Writing A Reflective Essay – Practical Guidelines


Before you get started on writing your reflective essay, the first thing that you need to do is ensure that you fully understand the requirements.

  • So, what is a reflective a reflective essay?
  • In essence this is an intimate, personal reflection of your own experience. It is an analysis, a fly on the wall account. Because of the personal nature of this, it can also be incredibly challenging for some people to write. If you are an introvert that doesn’t like wearing your heart on your sleeve then you need to think very carefully about the topic.

  • Choosing the topic
  • Unlike a descriptive, or argumentative essay where you could practically choose any topic that you like and run with it, with a reflective essay you need to consider:

    • How much you want to reveal
    • Whether you can cope with being under the microscope

    If you think this is going to be an issue, then you can get around this by:

    • Choosing a humorous experience to reflect upon
    • Reflect upon a shared experience

  • Getting the right voice
  • Finding your voice can be a challenge for a lot of writers. Sometimes you have to experiment with several until you find the one that is the closest fit to yourself. This is the beauty of college. Writing essays, while it might appear to be a boring, waste of time is actually the perfect opportunity for you to grow and develop. Take some time to sit down and work on your voice.

  • Don’t go overboard
  • While some people find it difficult to share their experiences, other people go too far in the opposite direction, cheerfully offloading their past experiences with no thought as to how this is going to come across or be construed. As with anything there is a fine balance and just as you need to give your reader an insight into your life, then you don’t want to make them feel awkward or uncomfortable by sharing too much.

  • Draft a full outline
  • Never underestimate the power of an outline. Not only does it form the basis; the foundations from which you will build your final essay it also gives a great indication as to the viability of your topic. Run your outline by someone that you know and trust and ask them for their honest opinion. It is far better that you have to switch tack now, than later down the line.