In our day-to-day lives, we reflect on the things happening around us, asking ourselves why and how they happened. In an academic setting, you may be required to write a paper reflecting on what you have learned. In this article, you will learn in detail how a reflective essay is written.
What Is A Reflective Essay?
A reflective essay, also known as a reflection paper is a type of writing that describes the writer’s experiences and growth in his or her life. In a reflective essay, the writer expresses his or her thoughts and emotions about particular events or phenomena. This form of essay sharpens the critical thinking of a student and helps them understand a given topic deeply.
In a reflection paper, the writer writes about his or her personal opinions on the given subject. While writing this type of essay the writer should maintain the balance between descriptions and personal feelings.
Reflective essays help students to learn and improve on their professional and academic practices. Reflective essays also help learners in evaluating a project or experiment so that they can do better in the next one.
Reflection Paper Format
The formats used in a reflective essay differs from the other types of essays such as argumentative or research paper. A reflection essay contains a well-structured story comprising perception and reflection. You may be asked to write your essay using formats such as the MLA style or the APA format.
The length of a normal reflection paper should range from 300 to 700. Even though that is the case, always consult your instructor about the length requirement of the paper.
Reflective Essay In MLA Style
- The font should be Times New Roman 12pt with double spacing
- Titles should be centered
- Margins should be 1”
- On every page, the top right should contain your last name and page number
- In MLA the header must have your name, professors name, the number of your course, and the date
Reflective Essay in APA Format
- The font should be times new roman 12pt and double spaced
- Should have 1” margins
- Have a page header on each page
- Always place your page number on the right
Steps For Writing A Reflective Essay
In writing a reflective essay, your ideas and thoughts should flow fluently to entice the reader. To achieve this, you should use the following steps while writing a reflective essay.
- Brainstorm on a topic about a past event that you want to write about. Then ask yourself how you felt about it and how it touched your life. This step gives you a clear direction on what to write in your essay.
- Write down points and identify your main arguments and how you will support them. Arrange your points in a flowing manner that will make the reader follow your thoughts in the essay.
- Write an eye-catching introduction. A captivating introduction will make your reader interested to read the rest of your essay.
- In the body, write your supporting arguments, instances, and concepts. In each paragraph write on a single point stating and explaining your experience and reflections.
- In the conclusion summarize your thoughts explaining what you have learned and experienced. Remember to point out how your experiences would be helpful to others. Close by asking your reader a rhetorical question on how they would react to the given situation.
Reflective Essay Topics
A reflective essay is almost similar to diaries as the writer discusses his or her thoughts on their personal experiences. The topics can be about a person you met, an interesting book you read, or even a tough situation you encountered. Examples of reflective essays topics include:
- A conversation that made you frustrated
- Your experience in high school
- A vacation you will always remember
- Your first year in the university
- How you were engaged
- Your birthday celebration experience
- Your experience in a football match
- What you experienced while riding a bike
- When someone made you happy
- A plan you came up with that failed epically
- How you solved a certain problem
- Your favorite youthful memory
You can check out these well-written reflective essays examples for practice purposes.
When writing a reflection paper you should use the following guidelines;
- Select a suitable topic for the essay making sure you have enough information about it
- Express yourself accurately throughout your essay
- Have a theme in mind while writing a reflective paper
- Make your essay enlightening and sincere
- Give your genuine opinion about the given topic
- Avoid grammatical errors
- Keep your essay brief and to the point
- Ensure your essay is clear and concise
- Use an academic tone in your essay
- Always remember to cite your sources whenever required to back up your arguments
- Proofread your essay to eliminate mistakes
Common Mistakes While Writing A Reflective Essay
While writing a reflection essay one should be keen to avoid mistakes and errors that would make your paper unpleasant to read. Some of the common mistakes include the use of excessive personal information, poor essay structure, and being too informal in your paper.
Excessive personal information in your essay. You should state your opinion reflecting on your experience. Too much personal information may make your essay look like an autobiography.
Poor essay structure makes it hard for the readers to comprehend and understand your thoughts on the given topic. Ignoring the proper structure of an essay results in a disorganized and confusing essay.
Being too informal in your essay makes your paper unprofessional. As much as you are required to write about your personal experience, always remember to maintain a formal tone in your essay.
Reflection on experience might seem like an easy paper to write. However, if you want to pass on your reflective essay you have to explore deeper into your feeling to come up with a perfect topic that evokes strong emotions. Using the guidelines discussed above, you can now write a reflective essay with ease.