reflective essay

Guidelines for the Reflective Essay


The importance of reflection has been realized in education circles for a long time. John Dewey stated back in 1910 in his book, How We Think, that reflective thinking is an “active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge, of the grounds that support that knowledge, and the further conclusions to which that knowledge leads. Learners are aware of and control their learning by actively participating in reflective thinking – assessing what they know, what they need to know, and how they bridge that gap – during learning situations” (p. 11). You are called to do that in this course in the form of a short reflective essay as you look back on your undergraduate education in order to asses what you have learned about yourself and your area of study.


Reflection is a process of looking back, in an attempt to learn from your experiences and to use that learned experience to improve yourself over time. Looking back over the past few years of your course work in your general education courses and the course work in your major should help you in your job search and in deciding on your direction in the work world. Ask yourself how each learning experience has contributed to your professional development.


As you begin looking back and making judgments about what you have accomplished while at George Mason University, remember to reflect on what experiences prompted learning during complex problem-solving situations. This type of thinking will provide you with an opportunity to step back and examine how you solved problems and how a particular set of problem solving strategies assisted in helping you to achieve your goals (Lin, 1999). Writing about these life changing experiences can help you to learn what you have been thinking and can help you to focus your thinking toward your career goals. Ask yourself questions that seek reasons and evidence. Health care is becoming increasingly complex and information is changing more rapidly, prompting professionals in the field to constantly rethink, switch directions, and change problem-solving strategies (Moon, 1999).  Reflection will improve your these skills.


In this essay, discuss how your course requirements prompted you to develop strategies in applying new knowledge to complex situations in your learning activities. What higher-order thinking skills prompted you to a) relate new knowledge to prior understanding, b) think in both abstract and conceptual terms, c) apply specific strategies in novel tasks, and d) understand your own thinking and learning strategies? Share the information that you feel is important or has been most influential to your critical thinking and learning. Identify how your learning experiences have contributed to the accomplishment of your professional goals or to the enhancement of your skills.


This assignment requires self-assessment through your understanding of what you do well and what you still need to improve. Effective reflection will help you examine what you were thinking when you worked on each course. Reflect back on how your maturation as a learner developed throughout your undergraduate education. Explain how your learning is relevant to real-world situations and how it provides integrated experiences.  Use the following statements to guide you as you link your work to your professional growth throughout your program of study.


In writing this reflective essay you will:


  • Discuss how your learning contributed to who you are as a soon-to-be health care professional. (MY PROFFESTIONAL WILL BE HEALTH ADMINSTRATION)


  • Discuss how each learning experience links you with your professional skills or values.


  • Discuss how your learning magnifies your strengths as a health care professional.


  • Discuss how one of your program challenges helped you to acknowledge your weaknesses (MY WEAKNESS WAS SPEAKING IN PUBLIC) and tell what you have done to overcome them.


  • Reflect on what you have learned about your profession through your academic experiences.


  • Summarize how these experiences will create a positive impression of you as a health care professional (Reynolds, 2000).

Please limit the essay’s length to four pages – excluding title page, doubled-spaced using proper APA format.






Dewey, J, (1910). How We Think, Boston: D.C. Heath & Co.

Lin, X., Hmelo, C., Kinzer, C. K., & Secules, T. J (1999). Designing technology to support

reflection, Educational Technology Research & Development, 43-62.

Moon, J. A. (1999). Reflection in learning and professional development: Theory and practice.

London: Kogan Page.

Reynolds, N. (2000). Portfolio Teaching, A Guide for Instructors. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s.


HHS 465


Reflective Essay

20% of Assignment Grade


Evaluation Criteria


1. __________ 30       Demonstrates evidence of meaningful reflection.

  • Discusses how learning contributed to transformation from student to professional.


  • Discusses how academic study helped link self with professional skills or values.


  • Discusses how learning has magnified strengths

2___________10     Discusses how one program challenge helped to acknowledge personal weaknesses.

Explains what has been done to overcome them.


3. _________  20     Reflects on how academic experiences affected career choice.


4. __________20     Effectively summarizes how learning experiences have created a positive impression of self as a soon-to-be



5. _________  20     Apply principles of good composition including appropriate sentence structure and proper grammar.

Apply APA Format to this reflective Essay.  Include a title page.



Total Points /100 = ____          =    _________    Grade





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