233 Essay Topics To Use as Inspiration

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Written By Jim Peterson

Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

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Coming up with a good essay topic can be frustrating. We tend to think of it as the first step of a long process. This can make us wince at the idea of having so much work ahead of us.

No need to get disheartened! The truth is picking a topic is a considerable part of the job. Of course, you still have to do the research, the outline, and the writing itself, but once you’ve settled on a subject, the rest flows more naturally.

We’ve compiled a catalog of topics organized by essay type to help you come up with a theme and get down to the actual writing.

How to Write a Good Essay

Before we dive into the topics, let’s first consider what makes a good essay.

Your paper’s structure and style mainly depend on what type of essay you’re tasked with writing. Should it be narrative or argumentative? This will determine the general guidelines you should follow. Nevertheless, there are a few common characteristics of a great essay.

Captivating Introduction

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The introduction is an essential part of any type of academic paper, just as a doorway is essential to a house. It’s an opportunity to let your audience know what they’re getting into—what you plan on telling them and why it’s worth their time. It’s even better if you manage to capture the reader’s interest to make it easier for them to keep reading.

Strong Thesis

Your thesis is the nucleus of your essay—everything else you’ve written should be connected to your central statement. This is less crucial for some types of papers, like those telling a story or describing a process. Even in those manuscripts, however, you should have a solid central theme that holds everything together and is laid out close to the beginning of your paper.

Logical Flow

There’s nothing that puts off a reader more than when they can’t make sense of what they’re reading. Thus, it’s crucial to have well-structured paragraphs ordered in a logical way and ideas that are clearly connected to lead to a meaningful point. Don’t worry if you can’t get this right on the first try. In the beginning, you should focus on getting your ideas out. After that, you can go back and structure them as needed. Rewriting is the essence of writing.

Strong Support

In most types of essays, you need to back your claims with facts and sources, especially if you’re writing on a topic that experts have already systematically explored. The more you rely on evidence and research, the more credible your essay writing will be.

Good Conclusion

Purely restating your main arguments doesn’t cut it. What’s the point of repeating yourself? Unfortunately, the conclusion is also not a good place to present new ideas. An effective conclusion references your thesis statement and connects it clearly to the points in your essay’s body so that everything is tied together neatly and the reader is left with a sense of closure.

233 Essay Topics

Informative Essay Topics

Informative Essay Topics

Informative essays are meant to inform your audience on a given topic. They’re not a good place to share your opinion or argue a certain point. This type of essay is a great way to educate both yourself and your reader about an important issue, be it a historical event or a pressing contemporary issue. Here are some informative essay examples.

  1. The components of the solar system
  2. The characteristics of the Milky Way Galaxy
  3. The causes of the US Civil War 
  4. The history of slavery in the USA
  5. The history of the civil rights movement
  6. The geopolitical changes caused by World War II
  7. The causes and consequences of the Vietnam War
  8. The separation of powers in the USA
  9. The causes of overpopulation in US prisons
  10. The rise of cybercrime and its consequences
  11. The effects of 3D printing on manufacturing
  12. The benefits of recycling for the environment
  13. The expected effects of climate change
  14. The consequences of stress
  15. The causes of procrastination
  16. The causes of child obesity 
  17. How ADHD affects a person’s life
  18. The consequences of childhood abuse into adult life
  19. The history of modern art

Narrative Essay Topics

Narrative Essay Topics

Narrative essays are a great chance to develop your writing skills and also share an experience you’ve. When telling a story from your life, it’s good to pick an event that carries a strong emotional charge so that it grabs the attention of your audience. Details are really helpful here—it’s hard for the reader to relate to something too general. However, don’t go overboard with the particulars—your story should move along at a brisk pace.

  1. Surviving a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane
  2. A time when you were lost in an unfamiliar place and how you found your way
  3. An experience of a misunderstanding due to cultural differences
  4. A recent trip abroad and what you learned from it
  5. Your first day after moving out of your family’s home
  6. An embarrassing experience you’ve had
  7. An experience that changed your view of life
  8. Your happiest childhood memory
  9. A scary experience from childhood
  10. A frightening or dangerous experience
  11. The loss of someone important in your life
  12. The loss of a pet and how it affected you
  13. The first time you met your best friend
  14. The first time you got on a plane
  15. The first time you drove a car
  16. Your favorite book and what makes it special
  17. The time you realized the importance of telling the truth
  18. A memorable summer camp experience
  19. The way you usually spend your weekend
  20. An outstanding achievement you had in school
  21. A funny experience you had with your siblings
  22. An accident you were involved in
  23. An unlikely coincidence you experienced
  24. A time when you overcame a fear of yours
  25. A pleasant dream or a nightmare you recently had 
  26. Something you did that you regret
  27. Your first day of school or college
  28. Your first day on a job
  29. Your last day on a job

Process Essay Topics

Process Essay Topics

A process essay (also called a descriptive essay) is essentially a step-by-step guide on how to do or achieve something. The simpler the subject is, the clearer you should present it. In any case, before you go through the procedure you want to describe, you should give a general introduction to your topic. Also, your essay doesn’t necessarily have to be just a list of steps. If the process you’ve chosen doesn’t come with just one way to approach it, you can lay out the different paths to success.

  1. How to nail your driving test
  2. How to approach buying a car
  3. How to learn to play piano
  4. How to become a good swimmer
  5. How to make a home movie
  6. How to become a great cook
  7. How to bake a pizza
  8. How to improve your grades in school
  9. How to get a high score on your SAT
  10. How to stop procrastinating
  11. How to search for a job
  12. How to write a book
  13. How to overcome shyness
  14. How to make friends
  15. How to be a good friend
  16. How to say “no” to people
  17. How to get rid of unhealthy habits
  18. How to deal with intrusive thoughts
  19. How to get better at saving money
  20. How to stick to an exercise schedule
  21. How to start a business
  22. How to stop hoarding unneeded things
  23. How to evaluate risk

Compare-and-Contrast Essay Topics

Compare-and-Contrast Essay Topics

Compare-and-contrast essays are a great way to develop writing skills and critical thinking at the same time. They’re also one of the most fun types of papers to write because it’s often fascinating to look for parallels and differences between things you might not have thought of before.

  1. Your country to a neighboring one
  2. Western culture to Eastern culture
  3. Greek to Roman mythology
  4. Capitalism to socialism
  5. Living in a big city to living in a small town
  6. Facebook to Instagram
  7. Adolescence to early adulthood
  8. Living on campus to living off campus
  9. An engaged student to a passive one
  10. Online classes to in-school classes
  11. Mainstream music to alternative music
  12. Online to in-store shopping
  13. Online dating to real-life dating
  14. A good manager to a bad one
  15. Freelance work to full-time employment
  16. The benefits of being a woman to those of being a man
  17. Mental diseases to physical diseases
  18. Rugby to American football
  19. Veganism to vegetarianism
  20. The harmful effects of alcohol to those of tobacco
  21. The effects of coffee to those of tea

Personal Essay Topics

Personal Essay Topics

This is one of the easiest types of essays to write. You don’t have to cite any references because you only need to refer to your own experience. This is where you share your views on life events, how your experiences affected you, or how you go about your daily routine. A personal essay is an opportunity to share your unique perspective of the world. Write a gripping personal narrative essay using our cheat guide here.

  1. Things that you dislike about school
  2. Your most remarkable achievement in school
  3. Your favorite teacher
  4. Your definition of success
  5. Your short- and long-term goals
  6. Your desired career
  7. Your views on marriage
  8. Your favorite hobby
  9. Why you like or dislike shopping for clothes
  10. What you would do if you win the lottery
  11. Volunteer work you have done
  12. Your family’s customs and traditions
  13. Your favorite online publication
  14. Your favorite social media platform
  15. Your favorite video game
  16. Your favorite book
  17. Your favorite movie
  18. Your favorite TV show
  19. Your favorite musical artists
  20. How you deal with stress
  21. How you deal with low self-esteem
  22. Things you love about your hometown
  23. A person you look up to
  24. An annoying next-door neighbor

Persuasive Essay Topics

Persuasive Essay Topics

It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a persuasive and an argumentative essay. Both argue toward a particular point, but there is a certain nuance to how they do that. A persuasive essay usually focuses on a topic that’s hard to prove through logic and facts. That’s because the issue might have to do with morality or other human affairs that aren’t as clear-cut as we’d like them to be. There’s still plenty of space for evidence-based argumentation in a persuasive essay, but there’s also room for moderate emotional appeal.

If you’d like to take a look at several brief explorations of popular and controversial persuasive essay topics, check out our page dedicated to that.

  1. Should beauty contests be eliminated?
  2. Is the value of art subjective?
  3. Is history bound to repeat itself?
  4. Is kindness ever going to be considered cool?
  5. Are people becoming more easily distracted over time?
  6. Does playing sports build character in children?
  7. Does money lead to happiness?
  8. Is Facebook outdated?
  9. Are comment sections on social media sites helping or hurting?
  10. How has social media affected romantic relationships?
  11. Are digital books better than physical ones?
  12. Is television becoming obsolete?
  13. Is technology making us smarter or dumber?
  14. Is technology making life easier or more complicated?
  15. Does racism cause income inequality?
  16. Are wealthy people paying enough taxes?
  17. Should bystanders intervene if they see a confrontation on the street?
  18. Is it consumers’ responsibility to make sure their clothing is ethically manufactured?
  19. Who is more responsible for low test scores—teachers or students?
  20. Should students be able to give grades to their teachers?
  21. What are the benefits of homeschooling?
  22. Are parent–teacher conferences important?
  23. Should college be free for everyone?
  24. Should cheerleading be abolished?
  25. Is sharing your DNA for genealogy a good idea?
  26. What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-isolation?
  27. Was World War II separate from World War I or just a continuation of the same war?

Argumentative Essay Topics

Argumentative Essay Topics

Like a persuasive essay, an argumentative one takes a stance on a specific question and tries to convince the reader of its validity. This type of paper usually relies more heavily on evidence to back its thesis statement and usually explores subjects related to science, technology, medicine, etc. A good argumentative essay should include counter arguments and refute them to make its point stronger. There’s little room for unbacked opinions in this type of paper.

We’ve divided the below topics into several subsections by subject matter to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. We also have a special page dedicated to argumentative essay topics, where you can find a lot more of those.


Topics related to policy are often hard to reach an agreement on even when scientific evidence points to one direction or another. Below are a few interesting political issues worth exploring.

  1. Is the minimum wage an effective tool for economic equality?
  2. Should we rethink compensation for essential workers?
  3. Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?
  4. Are security cameras invading our privacy?
  5. Should military service be mandatory for all citizens?
  6. Should drug possession be decriminalized for any type of drug?
  7. Should corporations be banned from financing political campaigns?
  8. Should Supreme Court Justices have term limits?
  9. Should the Federal Reserve be banned from printing more money?
  10. Should “one nation under God” be removed from the pledge of allegiance?
  11. Is there enough separation between church and state in the USA?
  12. Should immigrants who enter the USA illegally be forced to leave the country?
  13. Should the USA build a wall along the border with Mexico?
  14. Should Puerto Rico become a state?

For College

Coming up with a college essay topic can be hard for students. Below is a selection of questions that specifically deal with college life and all of its uncertainties.

  1. Should the cost of tuition be tied to family income?
  2. Should colleges stop using SAT scores as admission criteria?
  3. Why aren’t there more female students in math and science majors?
  4. Is it unethical for a professor to require students to purchase his book for a course?
  5. Should guns be allowed on campuses?
  6. When should sex education start for students?
  7. Should family income play a role in determining who gets a scholarship?
  8. Is a gap year beneficial or a waste of time?

For High School

These are some interesting and controversial essay topics for high school students that create a lot of potential for evidence-based argumentation.

  1. Should high school students’ records be shared publicly?
  2. Should commercials be banned from children’s programs?
  3. Should religious clubs be banned in schools?
  4. Should the number of years in high school be increased or reduced?
  5. Should teachers carry a gun to protect students?
  6. Does changing schools negatively affect high schoolers?
  7. Should high school students be required to take drug tests?
  8. Should arts education be voluntary in high school?

For Middle School

Critical thinking should start developing early. One of the best ways to do that is to practice making written arguments as early as middle school. Here are a few good topics for that age group.

  1. What are the benefits of school uniforms?
  2. Should teachers have higher salaries?
  3. Should school be year-round?
  4. Should parents set limits to screen time?
  5. Can smartphones or computer games be used as educational tools?
  6. Should PE be included in students’ GPA?
  7. Which is more important—learning a foreign language or physical education?
  8. Should middle school be single sex or coed?
  9. Is distant learning effective for middle-school students?

Science and Technology

Science and technology are two of the best fields to explore in argumentative essays, as references to base your arguments on abound.

  1. Is fracking harmful to the environment?
  2. Are scientific breakthroughs or government regulations a better solution to the environmental crisis?
  3. How can science be made more inclusive of women and minorities?
  4. Is automation a serious threat to people’s livelihood?
  5. Will self-driving cars ever be safe enough?
  6. Should the government reinstate net neutrality?
  7. Should the government censor the Internet?
  8. Should employers be allowed to look at your social media profiles before hiring you?
  9. Should the government enforce more regulations on social media companies?
  10. Is social media helping us stay connected or making us more lonely?
  11. Are social media companies responsible for the spread of fake news?
  12. Should YouTube enforce more restrictions on child viewers?

Health and Medicine

Health is a potent field for an argumentative essay because there’s a myriad of unanswered questions, and people really care about finding answers. Here are a few popular issues:

  1. Should “Big Pharma” be held responsible for the opioid crisis?
  2. Should parents be allowed to make modifications to their unborn children?
  3. Are veganism and vegetarianism healthier than eating animal products?
  4. Should unhealthy foods be taxed at a higher rate?
  5. Is dieting ever helpful?
  6. Should smoking be banned in public places?
  7. Should assisted suicide be legalized?
  8. Should doctors be banned from promoting drugs?
  9. Should medical marijuana be legal?
  10. Should the USA switch to single-payer healthcare?
  11. Should nurses use artificial hydration and nutrition?
  12. Are lockdowns an effective tool in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
  13. Should schools reopen despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?


As a budding scientific discipline, psychology offers a lot of opportunities for a constructive debate. Here are a few burning questions related to this field:

  1. Are gender stereotypes helping or hurting society?
  2. Are drugs effective in treating mental disorders?
  3. What is the cause for the increase in suicides among teens?
  4. Is body language more important than verbal communication?
  5. Should panic attacks be considered a mental disorder?
  6. Are projective tests such as inkblots reliable?
  7. Can hypnosis help us remember forgotten events?
  8. Is prejudice against different people inherent to humans?
  9. Is self-isolation detrimental to mental health?


The world of sports is filled with unsettled issues that can benefit from an unbiased discussion. Here are a few of them:

  1. Should games that do not involve any physical activity be considered sports?
  2. Should colleges spend more on wellness programs instead of sports?
  3. Should college athletes be compensated beyond scholarships?
  4. Should teams change their name if it contains offensive cultural stereotypes?
  5. Should all sports be segregated by gender?
  6. Should parents allow their children to play football?
  7. Should NASCAR try to change its image to regain fans?
  8. Are there any sports that should be added to the Olympics?
  9. Can virtual reality help players train more effectively?


Here are a few topics on animal welfare that can make for a great argumentative essay, especially for animal lovers.

  1. Should animal research be banned?
  2. Should fur be banned?
  3. Should we stop eating animals?
  4. Is hunting for sport justifiable, or should it be banned?
  5. Should zoos or aquariums be banned and replaced with wildlife reserves?
  6. Should the government try to save endangered species?
  7. Do animals have emotions?
  8. Do pets help kids learn to be caring and empathetic?

Need a topic for your debate class? Check out our catalog of 300+ Debate Topics, or if you’re looking for something more light-hearted, feel free to browse through our Funny Debate Topics page.

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