How To Write A Personal Reflection Essay

January 10, 2023 support
Personal Reflection Essay

Table of Contents

When it comes to essay writing, no matter the type, it is about the writer’s truth. Even the essays with no room for personal opinions, views, and subjectivity, we have seen that authors can exert the version of the truth they find to be more valid using empirical evidence from credible sources.

A personal reflection essay, however, is another story. It does not even try to be objective or authentic about the subject but only states the things that are considered to be true by the writer. In this blog, we will cover the definition of a personal reflection essay, the purpose behind writing one, and how to write a good personal reflection essay. In addition to this, we will cover some practical tips on the craft for the readers’ sake.

What Is A Personal Reflection Essay?

A personal reflection essay is not a hard thing to understand, but to define in universal terms. Simply, it is about a writer’s musings on an event or an experience. The main areas that are covered in all the sections of the essay include the background of the incident, its meaning, both literal and figurative, and the key takeaways that can be shared with the readers.

Personal reflection essays are written in schools and colleges so that young writers can identify and write about the deepest emotions and feelings, the sources of those feelings, and the circumstances that led to their surfacing. The best way to make a well-rounded assessment in a reflective essay is by shining the light on the prelude of the experience and what went down afterward.

Purpose of Writing A Personal Reflection Essay

Many students are still not sure about the purpose of writing a personal reflection essay. They might see it as an exercise in futility. However, this is not true. It is one of the most influential types of personal essays because it relies on sheer emotions and memories.

In schools and colleges, teachers ask students to dwell on past experiences and events to learn how to analyze and conclude what they had experienced and how it changed the world for them. They also need to connect the dots by drawing parallels between their experiences and themselves or that of the world. The exercise is not in futility as students are also required to draw future projections with the information gathered from that experience. Last but not least, they need to keep their point of view of the source to be the primary one and use it to learn more about their interests and inclinations.

Writing A Personal Reflection Essay

It is no surprise that many students find it hard to get on with writing a personal reflection essay. The sheer subjectivity and reliance on raw emotions overwhelm students. Often, they dread the prospect of laying out their feelings for the readers, but the standard practices are not about just doing that. Even while writing the essay, they can separate the author from the writing by making it more universal and widely appealing to the masses. In this light, we have dedicated this section so that students can learn the process of writing a personal reflection essay.

Principle Idea 

The most dominant thing in a personal reflection essay is the main premise that the author has decided to amplify. It can be a euphoric incident or otherwise, but the main idea behind the essay should be visible from that. For instance, if a student is writing a personal reflection essay on a time when he was depressed because he could not get admission to his favorite college, the feelings of being lost, helpless, and tragic should be prevalent in the essay.

Opening With A Hook

This is a no-brainer for students and professionals as they know that the opening lines of an essay should also market it. A hook is a deliberate attempt to grab readers’ attention by making statements or asking questions, and so on. Whatever you choose as a hook, it should be relevant to the main premise of the essay. Also, the opening section or the introduction of the essay should cover the thesis statement, ideally in closing lines, before moving on to the next section.

Exploration of Main Premise

The main premise or the theme of the essay should be kept in mind all the time. This is another pitfall for students who are not well-equipped or well-versed in the art and craft of personal reflection essays. Again, if you are writing about a tragic incident, even the background and takeaways of the essay should resonate with the fact. This will make it better and easier to understand the piece of writing for readers. You can rely on examples to make a point.

Concluding Remarks 

Like the introduction, the concluding remarks comprise one of the most important sections of an essay. This is where the writer needs to emphasize the main premise or argument of the essay by professionally reiterating them. Many novice writers make the mistake of adding to the existing content. This is not according to the standards as it shifts the focus from an already established premise to new things. Before signing off, writers should try to make it memorable with catchy sentences and phrases.

Tips To Ace Your Reflection Essay

Many times, it is needed to know about a process or a thing to do it. At least, it is true for personal reflection essays. Students, even after getting a detailed account of the step of the process, the definition, and the purpose of writing a personal reflection essay, still want to understand it better and accelerate the process. In that spirit, we have shared this section with some of the more practical tips and advice. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Find Value In Your Thoughts

Personal reflection essays are not about simply uncovering raw emotions for others to see and interpret. They are not about connecting the dots between emotions and reality but covering the background that led to the incident or event as well as the aftermath of that incident. It is more about finding and bringing value to the thoughts instead of merely stating them in the essay. This is something that writers should always keep in mind.

Check Before Submission

Editing and proofreading for personal reflection essays cannot be overemphasized. When it comes to other essays, especially argumentative and expository essays, writers need to be restricted in and around the main subject. That is not the case with these subjective musings that can cause detours and discontinuity. For the sake of the readers and the craft, writers should cover multiple phases of editing.


How do you start a personal reflection essay?

There is not a single best way to start a personal reflection essay. We have gone through multiple ways that can help writers build a strong foundation, right from the beginning. The most important thing is a hook that can be a question, a statement or a statistic that can directly relate to the subject matter. If you are wondering what would make a good opening, it is always a solid hook to lure the readers in and get them invested in the writing.

What is an example of personal reflection?

You can find personal reflection examples throughout the anthologies. For instance, if you are going to write an essay on an incident or an event that changed the course of events for you or the ones around you, it will be a reflection essay. The main section of a personal reflection essay includes the background or context, the main premise, and the conclusions or the key takeaways from the discourse.

Is there a difference between a narrative and a reflection essay?

A narrative essay is based on a personal incident or accident that was very influential for the writer. A personal reflection essay is a writer’s musings on a personal experience. On the outlook, the two essay formats look extremely similar. However, when we start nitpicking, you will see some differences between the two. That’s why they are classified and studied separately.

What is my reflection?

Your reflection will be your idea or focus for writing a piece. The main premise here is the focus. Many writers believe that they can write a good personal reflection essay by laying bare their raw emotions. On the contrary, they need to polish and refine the thoughts on the paper before they ever become universal.

What is a personal reflection paragraph?

A personal reflection paragraph is the same as that of a personal reflection essay but with a major difference – scale! A paragraph consists of a handful of sentences where they need to make all the claims and observations in a single paragraph. It will have all the usual sections but they will not be much defined and differentiated.

How should I start my essay?

There are many ways to make a solid impression at the beginning of your essay. The most common thing is the hook which can get readers’ attention and make them invested in the subject matter. You can learn more about how to start my essay by going through this blog.

Key Takeaways

A personal reflection essay is harder to master than other essay types. It is because it relies on the emotions and feelings of the writer instead of more objective and universal things. But therein lies the purpose of writing these essays. Instead of focusing on mere emotions and feelings alone, writers need to incorporate themes and ideas in the essay to ensure that readers have something to learn from. We have explored all the major aspects of personal reflection essays, from their definition, purpose, and structure. We hope that students will find the blog to be a great help and a milestone in perfecting the craft.

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