Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.
Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CSUCI Code of Conduct.
View the examples
View Sample Reflective Essay #1
View Sample Reflective Essay #2
Want to become a better writer?
CI's Student Writing web site has how-to videos, writing samples for different subjects, and many other resources to help with your writing.
View CI's Student Writing site
Careers in English and Writing
The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:
- English teacher
- Social media strategist
- Media production (film, TV, internet)
- Print and digital publishing
- Corporate communications
- Foreign service
- Human resources
- Foundations/non-profit management
Learn more about CI's English Program
Reflective Essay Writing Process
A reflective essay is a piece of academic writing aiming to examine, observe, and describe the progress of the writer’s individual experience. When writing your essay, keep in mind, that you should focus on the deeper look at yourself, on your inner emotions rather than on the event itself. Make your reflective essay really “reflective” – reflect on your personality. The reader should have a clear picture of who you are and what has made you that way. If you hesitate or short on time, trust your essay to our essay writing in UK service
Reflective Essay Structure
A typical reflective essay structure is that of a five paragraph essay consisting of the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion.
Introduction. In this part of your essay, you present your thesis statement which should grasp the reader’s attention, make them be interested in what you’re writing about.
Main body. Dwell on your topic sentence in detail. This section usually contains three paragraphs, each one describing the event from its own perspective. Thus, the reader will get a volumetric picture of what was going on.
Conclusion. The task of the conclusion is to bring all the pieces of the picture together nicely. Write a brief summary of your main points and the overall takeaway from your reflection.
If you don’t know how to write a reflective essay, here is the article that may help you:
What Is a Reflective Essay?
Read the list below to choose your reflective essay topic:
Top 50 Reflective Essay Topics
Topics about Relationships
1. The moment when your heart was broken.
2. The moment you realized you are in love.
3. What role has family played in your life?
4. Describe your biggest quarrel with younger (older) siblings.
5. The role of friendship in my life.
6. A person that changed my life.
7. The most hurting thing a relative or a friend said to you.
8. Top ten qualities you consider to be the most important in people.
9. The time you felt responsibility for someone.
10. Sharing and revealing secrets.
Topics about Places
1. My first trip abroad.
2. The most unusual place I have ever been to.
3. The place I would never visit again.
4. The most frightening place I have ever been to.
5. My first hiking (mountaineering, windsurfing etc.) experience.
6. Your favourite place for shopping or having dinner.
7. A vacation spot you would like to visit again and again.
8. Your favourite online spaces like social networks, websites or forums.
9. How has your room changed since your childhood?
10. Going to mosque or other house of worship not belonging to your religion.
Topics about Events
1. A high / middle / elementary school (college) experience I will never forget.
2. The moment you realized you had done a great mistake.
3. The best party in your life or the celebration you will never forget.
4. The event that divided your life into “before” and “after”.
5. The first time you spent with friends with no parental supervision.
6. A thunderstorm, snowstorm, hurricane or any other natural disaster.
7. Moving to a new city or country.
8. A sporting event you took part in.
9. Describe something that you did not like at first, but then it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
10. Which book/movie has left an indelible impression on your mind?
Topics about You
1. What role has school played in your life?
2. What makes me stand out of the crowd?
3. What do you feel when telling lies?
4. What fears do you have? How do you deal with them?
5. The moment you felt proud of yourself.
6. Describe a childish dream that has already come true.
7. A time when you felt lost in life.
8. A small thing I did to make the world we live in a little bit better.
9. The biggest challenge in your life.
10. What would you consider to be your biggest strength and weakness?
Topics about your Daily Life
1. Watching a horror movie with your friends.
2. The worst or the happiest day in your life.
3. The first day on a new job.
4. What was your first date like?
5. Your driving experience.
6. The first thing I think of in the morning.
7. Describe a day when the electricity or water supply was not working.
8. Describe the time you tried to fix something.
9. A funny story with your pet.
10. The time you felt ashamed.
If you are looking for some reflective essay examples, here is one:
Reflective Essay Sample
Need a reflective essay on one of the topics from the list? Place an order and our writers will write you a high-quality reflective essay.