How to Write a Reflective Essay

At first, glance, writing a reflective essay may seem like a fairly simple task, but without having enough knowledge about this type of writing, you can make many mistakes and crash. A reflective essay requires research and a description of life experience that displays the necessary nuances and facts. Written works of this kind have a clear structure that must be followed and a peculiar tone of writing that resembles an entry from a personal diary.

In this article, we will take a detailed look at how to write a reflective essay, its structure, plan, format, and some writing tips from our experts. Our service is ready to help you cope with the task of any complexity and provide detailed guidance on how to do it yourself. You can rely on us and be sure that with you you will surely achieve success in college.

What Is a Reflective Essay

Most students have a question about what is a reflective essay. Such letters are essays that require a detailed expression of a personal opinion on a particular topic. In such articles, you should talk about your thoughts and analysis of how your life experience, book, or lecture helped shape your opinion on the subject. A reflective essay is one of the great chances to tell your own opinion to readers without having wrong answers, as is often the case in scientific research.

Reflective Essay Outline

A reflective essay is a rather difficult and responsible task because to succeed, you must adhere to the relevant rules. First of all, you need to study what a reflective essay outline looks like and proceed to the writing process following the following structure:

  1. Introduction. Writing a reflective essay must begin with an introduction paragraph. The introduction of your letter should be based on personal experiences, situations, and feelings. In the beginning, it is important to focus on the main parts that you will talk about and try to make the initial part as interesting and intriguing as possible.
  2. Main part. The next part of the essay after the introduction is the main part. Writing the foundation is the most time-consuming task, as you need to pay due attention to all the details and express thoughts according to a pre-written plan. The first sentence should begin with the main idea, which you will later reveal and express your personal opinion on it. The main part of the reflective essay can be divided into 3 parts as is done in other types of essays.
  3. Conclusion. The last paragraph of your essay should be a clear stroke with closing thoughts that will sum up all the above text. The conclusion can consist of two parts, in which you will talk about personal conclusions and duplicate the main information.

As you can see, the reflective essay introduction is an important part, so before moving on to the writing process, make a plan of action and be sure to think about how you will start work.

How to Start a Reflective Essay

Based on what we mentioned earlier, it’s important to think carefully about how to start a reflective essay. The introductory part of the letter should be attractive and interesting so that the reader wants to read your document to the end. First of all, you need to come up with a hook with which you can win the attention of the person who reads your papers and make them read the main part.

The introduction is an excellent indicator by which readers decide whether to continue their acquaintance with your essay or not. The lead should start with an interesting quote or question, then smoothly move on to a brief overview of the topic, where you describe in a few sentences what you will think about and approve the thesis. The thesis was created to describe what will be discussed in the letter and is the main statement that will relate to thoughts and experiences throughout the text and a reflective essay conclusion.

Reflective Essay Format

It’s time to get familiar with the reflective essay format. In the process of writing a letter, you should research and talk about personal life experiences. The main purpose of such papers is to familiarize readers with specific situations that influenced their opinion on the subject. A document can be written in a variety of formats, but the most common is a diary entry. This format allows the author to talk about the sequence of changes in his thoughts over time.

Before starting to formulate thoughts, it is important to determine the target audience, since this factor most of all affects the change in the format of the letter. You can write an academic reflective letter, or you can write a free-form letter for a magazine or newspaper. Teachers who ask students to write reflective essays hope to see deep reflections and personal opinions on a particular subject.

A Common Mistake When Writing a Reflective Essay

Students who are given the task of writing a reflective essay often try to do it on their own without preparation. In this regard, the letter has a large number of errors. There are some of the most common mistakes when writing an essay of this type, which we will discuss below.

  • Wrong choice of reflective essay topics. Try to choose an interesting and relevant topic that you will be interested in thinking about. Do not choose boring topics that will not be of interest to you or your readers.
  • Fiction and fantasy. Write only facts and try to adequately and clearly describe your life experience on the topic.
  • A small number of details. For the reader to understand what your reflective essay is about, you need to add a sufficient amount of detail.
  • Difficult writing language. Use the most simple and understandable writing language. Do not use scientific terms where it is not necessary and try to speak on the same level as your target audience.
  • Reflective essay structure When writing such papers, it is important to strictly adhere to the structure. First, it is important to grab the attention of readers, then talk about personal experiences, and then summarize all thoughts.
  • Blurred thoughts. A reflective essay should make it clear to readers what you think about the topic and your experience. Try to clearly articulate each thought so that the audience does not have unnecessary questions.

Now that you are familiar with the main mistakes when writing a reflective essay and with tips from our experts, you will surely be able to write a successful letter that will receive a high score from the teacher.


What is a goal of the introduction in a reflective essay?

Everything is simple, the main purpose of the introduction is to describe the main idea and provide brief information on the topic. The introductory part should hold the reader’s attention and attract him to read the article to the end.

How long should a reflective essay be?

When you first start writing a letter, it is important to remember that the standard word count is 500-1000, which is about 2-3 pages. However, depending on the complexity of the topic, the number of pages may vary and this is not critical. A reflective essay is a great way to talk about personal experience, so the writing process is different from scientific papers and academic research.

What are the best topics for a reflective essay?

The best topics for your reflective essay might be:

  • Personal experience of giving up meat and switching to a vegetarian diet.
  • Features of personal growth.
  • Personal experience as a leader in a children’s camp.
  • Thoughts about going to university.

What are the parts of a typical reflective essay?

This type of writing is no different from other writing assignments. The document consists of a title page, abstract, body, and links. Don’t forget to make an interesting introduction that will grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to read the article to the end.

What is a common mistake when writing a reflective essay?

A common mistake when writing a reflective essay is to provide insufficient information to readers to understand the chronology of opinion change and experience gain. Try to formulate thoughts and make a detailed description of each event that you encountered and that influenced your change in outlook.

What idea would most likely make the best reflective essay?

If you received a written assignment from a professor and thought about what idea would most likely make the best reflective essay? We recommend that you check out a few ideas from our experts who know how to do it successfully:

  • The brightest moment in your life, which you would like to relive again.
  • Description of the time when you did not know where to go next.
  • The scariest moment in your life that affected your horizons.
  • The happiest moment in your life.
  • Description of ways in which people can improve the world.
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Margaret Vizenor
Sociology & Literature
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