirely. As a result, my blood glucose levels were very low. I needed to do a lot of research to overcome my beliefs finally. Afterward, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key to a healthy lifestyle.

For example: Idea: I was brought up to think that carbohydrates make people gain weight. Analysis: Most people think that if they eat any carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, and sugar, they will gain weight. I believe in this misconception to such a great extent that I avoided carbohydrates entirely. As a result, my blood glucose levels were very low. I needed to do a lot of my own research to finally overcome my beliefs. After, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key for having a healthy lifestyle.

Step 4: Make Connections Between Your Observations, Experiences, and Opinions

Try to connect your ideas and insights to form a cohesive picture for your theme. You can also try to recognize and break down your assumptions, which you may challenge in the future.

There are some subjects for reflection papers that are most commonly written about. They include:

  • Book – Start by writing some information about the author’s biography and summarize the plot—without revealing the ending to keep your readers interested. Make sure to include the names of the characters, the main themes, and any issues mentioned in the book. Finally, express your thoughts and reflect on the book itself.
  • Course – Including the course name and description is a good place to start. Then, you can write about the course flow, explain why you took this course, and tell readers what you learned from it. Since it is a reflection paper, express your opinion, supporting it with examples from the course.
  • Project – The structure for a reflection paper about a project has identical guidelines to that of a course. One of the things you might want to add would be the pros and cons of the course. Also, mention some changes you might want to see, and evaluate how relevant the skills you acquired are to real life.
  • Interview – First, introduce the person and briefly mention the discussion. Touch on the main points, controversies, and your opinion of that person.

Writing Tips

Everyone has their style of writing a reflective essay – and that's the beauty of it; you have plenty of leeway with this type of paper – but there are still a few tips everyone should incorporate.

Before you start your piece, read some examples of other papers; they will likely help you better understand what they are and how to approach yours. When picking your subject, try to write about something unusual and memorable — it is more likely to capture your readers' attention. Never write the whole essay at once. Space out the time slots when you work on your reflection paper to at least a day apart. This will allow your brain to generate new thoughts and reflections.

  • Short and Sweet – Most reflection papers are between 250 and 750 words. Don't go off on tangents. Only include relevant information.
  • Clear and Concise – Make your paper as clear and concise as possible. Use a strong thesis statement so your essay can follow it with the same strength.
  • Maintain the Right Tone – Use a professional and academic tone—even though the writing is personal.
  • Cite Your Sources – Try to cite authoritative sources and experts to back up your personal opinions.
  • Proofreading – Not only should you proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, but you should proofread to focus on your organization as well. Answer the question presented in the introduction.

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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

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Writing reflectively is essential to many academic programmes and also to completing applications for employment. This page considers what reflective writing is and how to do it. 

What is reflection?

Reflection is something that we do everyday as part of being human. We plan and undertake actions, then think about whether each was successful or not, and how we might improve next time. We can also feel reflection as emotions, such as satisfaction and regret, or as a need to talk over happenings with friends. See below for an introduction to reflection as a concept. 

Reflection in everyday life [Google Slides]

Google Doc

What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing should be thought of as recording reflective thinking. This can be done in an everyday diary entry, or instruction in a recipe book to change a cooking method next time. In academic courses, reflective is more complex and focussed. This section considers the main features of reflective writing. 

Reflective writing for employability

When applying for jobs, or further academic study, students are required to think through what they have done in their degrees and translate it into evaluative writing that fulfils the criteria of job descriptions and person specifications. This is a different style of writing, the resource below will enable you to think about how to begin this transition. 

There are also lots of resources available through the university's careers service and elsewhere on the Skills Guides. The links below are to pages that can offer further support and guidance. 

how to write a reflective essay for university example

  • Careers and Placements Service resources Lots of resources that relate to all aspects of job applications, including tailored writing styles and techniques.

The language of reflective writing

Reflective academic writing is: 

  • almost always written in the first person.
  • evaluative - you are judging something.
  • partly personal, partly based on criteria.
  • analytical - you are usually categorising actions and events.
  • formal - it is for an academic audience.
  • carefully constructed. 

Look at the sections below to see specific vocabulary types and sentence constructions that can be useful when writing reflectively. 

Language for exploring outcomes

A key element of writing reflectively is being able to explain to the reader what the results of your actions were. This requires careful grading of language to ensure that what you write reflects the evidence of what happened and to convey clearly what you achieved or did not achieve. 

Below are some ideas and prompts of how you can write reflectively about outcomes, using clarity and graded language. 

Expressing uncertainty when writing about outcomes:

  • It is not yet clear that…
  • I do not yet (fully) understand...
  • It is unclear...
  • It is not yet fully clear...
  • It is not yet (fully?) known… 
  • It appears to be the case that…
  • It is too soon to tell....

Often, in academic learning, the uncertainty in the outcomes is a key part of the learning and development that you undertake. It is vital therefore that you explain this clearly to the reader using careful choices in your language. 

Writing about how the outcome relates to you:

  • I gained (xxxx) skills… 
  • I developed… 
  • The experience/task/process taught me… 
  • I achieved…
  • I learned that…
  • I found that… 

In each case you can add in words like, ‘significantly’, ‘greatly’, ‘less importantly’ etc. The use of evaluative adjectives enables you to express to the reader the importance and significance of your learning in terms of the outcomes achieved. 

Describing how you reached your outcomes:

  • Having read....
  • Having completed (xxxx)...
  • I analysed…
  • I applied… 
  • I learned…
  • I experienced… 
  • Having reflected…

This gives the reader an idea of the nature of the reflection they are reading. How and why you reach the conclusions and learning that you express in your reflective writing is important so the reader can assess the validity and strength of your reflections. 

Projecting your outcomes into the future:

  • If I completed a similar task in the future I would…
  • Having learned through this process I would… 
  • Next time I will…
  • I will need to develop…. (in light of the outcomes)
  • Next time my responses would be different....

When showing the reader how you will use your learning in the future, it is important to be specific and again, to use accurate graded language to show how and why what you choose to highlight matters. Check carefully against task instructions to see what you are expected to reflect into the future about. 

When reflecting in academic writing on outcomes, this can mean either the results of the task you have completed, for example, the accuracy of a titration in a Chemistry lab session, or what you have learned/developed within the task, for example, ensuring that an interview question is written clearly enough to produce a response that reflects what you wished to find out. 

Language choices are important in ensuring the reader can see what you think in relation to the reflection you have done. 

Language for interpretation

When you interpret something you are telling the reader how important it is, or what meaning is attached to it. 

You may wish to indicate the value of something:

  • superfluous
  • non-essential

E.g. 'the accuracy of the transcription was essential to the accuracy of the eventual coding and analysis of the interviews undertaken. The training I undertook was critical to enabling me to transcribe quickly and accurately' 

You may wish to show how ideas, actions or some other aspect developed over time:

  • Initially 
  • subsequently
  • in sequence 

E.g. 'Before we could produce the final version of the presentation, we had to complete both the research and produce a plan. This was achieved later than expected, leading to subsequent rushing of creating slides, and this contributed to a lower grade'. 

You may wish to show your viewpoint or that of others:

  • did not think
  • articulated
  • did/did not do something

Each of these could be preceded by 'we' or 'I'.

E.g. 'I noticed that the model of the bridge was sagging. I expressed this to the group, and as I did so I noticed that two members did not seem to grasp how serious the problem was. I proposed a break and a meeting, during which I intervened to show the results of inaction.'

There is a huge range of language that can be used for interpretation, the most important thing is to remember your reader and be clear with them about what your interpretation is, so they can see your thinking and agree or disagree with you. 

Language for analysis

When reflecting, it is important to show the reader that you have analysed the tasks, outcomes, learning and all other aspects that you are writing about. In most cases, you are using categories to provide structure to your reflection. Some suggestions of language to use when analysing in reflective writing are below:

Signposting that you are breaking down a task or learning into categories:

  • An aspect of…
  • An element of…
  • An example of…
  • A key feature of the task was... (e.g. teamwork)
  • The task was multifaceted… (then go on to list or describe the facets)
  • There were several experiences…
  • ‘X’ is related to ‘y’

There may be specific categories that you should consider in your reflection. In teamwork, it could be individual and team performance, in lab work it could be accuracy and the reliability of results. It is important that the reader can see the categories you have used for your analysis. 

Analysis by chronology:

  • Subsequently
  • Consequently
  • Stage 1 (or other)

In many tasks the order in which they were completed matters. This can be a key part of your reflection, as it is possible that you may learn to do things in a different order next time or that the chronology influenced the outcomes. 

Analysis by perspective:

  • I considered

These language choices show that you are analysing purely by your own personal perspective. You may provide evidence to support your thinking, but it is your viewpoint that matters. 

  • What I expected from the reading did not happen…
  • The Theory did not appear in our results…
  • The predictions made were not fulfilled…
  • The outcome was surprising because… (and link to what was expected)

These language choices show that you are analysing by making reference to academic learning (from an academic perspective). This means you have read or otherwise learned something and used it to form expectations, ideas and/or predictions. You can then reflect on what you found vs what you expected. The reader needs to know what has informed our reflections. 

  • Organisation X should therefore…
  • A key recommendation is… 
  • I now know that organisation x is… 
  • Theory A can be applied to organisation X

These language choices show that analysis is being completed from a systems perspective. You are telling the reader how your learning links into the bigger picture of systems, for example, what an organisation or entity might do in response to what you have learned. 

Analysing is a key element of being reflective. You must think through the task, ideas, or learning you are reflecting on and use categories to provide structure to your thought. This then translates into structure and language choices in your writing, so your reader can see clearly how you have used analysis to provide sense and structure to your reflections. 

Language for evaluation

Reflecting is fundamentally an evaluative activity. Writing about reflection is therefore replete with evaluative language. A skillful reflective writer is able to grade their language to match the thinking it is expressing to the reader. 

Language to show how significant something is:

  • Most importantly
  • Significantly 
  • The principal lesson was… 
  • Consequential
  • Fundamental
  • Insignificant
  • In each case the language is quantifying the significance of the element you are describing, telling the reader the product of your evaluative thought. 

For example, ‘when team working I initially thought that we would succeed by setting out a plan and then working independently, but in fact, constant communication and collaboration were crucial to success. This was the most significant thing I learned.’ 

Language to show the strength of relationships:

  • X is strongly associated with Y
  • A is a consequence of B
  • There is a probable relationship between… 
  • C does not cause D
  • A may influence B
  • I learn most strongly when doing A

In each case the language used can show how significant and strong the relationship between two factors are. 

For example, ‘I learned, as part of my research methods module, that the accuracy of the data gained through surveys is directly related to the quality of the questions. Quality can be improved by reading widely and looking at surveys in existing academic papers to inform making your own questions’

Language to evaluate your viewpoint:

  • I was convinced...
  • I have developed significantly…
  • I learned that...
  • The most significant thing that I learned was…
  • Next time, I would definitely…
  • I am unclear about… 
  • I was uncertain about… 

These language choices show that you are attaching a level of significance to your reflection. This enables the reader to see what you think about the learning you achieved and the level of significance you attach to each reflection. 

For example, ‘when using systematic sampling of a mixed woodland, I was convinced that method A would be most effective, but in reality, it was clear that method B produced the most accurate results. I learned that assumptions based on reading previous research can lead to inaccurate predictions. This is very important for me as I will be planning a similar sampling activity as part of my fourth year project’ 

Evaluating is the main element of reflecting. You need to evaluate the outcomes of the activities you have done, your part in them, the learning you achieved and the process/methods you used in your learning, among many other things. It is important that you carefully use language to show the evaluative thinking you have completed to the reader.

Varieties of reflective writing in academic studies

There are a huge variety of reflective writing tasks, which differ between programmes and modules. Some are required by the nature of the subject, like in Education, where reflection is a required standard in teaching.

Some are required by the industry area graduates are training for, such as 'Human Resources Management', where the industry accreditation body require evidence of reflective capabilities in graduates.

In some cases, reflection is about the 'learning to learn' element of degree studies, to help you to become a more effective learner. Below, some of the main reflective writing tasks found in University of York degrees are explored. In each case the advice, guidance and materials do not substitute for those provided within your modules. 

Reflective essay writing

Reflective essay tasks vary greatly in what they require of you. The most important thing to do is to read the assessment brief carefully, attend any sessions and read any materials provided as guidance and to allocate time to ensure you can do the task well.

Google Slides

Reflective learning statements

Reflective learning statements are often attached to dissertations and projects, as well as practical activities. They are an opportunity to think about and tell the reader what you have learned, how you will use the learning, what you can do better next time and to link to other areas, such as your intended career. 

Making a judgement about academic performance

Think of this type of writing as producing your own feedback. How did you do? Why? What could you improve next time? These activities may be a part of modules, they could be attached to a bigger piece of work like a dissertation or essay, or could be just a part of your module learning. 

The four main questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your academic performance. 

  • Why exactly did you achieve the grade you have been awarded? Look at your feedback, the instructions, the marking scheme and talk to your tutors to find out if you don't know. 
  • How did your learning behaviours affect your academic performance? This covers aspects such as attendance, reading for lectures/seminars, asking questions, working with peers... the list goes on. 
  • How did your performance compare to others? Can you identify when others did better or worse? Can you talk to your peers to find out if they are doing something you are not or being more/less effective?
  • What can you do differently to improve your performance? In each case, how will you ensure you can do it? Do you need training? Do you need a guide book or resources? 

When writing about each of the above, you need to keep in mind the context of how you are being asked to judge your performance and ensure the reader gains the detail they need (and as this is usually a marker, this means they can give you a high grade!). 

Writing a learning diary/blog/record

A learning diary or blog has become a very common method of assessing and supporting learning in many degree programmes. The aim is to help you to think through your day-to-day learning and identify what you have and have not learned, why that is and what you can improve as you go along. You are also encouraged to link your learning to bigger thinking, like future careers or your overall degree. 

Other support for reflective writing

Online resources.

The general writing pages of this site offer guidance that can be applied to all types of writing, including reflective writing. Also check your department's guidance and VLE sites for tailored resources.

Other useful resources for reflective writing:

how to write a reflective essay for university example

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Critical Reflection

A Critical Reflection (also called a reflective essay) is a process of identifying, questioning, and assessing our deeply-held assumptions – about our knowledge, the way we perceive events and issues, our beliefs, feelings, and actions. When you reflect critically, you use course material (lectures, readings, discussions, etc.) to examine our biases, compare theories with current actions, search for causes and triggers, and identify problems at their core.   Critical reflection is   not   a reading assignment, a summary of an activity, or an emotional outlet.   Rather,   the goal is   to change your thinking about a subject, and thus change your behaviour.

Tip: Critical reflections are common in coursework across all disciplines, but they can take very different forms. Your instructor may ask you to develop a formal essay, produce weekly blog entries, or provide short paragraph answers to a set of questions. Read the assignment guidelines before you begin.

How to Critically Reflect

Writing a critical reflection happens in two phases.

  • Analyze:   In the first phase, analyze the issue and your role by asking critical questions. Use free writing as a way to develop good ideas. Don’t worry about organized paragraphs or good grammar at this stage.
  • Articulate:   In the second phase, use your analysis to develop a clear argument about what you learned. Organize your ideas so they are clear for your reader.

First phase: Analyze

A popular method for analyzing is the three stage model: What? So What? Now what?

In the  What?  stage, describe the issue, including your role, observations, and reactions. The   what?   stage helps you make initial observations about what you feel and think. At this point, there’s no need to look at your course notes or readings.

Use the questions below to guide your writing during this stage.

  • What happened?
  • What did you do?
  • What did you expect?
  • What was different?
  • What was your reaction?
  • What did you learn?

In the second  So What?   stage, try to understand on a deeper level why the issue is significant or relevant. Use information from your first stage, your course materials (readings, lectures, discussions) -- as well as previous experience and knowledge to help you think through the issue from a variety of perspectives.

Tip:  Since you’ll be using more course resources in this step, review your readings and course notes before you begin writing.

Below are three perspectives you can consider:

  • Academic perspective: How did the experience enhance your understanding of a concept/theory/skill? Did the experience confirm your understanding or challenge it? Did you identify strengths or gaps in your knowledge?
  • Personal perspective:   Why does the experience matter? What are the consequences? Were your previous expectations/assumptions confirmed or refuted? What surprised you and why?
  • Systems perspective:   What were the sources of power and who benefited/who was harmed? What changes would you suggest? How does this experience help you understand the organization or system?

In the third   Now what?   stage, explore how the experience will shape your future thinking and behaviour.

Use the following questions to guide your thinking and writing:

  • What are you going to do as a result of your experiences?
  • What will you do differently?
  • How will you apply what you learned?

Second phase: Articulate

After completing the analysis stage, you probably have a lot of writing, but it is not yet organized into a coherent story. You need to build an organized and clear argument about what you learned and how you changed. To do so,   develop a thesis statement , make an   outline ,   write , and   revise.

Develop a thesis statement

Develop a clear argument to help your reader understand what you learned. This argument should pull together different themes from your analysis into a main idea. You can see an example of a thesis statement in the sample reflection essay at the end of this resource.

Tip: For more help on developing thesis statements, see our   Thesis statements  resource

Make an outline

Once you have a clear thesis statement for your essay, build an outline. Below is a straightforward method to organize your essay.

  • Background/Context of reflection
  • Thesis statement
  • Introduce theme A
  • Writer's past position/thinking
  • Moment of learning/change
  • Writer's current/new position
  • Introduce theme B
  • Introduce theme C
  • Summarize learning
  • Discuss significance of learning for self and others
  • Discuss future actions/behaviour

Write and revise

Time to get writing! Work from your outline and give yourself enough time for a first draft and revisions.

Even though you are writing about your personal experience and learning, your audience may still be an academic one. Consult the assignment guidelines or ask your instructor to find out whether your writing should be formal or informal.

Sample Critical Reflection

Below are sample annotated paragraphs from one student’s critical reflection for a course on society and privilege.

Introduction

Background/context of reflection : I became aware of privileged positions in society only in recent years. I was lucky enough, privileged enough, to be ignorant of such phenomena, but for some, privilege is a daily lesson of how they do not fit into mainstream culture. In the past, I defined oppression as only that which is obvious and intentional. I never realized the part I played. However, during a class field study to investigate privileged positions in everyday environments, I learned otherwise.   Thesis:   Without meaning to, I caused harm by participating in a system where I gained from others’ subtle oppression. In one of these spaces, the local mall, everything from advertisements to food to products, to the locations of doorways, bathrooms and other public necessities, made clear my privilege as a white, heterosexual male.

Body paragraph

Topic sentence : Peggy McIntosh describes privilege as an invisible knapsack of tools and advantages. This description crystalized for me when I shopped for a greeting card at the stationary store. There, as a white, heterosexual male, I felt comfortable and empowered to roam about the store as I pleased. I freely asked the clerk about a mother’s day card.   Writer’s past position:   Previously, I never considered that a store did anything but sell products. However, when I asked the sales clerk for same sex greeting cards, she paused for a few seconds and gave me a look that made me feel instantly uncomfortable. Some customers stopped to look at me. I felt a heat move over my face. I felt, for a moment, wrong for being in that store.  I quickly clarified that I was only doing a report for school, implying that I was not in fact homosexual.   Writer’s current position:   The clerk’s demeanor changed. I was free to check, she said.  It was the only time during the field study that I had felt the need to explain what I was doing to anyone. I could get out of the situation with a simple clarification. But what if I really was a member of the homosexual community? The looks and the silence taught me that I should be feared.  I realized that, along with its products, the store was selling an image of normal. But my “normality” was another person’s “abnormality.”  After I walked out of the store I felt guilty for having denied being homosexual.

Summary of learning:   At the mall I realized how much we indirectly shame nonprivileged groups, even in seemingly welcoming spaces. That shame is supported every time I or any other privileged individual fails to question our advantage. And it leads to a different kind of shame carried by privileged individuals, too.   Value for self and others:   All of this, as Brown (2003) documents, is exacerbated by silence. Thus, the next step for me is to not only question privilege internally, but to publicly question covert bias and oppression. If I do, I may very well be shamed for speaking out. But my actions might just encourage other people to speak up as well.

Sample paragraphs adapted from James C. Olsen's Teaching Portfolio from Georgetown University .

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The Complete Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay for University

Stefani H.

Table of contents

Reflective essay? How difficult can it be to reflect on your own experiences and write about them? You wonder until you sit down to write the essay. You are in for a rude shock because it is not as easy as it seems.

A reflective essay requires students to examine their life experiences, especially those which have left an impact on them.

From describing your thoughts and feelings regarding a specific life event to analyzing its impact and examining what you learned from it - the primary purpose of writing a reflective essay is to push students to think deeply and learn from their experiences.

How to Submit a Well-Written Reflective Essay for a University

Though writing a reflective essay can seem difficult at first, but once you have a clear idea of what you want to write and, more importantly, how to write, it often gets easier as you progress. Here are five key writing tips to remember while writing a reflective essay.

Choosing a Topic of Reflection

As a super busy student, when was the last time you drowned yourself in thoughts and reflected on your past experiences? Well, here is an assignment that deliberately puts you in that space.

Think about all the life experiences which have had an impact on you - it can be a life-changing event, your interaction with someone you admire, a movie character that appealed to you, a book that gave you perspective or anything else which helped in shaping your personality and thought process.

The end goal is to write on a topic that will help you reflect on your growth as an individual. So, start brainstorming and jot down every idea that comes to your mind.

Create a Mind Map

Once you have a rough but definite idea about what you want to write, the next step is to create a mind map to make sure you approach the essay in an organized manner.

While creating your mind map, quiz yourself by asking questions of relevance which will help put together perspectives for the essay. Some questions you can consider are:

  • What did you learn from your experience?
  • Would you want to change anything? If yes, then why?
  • What do you feel about the experience?
  • What were the challenges faced?
  • Did you start doing anything differently after this experience?

This exercise will give you an idea of what you want your essay to be centered around. The idea is to keep pushing yourself to think deeper and find meaning in your experiences to create a successful reflective essay.

Here’s some practical advice from Become a Writer Today on how you can use mind maps to write better and faster

Start Freewriting

Sometimes, all you need to do to write is start. That’s what freewriting is essentially about.

After brainstorming, creating a mind map, and organizing your thoughts, just open a blank document and start writing with the flow. Don’t stop to think or edit - just write as your thoughts come to you.

The best part about freewriting is that it results in a steady stream of ideas you might have missed out on if you hadn’t resorted to writing with the flow.

So, whether you’re not motivated to write an essay or are just second-guessing your ideas at every stage, it helps to let your thoughts guide you and put them out on paper for starters.

Reflective Essay Structure

Now, it’s time to put your ideas and thoughts into words and structure them appropriately. A reflective essay is ideally divided into the following parts:

Introduction – start your essay with a hook to capture the reader’s interest. Your thesis statement should introduce the experience you will be reflecting upon while setting the tone for the rest of the essay;

Body – this is where you will elaborate on the experience and its significance, followed by analyzing the impact it had on your life. Make sure you don’t rant on. It’s essential to put your storytelling skills to use and keep the essay engaging for people to want to read more. Use examples wherever possible as it strengthens your narrative;

Conclusion – the concluding paragraph is a summation of your reflections. You need to mention how the experience shaped your life and how you intend to carry forward your learnings and apply them in the real world.

Proofread, Proofread and Proofread

Don’t make the grave mistake of turning in your reflective essay without proofreading. In fact, you must give thorough rounds of proofreading before finalizing it. You will be surprised to see the number of silly mistakes that are made in the first round of writing.

So, watch out for grammatical, spelling, and sentence formation errors. You must also ensure the essay flows well and steers clear of plagiarism . It’s a good idea to get a family member or friend to read your essay, too, to get a fresh set of eyes on it.

What Makes a Successful Reflective Essay?

While writing a reflective essay might sound like journal writing, it’s certainly way more than that.

Now that you know the steps involved in reflective essay writing, let’s take a closer look at what makes for an effective essay that is sure to make your paper stand out and fetch you high scores.

Here are the nine critical components of a successful reflective essay.

Demonstrate Personal Experience

Reflective essays need to be derived from your personal experiences, and believe it or not - it shows when students half-heartedly speak about their experiences just for the sake of the assignment.

So, write with a clear line of thought while describing your personal experience because that will set the foundation for the paper. The reader has to understand the context before you go on to analyze and share your perspective.

Be Detailed and Descriptive

One of the essential parts of writing a reflective essay is finding the right balance between giving away too much and not being detailed enough.

A generic reflective essay is sure not to get you the grades you want. Instructors want to see how deep your analysis is which is reflected in your descriptive writing. Don’t hesitate to paint a vivid picture because it alleviates your essay.

It is recommended to write in the first person as it conveys a more personal tone and is more reflective of your personality. So, stay away from vague ideas and concepts and deepen your analysis.

Be Honest About Your Feelings

The best reflective essays are a product of utmost honesty. The ability to be vulnerable and be completely open about your experiences is what gets you to contemplate the experience/event and examine the consequences with greater precision.

So, don’t scratch the surface and shy away from describing your true feelings and emotions - be honest, and you’re sure to write a compelling reflective essay that sounds genuine and appeals to the reader.

Analyze and Evaluate the Event

The biggest mistake students make while writing reflective essays is that they end up summarizing their experiences instead of analyzing and evaluating the situation.

While you must describe the event clearly and concisely, you are also expected to evaluate and analyze your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to that experience.

What’s the difference between evaluation and analysis, you ask?

Evaluation involves judging the merit or significance of something, while analysis is about interpreting its meaning.

Here’s a snapshot of Gibbs’ reflective cycle which aptly encapsulates the approach you can take while writing this paper.

Remember - the idea of a reflective essay is to derive and demonstrate what you achieved from the experience/event and its influence on your life. So, don’t stop at merely summarizing the experience.

Include Examples to Illustrate your Points

Nothing accentuates a piece of writing more than weaving credible evidence and examples to illustrate your thoughts and feelings while writing a reflective essay.

Examples help justify the points you’re trying to make and help the reader relate better to your writing. This technique keeps misinterpretations at bay and paves the way for clearer understanding.

State a Plan of Action

You described the event, addressed your feelings, evaluated the experience, and analyzed the situation, but it feels incomplete.

That’s because any kind of reflection needs to end with a course of action that involves writing about how it changed your life and what you learned from the experience.

Look at it this way - if you were to go through that experience again, what would you do differently? That’s what you have to address as an action plan.

Stick to the Main Theme

The length of a reflective essay varies from 300 to 700 words. Considering that you have a word limit to abide by, you need to ensure you don’t digress and deviate from your essay's central purpose/theme.

This is a point worth mentioning because students tend to go off-topic while writing about their personal experiences. Not only does this result in ineffective utilization of space, but going off the trail also projects you in a bad light and can hurt your score.

So, be sure to stick to the central theme - this is something you must check for in the editing stage.

Use Imagery

A kind of literary device , imagery is used to bring one’s writing to life and make it more appealing to the reader.

As reflective essays are about reflecting on personal experiences, it’s a good idea to incorporate imagery and weave a picture in the reader’s mind. This strengthens your writing and lets you enhance your descriptions.

Here’s a video by Reedsy on how you can write stronger descriptions and use interesting imagery in your writing

Maintain a Formal and Professional Tone

A reflective essay might be a personal account, but it still is a literary form of writing.

This means that you need to maintain a formal and professional tone, stay away from slang, avoid contractions (can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, etc.), and abide by the general grammar and sentence formation rules.

As you reflect on your experiences, writing in first-person (I, me, us, we, our, etc.) is alright.

The exciting thing about writing reflective essays is that nothing is right or wrong. It all boils down to your interpretation of your life events and the insight the reader can get into your personality.

Struggling to put your thoughts together and start writing? Don’t stress - let our student-friendly essay writing service help you. Writers Per Hour’s competent and professional essay writers know what it takes to submit a compelling reflective essay.

Once you reach out to us, we will allocate the perfect writer for the job who will work with you to understand your experiences and create an impressive custom essay that your instructor can’t help but appreciate.

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Criminal Justice Guide for Graduate Students: Write a Reflective Essay

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Writing a Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is a critical examination of a life experience. For students pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Theory and Research, a reflective essay means writing about connections between experiences and theoretical concepts learned, and considering future implications. Below are some resources that may help students understand how to write a reflective essay. 

Reflective writing articles and websites

  • Scheidegger, A. R. (2020). Incorporating reflective writing into criminal justice courses. Reflective Practice, 21(1), 122-131. If you want to understand WHY reflective essays are powerful learning tools, this essay will explain. In the process of explaining the WHY, the article also helps to demystify HOW to write a reflective essay.
  • USC Libraries Research Guides -- Writing a Reflective Paper
  • Critical Reflection by University of Waterloo -- Writing and Communication Centre
  • The Purpose of Reflection: Why is Reflection Important in the Writing Classroom? by Purdue University Department of English
  • A Complete Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay - -Oxbridge Essays

Reflective writing videos

Reflective writing books

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Reflection Toolkit

Structure of academic reflections

Guidance on the structure of academic reflections.

Academic reflections or reflective writing completed for assessment often require a clear structure. Contrary to some people’s belief, reflection is not just a personal diary talking about your day and your feelings.

Both the language and the structure are important for academic reflective writing. For the structure you want to mirror an academic essay closely. You want an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion.

Academic reflection will require you to both describe the context, analyse it, and make conclusions. However, there is not one set of rules for the proportion of your reflection that should be spent describing the context, and what proportion should be spent on analysing and concluding. That being said, as learning tends to happen when analysing and synthesising rather than describing, a good rule of thumb is to describe just enough such that the reader understands your context.

Example structure for academic reflections

Below is an example of how you might structure an academic reflection if you were given no other guidance and what each section might contain.  Remember this is only a suggestion and you must consider what is appropriate for the task at hand and for you yourself.

Introduction

Identifies and introduces your experience or learning

  • This can be a critical incident
  • This can be the reflective prompt you were given
  • A particular learning you have gained

When structuring your academic reflections it might make sense to start with what you have learned and then use the main body to evidence that learning, using specific experiences and events. Alternatively, start with the event and build up your argument. This is a question of personal preference – if you aren’t given explicit guidance you can ask the assessor if they have a preference, however both can work.

Highlights why it was important

  • This can be suggesting why this event was important for the learning you gained
  • This can be why the learning you gained will benefit you or why you appreciate it in your context

You might find that it is not natural to highlight the importance of an event before you have developed your argument for what you gained from it. It can be okay not to explicitly state the importance in the introduction, but leave it to develop throughout your reflection.

Outline key themes that will appear in the reflection (optional – but particularly relevant when answering a reflective prompt or essay)

  • This can be an introduction to your argument, introducing the elements that you will explore, or that builds to the learning you have already gained.

This might not make sense if you are reflecting on a particular experience, but is extremely valuable if you are answering a reflective prompt or writing an essay that includes multiple learning points. A type of prompt or question that could particularly benefit from this would be ‘Reflect on how the skills and theory within this course have helped you meet the benchmark statements of your degree’

It can be helpful to explore one theme/learning per paragraph.

Explore experiences

  • You should highlight and explore the experience you introduced in the introduction
  • If you are building toward answering a reflective prompt, explore each relevant experience.

As reflection is centred around an individual’s personal experience, it is very important to make experiences a main component of reflection. This does not mean that the majority of the reflective piece should be on describing an event – in fact you should only describe enough such that the reader can follow your analysis.

Analyse and synthesise

  • You should analyse each of your experiences and from them synthesise new learning

Depending on the requirements of the assessment, you may need to use theoretical literature in your analysis. Theoretical literature is a part of perspective taking which is relevant for reflection, and will happen as a part of your analysis.  

Restate or state your learning

  • Make a conclusion based on your analysis and synthesis.
  • If you have many themes in your reflection, it can be helpful to restate them here.

Plan for the future

  • Highlight and discuss how your new-found learnings will influence your future practice

Answer the question or prompt (if applicable)

  • If you are answering an essay question or reflective prompt, make sure that your conclusion provides a succinct response using your main body as evidence.  

Using a reflective model to structure academic reflections

You might recognise that most reflective models mirror this structure; that is why a lot of the reflective models can be really useful to structure reflective assignments. Models are naturally structured to focus on a single experience – if the assignment requires you to focus on multiple experiences, it can be helpful to simply repeat each step of a model for each experience.

One difference between the structure of reflective writing and the structure of models is that sometimes you may choose to present your learning in the introduction of a piece of writing, whereas models (given that they support working through the reflective process) will have learning appearing at later stages.

However, generally structuring a piece of academic writing around a reflective model will ensure that it involves the correct components, reads coherently and logically, as well as having an appropriate structure.

Reflective journals/diaries/blogs and other pieces of assessed reflection

The example structure above works particularly well for formal assignments such as reflective essays and reports.  Reflective journal/blogs and other pieces of assessed reflections tend to be less formal both in language and structure, however you can easily adapt the structure for journals and other reflective assignments if you find that helpful.

That is, if you are asked to produce a reflective journal with multiple entries it will most often (always check with the person who issued the assignment) be a successful journal if each entry mirrors the structure above and the language highlighted in the section on academic language. However, often you can be less concerned with form when producing reflective journals/diaries.

When producing reflective journals, it is often okay to include your original reflection as long as you are comfortable with sharing the content with others, and that the information included is not too personal for an assessor to read.

Developed from:

Ryan, M., 2011. Improving reflective writing in higher education: a social semiotic perspective. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(1), 99-111.

University of Portsmouth, Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (date unavailable). Reflective Writing: a basic introduction [online].  Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth.

Queen Margaret University, Effective Learning Service (date unavailable).  Reflection. [online].  Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University.

A Reflective Journey Through Learning, Reading, Writing, and Communication Skills

Introduction.

Embarking on the transformative odyssey presented by the “Preparing for Success at University: Module “Knowledge, Creativity” is uncovered as a complex world of learning and personal development. This reflective essay aims to reveal information about my developing path as a learner, focusing on some important skills towards success brought by this module. As I navigate through the labyrinth of learning, my focus will centre on four pivotal skills that have emerged as the cornerstones of my academic growth: Learning Styles, Reading Skills, Reflective Writing, and Communication Skills. All of these have changed; the module is a tool for self-discovery and growth. This journey has given me all the necessary tools to survive and be academically nimble, from identifying my preferred learning style to developing the capacity to interpret critically.

Learning Style: Unraveling the Threads of Understanding

An important investigation developed within the encompassing environment of the module on my learning style, an essential component that could be considered one of the pillars that support successful academic involvement. After considering several educational theories, including VARK or Honey and Mumford, I set on a comprehensive journey to find out which way nonverbal information is absorbed and processed best in my case. This exploration revealed a profound secret concerning my preferences in cognition; I was graded to be either an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic type of learner. Knowing this ingrained trait has turned out to be a turning point in my life, allowing me to tailor my study methods according to how I most naturally learn. The self-awareness acquired creates some kind of compass to navigate through the wide ocean of knowledge that is characteristic of future high-level academic studies (Costa et al.,2020). Invested with knowledge of my learning style, I am ready to analyze and understand how everything fits together to shape my academic career.

Reading Skills: Navigating the Sea of Information

The module became a system in which my reading skills were developed, taking them off an act of glancing over into a strategic way of art. Now, after acquiring a set of skills ranging from the methodical activities of skimming and scanning for essential points to an immersive approach known as critical reading that lifts subtle understanding, I am better positioned than before when facing the complicated setting of university studies. First of all, the newly acquired capacity to navigate information efficiently predicts academic achievements and is an adapting skill that can be used in various professions (Isaqjon,2022). These reading skills were perfected with due care during the structure of the environment for this module – I can now confidently read academic texts that are difficult to understand and draw valuable information from them as sharply as ever before. Now that I have come to the end of this learning journey, reading is an engraved attribute and will help me swim across the vast sea of information on which universities and working life stand.

Reflective Writing: A Journey into Self-Discovery

Reflective Writing as exploration has also been discovered within the boundaries of this module to be something that has given me an opportunity for profound self-analysis, which is unique and autonomous. This journey to my thoughts and experiences feels like a musical process aimed at helping me understand myself better as a learner. This learned capability transcends the boundaries of education, and it becomes an essential factor not only for the individual but also for career advancement (Yu & Liu.,2021). To date, reflective Writing has not only enabled me to carry out a more careful evaluation of my academic path but also improved my capacity to analyze every particular situation critically. Thus, it has cultivated a heightened self-consciousness, enabling one to strike from a superior position in resolving these problems in the future.

Communication Skills: Bridging the Academic and Professional Divide

This module has demonstrated the core role of proper communication to be successful, whether in terms of academic achievements or professional life. This helped me considerably improve my communication skills and capacity to articulate concepts succinctly and clearly. It is either in written tasks, oral speeches, teamwork, or learning a skill that transcends those walls of education. This is also why these acquired communication skills are beneficial in academic exercises and can serve as a solid foundation for other endeavours in professional life, where successful communication often has to be seen as an integrated part of one’s career (Fahmi & Ali,2022). My ability to mediate between academic and professional achievements becomes another developed skill that I have acquired so far, and it is mighty ground at this point of transition from studying toward working.

Future Challenges and Expectations: A Roadmap Forward

As the image of my learning path deepens, it is impossible not to wonder how to go. Each university course holds an opportunity that stands large as a future challenge for growth. With a good knowledge of my learning style, improved reading skills, ability to write reflectively and more efficient communication as the weapons at my disposal, I am capable of meeting these challenges with an intentional mind. University living is a lengthy process of self-improvement, and my newest skills are not finished stages but tools to continue improving (Konar,2021). This transformative module has given me a solid base to build on, and challenges will be opportunities for ongoing enhancement; I aspire to grow a thoughtful mindset that thrives on curiosity and resilience. In this dynamic path forward, the linked skills and zeal of lifelong learning serve as markers on my way towards a future in which every obstacle becomes an opportunity that helps me become more academically successful and productive.

In conclusion, the “Preparing for Success at University: “Knowledge and Creativity” module was pivotal in my academic path. I delved into myself as a learner, refined my reading and writing proficiency, and enhanced my communicational skills – all these have made me a more competent and self-aware learner. I am also armed with a set of skills that transcend the boundaries of academia upon gaining this knowledge. In the threshold of further problems, these skills will lead me to victory in my studies and career. This reflective travel prepared me for the challenges that university life should have and fostered a sense of lifetime learning and development.

References list

Costa, R.D., Souza, G.F., Valentim, R.A. and Castro, T.B., 2020. The theory of learning styles applied to distance learning.  Cognitive Systems Research ,  64 , pp.134-145.

Fahmi, I. and Ali, H., 2022. Determination of Career Planning and Decision Making: Analysis of Communication Skills, Motivation and Experience (Literature et al.).  Dinasti International Journal of Management Science ,  3 (5), pp.823-835.

Isaqjon, T., (2022). Strategies and techniques for improving EFL learners’ reading skills.  Involta Scientific Journal ,  1 (11), 94–99.

Konar, N., (2021).  Communication skills for professionals . PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd

Yu, S. and Liu, C., 2021. Improving student feedback literacy in academic Writing: An evidence-based framework.  Assessing Writing ,  48 , p.100525.

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Donald Schon’s Reflective Thinking Model Essay (Critical Writing)

Preparation, description, interpretation and evaluation.

Preparing to apply Donald Schon’s Reflective Thinking Model was intriguing for me. As stated in [1], I expected that the model would help me reveal new aspects and possibilities of reflection to track when something happens wrong. The model can be applied in philosophy development and change promotion as in [2], so my expectations were high. I thought it could be a challenge to apply reflection and then analyze it, and I would have to remind myself of this necessity. It is worth noting that programs using the model are often seen as new and evolving [3]. As a result, the difficulty was ensuring the correct application of the ideas. Using this approach, one needs to know about the reflection-on-action, reflection-in-action, and knowing-in-action concepts and the process features [4]. Therefore, my preparation for using the model went through its detailed study.

I applied Schon’s models to journaling after studying the approach. Journalism itself is an effective and widely used practice of reflection [5]. Using the concept of knowing-in-action, I considered the experience I wanted to describe in the journal. Then I additionally used the questions from the model to include more details. The process took longer than before, but I considered more aspects of my experience. Journaling went as I expected, and challenges did not hinder me.

As I considered the new recordings, I noticed that they became more detailed and contributed to the appearance of further questions and the desire for knowledge. As noted in [6], reflection contributed to more meaningful experiences and learning. Moreover, following the goal of the model, thoughts on certain activities contribute to improving the activities themselves [7]. As I expected from this experience, applying Schon’s model helped enhance my critical thinking. I am sure this implication is necessary for my development as a student, and I see significant progress in my ability to reflect. Therefore, I think the experience of applying the model went well, and I assume that other students shared my opinion. The experience was exciting and valuable due to the preparation and study of the model. I learned to understand and think deeply about my actions and the topics being studied. Value of such experience in subsequent application of the approach for continuous analysis and improvement of my activities.

“ Reflective writing: Schön ,” University of Hull, 2022, Web.

S. Oliverio, “‘Action philosophy’: philosophical inquiry, professional development and organizational Change.” puntOorg International Journal , vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-13, 2022.

R. A. Mangione, “The gift of academic service learning,” Journal of Vincentian Social Action, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 4-5, 2018.

“ Schön’s Model of reflection ,” Study Prism, Web.

E.A. Burns, “Reflective school library practitioners: use of journaling to strengthen practice,” School Library Research , vol. 23, pp. 1-16, 2020.

S. F. R. Yaegashi, A. Shigunov Neto, N. F. Ruiz and J. L. Gasparin, “Leontiev’s theory of activity and Donald Schön’s reflective professor: reflections on teacher education,” Acta Scientiarum. Education , vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 1-11.

F. Martin and D. U. Bolliger. “Engagement matters: student perceptions on the importance of engagement strategies in the online learning environment. Online Learning , vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 205-222, 2018.

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COMMENTS

  1. Examples of Reflective Writing

    We thank the students who permitted us to feature examples of their writing. Prepared by Academic Skills, UNSW. This guide may be distributed or adapted for educational purposes. Full and proper acknowledgement is required. Learn more about the different types & examples of reflective writing including journal, learning diary, peer review and more.

  2. A complete guide to writing a reflective essay

    Here's a recap of the contents of this article, which also serves as a way to create a mind map: 1. Identify the topic you will be writing on. 2. Note down any ideas that are related to the topic and if you want to, try drawing a diagram to link together any topics, theories, and ideas. 3.

  3. Reflective writing

    You might be asked to write an essay where you respond to a piece of text or an image, relate a topic to your own experiences or discuss whether a certain model fits with your own views. ... You can see some useful examples of reflective writing in academia from Monash University, UNSW (the University of New South Wales) and Sage. Several of ...

  4. PDF Reflective Writing

    This example uses the headings described above to demonstrate the kinds of things you might need to put in each section. The references are made up, as is the content of the assignment, it is purely to show how a reflective assignment might look. Assignment - write a reflection of around 1000 words about an incident which

  5. The Writing Center

    A reflection is an essay, so provide full, thoughtful responses to the questions in your instructor's prompt. The style and tone of your reflective essay should match the purpose of the overall assignment. This is a personal essay meant to showcase what you learned from the text, event, or experience that you are writing about.

  6. How to Write a Reflective Essay With Sample Essays

    The first step of writing a great reflective essay is choosing a topic, so choose wisely! Example: " I'm visiting my mom who lives near the beach that I went to a lot growing up, so I'm going to write about that." 2. Study Your Subject. Depending on your topic, you may need to close your eyes and remember, read, watch, listen, or imagine.

  7. Reflective essays

    Contact. ANU Library Academic Skills. +61 2 6125 2972. Send email. Page Owner: Student Learning and Development. Reflective essays are academic essays; what makes an essay "good" will work for a reflective essay. What is different about a reflective essay is that the essay is about you and your thinking. However, you will need evidence from ...

  8. Tips and Examples of Reflective Essay

    In a reflective essay, you open up about your thoughts and emotions to uncover your mindset, personality, traits of character, and background. It should include a description of the experience/literature piece as well as explanations of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions. In this article, our essay writer service will share our ultimate ...

  9. Reflective writing: Reflective essays

    Writing a reflective essay. When you are asked to write a reflective essay, you should closely examine both the question and the marking criteria. This will help you to understand what you are being asked to do. Once you have examined the question you should start to plan and develop your essay by considering the following:

  10. Reflective essays

    Reflective essays tend to deal with a reflective prompt that the essay needs to address. This also often means that the essay will have to draw on a range of experiences and theories to fully and satisfactorily answer the question. The questions/prompts should not be too vague, for example 'reflect on your learning', but should define an ...

  11. PDF REFLECTIVE WRITING

    Types of reflective writing. 1. REFLECTION: when you ask questions about something you would like to better understand, e.g. a problem to solve or an issue to consider. 2. REFLECTIVE PRACTICE: when you reflect on the relationship between practice in your area of study and the theories you are being introduced to. 3.

  12. Reflective Essay: Introduction, Structure, Topics, Examples For University

    An Example of a Reflective Essay on "My Little Brother". Essay example reflecting on the arrival of a younger sibling, written at a middle or high school level. "There have been many life-changing experiences in my short life. Every new experience has been the first experience at one point in time.

  13. Reflective writing

    Reflective writing may ask you to consider the link between theory (what you study, discuss and read about at university) and practice (what you do, the application of the theory in the workplace). Reflection on practical contexts enables you to explore the relationship between theory and practice in an authentic and concrete way.

  14. A great example of a reflective essay

    Written by one of our qualified academics, this reflective essay example should help you get a clearer idea on how to correctly structure your submission. WhatsApp +44 (0) 207 391 9032 ... University Essays; University Life; Writing Tips; 14 September 2018. A great example of a reflective essay

  15. How to Write a Reflection Paper in 5 Steps (plus Template and Sample Essay)

    Use these 5 tips to write a thoughtful and insightful reflection paper. 1. Answer key questions. To write a reflection paper, you need to be able to observe your own thoughts and reactions to the material you've been given. A good way to start is by answering a series of key questions. For example:

  16. How to Write a Reflection Paper: Guide with Examples

    Never write the whole essay at once. Space out the time slots when you work on your reflection paper to at least a day apart. This will allow your brain to generate new thoughts and reflections. Short and Sweet - Most reflection papers are between 250 and 750 words. Don't go off on tangents.

  17. Reflective writing

    The language of reflective writing. Reflective academic writing is: almost always written in the first person. evaluative - you are judging something. partly personal, partly based on criteria. analytical - you are usually categorising actions and events. formal - it is for an academic audience. carefully constructed.

  18. Critical Reflection

    You can see an example of a thesis statement in the sample reflection essay at the end of this resource. Tip: For more help on developing thesis statements, see our Thesis statements resource. Make an outline. Once you have a clear thesis statement for your essay, build an outline. Below is a straightforward method to organize your essay ...

  19. Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay for University

    The length of a reflective essay varies from 300 to 700 words. Considering that you have a word limit to abide by, you need to ensure you don't digress and deviate from your essay's central purpose/theme. This is a point worth mentioning because students tend to go off-topic while writing about their personal experiences.

  20. Write a Reflective Essay

    A reflective essay is a critical examination of a life experience. For students pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Theory and Research, a reflective essay means writing about connections between experiences and theoretical concepts learned, and considering future implications.

  21. Structure of academic reflections

    Both the language and the structure are important for academic reflective writing. For the structure you want to mirror an academic essay closely. You want an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. Academic reflection will require you to both describe the context, analyse it, and make conclusions. However, there is not one set of rules ...

  22. 50 Best Reflective Essay Examples (+Topic Samples)

    A reflective essay is a type of written work which reflects your own self. Since it's about yourself, you already have a topic to write about. For reflective essay examples, readers expect you to evaluate a specific part of your life. To do this, you may reflect on emotions, memories, and feelings you've experienced at that time.

  23. A Reflective Journey Through Learning, Reading, Writing, and

    Introduction Embarking on the transformative odyssey presented by the "Preparing for Success at University: Module "Knowledge, Creativity" is uncovered as a complex world of learning and personal development. This reflective essay aims to reveal information about my developing path as a learner, focusing on some important skills towards success brought by this module.

  24. Donald Schon's Reflective Thinking Model Essay (Critical Writing)

    It contains thousands of paper examples on a wide variety of topics, all donated by helpful students. You can use them for inspiration, an insight into a particular topic, a handy source of reference, or even just as a template of a certain type of paper. The database is updated daily, so anyone can easily find a relevant essay example.

  25. Ace Your Graduation Speech with Aithor

    Hello, Aithors! Can you feel it? That's the buzz of graduation season in the air:) And while we're all about the caps flying and the proud smiles, we also know that being asked to write a graduation speech can feel a bit like being handed a mountain to climb. Crafting a graduation speech is all about capturing the spirit of the journey you've ...

  26. Vanderbilt Essay Example That You Need to See

    Short answer essay 1 (Vanderbilt essay word limit: 250 words) Prompt: Vanderbilt University firmly believes that the learning process should be full of diverse perspectives. Our unique differences are also what provide us with a powerful edge. We respect different views and ideas because they strengthen us.