Essay Topics and Ideas

If you are about to start writing your essay but don’t have a topic yet, consider the following list of suggested essay topics and ideas.

We divided all the essay topics into several categories to make it easier for you to find the right one. The first batch is divided by essay type and the second one by education level.

You can take the topic as is, but we recommend you use it as a reference or inspiration to come up with your own variant.

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Topics by Essay Type

Your essay topic largely depends on what essay type you need to write. Here are some of the most common types of essays and examples of interesting essay topics for each type.

Analysis

An analysis essay is the most common essay assigned to literature classes. You can be asked to analyze an author’s use of specific devices or a character’s development throughout the story.

When choosing your essay topic, make sure you pick something that falls within your area of interest – it will make writing much easier.

Here are ten examples of essay topics for analysis essays:

  1. How is the character of Scout developed in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”?
  2. What literary devices are used in Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”?
  3. How does William Golding develop the theme of savagery vs. civilization in his novel “Lord of the Flies”?
  4. Analyze the use of symbols in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
  5. What is the author’s purpose in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien?
  6. How does J.D. Salinger develop the theme of innocence in “The Catcher in the Rye”?
  7. What does the ending of “The Great Gatsby” mean?
  8. How does the theme of betrayal develop in Shakespeare’s play “Othello”?
  9. Analyze the use of irony in Oscar Wilde’s short story “The Happy Prince.”
  10. What is the author’s purpose in “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift?

Argumentative

An argumentative essay presents arguments on both sides of a given topic. In an argumentative essay, you must take a position and defend it using evidence and reasoning.

The main goal of an argumentative essay is to convince your audience that your opinion is valid. Therefore, when choosing among argumentative essay topics, look for something that can be argued from different perspectives and proven with facts.

Here are ten essay topics for argumentative essays:

  1. Is homeschooling a good or bad idea?
  2. Should students be required to wear uniforms to school?
  3. Is year-round schooling a good or bad idea?
  4. Are single-sex schools better than co-ed schools?
  5. Is the SAT or ACT more important for college admissions?
  6. Should colleges be free to attend?
  7. Is online education as good as traditional classroom education?
  8. Should college athletes be paid as professional athletes?
  9. Should the voting age be lowered?
  10. Are zoos cruel or necessary?

Cause and Effect

A cause and effect essay is a type of essay that explores the causes and effects of a particular event, situation, or phenomenon.

The primary purpose of this writing type is to explain why something happens (the cause) and what the results are (the effect). When writing a cause and effect essay, it’s important to remember that causation is not the same as correlation. That is, just because two things are related does not mean that one thing caused the other. The cause must come before the effect.

Here are ten examples of essay topics for cause and effect essays:

  1. The effects of social media on society
  2. The causes of global warming
  3. The effects of childhood obesity
  4. The causes of the American Civil War
  5. The effects of the Industrial Revolution
  6. The causes of World War I
  7. The effects of the Holocaust
  8. The causes of the Great Depression
  9. The effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
  10. The effect of bullying on mental health

This essay type can also be helpful when exploring complex issues that have multiple factors.

Classification

A classification (and division) essay is a type of essay that presents a clear and concise explanation of a complex issue. The main purpose of this essay type is to sort things into categories and provide examples of each.

When writing a classification essay, it’s important to choose a topic that can be easily divided into categories. For example, you wouldn’t want to write about all the different types of animals in the world because that would be too broad.

Instead, you might choose to write about all the different types of cats or all the different types of dogs.

Here are some essay topics that could be chosen for classification essays:

  1. Cats
  2. Dogs
  3. The Different Types of Sports Fans
  4. The various types of Teachers
  5. Music Genres
  6. Television Shows
  7. Vacation Spots
  8. Types of Shoppers
  9. Kinds of Students in College
  10. Snowboarding Tricks

For each of these essay topics, you could create a separate category for each item on the list.

Compare and Contrast

A compare and contrast essay is a type of essay that explores the similarities and differences between two or more topics. The main purpose of this essay type is to see how two things are similar or different.

When writing a compare and contrast essay, it’s important to choose two or more topics that can be compared and contrasted.

For example, you might compare and contrast two different types of cats or two different types of dogs. You could also compare and contrast two different historical periods or two different fictional characters.

Here are ten essay topics for compare-and-contrast essays:

  1. Compare and contrast the two major political parties in the United States.
  2. Compare and contrast two different religions.
  3. Compare and contrast two different economic systems.
  4. Compare and contrast the education systems in two different countries.
  5. Compare and contrast the healthcare systems in two different countries.
  6. Compare and contrast the criminal justice systems in two different countries.
  7. Compare and contrast the immigration policies of two different countries.
  8. Compare and contrast the welfare systems of two different countries.
  9. Compare and contrast the military policies of two different countries.
  10. Compare and contrast the foreign policies of two different countries.

While there are many different ways to compare and contrast two or more things, the most important part is ensuring that your essay follows a corresponding structure.

Descriptive

A descriptive essay is a type of essay that uses words to describe a person, place, or thing. The main purpose of this essay type is to provide readers with a detailed and clear description of something.

When writing a descriptive essay, it’s important to choose a topic that can be described in detail. For example, you wouldn’t want to write a description of the entire world.

Instead, you might write a description of your hometown or a specific place you have been to.

Here are ten essay topics for descriptive essays:

  1. Your favorite place
  2. A place you always avoid
  3. The house in which you grew up
  4. The place where you had your first kiss
  5. A place that is haunted
  6. An abandoned building
  7. The zoo in my town
  8. A mountain or an ocean
  9. A field of flowers
  10. Your favorite restaurant

When writing a descriptive essay, it’s important to use vivid language. This means using words that create images in the reader’s mind.

Expository

An expository essay is a type of essay that uses facts to explain something. The main purpose of this essay type is to provide readers with information about something (expose).

When writing an expository essay, it’s important to choose a topic that can be explained in detail. For example, you wouldn’t want to write about something too general.

Instead, you might write about a specific event that happened in your life or a specific person you know.

Here are ten expository essay topics for your reference:

  1. The history of your favorite holiday
  2. How to make your favorite food
  3. What it’s like to be a doctor
  4. What it’s like to live in a different country
  5. How to play your favorite sport
  6. What it was like to witness a natural disaster
  7. How a bill becomes a law
  8. What it’s like to be a celebrity
  9. How to overcome your fear of public speaking
  10. How to improve your critical thinking skills

When dealing with expository essays, it’s essential to use accurate and reliable information. This means using facts and data from reliable sources.

Informative

An informative essay is a type of essay that provides readers with information about a particular topic. The main goal of this type of essay is to educate readers.

When choosing a topic for an informative essay, it’s important to choose one that you’re interested in and can provide reliable information about. For example, you might choose to write about a new law that has been passed or a new medical breakthrough.

Here is a list of ten informative essay topics:

  1. How to write a resume
  2. The different types of doctor
  3. What goes into making a video game
  4. How social media affects our lives
  5. The dangers of texting and driving
  6. How the innovations of the past decade affect us now
  7. How to reduce stress in your life
  8. The different types of therapy
  9. How to eat healthy on a budget
  10. How illegal immigrants live in our country

When writing an informative essay, it’s important to be clear and concise. You want to provide readers with information without overwhelming them.

Narrative

A narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story. The story can be personal, historical, or even fictional.

The key to writing a good narrative essay is choosing a story you’re passionate about and one that will connect with the reader.

Here are ten narrative essay topics:

  1. My first day of school
  2. The time I got lost in the city
  3. The day I found out my best friend was moving away
  4. My first job interview
  5. A time when I was treated unfairly
  6. When I met someone famous
  7. A time when I overcame a fear
  8. A time when I was disappointed
  9. A time when I helped someone
  10. A time when I made a mistake

When writing narrative essays, it’s important to use descriptive language to bring the story to life for the reader. You want to be able to transport them into the world you’re writing about.

Persuasive

A persuasive essay is a type of essay that aims to convince the reader to agree with a particular point of view or opinion.

The key to good persuasive writing is choosing a topic you’re passionate about and one you can support with evidence.

Here are ten persuasive essay topics:

  1. School uniforms should not be mandatory in schools
  2. Violent video games do not cause real-life violence
  3. Cell phones should be banned while driving
  4. Children under the age of 12 should not be allowed to use social media
  5. The death penalty should be abolished
  6. Gun ownership should be tightly regulated
  7. Recycling should be mandatory for everyone
  8. The use of plastic bags should be banned
  9. Animal testing should be illegal
  10. School should start later in the day

When writing a persuasive essay, it’s important to use strong evidence to support your argument. This could include statistics, expert opinions, and real-world examples.

Reflective

A reflective essay is a type of essay that requires you to analyze your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Reflective essays are typically written at the end of a semester or academic year, but they can also be used for other purposes, such as job interviews and scholarship applications.

Here are ten essay topics for reflective essays:

  1. A time when you faced a challenge
  2. An experience that changed your life
  3. A person who has had a significant impact on you
  4. A place that is special to you
  5. A memory that still makes you laugh (or cry)
  6. An event that made you feel proud
  7. Something you wish you could change
  8. A time when you were disappointed
  9. A lesson you learned the hard way
  10. An experience that made you grateful

When writing a reflective essay, it’s important to use descriptive language to share your thoughts and feelings with the reader.

Synthesis

A synthesis essay is a type of essay that asks you to draw information from multiple sources and combine them into an original piece of writing.

Synthesis essays are typically used in college-level courses but can also be used for other purposes, such as job interviews and scholarship applications.

Here are ten essay topics for synthesis essays:

  1. How did the industrial revolution impact the environment?
  2. How does social media affect the way we communicate?
  3. What are the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear energy?
  4. What is the impact of globalization on the economy?
  5. What are the causes and effects of poverty?
  6. How does technology affect our daily lives?
  7. What is the impact of climate change on the environment?
  8. What are the benefits and drawbacks of capitalism?
  9. How does the American education system impact younger students?
  10. What are the causes and effects of terrorism?

When writing a synthesis essay, it’s important to use evidence from multiple sources to support your argument. This could include statistics, expert opinions, and real-world examples.

Topics By Educational Level

Depending on your level of education, there are different topics you can use for your essay.

If you’re still in high school, you might be able to get away with writing about a more personal topic, such as your favorite hobby or extracurricular activity.

However, if you’re in college or university, you’ll need to choose a more serious topic that can be backed up with evidence.

Here are some essay topics by educational level.

Elementary School

In elementary school, students typically write about personal experiences or topics that are important to them.

Here are ten essay topics for elementary school essays:

  1. My favorite food
  2. My favorite animal
  3. My best friend
  4. A time I was scared
  5. A time I was really proud of myself
  6. When I got in trouble
  7. My school life
  8. My favorite thing to do
  9. A time I was embarrassed
  10. Something that made me sad

Middle School

Middle schoolers usually write about more serious topics that can be backed up with evidence.

Here are ten essay topics for middle school essays:

  1. The effects of bullying
  2. The cause and effect of global warming
  3. How to be a successful student
  4. The importance of getting a good education
  5. Why we should (or shouldn’t) eat junk food
  6. The dangers of texting and driving
  7. How to stay safe online
  8. The benefits of physical education
  9. The dangers of drug abuse
  10. The importance of voting

High School

In high school, students usually write about more complex topics that can be backed up with evidence.

Here are ten essay topics for high school essays:

  1. The causes of the American Civil War
  2. The effects of gun violence
  3. The impact of climate change
  4. How to end bullying in schools
  5. The importance of a good education
  6. The dangers of texting and driving
  7. The benefits of exercise
  8. The dangers of drug abuse
  9. The importance of voting
  10. The impact of social media on our lives

College/University

College students usually write about more complex topics that can be backed up with evidence. Hence, the essay topics get longer and are usually accompanied by a prompt (question).

Here are ten essay topics with prompt examples for college:

  1. Suppose your readers think that getting vaccinated is not something that you should do. Write about your own opinion on the subject, ending the essay by calling to action.
  2. Technology is all around us. It has become an integral part of our lives, and some people believe we have become too dependent on it. Write about the implications of technology overuse, providing evidence to support your claims.
  3. Nowadays, many people prefer to buy things online rather than in stores. What are the reasons for this? Is it always beneficial to shop online? Convince your readers by providing sound arguments and examples.
  4. The rise of the global economy has led to the globalization of cultures. Is this a good or bad thing? Justify your point of view using specific examples.
  5. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. What are its causes and effects? How can we prevent it?
  6. The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. However, some people believe that it should be lowered to 18. What are your thoughts on this matter? Support your position with evidence and examples.
  7. In some countries, the death penalty is still used as a form of punishment. Do you think this is a humane and effective way to deal with criminals? Why or why not?
  8. The use of animals for scientific testing is a controversial practice. Some people believe that it is cruel and should be banned, while others argue that it is necessary for the advancement of medical science. What is your opinion on this issue? Justify your answer with specific examples.
  9. The rise of social media has had a profound impact on the way we communicate and interact with each other. Write about the advantages and disadvantages of this trend, using specific examples.
  10. Immigration is a hot-button issue in many countries around the world. What are the reasons for and against immigration? How can its negative effects be mitigated?

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Bottom Line

As you can see, essay writing topics at different educational levels get more complex and longer.

If you’re not sure how to get started, try looking at some sample essays or read our tips on writing a great essay.

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