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Higher Reflective Essay Ideas For College

Reflective essays are thought-provoking, and are a challenge to write. We have here a list of topics to get your creative juices flowing...
Students are usually asked to write reflective essays as a part of their application procedure to various colleges or even in their examinations. If you don't happen to be a student, you can also try your hand at reflective essay writing in order to hone your writing skills and develop an analytical line of thought. The topics involved are far from the mundane and provide some definite food for thought.

Writing essays on topics like these requires introspection, whereas research takes a backseat. Primarily, your ideas and opinions should reflect in these essays. In fact, you have complete creative freedom when it comes to expressing your thoughts, experiences, and opinions. Having mentioned that, it must be noted that reflective essays rely heavily on logic, and are not just some hastily scribbled, random thoughts.

The structure of reflective essays follow the usual pattern of introduction-body-conclusion. However, some choose to depart from this tried and tested method to employ a striking beginning to an essay. The most important point to remember while drafting this essay is to follow a line of thought, and elaborate it with the use of examples. Here are a few topics to get you started.

Ideas for Reflective Essays
  1. What role has education played in shaping your personality?
  2. Describe any life-altering incident that you have experienced.
  3. How do you view your failures?
  4. The most important piece of advice you'd like to pass on to your juniors is...
  5. What are the qualities that will help you succeed as a professional?
  6. How has education helped you in attaining your goals?
  7. Describe the person you hold the highest regard for.
  8. Do you regret any decision you've taken in your life?
  9. Have you undergone any experience that has completely changed your outlook?
  10. Should relationships be valued over monetary gains?
  11. Can we well and truly forgive infidelity?
  12. Can you honestly call yourself tolerant of other cultures and religions?
  13. Is it fair to rely on first impressions?
  14. What can be done to stop others from taking us for granted?
  15. Describe the importance of being able to say 'no'.
  16. How can you realize your true potential?
  17. How would you describe the concept of healthy competition?
  18. What is the biggest motivational factor for you?
  19. How do you push yourself to rise from a series of setbacks?
  20. What is your outlook on peer pressure?
  21. What is the best way to spend your twilight years?
  22. Which book/movie has left an indelible impression on your mind?
  23. Is it possible to detach ourselves from materialistic comforts?
  24. How difficult is it to make the honorable choice?
  25. Can moral values be enforced?
  26. Think of how your lifestyle has an impact on the environment.
  27. The importance of ethics in business.
  28. What points are to be considered while choosing a career?
  29. How would you want your life partner to be?
  30. What forms the foundation of a long-lasting friendship?

To some, writing reflective essays comes naturally. Overall, the view is that writing them does require a great deal of skill, which only comes with regular practice. We hope you make good use of these topics to practice your writing.

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?

Photo by Rev Stan via flickr

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Image by Guy Rose via Wikimedia Commons

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.

  1. How have you overcome adversity?
  2. What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
  3. What is your biggest fear?
  4. What would you consider to be your greatest weakness?
  5. What do you like most about yourself?

5 Reflective Essay Topics about Events

Photo by Bertrand via Wikimedia Commons

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.

  1. Tell about your most exciting vacation.
  2. What is your favorite holiday memory?
  3. Tell of a time when you got lost.
  4. What was your first date like?
  5. What was your first job experience?

5 Reflective Essay Topics about Relationships with Others

Photo by Rhoda Baer via Wikimedia Commons

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.

  1. Who do you admire most?
  2. What is the most hurtful thing someone has said to you?
  3. Tell of a time when you had to break off a friendship.
  4. What is the top quality you look for in a friend?
  5. 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.

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