Outline for essay writing

Reflective Essay Outline

Learning how to write a reflection paper and a reflective essay outline is something that you are going to face throughout the entirety of your school career. While writing might not be everyone’s strong suit, with this guide available at your fingertips, you will be confident enough how to write a reflective essay and a reflective essay outline that are certain to satisfy the requirements set forth by your teacher or professor.

While you are making your way through grade school or college, it is inevitable that you will at one point be required to write an effective self reflection essay that will grab you that ‘A’ or ‘B’ that you so desperately crave to get through school with the utmost success. If you happen to be in college, the number of essays you are required to produce is increased. One such assignment that you might find yourself facing once or twice throughout grade school and college is the reflection essay. Below we will discuss exactly what comprises a reflection essay and how you can truly get your voice heard.

Defining the self-reflection essay and learning how to start a reflection paper

A reflective essay is exactly what it sounds like—it is a paper that describes live events and experiences that you have endured – good and bad – that have helped shape the person you are today. One of the most important things you need to know when learning about how to write a reflection paper is that the meat of your assignment is going to rely heavily on the personal details that surround the experiences or events that you are discussing. So, specific details are going to be the foundation of your self-reflection essay.

While we conquer the journey of constructing a solid self reflection essay and a reflective paper outline, we must remember that it is highly important to take a stance and make our views and beliefs clear in reference to the life experience/s we choose to share when writing a reflection paper. The majority of academic writing has the same structural guidelines, reflective essays included. Below we will go over what a solid reflective essay outline looks like and how to start a reflection paper.

The reflective essay outline and how to structure your essay properly

If you want to how to write a reflective essay and a complementing reflective essay outline, you can at least take solace in the fact that the structure and reflection essay outline for this paper is fairly straightforward, leaving you with wiggle room to write your assignment at a comfortable speed without a ton of restrictions. This differs of course if your teacher or professor has given you an outline they want you to use. In this situation, you are going to want to follow the instructions given to you by the instructor. However, even if you have guidelines for a reflective essay outline keep reading; there are still some tips and tricks we are going to let you in on that will benefit your reflective writing capabilities in the long-run.

So, assuming you are not a student with an assigned outline, there are only a few steps to creating your reflective essay outline, and as it was already mentioned, it is very similar to the outline for many other academic pieces. All you need to do to start a reflective essay is the following:

  • Create a specific, detailed introduction that draws your readers in
  • Fill out most of your reflection essay with a body full of details and information regarding the personal situations you are focusing on
  • A neatly written conclusion

For those who are strong in their writing skills, this form of reflective paper outline will more than likely be enough. However, if you are finding it difficult to come up with enough content to complete your paper through an outline, below you will find a much more in-depth form of an outline. These guidelines should successfully shake loose all of those vital details and emotions needed to create an enjoyable piece that others can learn from.

1. A direct and detailed introduction that captivates your readers and makes them want to complete the rest of your paper

2. An effective body of work that will both keep your readers interested and hanging on to reach the conclusion of your self-reflection essay. Some of this content may include:

  • Firsthand experiences or events that you are sharing with your audience
  • Details about these experiences like how they impacted your life in the long-run as well as how it affected others in your life
  • Specific information about how these individual experiences shaped you and what you learned from them

3. A conclusion that restates your main point along with more information about what you took away from going through these situations. Ideally, your conclusion is going to leave a lasting impact on your audience.

When you are writing a paper such as this, it is important to remember that the reflective essay outline I shared above is fluid. This means that due to the nature of the paper, reflection paper outline we presented here is not going to limit your creativity, but instead provide a structure for you to insert your ideas, emotions, and experiences in an organized manner. While it is not necessary to construct a reflective essay outline, we can guarantee that it will benefit the end result of your reflective essay. Ultimately, if you follow these guidelines you should be able to create a polished product that will have all of its readers hungry to get through the entire piece.

Properly structuring a self-reflection essay

Now that you are beginning to wrap your brain around how to write a reflective essay, you should take note that structuring your essay according to your reflection paper outline relies heavily on three sections:

The introduction

Since this type of essay is very personal and based around your intimate experiences and situations, you need to make sure that your voice is heard, loud and clear, throughout the entirety of the introduction. Your introduction must be both direct and intimate, with a clear purpose and a definite main point. Details such as when and where these events occurred will go far in the way of communicating an experience with which the reader can empathize and delve into the true meaning of it all. If perchance you are writing this article in an informal format, then it is not required of you to be direct about your experiences. In an academic setting, however, you must be direct.

Within the body you must clarify the main point presented in the introduction, detailing the impact your experiences had on you and those around you. While writing the body of your reflective essay, you want to focus on including content that is going to engage your readers. So often this goes overlooked, and readers get lost in disinterest.

Specific details surrounding your experience are a must for a solid and gripping body that will make your readers NEED to continue truly hearing your words. This is a good place to be demonstrative of your experiences and what you learned from them. Adding depth to the emotion involved in these events will certainly grab your reader’s attention.

The conclusion

Basically, anyone who has written a paper understands a conclusion. However, in a reflection essay, you want to make certain that you clearly communicate what you learned from the experiences you – hopefully – detailed in the previous text. More importantly, however, you want to ensure a conclusion that returns to the main point. You never want to lose the main point of your essay or any body of work for that matter.

Ensuring you ‘make the grade’

Since practically all essays carry some level of stress, creating something from your own subjective experiences takes bravery and honesty, and it can be rather personally involved. This important learning experience will ultimately make you more confident in your writing. Sharing such personal events need not be embarrassing; remember, everyone else in your class is doing the same. If you dedicate yourself to the guidelines laid out in front of you, we promise you will receive the grade you seek while possibly learning a bit about yourself.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A good compare and contrast essay should:

  • State the unknown
  • Clear up all sort of misunderstanding
  • Show how one thing is different from the other
  • Show a new way of seeing, doing and understanding a particular issue
  • Explain a point and provide supportive facts

To help you in understanding the process much better, here are some of the guidelines that you’ll need to remember:

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: A Point-By-Point Organization

By point-by-point, we merely mean a comparison that concentrates on comparing and contrasting one factor in both subjects, and all at the same time! As a reader, you’ll quickly follow its simple structure. You’ll find that to keep things as simple, an outline has three parts:

  • The introduction
  • The main body – Here, you should include all the differences in the two subjects
  • Conclusion

The Presentation of Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

This is the part where you present your topic in broad and specific terms. You’ll also need to state your thesis statement here. What is a thesis statement? Well, it’s merely the basis of the ideas in your essay!

Below are some of the three elements you’ll want to include in your thesis statement:

An Introduction To The Main Idea

While introducing your crucial point, the best way is to begin with a hook line. You should then write the points of concern in your topic. A compare and contrast essay outline example such as comparing and contrasting two dogs, Molly and Morgan may sound something similar to this:

Do opposite poles attract? Well, the principle of attraction states that they do. However, I don’t think this great phenomenon is meant only for humans. It’s not even subject to romantic feelings. Dogs with shockingly different characteristics and behaviors form personal attachments from time to time.”

It Contains Certain Subjects To Compare And Contrast

After that, you’ll need to specify what or who you are comparing and contrasting. Do this under the theme and main topic. Proceeding on from our Molly and Morgan example, the next sentences would probably sound like this:

I have some of the best dogs in my household. The fact that they are dogs shows that they are similar in many features. Interestingly, such is not the case with Molly and Morgan. Molly is a huge bully who loves to lick, pounce and paw at both humans and canines until she wins. On the other hand, Morgan is a smaller 50-pound loveable dog who always seems satisfied with what’s going on. Despite such differences, both dogs possess a strong bond.”

The Thesis Statement

To finally end your introduction, you’ll need to present your main point with clarity. The best way to do this is to express all the things that you’re comparing and contrasting. Such offers a perfect idea of the direction which your essay is taking. In our compare and contrast essay outline example, the thesis statement concentrates on three characteristics of Molly and Morgan:

It is clear that Morgan and Molly differ in the manner in which they accessorize, the toys that they use and how they spend their leisure time. Despite this, both have a strong ‘sister’ bond shown through frequent and long cuddling sessions.”

Are you struggling with your introduction? Well, it’s the toughest part, and it’s always good to feel relieved once you’re through. The trick to writing an impressive debut is to still write it as your last piece of text.

Paragraph and Body Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

While still concentrating on the three aspects in our Molly and Morgan thesis statement, arrange your body in three paragraphs. An organized outline for compare and contrast essay paragraphs comes with a good number of points. You’ll need to show the differences and similarities of each:

Body paragraph one – Here, you’ll include the main paragraph idea. Let us look at a good example:

First, the difference between Morgan and Molly is how they accessorize. While both dogs tend to help each other on matters of fashion, none of them share a similar style.”

Body paragraph two:

Another interesting difference between these lovely girls is playing with their variety of toys. Both of them guard their favorites, but their choices do not match their personalities.”

Body Paragraph three – one the third part of your body paragraph, you should wind up on the last part included in your thesis. You can do it like this:

The last difference is the way in which they handle their leisure time. Specifically, this is their ability to relax while not ignoring all manner of distraction.”

As we wind up on the body section of your compare and contrast essay, it’s essential to note some few things. First, you can include as many paragraphs as possible depending on the ideas that you have. Second, outline and explain your points in a straightforward manner.

The Conclusion to Your Compare and Contrast Essay

After the tedious process of having to arrange your points in organized and quick fashion, the conclusion is just the ‘icing on the cake.’ Remember that you’ve already nailed down a captivating thesis statement and properly arranged your paragraphs. Now, all you have to do is put all these factors together using three simple areas:

Summarising The Main Points

As you wind up, you’ll need to carefully summarize your main points. However, this is more than just any other simple conclusion. Here, you’ll need to bring together information in your thesis and that of your body paragraphs.

Still following our Molly and Morgan example, we can start our first conclusion statements with something which sounds like:

In conclusion, all these aspects show how Morgan and Molly handle their lives in separate yet exciting ways. While Morgan loves rawhide bones, sleeping throughout the day and relaxing, Molly is a different kind of girl. She likes to play around with baseball caps, sit around in a rather bored manner and even cuddle with dolls.”

Evaluation

The next step is a simple analysis of all that you’ve written down. You can even go ahead and mention some future developments. Keep in mind that the main purpose of your conclusion is to answer one particular question, “What does all this mean?”

As you write this part, remember that your conclusion should complete a whole circle going back to your introduction. A properly drafted evaluation will go like this:

In some cases, their differences show their personalities. Molly is a brute while Morgan is an adorable sweetheart. These differences also show that these girls may also stray from their normal behavior. This is notable in the way in which they play with their toys. All in all, these characteristics do not hinder their attraction. Although they have a different fashion sense, love to play with different objects, and like to enjoy a good relaxation session, they still adore one another and cuddle at each opportunity.”

Why Is It Essential To Have An Organized And Clear Outline For Your Compare And Contrast Essay?

There are several reasons on why an orderly outline for compare and contrast essays is crucial to your overall writing success. Here are just some of the critical factors you’ll need to put your fingertips:

  • An organized outline shows that you are a professional
  • It helps you to hold your ideas in a systematic order!
  • As a student, it acts as your bridge to scoring good grades
  • It saves you on time by helping you arrange your thoughts
  • It ensures that you mention the critical points if not all!

An organized outline gives the chance to streamline your thoughts and brainstorm over what you are actually going to write. This is important since it will guide you on what to cover so you’ll waste no time thinking of what to write next when you start on your essay.

Conclusion

  • Your essay should connect and talk to your audience in a friendly and professional tone
  • Avoid saying too much. Instead, keep your ideas short and straight to the point
  • Take your time before writing your introduction
  • Your thesis statement is the foundation of your essay. It should be bright and adequately highlighted

The last point to always remember is that you can never get better at writing without practice. Even the simplest compare and contrast essays require constant writing and perfection!

Outline for essay writing

The more structured your outline is, the better organized and easier to write your essay will be. A well-structured essay outline helps you travel from point to point in your composition, creating a natural flow for the reader until you bring the «punch line» home in the summary or conclusion.

Begin your outline by deciding whether to use the more traditional I, II, III, and IV outline markers, use headings w/o any markers or a combination of both. The title should be at the top of your paper and everything else will fall below it.

I. The Introduction — why you chose this topic or your premise /thesis and/or the conclusion you hope to prove in the body (A). Enter the points you will cover (B).

I. Introduction
A. Premise/Thesis
B. Statement of points
II. Body
A. Point 1
1. Supporting Information
2. Supporting Information
B. Point 2
Supporting Information
Supporting Information
III. Conclusion/Summary
A. Summary of supporting information
B. Conclusion reached
(Restatement of premise)
IV. Citations

II. The Body — Use the points as subheadings. (A, B, C, etc.) Under each point, list the information that supports or elaborates on each point (1, 2). This information will make up your essay body.

III. The Conclusion — The summary of your supporting information (A) should show how you reached your (B) conclusion.

IV. Citations — List your citations. (If you used outside sources of information)

In addition to helping you organize your thoughts, an essay outline also helps you plan the length of your paper. In fact, a good outline can make writing an essay as simple as filling in the blanks.

An essay outline can even help you determine the length of each paragraph. Especially in cases where you are limited to a number of pages or assigned a word count, you can use an essay outline to break the structure into percentages or words.

Writing an essay outline can be as easy as you want to make it. Using an essay outline helps you organize your thoughts from beginning to end and makes sure you don’t leave any important parts out of the middle!