A self-reflective essay shows individual growth from a significant practice.

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A self-reflective essay is a brief paper where you describe an practice and how it has switched you or helped you to grow. Self-reflective essays often require students to reflect on their academic growth from specific projects or assignments, however others might require you to think about the influence of a specific event in your life. By describing your overall practice for readers, discussing your current strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the practice you wrote about and sharing your future plans for using this fresh information, you can paint a vivid picture of how you have grown and switched.


An introduction to a self-reflective essay is a preview of what you’ll be discussing. Developing a thesis statement that illustrates the major points of your reflection can give readers a preview of the content without providing too many of the details away in the beginning. A student writing an essay on her academic growth, for example, might write as a thesis, “Through my work on my final research paper, I’ve learned how to do stronger research and use an objective voice, but I still need to work on structure and transitions.”

Private Practices

Many instructors may provide you with questions to consider in your reflection. You might be asked to talk about a specific way an practice switched your attitudes or deeds, a significant challenge you faced or things you would do differently if given a 2nd chance. If the assignment does not include a prescribed list of questions, you might begin by considered what your practice instructed you and how it has switched you as a student or person. Specific details and anecdotes from the practice will help to clearly demonstrate your areas of growth.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Self-reflective essays may challenge you to think critically about what you are doing well and what needs to be switched as a result of the practice you’re writing about. You can begin by talking about abilities, responses and deeds that have been strengthened by this practice, then stir into a discussion of areas that need work. A student writing about being a camp counselor or doing community volunteer work might write about his strength in finding ways to relate to different kinds of people, and then discuss his need to work on his tendency to prejudge them when they very first meet.


Across your reflection, you should make a case for how the practice has stimulated your individual growth. By the conclusion, readers should have a clear, specific idea of how the practice affected you and particular ways you have made progress. In a reflective essay, you can treatment the conclusion by talking about how you plan to use what you learned from this practice in the future. For example, you can talk about how the skill and practices you gained will be useful in future classes, jobs, relationships and other aspects of your life.

About the Author

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She trained creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.

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A self-reflective essay shows private growth from a significant practice.

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