Student and mentor reviewing a paper in front of a computer

Reflective Cover Essay

The Writing Center

Watch the workshop below from Dr. Amanda Warren to learn more about writing a successful reflective essay. 

The reflective cover essay is in many ways the most important element of the WPP. This is your opportunity to introduce the evaluators to yourself and your work and to connect the artifacts in your portfolio with your experiences as a student and a writer. This reflection should take the form of a fully developed essay with at least an introduction, a conclusion, and a body paragraph for each of the elements in your portfolio. It should not be a list. 

A successful reflective cover essay will include the following:

  1. In your introduction, you should include background information about your college career both at USC Aiken and at any other universities or colleges that you may have attended. What is your major? Do you have a minor? Are you a non-traditional student? Are you an athlete? Do you have military experience? Do you have a job besides your career as a student?
  2. Also in your introduction, you should mention each of the essays that you are including in your WPP and briefly (in a sentence or two) connect each to your major/minor and your college experience as both a student/writer.
  3. Your body paragraphs should focus on each of the essays that you have selected for inclusion in your WPP. For each of the artifacts in your WPP, you should discuss why you selected that particular paper for your portfolio and how it shows your growth as a writer. This discussion should include the course you wrote the paper for (including the instructor’s name), a detailed summary of the assignment, and revisions you have made to the paper. Try to talk about how each essay reflects the rubric.
  4. In your conclusion, you should talk about your progress as a writer and a student over the course of your time at USC Aiken. You should talk about what you hope to accomplish with your degree. How does the writing in your WPP connect with your time as a student and your aspirations after college?

Your Reflective Cover Essay must be double-spaced. You should carefully proofread your reflective cover essay because this paper will set the expectation for the entire WPP.  Poor cover essays have revealed odd paragraph development, pronoun reference errors, subject-verb disagreement, incorrect sentence structures, and typographic, spelling, punctuation, capitalization mistakes.

NOTE: If you fail to achieve the minimum benchmark score on your first submission and are deemed eligible to resubmit your WPP (and you elect to do so), the Reflective Cover Essay becomes even more important. Particular attention must be paid to revisions made to the originally submitted papers. You must explain why and how you revised each paper.