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.

  1. What emotions did you experience at the moment? Why?
  2. What details stood out to you back then?
  3. What does that experience mean to you? Why?
  4. What did you discover, thanks to that personal experience?
  5. How has it changed your behavior, opinions, or values?
  6. How has it changed the way you approach future decisions and events?
  7. Can you draw parallels with other experiences or events?
  8. Where and how can you apply what you’ve learned, be it in your personal life, studies, or future career?
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