So, you’re looking at a reflective essay assignment. If you don’t have a clue how to approach it, fret not! We’ll break down what it is and how to write a reflective essay before listing potential topics for a reflection paper.
A reflective essay requires college students to reflect on (i.e., analyze) their personal experiences and inner emotions. But instead of just describing a past event that you lived through, focus on how you (your behavior, values, opinions) changed as a result.
When it comes to the structure, a reflective essay consists of three classic components:
- Introduction. This is where you vividly describe your personal experience and articulate your thesis statement. The latter should reflect the meaning of that experience.
- Main body. Describe the main insights you’ve drawn from that experience and how they’ve impacted you. Illustrate each of them with an example.
- Conclusion. Reaffirm your thesis statement by summing up what you’ve learned or how you’ve changed as a result of that experience.
What is the best topic for reflection paper writing? Well, that depends on you. A good rule of thumb is to choose the topic and events you’re comfortable writing about.
How to Choose a Topic for a Reflective Essay
If you’re still wondering, ‘What are good topics for a reflection paper?’, we have you covered. Follow these five steps to zero in on the best topic for your reflective essay:
- Reflect on your interests. Make sure the topic aligns with them. Otherwise, it’s unlikely your paper will hold the reader’s attention until the final line.
- Consider what you know about certain topics. If you write a reflective essay on psychology or public health, you need to have a firm foundation to build on.
- Think about your personal experiences. Choose the topics for reflection where you can draw on experiences others can relate to.
- Examine your stance on the topic. If you don’t have a strong opinion about something, how could you reflect on it in the first place?
- Brainstorm ideas for a reflective essay. You won’t settle on the topic in a snap of the fingers. So, write down all topic ideas that seem like a good fit to you. Then, zero in on the one you feel the most passionate about.
8 Questions to Help You Write Reflective Essays
Once you finish browsing reflection paper topics and settle on one, you may end up staring at a blank screen, uncertain how to approach this essay.
To help you get started – and craft a well-written essay – we’ve prepared this list of eight questions.
- What emotions did you experience at the moment? Why?
- What details stood out to you back then?
- What does that experience mean to you? Why?
- What did you discover, thanks to that personal experience?
- How has it changed your behavior, opinions, or values?
- How has it changed the way you approach future decisions and events?
- Can you draw parallels with other experiences or events?
- Where and how can you apply what you’ve learned, be it in your personal life, studies, or future career?