Ten Essay Topics

(MoneyWatch) Writing the college essay can often be the most agonizing part of the college admission process.

This all-important essay is supposed to convince admission officers, whom teenagers have probably never met, that the writer represents the right match for a school. Teens' chief job is to reveal something about themselves in a well-composed piece of writing. What an applicant writes about isn't nearly as important as how it's presented. The son of a friend of mine, for instance, wrote about his love of pickles in his essay, and he ended up at Yale.

10 essay topics to avoid

I recently ran across some smart advice from Smith College for teen who are struggling with their their essays. Here are 10 topics that the admission office at the women's college suggests should be avoided:

  • Winning or losing the big game
  • Friendship problems
  • Religious or philosophical epiphanies
  • Telling troubles to a journal
  • Anything that suggests that you don't see the world beyond high school
  • Simple solutions to world problems
  • Essays in poor taste
  • Parent-bashing
  • Cynicism almost never plays well

Additional college essay advice

Here are 11 more tips from Smith's admission office:

  • Eliminate the first sentence (or two), with a goal of allowing the essay to "start fast." A good opening sentence will hook the reader. If the writer is bored, the reader is likely to be, too. (Check out my CBS MoneyWatch post on grabber intros: 10 Great Opening Lines from Stanford Admissions Essays.)
  • Add details to make it richer and more interesting.
  • Be revealing -- let us know things about you, but don't be confessional.
  • Be careful with sentimentality; use it sparingly.
  • Beware of trying to impress us with what you think we want to hear.
  • Don't try to "prove" your intelligence by choosing a topic you think makes you sound smart.
  • Avoid sophisticated words when simpler ones will suffice.
  • Don't be afraid to use your imagination and to be unconventional. But don't be weird just for the sake of being weird.
  • Be concise. Ask yourself: "Have I avoided repetitiveness? Did I make my points directly and without a lot of unnecessary padding?"
  • Show; don't tell. Don't just list what you have done -- detail it with action words. Make your writing come alive to the reader. Use quotations wisely to move the story along or prove a point.
  • Start early!

Writing an essay can be a daunting task for both teachers and students in terms of creating and crafting a high quality essay,  and finally editing and grading them.

It seems though we may have overlooked one of the toughest steps in writing an essay and that is actually selecting an appropriate and interesting topic for your students.

Thankfully I have put together a list of 25 great essay topics that might just make that process a little easier.  Enjoy.  And remember to add any other great suggestions in the comment section below.

If you are still struggling with the essay writing process and need further guidance be sure to check out our definitive guide to writing a great essay. 

  1. Zoos are sometimes seen as necessary but not poor alternatives to a natural environment.  Discuss some of the arguments for and/or against keeping animals in zoos.
  2. Imaginethat your teacher wants to teach a new subject for the next few weeks.  Your teacher will take suggestions, and then let the students vote on the new subject. What subject should your class choose? Write an essay to support your choice and to persuade the other students to vote for your choice.
  3. Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
  4.  Should teachers have to wear uniforms or have a dress code?
  5. Since the invention of nuclear weapons we have had a long period of GLOBAL peace and stability.  Are nuclear weapons global peacemakers or killing devices?
  6. Should boys and girls be in separate classes?
  7. Is the death penalty effective?
  8. To what extent is the use of animals in scientific research acceptable?
  9. What age is appropriate for dating?
  10. Pretend you woke up one day and there were no rules. People could suddenly do whatever they wanted! Explain what the world would be like. Use your    imagination!
  11. Should student’s textbooks be replaced by notebook computers?
  12. Should students be allowed to have cell phones in elementary and high schools?
  13. Should wealthy nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations?
  14. Should money be spent on space exploration?
  15. Is fashion important?
  16. Are we too dependent on computers?
  17. Ifyou had the opportunity to bring any person — past or present, fictional    or nonfictional — to a place that is special to you (your hometown or    country, a favourite location, etc.), who would you bring and why? Tell us    what you would share with that person
  18. Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?
  19. Should students be allowed to grade their teachers?
  20. In your opinion what factors contribute to a good movie?
  21. The destruction of the world’s forests is inevitable as our need for land and food grows.  Do you agree?
  22. Many parents give their children certain chores or tasks to do at home. Should    children have to do chores or tasks at home? Be sure to explain why you    think it is a good idea or a bad idea. Include examples to support your    reasons.
  23. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?
  24. Should the government place a tax on junk food and fatty snacks?
  25. Should more be done to protect and preserve endangered animals?
Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Ten Essay Topics”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *