Education Reflective Essay Ideas

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.

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

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  • English teacher
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  • Print and digital publishing
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