What Is A Personal Reflective Essay: Tips For Dummies


Narrative. Persuasive. Informational. Expository. Reflective. There are so many different types of papers that it comes as no surprise that students get confused about what to write. Even though the focus of each paper style is different, they should all be written in the same way. The biggest differences come in the content and the purpose of the paper. So, when students are assigned personal reflective paper, there are a few particular things to consider. Here are some tips to help you understand what goes into completing one:

  • Choose an event. Personal reflective papers need to focus on one event. If they are about more than one event, they tend to be boring and unfocused. The one event should be memorable enough that you can go into detail about it. The event should have taught you something about life that you are willing to share with an audience.

  • Write a thesis. Like all other projects, the personal reflective project requires a thesis statement. This sentence should be placed at the end of the introductory paragraph, just like all other essays. It should include a quick summary of the event and what you learned, because that is what you will be proving when you reflect upon the event.

  • Use first-person narration. Because you are writing about your personal experience, you should write in the first person. While most writing instructors will suggest that students avoid using first-person pronouns, this assignment style does not work without them. You need to clearly show that you were involved in the event and using first-person pronouns will do that for you. This means you can use words like “I” and “me” in the project without being penalized by your instructor. You should still avoid using “you” in this style of essay.

  • Narration is necessary, but dialogue is not. Since you are writing about an event, you can narrate the story in the assignment. However, you should avoid using dialogue because it will turn the assignment into a story. Most students will tell about the event in chronological order, because that tends to work best for their readers.

  • Keep the paragraphs focused. Since this is a formal essay and not a piece of fiction, you should follow essay-writing rules. This means that paragraphs should have topic sentences that refer back to the thesis and sentences that support the topic sentence. You should also have a conclusion that wraps up the essay, too.

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