Reflective Essay Writing Tips

Reflective EssaySometimes, high school or college students receive an assignment to write a reflective essay, and most of them usually are not familiar with this type of essay. Thus, they start looking for answers to the questions what is reflective essay and what is the specifics of writing reflective essays. The first thing to keep in mind for those who are going to start working on this type of essays is the main purpose of their work: reflecting some personal experience of the author. Generally, reflective essays are written with the purpose to describe some event or situation experienced by the author. However, sometimes the purpose of reflective essay turns into discussing personal opinion or insights of the author to the given topic, which was either assigned by the instructor or chosen by the author himself. In any way, in contrast to most of other types of academic essays, a reflective essay should be based on personal thoughts and emotions of the author, thus hardly require employing the thoughts or ideas of other people.

The first step to writing a good and successful reflective essay is choosing a proper topic. If you have freedom to select a topic that would suit you the best, you should think of choosing an event or a situation which had a great impact on you and caused a profound reaction in your mind. This is the best way for you to get some inspiration for producing a truly passionate and effective writing, in order to make your work successful and guarantee you receiving a good grade. If you were given a topic by your instructor, you should start your work with some thinking and find answers to the question, what you feel about the given topic, what is your first and second reaction on the topic related issues, and what are the most interesting thoughts of yours worth to be mentioned in your reflective essay. Ask yourself, how the topic related events affected your life, how did they change your way of thinking, and if they caused any change your mind or ideas about anything in this life. Formulate a thesis statement for your essay, which would be the milestone step to achieving success in your assignment of  a reflective essay writing.

When you made up your mind about the topic and the main thesis statement of your reflective essay, you can come to generating maximum number of ideas related to the topic to reflect your personal viewpoint or insight to the related issues, and then choosing the best and the most interesting ideas to be further included to your academic essay. Always keep in mind that you need to present your ideas in a logical and very clear manner so your reader would have no problems when trying to understand and accept your point of view. Some experienced writers recommend creating a special “idea diagram” before coming to actual writing of your essay. Such diagram can have the main thesis statement put in circle on the top of the paper, and then all the ideas grouped in small paragraphs and inter-connected with each other with rays. This approach may help create a clear logical sequence of your ideas and choose the best presentation type for your reflective essay.

Finally, it is the time to come to writing. Creating a strong and effective introduction for your essay is one of the key points of the total success of your work. Try to put maximum efforts in writing a striking and captivating introduction paragraph to evoke a true interest and engage your reader in the topic you’re going to write about. Follow with the body paragraphs reflecting the main ideas you selected during the previous stage of your work. Use the tags like “I think that”, “I understood that”, “I found out that”, “I learned that”, etc. to emphasize expressing your own reflections and understanding of the topic related issues. Summarize the thoughts and ideas you used in your reflective essay in the conclusion. Underline that your ideas or your experience can be useful to  others, and possibly use some call for action as the last paragraph of your essay. Or, some very good reflective essays are ending up with a rhetoric question, like “What would you do or think in a situation like that?”. Do not forget to review and proofread your essay before submitting it.


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