A reflection essay is an academic paper in which the writer is supposed to contemplate on their experience, write about it and explore how it has developed or changed. The paper’s format can vary a little depending on your audience. However, there are certain major elements of the paper. A reflection paper typically consists of an introduction, body and the conclusion. If you are wondering how to write a reflective essay, we will take you through all steps.
A beginner’s guide on how to write a reflective essay
How you begin your essay will determine its outcome. Before starting the paper, you will need to organize the points using this procedure:
- Identify your main theme. You can note the key idea of the topic that you want to write about.
- Reflect on the topic using the material in your mind. This is the section where you need to speak about your personal experience.
- Put your points in table form. A good idea may be to classify your experiences in a tabular form. Mention your key points in the first section in a column or row depending on your preference. On the second section, you can put down your personal experiences about the idea written in the first section. Ensure that you have included the beliefs, ideas, feelings and reflections.
Choosing a topic
After understanding the basics of creating this type of essay, you now have to go to the next part which is choosing a topic. It can be a bit daunting trying to pick the right topic for your assignment. The good thing is that there are some guidelines that you can use. They include:
Choose a topic that you are familiar with. It will open the focus on certain aspects of your life. Try to find a topic that you are knowledgeable about or got a lot of experience in. For instance, if you don’t have a pet and have never owned one, avoid writing about your favorite pet.
Choose an interesting topic. The level of information that you have will depend on your personal and studying experience. You might find a topic that you are quite knowledgeable about, but when you start writing on it, you get bored. Mind that your readers will feel the same about your essay. Therefore, it is always a good idea to write about something that you are excited about or you are already emotionally attached to.
Pick a topic that you can approach from a unique angle. This is particularly the case when you are writing a scholarship essay. Whether your audience is your instructor or admission board, the reader wants to see something different from what have already been written in other students’ essay. Choose a topic that makes it possible to show your unique personality. This will be more interesting for both writer and reader.
Creating an outline
Are you thinking of how to start writing a reflective essay? You will need to start with an outline. This acts as the roadmap that will lead you from the beginning line to the endpoint. It is a small plan on what you need to inform your readers. Ensure that this is not only logical but covers different aspects of the topic.
An outline will help you to organize paragraphs in your reflective essay and have them flowing smoothly. If you properly arrange the structure of your paper beforehand, you will save a lot of time when you get to writing the essay itself. A common reason why students spend a lot of time writing the essay is that they can’t decide what they need to write. When you have an outline, all you need to do is to follow and elaborate it to the end of the paper.
Key parts of the essay
If you are wondering how to complete your assignment, you need to understand that there are three main parts of a reflection essay. Your paper should follow the structure below.
You will need to ensure that you have a strong opening statement in your paper. While the introduction is the first component of your paper, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the first thing to write. As the writer, you have the freedom to craft your paper in whatever sequence you prefer. If you feel inspired to start with the body, take this route. In fact, many students find that it is easier to write the introduction last.
This is the part of your reflective paper you should use to state all your supporting arguments. Use each paragraph to emphasize one experience, point or reflection. In your first body paragraph, write at least one reason why the subject impressed you. In the second paragraph write another reason and etc. Ensure that all your body paragraphs are roughly of the same length. Make use of some good transition phrases and words to ensure that readers can move seamlessly from one area to another. This applies to every paragraph in your piece.
This is usually the final part of writing your reflective essay. It is the part that leaves the reader with lasting impression. You can use it to remind readers of the information you presented in the body. This part should also go hand in hand with the introduction so that it creates the right frame of the body. These two should work in tandem and this means they should have a similar structure.
In the first sentence of your conclusion, you can summarize your thoughts briefly. Consider the lessons learned and how your experience is useful to others. Use a rhetoric question to complete your essay. This will help your readers to consider how they can act when in similar situation.
Proofreading and editing
Once you have finished writing your assi, you will need to revise it and correct the grammar and logical errors. This can go a long way in making the academic work look professional. Take your time and avoid editing it in a rush. A good idea is to take a break for several hours or even days before you can begin proofreading. This will ensure that you can see the work with some refreshed eyes and there will be fewer chances of making mistakes. You should also consider using online editing services to checking for errors in your text.
Like we’ve already noted, your topic idea is a key consideration when thinking of the completion of your essay. There are several subjects you need to consider including: your real experience, your imagination, a special place or object, an item you have seen, watched, touched, read, heard or smelled.
You may already have an idea of what you would like to write about, here are topic ideas you need to consider for your paper.
- The day when my heart was broken
- The role of my family in my life
- The quarrel with my parents I will never forget
- The most important qualities I love in people
- The most exciting place I have ever visited
- The biggest mistake I have ever made
- The role that school has played in my life
- My first driving experience
- My first day in a new job
- My first date
- The day when I had my biggest laughter
- The family reunion I will never forget
- The day I helped a needy person
- The best gift I have ever received from my parents
- My first loss of a family member
- The scariest day in my life
Extra tips on writing a reflection paper
There are several simple but effective guidelines that can ensure that you create a professional work:
- Avoid involving another party in your assignment. There is no problem in writing about action and formulating the conclusions as per the influence of these actions. But you need to avoid writing about people.
- Do not write from the first person perspective. Remember to use evidence to support your feelings and opinion.
- Don’t use slang words in this work. You are writing a serious paper. Avoid turning the paper into a personal journal.
- Make sure you’ve researched well for your paper.
- Introduce details using transitional phrases. You can use examples, using words such as ‘for instance’.
- Ensure that the story remains bright but short. In most cases, this assignment is usually around 300 to 700 words. Make sure you have followed the exact requirements of your instructor.
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