46 Great Essay Writing Topics for Students

Before you sit down to write, you need a topic, and these essay writing topics can help you get started.

Writing an essay is an important skill for high school and college students. Essays show a writer's ability to think through a topic, explore their point of view and persuade or inform others of that. Yet finding essay writing topics can feel vague. 

This list will help students find the right topic for a descriptive essay or argumentative essay. It outlines a number of hot topics that students can delve into in order to express their opinions and showcase their writing skills.

You can use these to practice your essay writing skills or as prompts for you or students.

Best Essay Writing Topics for Middle School Students

Great essay writing topics

If you are picking an essay for a 7th or 8th-grade student, the topic needs to be something that students in that age range are interested in. This will help them want to do the research and explore their ideas. This age range will often write expository essays or narrative essays, rather than persuasive ones.

Here are some essay topics to consider:

1. Is Climate Change Real?

Climate change is a hot topic with middle schoolers, and this essay topic idea lets them explore it. This essay topic can work well for a persuasive, informative, or cause-and-effect essay.

2. The Benefits (Or Drawbacks) of Homework 

Few middle school students enjoy homework, but this can be a great way to get them to dig into why the education system relies on homework. Students can give their opinion about the need for homework or why homework should be eliminated.

3. A Funny Childhood Memory

Middle school students who are not ready to write on argumentative essay topics can practice their English essay writing skills by writing about a funny thing that happened as a child. This topic should focus on entertaining, engaging storytelling. 

4. Video Game Addiction

Many young students spend a lot of time playing video games, and this can translate into an essay topic. Exploring the mental health effects of too much video gameplay is a good option. Ask them to write about games they live or spend too much time playing.

5. A Dog, Cat Or The Family Pet

Sometimes younger students find it difficult to write an entire essay about a challenging topic. If that's the case it's much easier to write an essay about something they're familiar with or spend time with every day. Often that's the family dog cat or pet. They can write about what this animal means to them.

6. My Summer Vacation

This is a staple choice of teachers everywhere, particularly after the summer break. All younger students can write essays easily enough about how they spent a few weeks of school what it is and where they went. Perhaps it was time with a family member or a best friend?

There is a good reason that many elementary and middle school teachers assign this as a writing assignment at the start of school.

7. A Personal Victory or Success

A student could start writing this essay by writing about when they felt like all was lost. Then, they could describe how picked themselves up off the dirt and achieved a victory.

8. What Will Life Be Like In 2050?

Will we find solutions to the problems we face today, like poverty and homelessness? Will technology enrich our lives further or be the cause of new issues?

Many young students often think about the future, and this topic allows them to let their imagination run loose.

This way they can express their ideas on how the world will look like in a few decades. It also gives you insight into the child's personality. Do they see the positives in everything, or are they a bit more realistic?

9. A Trip To The Museum

As children, we loved going to the museum. Even today, it's interesting to look at historical art, sculptures, and old vehicles. 

This essay topic works exceptionally well right after a school holiday. Maybe the young student just witnessed some of the best historical pieces. Writing about this topic allows them to reconnect with the emotion they felt.

In this essay, ask students what they liked most about visiting the museum, important lessons they learned, and how they felt in the moment.

10. Describe Meeting A Famous Person

We all have favorite celebrities that we'd love to meet. This could be an actor, musician, or athlete.

In this essay topic, ask students to describe what it's like to meet a famous person. How would they feel, what questions would the student ask them, and what activities would they do together.

By asking your student to write the essay as descriptively as possible, they'll experience the positive emotions associated with meeting their idol.

Controversial Essay Writing Topics for Older Students

As they enter high school and college, students should start transitioning from informative essays to persuasive ones. Controversial essay topics are a good way to do this. They help students develop their critical thinking skills and learn how to reason an argument. The below topics the bill well:

10. Why the Sale and Production of Tobacco Should Get Banned

Few people would argue about the health benefits of tobacco, yet it remains a top-selling product. This essay would explore the benefits of banning the sale of the product altogether.

11. Should Every Country Have the Death Sentence?

The death sentence is definitely a controversial ethical and social issue. This essay topic would explore whether or not it is a good way to punish for serious crimes and the benefit or drawback of adding it to every country across the globe.

12. Is Homeschooling Better or Worse than Public School?

Homeschooling is growing in popularity, and this school essay topic would explore the benefits or drawbacks of this particular school choice. It may pull from personal experience if the student homeschooled. 

13. Is The US Election Process Fair?

Elections are an essential part of our lives. It gives us the power to determine who'll govern our country. However, is the election process fair?

In the essay, your student will get an opportunity to voice their ideas, describe what changes they'd like to see, and how those changes will positively impact the nation.

This essay topic requires more research, and students walk away with knowledge that can help them in the long term.

14. How Can We Reduce Climate Change?

Climate change is a serious topic that impacts everyone's life. Sea levels are rising, which makes it difficult for animals like polar bears to survive.

When writing about this essay topic, students will have to research the effect of climate change, what causes it, and how to reduce its impact.

This requires logical thinking and creativity. It'll encourage students to come up with a plan of action. Maybe they'll limit the number of carbon emissions released by companies, promote solar power, or decrease the price of energy-efficient appliances.

Persuasive Essay Topics for Older Students

Persuasive essays work to convince a reader of the writer's point of view. These topics lend themselves well to a great essay that focuses on persuasion.

15. Why Soda Should Not Be on Fast Food Kids Meals

Fast food kids meals target young consumers, and soda is often included. Making junk food a way of life contributes to childhood obesity, and this topic could explore alternatives to soda for these kid-centered meals.

16. Illegal Immigrants Should Not Be Jailed

When people enter a country illegally, putting them in jail does not solve the problem. Instead, alternative punishments or even help with attaining legal immigrant status can reduce the strain on an overloaded system while also helping these individuals become part of society. 

17. Breastfeeding in Public Should Be Considered Normal

Babies need breast milk to survive, yet many places in society frown on women feeding their babies in public. This essay topic would explore why this is an outdated and unhealthy idea.

18. Why Gun Control Is Needed

The best topics for persuasive essays are ones that are a little controversial. Gun control fits the bill well, and it can be a good topic for an essay. Other topics include alcohol, drugs and, in some cases, religion. That said, it depends on the nature of your students and school.

19. A Turning Point In Your Life

All the students can typically point to an occasion or life event when their worldview or concept that themselves changed ask them to write about a defining life experience.

20. Should Religion Be Taught In Schools?

This essay topic is for older students and adults learners who can take a thoughtful but critical stance on the role of religion in school’s today. Should it be taught or removed from schools and why?

21. Recycling Should Be Compulsory

The average American produces 1,704 pounds of garbage per year. Most of this is thrown in landfills, which can be equally as damaging to the environment as littering. Oceans are also filled with plastic that negatively affects the lives of marine life.

However, if we can recycle all that waste, we won't damage the environment. This essay topic encourages older students to research recycling and the pros and cons of making it mandatory. 

22. Colleges Are Becoming Business Driven

Getting a tertiary education is essential. It allows you to learn a marketable skill that other people pay you for. 

However, private colleges are becoming more common, leading people to think that these institutions are more focused on making money.

When writing about this topic, students need to research the cost of college tuition, how this high price negatively impacts your adult lives, and how the government can fix it.

Compare and Contrast Essays for Older Students

This type of essay compares two like or unlike things, drawing ways they are the same or different. It's useful as it provides structure for aspiring essayists that they can use to outline a longer work. Some ideas include:

23. Homework vs. Class Assignments

Which has more value, homework or assignments completed in class? This essay topic would explore the contrast between these two types of school assignments. For fun, give it to students to complete in class… and then ask them to revise it at home.

24. Social Media Vs. In-Person Interaction

Social media can keep people connected, but the increased push for social media connection can detract from in-person communication. This essay would explore the contrast between the two types of communication.

25. Physical Education Vs. Nutritional Education

Both exercise and diet play a role in health. This essay topic would explore the impact of both through the education system.

26. Life Before And After The Internet

Older students and adult learners can remember a time before we spend so much time. Is life any better now that we spend so much time connected to the Internet? This essay explores what it means to be always connected.

27. Right Side Vs Left Side of the Brian Thinkers

The right side of the brain thinkers are typically more creative and artistic. The left side of the brain thinkers are analytical and mathematical. What’s more useful in today’s society? What can each type learn from their counterpart?

28. Tea Vs Coffee

Caffeine is a staple for many students and workers. It gives you a boost of energy in the morning, which allows you to get more done. It also helps if you have a test coming up and need to study hard.

However, larger amounts of caffeine are known to cause heart palpitations, anxiety, and increased stress.

In this essay, students look at the benefits and drawbacks of tea and coffee. It empowers them with knowledge on when to limit their consumption.

29. Fashion Today Vs 20 Years Ago

Fashion is constantly changing. What looked cool 20 years ago might look weird today. Older students will also notice how their fashion choices changed from middle school to high school and from high school to college.

In this essay, students talk about what causes this change and how long it takes for the public to accept a specific style.

Narrative Essay Topics for Older Students

Sometimes an everyday life experience can make great essay material, and writing about your own life means less risk of plagiarism. Here are some ideas:

30. First Day of School Memories

The first day of school in a new school can be the fodder for a number of personal stories about school life and the social aspects of it. Writers can capture those emotions in this type of essay. It's also a good type of essay to write as it can serve as a gateway into other types of writing like a memoir.

31. A Memorable Act of Kindness

If someone did something for you once that really stood out, transform that into an essay topic. You will enjoy remembering the action while creating your essay.

32. Your Best or Worst Holiday

What you did or didn't do on your summer vacation as a child can be a great starting point for a narrative essay. Older students can use this essay prompt to write about past experiences and reflect on them beyond simply reportage.

33. An Experience with Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be positive or negative, but everyone has experienced it. This essay would explore a time when peer pressure made you do something, or not do something, and what the effect of that decision was.

34. A surprising Event or Change of Fortune.

Was this change in your life for the best or the worst, and how did you respond? Describe in detail.

35. Your First Teacher

When you first met your mentor, teacher or guide. How did you respond to them, and what did they have to show you? Similarly, a student could also write an essay about a teacher they shunned or turned away from.

36. Your Idea Of The Perfect Day

When waking up in the morning, we all strive to have the perfect day. Ask students how their perfect day will look like, what activities they’d do, and with who.

By being as descriptive as possible, students picture the perfect day in their minds. This improves students’ storytelling skills and helps them structure events in chronological order.

37. Imagine A Week Without The Internet Or Technology

This fun experiment gives students insight into how reliant they are on technology and how their life will look without it.

By imagining this week in their heads, it'll give them an idea of what other activities they'll engage in. This could be working out, socializing, or learning a new skill.

38. A Day You Overcame Rejection

Rejection is something everyone must face at some point. Few things are scarier than rejection. But when you overcome it, you get a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

For example, this could be asking that cute guy or girl out on a date or applying for a job at your dream company.

Informative Essay Topics for Older Students

Sometimes the goal of an essay is not to persuade but to inform. Informative or expository essay topics need to have a lot of information behind them, so students have something to write about.. These topics lend themselves well to that:

39. How is Global Warming Changing the Environment

Global warming has many effects, and this essay topic would explore those thoroughly. The goal is simply to inform, not persuade or create change.

40. The Causes of World War II

Exploring the causes behind a global war, like World War II, can create a long essay. You can spin this essay topic easily enough by picking other historical events.

41. What Is Racism, and How Are People Sometimes Unaware of It?

Racism is a hot topic today, and this essay would explore how it can often hide in someone's way of thinking. 

42. Does Free Will Exist?

A popular essay topic in many philosophy and art classes, this is an open-ended subject. A student can use it to explore their personal philosophy and develop their critical thinking skills.

Check out this list for other philosophy questions.

43. What Reading Means to Me

Becoming a better writer means spending a lot of time reading great books. One of the best ways to encourage reading is asking readers and students to reflect on why they love reading what they learned from previous books. It's good subject matter for an essay too.

44. The Role Of Journalists and the Media

Many people are skeptical and or don't trust news produced by journalists. But are they right? Surely there is a bar between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources? In this essay, explore how to tell good journalism apart from bad journalism.

45. Animal Testing Should Be Banned

When testing products to see if it's safe for humans, scientists will run tests on animals. However, this testing isn't only cruel but ineffective. Animals don't get certain diseases that humans do. This includes HIV, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and certain types of cancers.

In this essay, students must conduct research and present a case for why animal testing is unethical.

46. Why Do Teenagers Commit Suicide?

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 to 24. This is a complex topic since there could be several different factors at play. Some of these include bullying, abuse, and traumatic stress.

When writing this essay, students will be encouraged to dig deeper into the main reasons why teenagers commit suicide and how we can help them as a community. This spreads awareness and gets people to take positive action.

A Final Word on the Best Essay Writing Topics

Whether you are a high school student writing an essay for homework or you are sitting down to write a college essay as you apply for school, procrastination often occurs because you do not know what to write about. Having a list of topics handy will help. 

To choose a topic, first, decide what type of essay you need to write. Then, browse this list of writing topics to find one that is interesting to you, or use the list to think of a different, similar topic. Soon you will have an essay that is engaging and informative that can showcase your writing abilities well. 

If you need more inspiration, check out our guide to the 101+ best writing prompts.

FAQs About the Best Essay Writing Topics

What are some topics for a persuasive essay?

Persuasive essays require a controversial topic in order to give the writer the freedom to write in a persuasive manner. Some good topics for these essays include:
Soda in fast food meals
Breastfeeding in public
Using jail to deter illegal immigrants
Banning cell phones for young children

What are some good topics for an essay?

Some good topics for an essay include:
Gun control
Social media
Personal experiences
Health
Social issues
A life event

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Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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