What is a Reflection Paper?

Updated: October 13, 2021

The reflection paper is the thing that every college applicant will write. It is necessary for all colleges, from Stanford University to local educational facilities. The reflection paper is an academic piece where the author tells their thoughts about the specific issue. It is a rare chance to do so due to strict requirements of academic writing that limit the ability to say an honest opinion.

It is surprising how many people don’t know the effective ways to speak their minds. However, knowing how to formulate your own opinion will be helpful in your professional, personal, and academic lives. In this article, we want to tell you ways to write influential reflection papers.

Reflection Paper Definition

The reflection paper is the rare type of paper with an academic tone that allows the writer to express a personal opinion on a particular problem rather than giving the bare facts. You can choose any topic from your favorite book to ponder on specific economic theories.

You can pick any subject that you are interested in. It can be questions like: are there any life on the other planets, why do you like a particular movie, the meditation regarding the causes and consequences of the First World War. It is your personal choice what to write about; however, there are several tones that you need to implement:

  • Educational is your opinion book; course studied in class or movie
  • Professional people that work in social and educational industries write this one more often.
  • Personal this displays your view on specific intimate topics for this particular human being.

How to Start a Reflection Paper

You need to understand that the primary purpose of the reflection paper is for you to express your own opinions. Don’t be afraid to express views that your professor doesn’t support. We don’t recommend you being over the top emotional. Using solid and reasonable arguments is a great way to create an excellent reflection paper.

Our team recommends providing a brief insight in the introduction, so the reader will understand what to expect. Create a strong idea that you can summarise in one sentence. However, stick to the following recommendations.

  • Stay brief, informative, and catchy so that the professors can easily understand your ideas.
  • While the reflective paper is all about expressing your own opinion, you need to stick to the academic tone.
  • Stay civil, and specific particular conversation to particular and article don’t go over the top.
  • Be careful with expressing counter-culture radical ideas. You can have problems in the future.
  • Give the context that will help the reader to understand your thesis better. What is obvious can be hard to understand by others.
  • Let’s assume that you want to write a reflective paper about a specific article. You need to start brainstorming, and we will provide you with the practical questions that helped hundreds write their essay easier.
  • What effect did the article have on you?
  • The techniques that authors use to catch the attention of their readers and make it enjoyable to read?
  • Have you changed your opinion about a particular topic while finishing this article? Explain in what ways.
  • Do you have any questions upon completing this article?
  • Do authors talk about every important issue about the article topics? Tell if they skipped some of them and explain why it is essential to speak about them.
  • How does the article align with the previous materials you read about this topic?
  • We want to point out that you can use these questions to brainstorm any piece of writing or media. Just change it to suit the amount you are talking about.

How to Write a Reflection Paper Main Body

The body is the main section of your paper. You are exploring the thesis in this part of the paper. The writer needs to explain his or her position about specific topics in several paragraphs. Our team recommends utilizing a three-paragraph structure.

In the first paragraph, you tell what book (article/film) you read (watched) and how it affected your opinion about the themes from this piece. We highly recommend you to use a topic that you are not an expert in. The main reason for this is that you will have to consume new information and it will be much easier to write about it.

The second paragraph is for comparing this experience to others. For example, you can take the book about WWI and compare it to your high-school history classes. Explain how it is different from your previous experience. You can apply it not only to history but also to other scientific topics.

In the last paragraph, we recommend writing about how this book (article, film, etc.) affected your view on a specific event. It is not a secret that a popular science (or school) deliberately simplifies particular topics to make it easier for the general public to understand and remember. So, it will be a great idea to showcase how you changed your personal opinion after getting a more detailed and nuanced explanation about a particular topic. Please explain what you learned upon reading it and tell general feelings about the whole idea.

Here are the things to consider when you are writing the main body of your paper:

  • Start by explaining your motivation for why you chose this topic.
  • Don’t be afraid of telling the nuances and taking a lot of time explaining the issue.
  • This is essential to the last thing on our list. At the same time, we encourage you to tell about the details you have to remain logical. It is easy to lose track of what you write about in the big pieces. We recommend asking your friend or professor to read your draft and point out problem parts.
  • While it isn’t an academic paper, you still need to quote sources and use solid examples.

How to End a Reflection Paper

The end of your paper has to be solid and express the formed opinion about a particular topic. Use strong accents when you are wrapping up a discussion. It is a great idea to write your conclusion in a way that will start a conversation with your reader.

The things that you need to include in your conclusion:

  • Briefly write about your significant ideas.
  • Use logical arguments to persuade the reader.
  • Don’t forget to answer the questions you asked at the beginning of your piece.

APA Reflection Paper Writing Guide

Every student knows that American colleges have several formats that you are using to write an academic paper. We already told you that the reflection paper is not a traditional academic paper; however, you need to use specific formatting rules. We explain them down below:

  • Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
  • 1″ margins;
  • Include a page header on the top of every page;
  • Insert page number on the right;
  • Your reflective essay should be divided into four parts: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

The rules mentioned above are easy to remember and implement. However, we recommend you take a screenshot (or add this article to your browser bookmarks). So you will have quick access whenever you need it.

11 Best Tips to Write a Reflection Paper

  1. Be specific. We recommend you pick several particular topics and analyze them with your perception of this information.
  2. Don’t tell more than needed. Many students fall into the pitfall of describing their life stories. It is essential to remember that you need to mean little to no information, so your reader understands the context.
  3. Stick to your assignment. We are 100% positive that your professor gave you clear directions about the paper. Stick to it. Yeah, you can write a slightly bigger piece, but don’t turn the 500-word paper into a 2000 word monstrosity.
  4. Don’t write the complete essay in one sit down. Our team encourages you to create a routine while you are making this type of paper. There are situations when great ideas come to your mind during your physical training. Write them down and analyze them later. Don’t just write a complete essay.
  5. Introductions come last. We can’t stress enough about how many students spend a lot of time writing the introduction first. So, our writers recommend you to write them in the end. You will save a lot of time. Believe us.
  6. Write down the ideas and exciting topics. There are little things worse than finding the complete quote when you finish the article. We recommend giving short information about the section during the creation of the first drafts.
  7. Stick to the format requirements. In this article, we already told you the main requirements for the APA reflection paper. Stick to it, and everything will be fantastic.
  8. No slang. The reflection paper is an academic assignment. Consequently, it is essential to avoid slang as much as you can.
  9. Proofread your piece. Members of our team read their pieces several times to avoid any spelling or grammar mistakes.
  10. Create drafts. Many students try to write the perfect essay from the first try. It is wrong. You need to register and edit several times to get great results. Stop being afraid and start writing. Everyone makes mistakes.
  11. Ask your friend or professor to give feedback on your draft. We already mentioned how important it is to proofread your paper. But we highly recommend you to ask someone to provide you with an honest opinion on your draft so that you can make it better.


In this article, we gave you the complete guide on how to write the different parts of the reflecting paper, the APA formatting demands for it, and provided 11 best tips to make the whole process easier.

Wrapping out this article, we want to tell you that while the whole process of writing your first academic paper can be terrifying, procrastination will make it worse. We know it is to postpone the assignments only to write the 2.000 words essay in less than 48 hours. It is stressful, and we don’t recommend you to have the same experience.

However, writing academic papers is a stressful and tedious task. You need to analyze, organize and create a high-quality piece. Many people don’t have this amount of time or want to have some free time with their friends and family. You can spend a lot of time writing or pay some money for us, and we will provide a high-quality piece in the shortest time possible.

Education, English, Literature & Philology, Journalism
Experience: 4+ years
It all has started with my very first school essay. Decades later, I still enjoy writing articles and guides for students. You can always rely on my insights to lessen the academic burden.
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