How To Write A Reflective Essay Outline

Your instructor just told you that your next writing assignment will be a reflective essay.

Reflective essays are about you, so you go home and take a good long look in the mirror.

Before you start writing about what you see on the surface, keep in mind that a reflective essay involves more than just a cursory glance. It requires taking a deeper look at yourself, stepping through the looking glass, so to speak, to discover and show important parts of yourself to your readers.

Image by sammydavisdog via flickr

Below, I’ll show you how to create a killer reflective essay outline, and I’ll even give you a downloadable template you can use to make your own outline.

What Is a Reflective Essay and How Is It Different from Other Essays?

So you may be asking yourself what a reflective essay is exactly. You’ve written many other types of essays for many different classes, so how is this any different?

First things first… a reflective essay is one in which you reflect on your personality, places you’ve been, people you’ve met, or experiences that have influenced you. This type of essay lets you tell the reader who you are and what/who has made you that way.

Unlike most other types of essays you may have written, reflective essays typically don’t deal with researching facts and figures. They are much more personal in nature and can be more fluid in structure and style.

It can be tempting to just jump right into writing, but hold on! A good reflective essay can be a great reflective essay with the proper planning.

Using a Reflective Essay Outline to Organize Your Thoughts

The goal of any essay is to write clearly and concisely about whatever topic you choose or are assigned. Unfortunately, with reflective essays, some people tend to get a little disorganized and start sounding like the Walrus, talking about anything and everything in no particular order.

Don’t be like the Walrus!

Using a reflective essay outline can help your writing in a few ways

  • An outline can help lay out exactly what details you want to use before you start writing. This is tremendously helpful because you won’t end up on your last paragraph and suddenly realize that you forgot to include a crucial element or two.
  • An outline gives you a clear roadmap instead of curvy paths and dead ends. You don’t have to wonder what’s supposed to come next because it’ll all be in the outline. In other words, you won’t have to spend time “in Wonderland.”
  • Because you can look at your reflective essay outline and follow it as you’re writing, ultimately you’ll save some time in your writing. Second-guessing what comes next, in what order the supporting details should go, or going back for big revisions because you forgot something important are all wastes of time.

Are you convinced yet that creating a reflective essay outline is the best option?

Good! Now let’s get to actually making that outline!

How to Craft a Good Reflective Essay Outline

Because the subject of reflective essays is different from that of, say, an argumentative essay, the structure and organization can also be quite different. However, some rules still apply. To start organizing, your reflective essay outline should include sections for the introduction, body and conclusion.

For the purposes of giving examples, let’s say Alice just got back from her adventures in Wonderland and is working on a reflective essay outline to tell about her experience there.

Image by Jessie Wilcox Smith via Wikimedia Commons

Introduction

As with any essay, your reflective essay should begin with an introduction. The parts of your introduction to include in your outline are:

  • The hook: you want to grab your reader’s attention from the very start. If you’re telling about an experience, give a quick preview of the most exciting part of that story.
  • The thesis statement: In a reflective essay, the thesis statement will usually include a brief statement of what your essay is about as well as how the specific person, place, or experience has influenced you. You will expand on this later, so don’t give away too much in the beginning.

Alice’s introduction might go something like this:

I don’t know how I had gotten myself into such a mess, but I found myself running down a seemingly endless path with the Red Queen’s entire court shouting, “Off with her head!” I had long yearned for adventure and excitement, but my time in Wonderland made me realize that adventure comes with some serious risks.

Body

The next part of your outline is perhaps the most important. Without your reflective essay outline, the body can get muddled and confusing. I can’t tell you exactly how to organize the body of your essay because every essay is going to be different. However, I do have a couple of tips.

  • If you are writing about an experience or an event, use a chronology that makes sense. It doesn’t have to be completely linear, but if you jump around in the timeline too much, it can confuse both you and the reader. Laying out the important parts in the outline will help you figure out in what order to put everything.
  • No matter what you’re writing your reflective essay about–an experience, person or place–you should include the impact it has madeand what, if anything, you learned. This should be at least as long of a section as the description of the event, person or place. It’s what shows off who you are and it’s what the reader will be most interested in.

The body paragraphs of Alice’s reflective outline may look something like this:

  1. Following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole
    1. Description of what happened
    2. Learning to look before I leap
  2. Meeting the Caterpillar
    1. Description of what happened
    2. I learned how to control my size
    3. I started to realize just how strange the people were in Wonderland
  3. Mad Tea Party
    1. Description of what happened
    2. Although a lot of fun, the tea party was very stressful
    3. The people I met were progressively crazier
  4. Croquet with the Red Queen
    1. Description of what happened
    2. It’s very hard to play croquet when the other person is cheating and threatening to behead you
    3. It was at this point when I realized that Wonderland had no rules, and that a world without rules is insane

As you can see, Alice’s timeline includes different events within the entire experience and with a moment of reflection on each. The final lesson learned is the epiphany–the aha! moment.

Your outline does not have to look just like this. It could be a summary of the entire experience, followed by what you learned from it. Like I said, every essay is different.

Conclusion

The conclusion of your reflective essay should be the finishing touch that brings the whole piece of writing together nicely. Include a brief summary of your main points (as stated in the body paragraphs), as well as the overall takeaway from your reflection.

For example, Alice’s conclusion would be similar to this:

The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, and the Red Queen are certainly faces that I’ll never forget. They each contributed to the sheer madness of Wonderland. But those people–that madness–made me thankful for the peace and security of my own home and family and its rules.

More Resources to Help with Your Reflective Essay Outline

I hope you have a better understanding of why and how to draft a good outline. To give you a bit of extra help, here’s a downloadable reflective essay outline template.

Reflective Essay Outline Template.

This outline template follows a 5-paragraph format, but you can add paragraphs and rearrange the body paragraphs to fit your needs. Just fill in the blanks with your own information, and you’ll be one step closer to a stellar essay.

Need more inspiration? Check out these reflective essay examples.

If you’re looking for topic ideas, check out 15 Reflective Essay Topics to Inspire Your Next Paper.

Good luck!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

Madison

This year was very difficult for me because I had to work part-time and take care of my sister. I bought almost every home assignment from your company and every time, you delivered high quality papers. As a result, I am among the best students in the class, and do not waste my time on boring writing. Thanks!

Emery

I thought that I would never manage to complete my essay on time. There were only a couple of hours left and your company agreed to help. I only sent instructions and your writer did everything for me. I did not face late submission and got a good grade. Thanks!

Ryan

I had a surgery and could not study for a long time. I missed many tests, exams, quizzes, and did not submit writing assignments on time. I thought I would fail every class, but then I found your website. I was wondering if you specialize in all subjects and your support team assured me that every single piece of writing can be completed by writers.

Carter

I have already recommended your services to my close friend, who also cannot compose all essays simultaneously. Our teachers are very strict and they do not tolerate any instances of late submission. Luckily, I found your company and your experienced writers, who solved all my problems in academic writing! Excellent work!

Carlos

I was very shy to order any papers online and thought that every student should diligently do homework. But when I found out that most of my classmates get A grades only because they purchase papers online, I also decided to do it. It was the first time I got an A+!

John

I forgot to leave my feedback the first time I placed the order. Now I am writing it to tell other students how helpful your writing services are. You are definitely the best writing company on the web because you have never let me down.

Aiden

For me, academic writing is the biggest obstacle on my way. I can pass all kinds of tests and exams. However, writing essays and other assignments is very time-consuming and daunting. I found a company that offers affordable prices for academic papers. Thank you for assisting me with all my home assignments. Your writers are genius!

Olivia

When you sent me the paper, I thought that some instructions were overlooked. I asked my writer to correct it and got a paper that fully met my demands. Sincerely.

Larry

I like to compose essays, but sometimes my part-time job makes me devastated and exhausted that I do not have time to sleep. My friend told me that students can purchase papers online. I was a bit afraid to do it, but your company sent me the best paper! Will surely order more papers because your prices are really cheap!

Ryan

My paper was so well written that I had nothing to add. I simply submitted the essay and got an A. Thanks for your work!

Jack

I purchased a couple of essays from two writing companies, who cheated and sent my fully plagiarized papers. They definitely do not offer “custom” writing. I found your company and read a couple of reviews. I placed a “trial” order to see if you would send me the paper at all. I was shocked to see such a well structured and well written paper!

Chloe

Having used a couple of writing services, I finally found your company. My classmate told that he orders most of home assignments at Essaywritingstore.com. I totally changed my attitude towards writing companies when you sent me my coursework. Your writer #7539 helped me a lot! I wish I had found your service long time ago!

Mike, PA

“I liked your style and clinical approach – thank you very much.”

Emma

I thought that every company on the Internet is a scam, until I found Essaywritingstore.com. I was very desperate since I had failed a couple of papers before. I asked your writers to be very attentive to instructions and they exceeded all my expectations. I was surprised and astonished to see the paper, where every sentence was breathtaking.

Karen, LA

“Please let my writer know I think he’s a genius.”

Tess, IA

“Hi there, many thanks for the superb effort you put into my paper. Really appreciate it!”

Camilla

I typed “writing company” and found too many results. I did not know which company can be trusted and decided to read students’ comments. Your company was among the most discussed in those reviews. Your competent and diligent writers sent me the paper on time. Supreme assistance and fair prices!

Deborah

I always thought that my teachers treat me unfairly because I spent much time on writing and got B or C for every assignment. I got tired and thought that hiring an online writer is a good solution. Thank you guys for amazing work done! Now I always get high grades.

Andy, CO

“I really appreciate receiving such a perfect essay. I will be coming back for more! Thank you!”

Alex

You helped me restore my reputation after I had failed some papers. Other students deserve to know that Essaywritingstore.com always does its best to help students succeed. I will surely place more orders. Your writing service is all that I needed in my student life.

Leonard, IN

“There’s no doubt your writers are professional people. Thanks for the excellent work!”

Logan

I am very thankful to your writers who are very professional and punctual. They have never missed my deadline. I have dealt with a couple of writers and did not face any essays. You are seriously the best writing service!

Brian, AZ

“I received the first part of the paper and it’s excellent. Can’t wait for the rest!”

Samuel

I found out that some of my classmates purchase papers from you and decided to give you a try. At that time, I had to work on a research essay. I registered on your website and placed an order. In a day, I got a notification that my paper was ready. You helped me pass this class! I am very happy to cooperate with professionals!

John

It is the first time I am writing my feedback on your service. I am very lucky to have your support. I forgot about a research paper and ordered it at night. You still found the writer, who quickly did all the work. Thank you!

Howard, HI

“You gave me a writer who is very knowledgeable in my discipline so I’m happy my paper was assigned to him. Your support staff is very efficient to. My grateful thanks to all!”

Grace

Essaywritingstore.com sent me the paper of surprisingly high quality exactly the same date I mentioned in the order. My philosophy essay was great! Thanks!

Stacy

I always try to do all the homework on my own. However, I can't succeed in studying and always get very poor grades and negative feedback. I contacted you with a question if you could write an essay for me. You have good prices, I am always pleased with the quality and content of your papers.

Elizabeth

I completely forgot about an essay in management. Our teacher is very strict and does not allow late submissions. I thought I would fail the task. But I found your website and purchased the paper. Believe it or not, your writer coped with my essay in 3 hours only! How is it possible? I do not know, but I got an A+!

Samuel

I was very afraid to use your company services because it was my first experience. I am very bad in writing and always suffer from failing grades. Please tell to my writer #5720 that she is the best! I will definitely ask to complete more orders for me. Your company is definitely worth considering for other students.

Alexis

I did not think that online writing services actually help. I purchased a book review and your writer made my professor put an A. I was deeply impressed. I am so proud of you! You definitely represent the best writing service because your writers pay attention to the quality of writing. Wonderful service!

Karen

I used to buy papers from other companies and every time I was more and more disappointed. Eventually, I found your company that made me happy! Even if I give a very short deadline, your writers still manage to send me the paper with interesting content. Thank you for support.

Sophia

You completed my research paper very fast. I used your paper as the basis of my further research project. I am very thankful for your support and everything you have done for me!

Kim

I did not think that you can complete an order within a few hours. You sent me the paper exactly on time, without any delays, though I chose a very sophisticated and boring topic. You saved my life! I will definitely use your writing services in the future. I have read many reviews of your services and they indeed show how professionally you work.

Michael

I used to spend days and weeks in the library, searching for appropriate sources for my essays and research papers. Being very tired, I decided to order an essay at Essaywritingstore.com and see what you offer. To my surprise, you sent me an excellent paper with great ideas. Now I will definitely order more papers from you.

Olivia

I used to purchase papers from different online writing services, but I didn't receive what I paid for. Every time, I got lame excuses that they would send me the paper a bit later or they were sorry for the plagiarized content. Then I decided to look further and found your writing service. Your writer managed to complete the paper timely. I really appreciated it.

Jessie

I can write papers myself, but formatting and grammar mistakes make me nervous. I sent my papers to you and your editors took care of those problems with ease.

Elizabeth

I got my essay written in 6 hours! How is that possible? I used to spend days on one essay. My writer was very fast, but I did not manage to find any mistakes in the paper. Thanks and thanks!

Noah

I did not know if your company is real until I called your support team. Your company member explained what kind of services you offer and suggested placing the order. I asked to work on a dissertation section and pay attention to my remarks. Surprisingly, your writer managed to copy my writing style! Thanks a lot!

Jessy, MT

“Was glad of the opportunity for revisions and that the writer took account of my ideas. Thanks a lot.”

Ronald

I could not write my paper because the topic was too complex. I did not even manage to find suitable materials. Your writer agreed to help and sent me a nice paper with impressive ideas. Thanks!

Stacy

I was devastated when my teacher told me that a research paper takes 60% of the final grade. Failing the paper means failing the whole course. I was depressed because my previous assignments were graded rather lowly. Your company helped me solve the issue. Thank you so much for that! I handed in a good research paper and got a favorable feedback!

Emma

I asked my writer to send a draft first. I got it and did not even ask to revise anything. In cases when I have little time or simply do not have any chance to submit a paper that follows teacher’s instructions, I always ask your writers to help and they have never let me down.

George, UT

“Please let me have this writer every time I need a paper written.”

Mia

I had to write an admission essay to get a grant in one of the local colleges. I thought it was impossible because my writing skills are very poor. I placed an order and got a perfect essay! Thanks!

Haydan

I was shocked to see my coursework! Your writer sent me a masterpiece. I cannot provide any other comments apart from appreciation of your work. Cooperation with you is remarkable and is definitely worth it!

Helen, VT

“I’m happy you followed my instructions so closely. I appreciate that a lot.”

Abraham, MO

“I thought I was taking a risk ordering a paper from your writing company. But it all turned out very nicely, thank you.”

James

I guess other students need to know that your company is very professional and efficient in terms of academic writing services. Your writers are definitely well-versed and skillful. I sent some assignments to your writers and have always received what I wanted.

James

Many thanks to your wonderful writers and supportive online representatives! You have helped me a lot! My assignments are always complex, but your writers always manage to meet my expectations. Your company helped me to pass many courses successfully and improve my reputation.

Steven

My best wishes to your writers! I am so thankful that I do not know even how to express my emotions. My teacher always gave me very low grades with comments that I am overlooking some instructions. Your writer #830 sent me a research paper and I got an A! I am more than pleased with your online services!

Harry, OK

“I’m very grateful you finished my paper on time. Your writers are professional and gave me much attention.”

Linda

I came across too many writing services and did not know which one to choose. I read some reviews, where students recommended your online writing service. I did not know if you can be trusted, but I decided to give you a try. As a result, I got a well-written paper.

Jill, KS

“I’m thankful for the support you gave me. Your service is the best!”

Liza, WY

“I have another assignment coming up and would like the same writer again. I love his work.”

Dwain

I was constantly writing messages to my writer because I was very nervous about my research project. However, I got a perfect paper in the end. It is just what I wanted. Thanks!

Lily

I did not know how to start writing my thesis proposal. Your writers carried out research and surprised my professor with incredible ideas. Good job.

Alondra

I am writing this review after I have made the 3rd order on your website. All papers were delivered on time. I did not have any recommendations or suggestions how to improve the paper because the content was great. Thank you so much.

Joshua

I spent a couple of weeks on the research proposal and did not manage to please professor’s demands, who provided a negative feedback on every submitted draft. I accidentally came across your online writing company and asked your writer to complete a part of the proposal. I submitted it and my professor really appreciated it.

Jeff

Your writers always send me papers on time. I have never achieved such good grades in my classes!

Daniel

My friend told me a secret. He orders all papers on your website and recommended to do the same for me. I was very shy and afraid that my teacher would find it out. Eventually, I decided to ask your writer complete a lab report and got superb results! It is exactly what I needed.

Addison

I was almost expelled from my college because I could not attend classes and work on a pack of home assignments at the same time. Whenever I began writing one paper, I thought about other projects and could not focus on any. I was very happy to find your company, which is a real savior.

Daren, CA

“I never expected to get such a good paper. I haven’t use a writing service like yours before, but you are good. Thanks.”

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *