Persuasive Essays: 7 Helpful Examples and Topic Ideas for Students

Writing a persuasive essay can be fun, engaging—and tough. The topics below will give you a great jumping-off point for creating an argument.

Writing a persuasive essay requires you to convince your reader of your point of view. Choosing a topic for a persuasive essay can be challenging. When deciding on an essay topic, you’ll want to choose an issue that you feel passionately about, allowing you to share your opinion with conviction in your essay.

Choosing a persuasive essay topic isn’t just about figuring out how to convince your audience of your opinion—it’s also about putting in the time required to research the facts that back up your point. You’ll want to be sure you know your audience when you’re writing a persuasive essay

Here, we’ll look at some popular persuasive essay topics and some examples of essays that argue these points well.

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Persuasive Essay Examples

1. Universal healthcare provides Americans the security need in uncertain times by Jeremy C. Kourvelas

“Universal healthcare would free small business owners from having to provide coverage while simultaneously enhancing the freedom of the worker. Lifespans could be longer, people could be happier and healthier in systems that are simpler and more affordable. Losing your job is a direct threat to your health– the added stress alone can be caustic. Mental health coverage could be dramatically improved under universal coverage. It’s no surprise that every country with some form of universal healthcare is statistically happier than the United States.” 

No matter your view on whether universal healthcare is the right solution for America, be sure to understand both sides of the argument before beginning your persuasive essay. It would help if you touched on ideas to solve problems presented by the other side to create a well-formed argument. The idea of universal healthcare can be emotional for many, and it’s important to be as respectful as possible throughout your persuasive piece.

2. Gym class, recess can be critical learning components for children by Ellie Simpson

“Recess not only provides a time for children to play freely, engaging in physical activity at their own comfort level, but also contributes to cognitive growth. A student was able to focus better in the classroom after a recess break, leading them to be more stimulated by and involved in the lesson. This is true even when a majority of the recess time is spent socializing rather than engaging in high levels of physical activity. The free social interaction promotes this as well, especially in early education, helping students to develop positive social skills. The time, whether indoor or outdoor, promotes healthy emotional tendencies in a child as well. It allows students to have an outlet for stress or frustrations in the classroom, clearing their mind.” 

Childhood obesity contributes to many health problems and can make it harder for kids to grow into healthy adults later in life. Educators, parents, and students debate whether physical education should be a required part of a private or public school curriculum. While most people agree that physical activity is an important part of a child’s development, some believe that time in school should be spent on academic subjects rather than physical activity.

Be sure to delve into the studies behind whether gym class is effective for kids if you choose this persuasive essay topic. It can be tempting to rely on anecdotal stories, as many people have strong feelings about whether gym class was helpful for them in school. However, this can invalidate your argument. Using peer-reviewed studies to support your point is essential for making a strong argument.

3. Video game bans are unconstitutional, and they won’t prevent violent crimes by Daniel Ortner

“The argument that video games cause violence is not backed up by research. According to the Society for Media Psychology and Technology, the “research evidence available to date indicates that violent video games have minimal impact on violent activity in society.” Also, according to one study, discovering that a person committing a crime plays violent video games “is no more illustrative than discovering that he or she happened to wear sneakers or used to watch Sesame Street.”

From blood spatter to the degradation of women, many psychologists and educators have warned parents about violent video games’ effects on children. However, some video game enthusiasts believe that video game violence is over-hyped and not as serious of an issue as some people make it out to be. No matter what your opinion on the issue, you’ll find plenty of evidence to support both sides as you do your research for your persuasive essay.

4. School uniforms don’t improve child behavior, study finds by Jeff Grabmeier

“Despite the belief of many parents and teachers, school uniforms don’t seem to have any effect on young students’ behavior or attendance overall, a new national study found. But students who attended schools requiring school uniforms did report lower levels of “school belonging” in fifth grade than did students in schools without uniforms. The findings came from data on more than 6,000 school-age children.”

When you’re writing on an essay topic to which you feel personally connected, it’s fine to introduce your essay with a personal story. Be sure to back up your opinion with well-researched facts, even if you loved (or hated) or experienced wearing a uniform to school.

5. The Arguments for Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Ethical Reflections by Eduardo Rodriquez

“We have the right to avoid intolerable suffering and exert control over the way we die. Some authors believe there is a right to commit suicide and, therefore, to be free of unreasonable restrictions on the means by which one can exercise this right.”

Also known as assisted suicide, euthanasia is a hot topic in the medical community. During euthanasia, a person chooses to end their life with medical assistance. Many people who are interested in euthanasia are experiencing a long-term, terminal illness with no hope for recovery.

People who have received a terminal diagnosis may want to end their life while they’re still able to enjoy their time with family and friends, rather than passing away long after their quality of life has diminished. Some people believe that humans should not have a part in choosing when someone dies, while others believe that people who have a terminal illness should be allowed to choose whether they’d like to die peacefully through euthanasia.

6. Why The Legal Drinking Age Should Be Lowered To 18 By Lauren Hando

“No one wants to fall victim to any incident. If students were aware of their tolerance before entering college, they would be less likely to over-consume alcohol, which could lower the rate of crimes associated with alcohol consumption. While in Wisconsin, underage children can drink with their parents, this is not the case in all states. By making alcohol forbidden, underage people who want to experiment tend to be unaware of the consequences of drinking. If the legal drinking age was lowered to 18, people wouldn’t have to jeopardize their futures by obtaining and using false identifications.” 

In this essay, Hando considers whether the drinking age should be lowered to 18. If you decide to write an essay on lowering the drinking age, you may want to note the other things people can do when they turn 18, including voting, owning a firearm, and joining the military. 

7. Stop The Freakout Over Kids’ Screen Time By Kiera Butler

“Most of the studies on the negative mental health effects of screen time rely on caregivers’ iffy recollections of how much time children spent in front of a screen. And studies using brain imaging, experts told me, are also dubious, because of the incredible complexity of the cognitive process. Kate Mills, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Oregon, calls out studies that claim that exposure to screens increases the creation of dopamine, a chemical that is thought to play an important role in addiction. Mills explained that scans can show the brain releasing dopamine, but they can’t measure how much, which makes the findings practically meaningless.”

Ask any parent: screen time is a hot debate at the playground. Some parents believe that research shows that screen time is bad for little ones, but Butler discusses potential holes in the research and argues that screen time for kids may not be as bad as people think. If you decide to write on a topic backed up by research, be sure to fully read research studies and explain your reason, like Butler.

Interesting Persuasive Essay Topic Ideas

Consider the following persuasive essay topics as a jumping-off point for your piece of writing

1. Should Military Drafts Be Used In Times Of War?

Persuasive Essay topics: Should military drafts be used in times of war?
In your essay on whether drafts should be used in times of war, be sure to touch on times drafts have been used in the past

Military drafts allow countries to require citizens to serve in the military during the war. The idea of drafting people into the military is controversial, as many people believe that serving in the military should be a personal choice. Others feel that national security is more important than personal preference and that the needs of the military should override a person’s right to choose whether they serve in the military.

In your essay on whether drafts should be used in times of war, be sure to touch on times drafts have been used in the past. No matter your side of the argument, offer different ways to handle the need for additional military personnel in times of war.

2. Is Year-Round School Better Than Having Summers Off?

Teachers and students alike look forward to summers off from school, but many people now believe that going to school year-round allows for longer breaks and higher educational achievement. When writing about whether it’s better to have summers off or go to school year-round, look into the latest research. While it’s fine to lead into your persuasive essay with a personal anecdote, be careful not to rely too much on personal experience to make your argument

3. Should Parents Be Able To Use Genetic Engineering To Choose Their Unborn Child’s Traits?

While this idea may seem like a sci-fi scenario, it’s not too far off. Some people feel that allowing parents to choose their child’s genetic traits could lead to a world where children of the wealthy/privileged have even more advantages over those who are not as fortunate. Others believe that if parents have the money to choose genetic traits for their children, they should be able to do so.

When discussing whether genetic engineering makes sense for children, you may also want to talk about children in the adoption or foster care systems and how the possibility of genetically engineering a child could make it less likely that these children are adopted by families that want a child.

4. Should People Who Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle Pay Less For Health Insurance?

Persuasive Essay topics: Should people who maintain a healthy lifestyle pay less for health insurance
You may also want to discuss whether such a system could reward health improvement

Healthcare is expensive, and in the United States, many people struggle to make ends meet due to high health insurance premiums. Some people believe that people who take part in a healthy lifestyle (exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and see their physician for preventative care) should not have to pay as high of a health insurance premium as someone who does not participate in these activities.

When discussing this issue, be sure to touch on how these discounts could be handled for people who are disabled, have special health conditions, or otherwise struggle to participate in some of the aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You may also want to discuss whether such a system could reward health improvement (for example, offering a certain discount for a person lowering their BMI to a healthier level).

5. Is Life In America Today Better Than It Was 100 Years Ago?

Much has changed in the United States over the past 100 years, and some people argue that life today is more difficult than it was in the past. Many factors contribute to the complication of life today, including technology, transportation, economic issues, and more. Others argue that these factors make life simpler and more enjoyable today.

In your essay on whether life in America is better today than 100 years ago, it’s important to touch on how life has changed for people in minority groups over the last century. 

Tip: If writing an essay sounds like a lot of work, simplify it. Write a simple 5 paragraph essay instead.

For help with this topic, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing?