How do I write a reflective essay?

  • Last Edited: December 19, 2018

As the term connotes, a reflective essay draws on writers’ life experiences to describe how they feel about a given issue or event. In sum, a reflective essay requires writers to “reflect” on their life experiences in order to provide unique personal observations and interpretations. Unlike other types of essays, reflective essays do not typically rely on facts and figures but rather on the empirical knowledge that is gained through first-hand experience. This doesn’t mean, of course, that facts and figures are not usually included in reflective essays, but it does mean that your own perceptions of these facts and figures are the most important consideration.

The first step involved in crafting a good reflective essay is to develop an outline based on the assignment guidelines and any grading rubric. The second step requires organizing your thoughts and feelings about the topic and then incorporating this information into the essay in a systematic fashion. Many students, however, may get stuck at this point or feel that their life experiences are not relevant or are inconsequential to the topic. If you need some help getting started, there are abundant resources available online that can provide you with model reflective essays which will help guide the process.

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