How To Write A Reflective Essay

What Is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is a form of creative writing in which the writer reflects on his/her life experiences and writes them down, hence the name reflective. In this essay, you write about something that happened in your life. You can write about an experience, an emotion, a memory, or a thought that occurred to you. A reflective essay allows you to share your emotions and thoughts with the reader.

To be successful in this kind of writing, you will need to think about yourself and what you were thinking or feeling during the time that you experienced the event. You will have to describe the details of the experience so that your reader understands exactly what you have gone through.

Purpose of Reflective Essay

The purpose of the reflective essay is to examine the writer's life experience and thoughts about a particular subject. It analyzes how certain events and life experiences have helped him learn and develop good morals. The writer recalls events from his memory and reflects on those to see what impact it has created in his life.

Tips on How To Write a Reflective Essay

You may want to use the following tips when you write your reflective essay.

  • Choose a topic that is interesting and engaging and not dry and boring content for the reader.
  • Write an organized essay with all the events happening in order so the readers get the whole picture when they read your essay.
  • Write experiences that are worth sharing. Think about the experience that you had. Did it happen a long time ago? Was it a bad experience or was it good? What did you learn?
  • Write down everything that you remember so that you won't forget any of the important details of your experience.
  • Follow the essay format that is the same as other essays which include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Also Read: How To Write A Classification Essay

Format and Organization of a Reflective Essay

The basic format for writing a reflective essay is as follows

  1. The first paragraph of a reflective essay is an introduction in which you identify the subject and give the reader a general overview of the impression it made on you. You should be able, to sum up, the topic and describe the impression it makes on you in one sentence. It should include the main idea or theme of your essay.
  2. The next paragraph of your essay is called a body. This is where you present evidence and examples to support your ideas. You can organize your ideas in the order that you want to address them. Avoid too much repetition and redundancy.
  3. The last paragraph of your essay is called a conclusion. This is where you present your main points concisely and clearly. It is important to avoid verbosity and superfluity in your conclusion. You can finish your essay with a strong statement that sums up what you have just written.

Let's see an example, how to write a reflective essay according to the aforesaid format and how to organize the information.

The topic is “Taking a stroll on a beach”

  • Central theme: "Why was I feeling so peaceful while walking down this beach? I realized it was because the beach had always been a place of rest to me."
  • Format and organize information:
  1. In the introductory paragraph, provide an overview of an essay, mention your thesis statement and try to make a strong hook statement.
  2. In the first body paragraph, write about one reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Then, write about why. This is a reflective essay, which means you can speculate. There are no right or wrong answers in this type of essay.
  3. In the second body paragraph, write about the second reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Then, write about why.
  4. In the third body paragraph, write about the third reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Then, write about why.
  5. In conclusion, restate your central idea and write a powerful summary of your essay.

List of Topic Ideas for a Reflective Essay

Students can write their thoughts in a reflective essay with a personal tone and using first person pronouns like “I” and “my”. Reflective essays are great to write about what experience you had and students can write reflective essays on many topics.

Mention below is a list of different topic ideas for a reflective essay.

Places You've Been

  • The beach, mountains, countryside, city, or desert
  • A special hideaway or special room
  • The house you grew up in
  • A relative's home

Life-Altering Events

  • A special date
  • Failing or succeeding at something
  • A time you learned something new
  • A new experience
  • A time you overcame one of your fears
  • An important memory
  • A significant conversation

Recurring or Significant Thoughts

  • A dream or daydream
  • A conversation you wish you had or something you wish you had done
  • A story you've told about yourself
  • An embarrassing moment
  • The person you'd like to be
  • A strong emotion

Impactful Experiences

  • A book, movie, T.V. show, song, play, or another form of media
  • Social media post
  • Magazine or article
  • A concert
  • A vacation

Important People

  • Your grandmother and/or grandfather, mom and/or dad, aunt and/or uncle, nephew and/or niece, or siblings
  • Your best friend
  • Someone who hurt you
  • A special teacher or life coach

Students can use this type of writing to describe an event/experience that they observe or examine. They summarize their experiences or share what thoughts they had now. Whatever the reason, reflective essays will be a topic of interest for many students.


A reflective essay allows the writer to write through his/her self-reflection about situations and experiences he/she experiences. It's the student's creative skills that help them write after recollecting their life experiences.

Reflective essays are a great way to know the strengths and weaknesses in your writing, it is a powerful mental activity that allows students to recall what experience they had and how it shaped them. Their critical thinking skills get better and they can identify what attitude and behavior they adopt in response to a particular situation

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