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How to Write a Reflective Essay

What are Reflective Essays?

The aim of a reflective essay is to enable a writer to express their opinion or point of view. Regardless of whether the essay is based on a book, movie, or an important event in the writer’s life, it is important for the writer to give their reaction to this and share it with their reader(s). Often, a reflective essay serves the purposes of socializing and building relationships. The writer can use them to explore their own reactions to everyday events and establish how their unique reactions influence their lives in a professional and social context. Additionally, reflective essays frequently develop into philosophic explorations or discussions on some difficult topic. Above all, many students see reflective writing as a means or opportunity to give free expression to their thoughts, and they enjoy the relatively creative and informal nature that this type of writing provides. 

Tips for Writing a Compelling Reflective Essay

In order to produce really good reflective essays, one of the first things to keep in mind is that your writing should be highly personal in nature. Your essay should also have some philosophical element since one of your tasks is to undertake a detailed analysis of your perceptions and reactions. It may be that you want to put forward an alternative perspective on a familiar topic according to your feelings in relation to it. If, for instance, your essay is a reflection on grief and feelings of loss, it is permissible to include any opinions or meanings given by other writers, all the while taken account of any personal experience you have had on this subject.

Creating an Essay Outline

Writing a reflective essay is a unique undertaking insofar as there are no particular conventions the writer should adhere to. You will, however, need to develop a thesis along with any main points you intend to discuss over the course of your essay.   

How to Structure Your Essay

In this respect again, there is no standard structure for a reflective essay. It is not a case of formulating your perceptions or feelings and making them fit into some type of prescribed structure or format. Furthermore, it is likely the thesis statement you develop will be a little vague. Quite possibly, you may think differently when you get to the end of your essay.   

That said the following is a suggested structure you could try:

  • Draft an introductory paragraph with a view to providing your readers with some basic information about the story you are going to tell. Use as much vivid imagery and intricate detail as possible. Get the attention of your readers and keep it!  
  • Elaborate or expand all main points in the main body paragraphs of your essay.
  • The concluding paragraph is used for summarizing and wrapping up your argument. Here again, you should tell readers how you feel about the topic.

Choosing a Topic for Your Reflective Essay

You may select any topic you think is suitable for a reflective essay. You could reflect upon some significant event that you personally experienced or recap on some experience that you found especially meaningful. A topic should be chosen carefully and sensitively. However, it is important you select something that you will find easy to discuss and one that your readers will find interesting. EssaysLab.com would be delighted to help you choose a suitable topic if you find this task difficult. Just contact us!

How to Format a Reflective Essay

As is the case with any academic assignment, your reflective essay will need to be formatted in line with your professor’s instructions. For instance, you may be asked to use the APA, Chicago, MLA or some other style. Do not be afraid to check the details with your course supervisor to avoid misunderstandings or the possibility of having marks deducted. 

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