Do you remember the Mirror of Erised? You know… the one from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone–the one that shows you your deepest desire. Now imagine standing in front of that mirror. What would you see?
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If you wrote an essay in response to that question, it would be considered–much like a mirror–to be a reflective essay. The choices of reflective essay topics are limitless. They can relate to yourself, your surroundings, events that have happened in your life, and hypothetical questions.
To get you started thinking about what makes for good reflective essay topics, I’ll give you some tips and 15 real examples you can use for your own essay.
First of All, What Is a Reflective Essay?
I’m glad you asked!
A reflective essay prompts you to analyze and write about your life, personality, and/or experiences. Reflective essays are much less academic than argumentative or analytical essays, and the structure of these essays can vary, but don’t let that fool you. They still take a lot of effort, concentration, planning, and good writing to make it worthwhile for yourself and the reader.
So now that we have the technical definition out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff!
What to Consider When Choosing a Reflective Essay Topic
Choosing just the right reflective essay topic can be a challenge, but here are a few guidelines to help you in that process.
- Choose a topic on a subject you know.
Because reflective essay topics usually focus on some aspect of your life, it will be easier to write an essay about a topic that you have a lot of experience with. If you’ve never owned a pet, for example, don’t choose a topic relating to your favorite childhood pet. This may sound like silly advice, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t follow it.
- Pick a reflective essay topic that interests you.
You probably know a lot of information based off of both studying and personal experiences, and you could use that knowledge to write about something that completely bores you. But if you’re bored when you’re writing the essay, think about how your readers will feel. So, if possible, choose a topic that you can get excited about or emotionally attached to.
- Pick a topic that you can approach from a unique angle.
This is especially important in college admissions essays (a large portion of which are reflective essays). Whether it be the admissions board or your instructor, your readers don’t want to see the same answer that anyone else could have written. Picking a topic that allows you to write something unique will show off your personality and will be more interesting both to write and to read.
Now that you know the basics behind choosing your reflective essay topics, I’ll give you some more concrete help. I divided the topics into three categories–self, events, and relationships.
5 Reflective Essay Topics about Yourself
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You are the person who knows you best, and that can make it both simple and difficult to write about yourself. When presented with these types of reflective essay topics, it’s easy to think about a lot of different answers. Try to narrow your focus to just one response–the one that will really wow your readers.
- How have you overcome adversity?
- What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
- What is your biggest fear?
- What would you consider to be your greatest weakness?
- What do you like most about yourself?
5 Reflective Essay Topics about Events
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Events present a treasure trove of reflective essay topics to choose from. After all, life is just a series of events, and the ones that you remember most vividly are the ones that will make the best essays. When writing about events, vivid details can make the reader feel that he or she is right there with you. Try to include why the event is significant or what you learned from it.
- Tell about your most exciting vacation.
- What is your favorite holiday memory?
- Tell of a time when you got lost.
- What was your first date like?
- What was your first job experience?
5 Reflective Essay Topics about Relationships with Others
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Life is not a journey you take alone. The bonds you build with other people affect the type of person you become. When writing an essay using these types of reflective essay topics, you’ll want to show the interaction between you and the other person, and how the person has altered your life.
- Who do you admire most?
- What is the most hurtful thing someone has said to you?
- Tell of a time when you had to break off a friendship.
- What is the top quality you look for in a friend?
- Describe your relationship with a family member.
So What Are Reflective Essays Good for Anyway?
Writing a reflective essay is something you should work hard to perfect, not only to get a good grade in class, but for several other reasons:
- As stated above, most college admissions essays are reflective. They want to know about you as a person and not just you as a transcript.
- Reflective essay topics are similar to some of the questions you may be asked in a job interview, especially the topics about yourself. Writing about these topics gives you lot of practice, so when the time for interviewing comes, you’ll be prepared and confident in your answers.
- These essays let you learn more about yourself. Sometimes you may not know what your proudest moment was or what kind of influence someone has had on your life because you’ve never really thought about it before. Writing a reflective essay gives you a reason and a way to get to know yourself better.
So, you see, this is not just about academics, writing a reflective essay is one of those things you learn in school that actually has a larger purpose. And starting early will make your writing all the better.
Hopefully you are beginning to get a better grasp on how to choose from the endless types of reflective essay topics and maybe even a better idea of how to start writing your essay. If you’re stuck, unsure, or just need an extra pair of eyes to check out your writing, the Kibin editors are always here to help.
Now, take a look back in that Mirror of Erised. You see yourself totally killing it on your reflective essay, don’t you? Now it’s time to make that a reality!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
15 Reflective Essay Topic Ideas Worth A Discussion
A reflective essay is one that explores someone’s personal insight on a particular topic. You want to describe the event, experience or moment in life and then explain that experiences or what you learned from it. The first thing to help write a great reflective essay is to make an outline. By making an outline can organize your ideas into paragraphs.
An outline breaks down your essay into sections:
This is where you will present your topic and then work towards your thesis. The thesis is the main part of the paper. It is usually one or two sentences in length and it lets the reader know what the paper is about. You can give a little background information to set the scene.
- Body Paragraph I
- Body Paragraph II
- Body Paragraph III
An experience or event that effected you
The effects of the experience or event on you or others
What you learned from the experience or event
By laying out your essay like this first it makes it easier to rearrange your ideas to better express your point. By organizing your essay like this it makes the writing process a lot faster and easier because you don’t have to think about what to write next because you’ve already done so.
Reflective Essay Topics
- Watching lighting late at night.
- High school experience you can’t forget.
- Event that broke my heart.
- The most challenging homework task you ever had to do.
- The moment you realized you were in love with someone.
- The day my sister/brother was born
- My children are my purpose for living.
- Why I still love my high school sweetheart.
- The little thing that I will do to make the world a better place
- My special qualities that make me stand out in a crowd of people.
- Why I’m not the same person I was when I was younger.
- How I’m working towards leaving a great legacy.
- Methods of dealing with increased crime in your country.
- The value of adult education in a society
- What role has education played on your personality?
This essay reflects on a past experience that you have had. You will want to let your reader relive the experience so that you can get an idea of what you went through.