Use this reflective essay outline to start your work. (2023)

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

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

Before you start writing about what you see on the surface, remember that a reflective essay requires more than just a cursory glance. It requires taking a deeper look at yourself, taking a stepexamined more closely, so to speak, to discover important parts of you and show them to your readers.

Use this reflective essay outline to start your work. (1)

Below I'll show you how to create a gorgeous and thoughtful essay outline, and I'll even give you a downloadable template to use to create your own outline.

What is a reflection essay and how is it different from other essays?

You may be wondering what exactly a reflective essay is. You've written many other types of essays for many different classes, so what's different?

First things first... a reflective essay is one in which youreflectyour personality, places you've been, people you've met, or experiences that have influenced you. With this type of essay you can tell the reader who you are and what/who made you this way.

Unlike most other types of essays you've ever written, reflective essays don't usually involve researching facts and figures. They are much more personal and can be more fluid in structure and style.

It can be tempting to jump right into writing, but hang in there! A good reflective essay can be aGreatDeputy reflection with proper planning.

Use a reflective essay outline to organize your thoughts

Use this reflective essay outline to start your work. (2)

The goal of each essay is to write clearly and concisely on the topic of your choice or assignment. Unfortunately, when it comes to reflective essays, some people tend to get a bit disorganized and sound like the walrus who talks about anything in no particular order.

Don't be like the walrus!

Using a reflective essay draft can support your writing in a number of ways.

  • An outline can help establish exactly what details you want to use before you start writing.. This is tremendously helpful because you don't end up at your last paragraph and suddenly realize you forgot to include one or two crucial elements.
  • An outline gives you a clear road map instead of winding roads and dead ends. You don't have to wonder what to do next because everything will be in the outline. In other words, you don't have to spend any time "in Wonderland."
  • Since you can look at your draft reflective essay and follow along as you write,eventually you willsave some time typing. Guessing what's next, what order supporting details should appear in, or making important revisions because you forgot something important is a waste of time.

Already convinced that creating a thoughtful essay sketch is the best option?

Good! Now let's start creating this schematic!

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How to create a good reflective essay outline

Because the subject matter of reflective essays is different from, say, aargumentative essay, the structure and organization can also be completely different. However, some rules still apply. To start organizing, your reflective essay outline should have sections for the introduction, body, and conclusion.

To give examples, suppose that Alice has just returned from her adventures in Wonderland and is working on a reflective essay to share her experiences there.

Use this reflective essay outline to start your work. (3)


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

  • HeHook: You want to capture the attention of your reader from the beginning. When you share an experience, provide a short preview of the most exciting part of that story.
  • Heclosing sentence:In a reflective essay, the thesis statement usually includes a brief explanation of what your essay is about and how the particular person, place, or experience influenced you. They'll get to that later, so don't give it away.aa lot at first.

Alice's idea could go something like this:

I don't know how I got into such a mess, but I ran down a seemingly endless path while the entire Red Queen's court yelled, "Get out of her head!" I had long wanted adventure and thrills, but my Time in Wonderland made me realize that adventure comes with some serious risks.


The next part of your outline is perhaps the most important. Without its reflective accessory design, the body can become messy and confusing. I can not tell youExactlyhow to organize the body of your essay as each essay will be different. However, I do have some tips.

  • When you write about an experience or an event,Use a sensible timeline. It doesn't have to be completely linear, but jumping too far across the timeline can confuse you and the reader. Organizing the important parts on the outline will help you determine what order to put everything in.
  • No matter what you are writing your reflective essay about—an experience, a person, or a place—you should do it.include the impact it has had and what, if anything, did you learn. This should be at least as long as the description of the event, person, or place. It is what shows who you are and is what will interest the reader the most.

The body paragraphs of Alice's reflective outline might look like this:

  1. Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole
    1. description of what happened
    2. Learning to look before jumping
  2. meeting with the caterpillar
    1. description of what happened
    2. I have learned to control my size.
    3. I was beginning to realize how strange people in Wonderland were.
  3. crazy tea party
    1. description of what happened
    2. Although it was a lot of fun, the tea party was very stressful.
    3. The people I met just kept getting 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 on you and threatening to behead you.
    3. It was at that moment that I realized that there are no rules in Wonderland and that a world without rules is crazy.

As you can see, Alice's timeline includes various events throughout the experience and with a moment of reflection on each one. The last lesson learned is the epiphany: Aha! Moment.

Your schematic doesn't just have to look like this. It could be a summary of the entire experience followed by what you learned from it. Like I said, every text is different.


HeDiplomaYour thoughtful essay should be the finishing touch that ties all your writing together nicely. Include a brief summary of his main points (as indicated in the main sections) and the general conclusions of his reflection.

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

The White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen are faces I will never forget. They all contributed to the sheer madness of Wonderland. But these people, this madness, made me grateful for the peace and security of my own home, my family, and their rules.

More Resources to Support Your Reflective Essay Draft

Stuck on your essay?

View thousands of sample essays.

Yeah! show me examples

I hope now you have a better understanding of why and how to create a good schematic. To give you a little 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 lead paragraphs to suit your needs. Just fill in the blanks with your own information and you'll be one step closer to an outstanding essay.

Do you need more inspiration? look theseReflective Essay Examples.

If you are looking for theme ideas, visit us.15 Thoughtful Essay Topics to Inspire Your Next Paper.

Good luck!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better ratings! let yourself be inspired500,000 sample trials.

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