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College Writing Reflective Essays

Take your notes and use those to write your final draft. Here are some tips:

Introduction: Either start with a vivid description of the place, your experience, or a summary of what you are reflecting about. End with your thesis idea. Sometimes you may want to put a question first and then the answer

Example Thesis: Why was I feeling so peaceful while walking down this beach? I realized it was because the beach had always been a place of rest to me.

Body: Each of the questions you've answered can be a paragraph in the body of your essay. Take your notes and expand them. Add more details and examples from your experience and your life story.

Conclusion: Explain and expand on your thesis idea. Tell how this experience taught you something new or how it helped you to understand something. Another way to conclude is to suggest where you might like to go from this point in thinking about your thesis idea.

Example Conclusion: I sent my photo of "For Rhonda" to my friend along with a text letting her know how much I appreciate her help in letting me know that we can always find places to relax and renew in the midst of our busy lives. Now, I want to find a way to help Rhonda have a day off of her own, and I'm hoping someday we can take a trip to the beach together.


In a reflective essay, you need to express your thoughts and emotions about certain events or phenomena. Writing this type of essay provides solid training to sharpen your critical thinking skills, as well as your ability to develop and express opinions on a particular topic—either chosen by yourself or assigned by your instructor.

Steps for Writing a Reflective Essay

  1. Think of an event which could become the topic of your essay. When you have chosen an event, ask yourself how you feel about it, how it affected (or did not affect) your life and why? This will help you create a thesis, which will serve as the focal point of your essay.
  2. Make a mind-map. Write down your thesis and draw a circle around it. Now identify your main arguments and ideas which will support it and help readers follow the evolution of your thoughts and experiences, group them into paragraphs which you will write later, and connect them to your central circle. Creating this type of flow diagram will help you see the overall structure of your essay more clearly. Finally, decide on the logical sequence of these paragraphs and
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Samples for Writing a Reflective Essay

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