A reflective essay may sound like something from an advanced writing class or high-school English exercise, but in reality, it can deal with any subject in any discipline. However, all reflective topics have one thing in common – the mysterious "reflective" component. In its academic sense, reflection means you must not only analyze the subject but also assess its influence on yourself: actively use metacognition, be self-aware about your opinions, and check all judgments you voice in your essay.
It sounds a bit convoluted, but things get much clearer when you have some reflective essay topics examples pointing you in the right direction. Below you will find prompts we suggest you try, grouped by subject area. Some of them are linked to relevant samples from our essay database, so you can see how other students approached the same task.
Character Traits Reflection Essay Topics
Although a reflective essay is a flexible format applicable to any area of knowledge, self-reflection and assessment of one's character are among the most popular topics for reflection essay. Here is why we open our list with character traits reflection prompts.
Before you choose the topic, we suggest you go and check our guide on how to write a reflective essay with detailed structure, brainstorming tips, dos, and don'ts.
- What strengths do you have, and how can you apply them for learning and your future career?
- Are there any qualities and attributes that you find particularly relevant and beneficial to your profession?
- Apply SWOT analysis for personal assessment
- Reflect on your ability to work as a team member
- Assess your soft skills. Reflect on how they can be helpful for your future?
- What do you consider your greatest fault?
- Do you remember yourself as a preschooler? How did your character change since then?
- Would you call yourself an ambitious person? Why?
- Have you ever experienced envy? Did you identify the feeling right away? How did you act?
- What was your favorite toy as a child? Why did you like it more than other toys? Do you still have it?
- What is your main goal in life? Was it always like this? How often do you change your priorities?
- Do you have a close person you can share everything with? Why do you think we need a confidant?
- What does identity mean for you?
- Would you call yourself sociable? Why or why not?
- Do you consider yourself a moral person? What are your criteria? How many people around you would you call moral people?
- Do you believe hope is a positive force or self-delusion that prevents you from making the right decision? What place hope has your life?
- What is your greatest pride?
Reflective Essay Topic to Process Personal Experiences
Personal experience is another popular group of topics for reflective essays. High-school students may recognize this particular subset from their college application process. Application forms and school-specific writing supplements tap into this essay genre to understand the student's character better. Here are some suggestions that will be interesting for college students as well.
- Reflect on how you, as an international student, get to know English language and the American culture
- Reflect on training you have prepared and conducted for others
- Reflect on your experience working on a group project
- Reflect on your personal student learning success
- Reflect on a critical moment in your life
- If you could choose one of your past projects to revise, which would you choose and why? What would you change about it?
- Reflect on a research project you have just finished. Was it difficult for you?
- Reflect on your writing. Analyze the last essay you have written
- Reflect on a past friendship. How did it end? What did you learn from the experience?
- Do you have any experience with the "Understanding by design" approach? Do you find it helpful?
- Keep a reflective journal of your life for several weeks
- Reflect on your experience as a language learner
- Reflect on an organized tour you have attended
- Reflect on your personal literacy journey (how you were learning to read and what place reading takes in your life now)
- What was the most challenging time in your life? What helped you through it?
- Have you ever experienced an unpleasant realization you had to come to terms with? How did you cope?
- What was your primary motivation for joining college? Have your expectations been met so far?
- Have you ever been in a position of a leader? How did it feel? Do you think you fitted the role?
Reflective Essay Ideas Courses and Programs
College is a transformative time and a source of many good reflective essay topics since you learn and grow week to week. Instructors often task their students with writing a reflective essay at the end of their course to help them make sense of all the new knowledge and skills. Here are some reflective ideas we believe you will find interesting.
- Reflect on the course "Foundations of college writing"
- Reflect on the teaching practicum you have completed
- Reflective Statement on Business Case Study
- Reflect on the module you have just finished in the course. What have you learned from it?
- Reflect on the essay you have written before
- Reflect on the educational ideas presented in two different specialized journal articles
- Reflect on your learning journey in a profession, assessment procedures, and mentorships
- What have you learned through this semester's coursework?
- Reflect on your recent practical workshop
- Reflect on a seminar you have completed and the skills it has taught you
- Reflect on your high school experience. How did it prepare you for college?
- Reflect on your first month on campus as a freshman. Has this experience transformed you in any way?
- Have you ever volunteered? Was it a positive experience? How did it influence you?
- Reflect on the latest organized educational trip (to a museum, memorial, national park, etc.)
- Assess your progress towards graduation. Do you still have much to learn? Do you feel you know more than you did when you joined the program?
- Have you benefitted from student exchange programs? What have you learned from the experience?
- Do you feel enthusiastic about your major? Have you ever considered changing it? What minor or concentration do you have, and why you decided on them?
Reflective Essay Titles on Professional Skills
This is a somewhat similar category. However, it focuses more on how ready you are for your future career and how skills you learn will be helpful later. Choose a relevant reflective essay title from the list below. Alternatively, browse our open database of free essays for inspiration. Did you know you could look by category and by keyword for more precise results?
- Reflect on the cooperative nursing work experience
- Reflect on a particular skill you use in nursing and how you learned it
- Reflective essay on the usage of Employment Portfolio
- Reflect on KFC's marketing mix in relation to its pricing strategy
- Reflection and professional development: what did you discover about yourself that you weren't previously aware of?
- Using Gibbs' reflective cycle model, analyze a routine situation from your professional practice
- Reflect on a particular difficulty or dilemma you had to deal with in your professional life
- Reflect on the professional training program you have finished. How did it change your outlook and approaches?
- Reflect on the event you have just organized. Was this project successful? What could be improved?
- Reflect on your experience teaching English
- How knowledge you've gained from the Sociology course will help you in your career?
- Do you believe environmental awareness is a crucial skill for a specialist in your sphere?
- Reflect on your skillset as a special education teacher. What areas of improvement do you think you have?
- Why do you think you have to practice law for some time before becoming a judge? Do you think it's an outdated practice and legal school graduates should be fully capable of carrying out a sentence?
- Do you think cynicism is an occupational hazard for professionals in the justice system? How do you plan to keep yourself grounded?
- How important is self-presentation for a recent graduate joining the workforce? Do you believe you wield this skill on a required level?
- Do you believe schools should teach future teachers, nurses, social workers, etc., how to resist emotional burnout? Do you feel equipped for years of practice in your chosen field?
Society and History Reflection Paper Topics
We have gathered topics from various disciplines under one big umbrella of society and history. You can treat them as templates and modify them as you want to fit your particular academic discipline. Here are some reflective paper ideas to spark your imagination.
- Reflect on the existent and perceived differences between men and women
- Reflect on the Enlightenment and its influence on America
- Reflect on the protest and its role in shaping society
- Reflect on Newton's contribution to Physics
- Immanuel Kant and his contribution to Philosophy and Ethics
- Reflect on the "Dark Girls" documentary
- Reflect on how do our individual actions- daily habits, routines, and competencies help to reproduce the structure of the society
- Reflect on the 2010 Tamar Lewin's article "Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen.” What points do you agree/disagree with and why?
- Do you feel Strauss–Howe generational theory applies to you? Do you share any features commonly ascribed to your generation?
- Have you ever took part in study abroad programs? Did you experience a culture shock in any shape or form?
- Why do you think denial of genocides, such as the Holocaust, is illegal in some European countries? Do you see it as a legitimate measure to curb hate speech or an infringement of free speech?
- Do you believe anxiety is a recent problem caused by the pace of contemporary life, or it always existed under different names? Give examples from literature and historical documents.
- Reflect on the Civil Rights movement and its effects on the contemporary society
- Reflect on the “No Impact Man” documentary. Did you find it inspirational or discouraging? Do you think it addressed the issue objectively?
- Reflect on Romanticism and its impact on contemporary culture. Do you believe it’s obsolete, or we still look at the world through its lens?
- Some scientists are outspoken atheists, while others are religious. Does their position and whether it coincides with yours influence how you perceive their scientific input?
- Reflect on the phenomenon of urban legends. Have you ever believed in some urban legend and seen it as fact? Why do you think people keep creating them?
Reflective Writing Topics About Literature, Film, and Art
Art and literature are another fertile ground for reflection story ideas since the entire purpose of art is to change our perception of the world or at least one tiny aspect of it. This change is what you should primarily write about. Don’t confuse reflection about art with review or analysis!
- Reflect on the book by Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu, “The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government”
- Reflect on the book “Learning in Adulthood” and on the life-long learning as it applies to you
- Reflect on the film “The House I Live In”
- Choose four articles on the music industry and reflect on the themes they explore
- Reflect on Anna Quindlen’s short story “Monsters”
- What art means for you as an art major?
- Reflect on the film adaptation of a play
- Reflect on “Stranger in the Village” by James Baldwin
- Reflect on a book “The Mardu Aborigines” by Bob Tonkinson
- Reflect on the film “AI”
- Reflect on Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol and their contribution to American art
- Reflect on the film “Apollo 13.” How is team dynamic and problem-solving are portrayed there?
- Reflect on the gender roles portrayal in the television show "Gunsmoke"
- Was there a horror movie that had a lingering effect on you? Why do you think this happened?
- Reflect on a contemporary song. What themes it explores, what makes it popular? What made you choose it for the analysis?
That’s just a sliver of reflective essay diversity you can find in our database. Also, we can help you with personalized topic suggestions and customized samples. Don't hesitate to contact our support team for details. Feed your thoughts and stay inspired!