Reflective Essay

Learn to tell your professional story by reflecting on your academic journey

The reflective essay portion of the portfolio is meant to help students articulate what they have learned, the skills they have developed along the way, and how these tools and experiences make them ideal candidates for the professional and academic opportunities to come after graduation from Bridgewater College

Integration and Experiential Learning

Here, you should reflect on how you have you grown academically and professionally as a result of engaging in outside-the-classroom and cocurricular experiences. Specific lessons and skills learned through study abroad, internships, and May Term travel courses would fit well in this section. Your work with students organizations and clubs, as well as other involvement in the BC community, can also be included here. Be sure to connect it all to your future academic and professional plans. Minimum of two (2) supporting artifacts required.

Engaging Diverse Perspectives

This section should delve into how you’ve encountered perspectives and ideas different from your own in your academic trajectory, and ways in which these helped you expand and enrich your own perspectives. Coursework and experiences from classes in literature, fine arts and music, social sciences and the humanities are typically good for reflection in this part of the essay. As mentioned above, be sure to connect your future professional plans to the work and experiences covered in this section. Minimum of one (1) supporting artifact required.

Public Discourse

This section of the reflective essay should take into account coursework and experiences in which you engaged in complex discussions. While most of your courses should have included a discussion component, in this part of your reflection you should recall discussion in class (or in co-curricular activities) that called for self-awareness, taking others’ perspectives seriously, problem-solving as part of a group, and where you improved your own response to conflict and disagreements. Consider how these experiences and challenges in public discourse have prepared you to be a stronger professional in your field. Minimum of one (1) supporting artifact required.

Global Citizenship and Intercultural Competencies

In this section, you should reflect on learning about cultures and customs other than your own, how global cultural elements coexist together in our globalized world, and how this intercultural knowledge will be an asset in your professional life after graduation. 

Coursework in World Cultures and Global Dynamics should be considered throughout this section, as well as co-curricular experiences that involved travel abroad and/or engagement with people from cultures different from your own. Minimum of one (1) supporting artifact required.

Ethical Reasoning

Whether designated E or not, many courses at Bridgewater College involve ethical reasoning. Any courses or college experiences in which you had to make a choice based on ethical considerations would fit well into this part of the reflective essay.

In this section, you should reflect on how you grew academically and professionally by considering issues, virtues, and principles from a normative point of view and articulating ethical perspectives to evaluate arguments and social behaviors. Be sure to reflect on how your ethical reasoning coursework and co-curricular work has prepared you to make ethical choices and assessments as a degree-holding professional in your field. Minimum of one (1) supporting artifact required.

Helpful Tips for a Better Reflective Essay


  • Reflect on your learning and the growth you have achieved in the past 4 years (2+ if you transferred)
  • Transfer students: Reflect on the work you did before coming to BC! Just be sure to connect it all together
  • Stay within the context of academics
  • Consider what you plan/wish to do after graduation and talk about it in your reflective essay
  • Seek help from the Writing Center
  • Hyperlink your artifacts directly onto your essay


  • Write a summary of assignments/classes
  • Use the essay as a therapy session for personal issues
  • Write just to hit the minimum word count
  • Leave it for the night before it’s due