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Reflection papers are almost always necessary when completing an internship or externship for college credit.  These papers are meant to provide an in-depth reflection and synopsis of the work and activities you completed during your internship. However, if you have an internship, you may likely be asked to write an internship reflection paper.

When writing a reflection paper, you will want to focus on which experiences truly stood out to you.  That is, which experience resonated with you and why did it resonate with you?  You will want to focus on the larger, more meaningful experiences that you gained at the internship.

What Is A Reflection Paper?

As given in its name, a reflection or reflective paper, is typically a description of a particular experience or event that you encountered while interning.  These papers are meant to provide a greater depth and understanding of the events and activities and should not be written as simply factual statements.

When writing a reflective paper, you don’t want to just focus on the facts.  We’re not saying to embellish them, but you should discuss how the facts or an occurrence or an activity made you feel and what you learnt.

Reflective papers are meant to be more personal.  You should open up about your experience and discuss what you learnt and how it affected you.  You want the reader to understand the experience and the activity, as-if it were happening to them.

How to Write A Reflection/Reflective Paper?

As this is a reflection paper on your own experience, you will want to keep it personal and provide details for those who weren’t there.  Again, you are reflecting on an activity or experience that changed or affected you.  Try to keep it personal and engaging, bringing the reader into your shoes.

Introduction

Responsibilities

Reflection papers for internships should begin with a brief list of the responsibilities.  That is, you should discuss what was expected of you during your time and what you were solely responsible for.

Skills Learned

What skills did you learn while you were on the internship?  How do you think those skills will help you in a real-world scenario?

Project Scope and Problems Encountered

Discuss what the scope of the project was.  What was the goal, where was the organization at achieving that goal?  From there, discuss any major or relevant problems that were encountered in reaching that goal.  These should be major problems and ones that could derail the success of the project.

What Were Your Expectations?

Again, this is a reflective paper, so discuss what your own expectations and goals were.  Did they align with the organization?  Why or why not?  Did you reach your own personal goals?  Why or why not?

Analysis of Internship

Overview

Now that you’ve captured the reader, discuss what the overview of the organization is.  What is their mission?  What work do they contribute frequently?  Or what work do they attempt to contribute?  Discuss how your project contributed to the larger mission.

What You Learned

Move on to discussing what you learned and what you experienced.  Keep the writing personal and moving, discussing how certain actions affected your work or your ability to get work done.

Ethical Considerations

In keeping it personal, were there any ethical considerations that were overlooked or not noticed?  Was there something that you would do differently?

Conclusion

Wrap-Up

Wrap-up your reflective paper discussing what you learnt, what you enjoyed, and how it helped you grow as an individual.  You can discuss whether or not you would return to the organization and what you wish you could change.

Course Relation

Lastly, discuss how the internship directly relates to your current class or classes.  How has the internship helped you understand your classes better and vice versa?

If you need additional help in writing up you reflection/reflective paper for an internship, feel free to check out these papers from students at Connecticut College which are very well done.

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