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35 College Essay Prompts and Topics
The college application process can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming. A great way to stand out from the crowd and boost an application for a “reach” school is with a strong essay. We’ve put together a list of common prompts and advice for how to answer them.
- Describe a facet of your identity, background or story that is essential to who you are.
For this essay, try finding a part of your identity that will set you apart and highlight the unique perspective you will bring to the university. Try to avoid writing an essay that a school will most likely get a million different times — for example, an essay about your talent playing a sport or your early love of learning. Think about an aspect of your personality, family or upbringing that is truly special.
- Write about a time that you failed at something. How did that failure affect you?
Don’t be afraid to dig deep and talk about something that may feel vulnerable. Try to conclude with an example of how the failure improved the way you deal with similar situations now. It can be uncomfortable for anyone to admit they’re less-than-great at something, but that honesty can be refreshing, especially if you tell your story in an authentic, relatable way.
- Tell us about a time where you challenged your pre-existing worldview. Why? Would you do this again?
In this essay, choose a time that you were able to listen to experiences and perspectives contrary to yours with respect and maturity. Demonstrate that you are able to zoom out from your personal worldview and learn from those you may disagree with. This can not only give colleges an idea of your ability to engage in difficult ideological debates, but also your character and humility.
- Write about a problem that you have or want to solve. It can be as big or as small as you can think of!
For this question, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. It is easy to say a typical world issue — like hunger — but a creative problem can showcase your specific passions and interests and set you apart. An admissions officer is much more likely to remember an applicant who has a very specific essay written in a unique and quirky way.
- Write about a moment that illustrated your shift from child to adult within your community or family.
If you can’t immediately think of a pivotal event for this essay, you may want to skip it and try a different one. Essays like this are best answered with significant and unique moments rather than less important ones.
- Describe a favorite book or movie where the main character has to decide something difficult. What did you think about their choice?
The defining factor for this essay is what book or movie you choose. Stay away from pop culture novels that many people may use (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, etc.) and try to pick a book you have read in school or something unique you read for fun that stayed with you. However, don’t use a book you didn’t enjoy! Inauthenticity will always come through in your writing.
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- Write your top 10 list.
With this prompt, get creative. Don’t simply put 10 things you enjoy — get specific! Pick something you love and give your top 10 — maybe top 10 memories of your life, top 10 favorite books, top 10 quotes, etc. Make sure you give clear explanations of the items on your list as well. The more specific your list is, the better.
- Tell us a topic that you have changed your mind on in the past three years.
For this essay, don’t hesitate to get silly or serious — but make sure you go all the way whichever side you choose! Pick an issue that doesn’t come immediately to mind. Try to pinpoint a specific “a-ha” moment your opinion changed, and make sure to give an example of how your changed perspective has influenced your behavior.
- Write about your life goals.
To answer this prompt, go beyond the generic career and family goals. Try to answer things with a personal spin — maybe talk about goals you have for yourself as a person (e.g., to be more kind) or something unique you want to check off your bucket list!
- Pick a quote that describes a lot about you, and explain why you connect with it.
For this essay, choose a quotation that the admissions officers won’t see over and over. Stay away from individuals who are constantly quoted — like Dr. Seuss — and make 100 percent certain your quote is correctly attributed! Genius Tip: Check out these 25 inspiring volunteer quotes.
- Write about your most embarrassing moment and how you learned from it.
This is a great opportunity to get creative and share a funny experience! Try transitioning the experience into a more serious explanation of how it changed you — for example, maybe it encouraged you to be more considerate toward others’ feelings.
- Tell us about a time where you had to either take a risk or stay safe. What did you do? What happened? Would you do it again?
For this situation, if you made a poor decision, focus on the way you would change it. On the other hand, if you made a good decision, focus on what influenced you to make that decision and how it has changed you. You might think you have to pick an example where you took a risk, but your essay could be more memorable if you choose a candid example of when you chose to play it safe.
- Describe something you’re passionate about. How do you learn more about it? What makes it so appealing?
This is the perfect essay to set yourself apart from other applicants. Talk about that thing you love, that obscure topic you’re an expert about — anything, as long as your passion shines through in your writing!
- Pick your own topic for this essay.
This is a great instance to use an essay you’ve already written for another college. (Make sure to include modifications as needed.) This way, you can limit the number of essays you write and focus on quality of writing over quantity of essays.
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- Tell us the best advice you’ve ever gotten, who told you it and whether or not you followed the advice.
Don’t write a generic essay — find an example of advice that was specific and personal to you. Explain why it was so important, and connect it to a specific example in which you did or did not follow it.
- Write about the role that a certain activity (sports, theater, band, etc.) has had on your life.
This prompt gives you the opportunity to talk about your passions and show off your extracurricular activities. Make sure to connect the importance of the activity to a certain experience or story to give the essay direction.
- If you could meet with any person, living or dead, for an hour, who would it be and what would you say to them?
For this prompt, stay away from figures that are likely to be written about by hundreds of potential students (presidents, Mother Teresa, etc.), and pick a figure you are actually passionate about and interested in, rather than what you think sounds most academic. If you want to go personal and choose a family member, make sure you have a memorable and unique reason.
- If you were to give a very important speech or a TED talk, what would it be about?
When writing this essay, pick a topic of interest. Additionally, make sure whatever you write about has a clear, one sentence takeaway that you can stress throughout the essay to give it direction. To prep, watch a few TED talks online to help give your essay voice.
- If you were to teach a class, what would your class be on?
This essay topic is a great opportunity for humor. Choose a unique topic that others might not think of, and whatever you choose, make sure you know a lot about it!
- Tell us a “Eureka” moment that you had and what sparked it.
For this essay, make sure you think of a turning point that’s also an interesting story. This can be an opportunity to talk about an experience from one of your jobs or extracurricular activities. Tie it in to what you learned and how you’ve taken that lesson and incorporated it into your life.
- Write an essay about a time that you had to be brave or stand up for what you believed in.
This can be a great opportunity to talk about what’s important to you and what beliefs you hold most central to who you are. Center the essay around one experience or time in your life. Don’t play this one down the middle — take a stance and defend it.
- What makes you angry? What are you doing or what have you done about it?
Take this essay as big or as small as you want, but commit to it! Whether you write a funny essay about pet peeves or write one about large social problems, go all the way.
- If you could change one day of your life, what would you change? Why?
If you can’t immediately think of a significant day, you probably don’t have a lot of material for this essay. Save this essay for an unusual experience!
- Talk about a personal accomplishment that is unrelated to academics, but that means a lot to you.
For this essay, focus on a unique accomplishment that illustrates the diversity that you can bring to your university and really tells a lot about who you are. It can be a big or small accomplishment as long as it means a lot to you.
- If you could time travel to any time and place, where would you go?
When writing this essay, either pick a historical, personally significant or futuristic moment, but make sure you are passionate about whichever moment you choose. Begin with explaining the moment’s significance and your desire to experience it, then describe your personal connection to it.
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- If you could give any advice to an incoming high school student, what would it be?
In this essay, try to stay positive. Give advice about helpful things the student could do to benefit their high school career, rather than pointing out and seemingly complaining about the negative parts of high school (unless you are really funny) and then giving advice about how to deal with it. Be honest about your high school experiences while also displaying the perspective you have gained.
- If you could stop one invention from being invented, what would it be?
Try to be unique for this prompt. Make sure to outline not only your reasons for choosing the invention, but also the impact that the invention not being created would have on the world.
- Why do you want to attend this college/university?
For this essay: BE SPECIFIC! Colleges can tell when your essay is just a form essay. Make sure your essay mentions specific and unique aspects of the college/university you’re applying to so it’s clear that your essay is not just generic. There’s so much information out there on the Internet that there’s really no excuse for a poorly researched response.
- Pick a law and explain why it is so important to you.
There are many ways to interpret this kind of prompt. Whether you talk about a political law, religious law, physical law or something else, make sure to connect it your personal experiences. The more unique you are, the more likely an admissions officer will remember your essay.
- What do you want people to know about you but are afraid to tell them?
In this essay, don’t be afraid to get vulnerable and be specific. Whether you pick a trait or simply a specific memory, connect it to what it means to you personally and why you don’t generally tell people about it.
- If you could add an amendment to the Constitution, what would you add?
Silly or serious, this essay can be fun. Just make sure the amendment is NOT already part of the Constitution, and be sure to outline the impact your new amendment would have. Go a step further by explaining your strategy for getting the amendment passed.
- Talk about a person in your life who has helped you understand yourself better.
For this essay, give a few examples of how this person has impacted you. Then, conclude the essay with how you have understood yourself better because of these experiences.
- What book would you recommend to everyone?
Stay away from books that are likely to appear many times. This might go without saying, but make sure it’s a book you’ve already read! Rather than just summarizing the book, explain why you’re recommending it.
- Who is someone you have spoken up for because he/she cannot speak for him/herself?
If you don’t have a good example for this essay, don’t massage a story to make it fit. You’ll risk sounding privileged. This essay can be good, but it needs to be about a significant moment where you spoke up for someone who couldn’t speak for him/herself.
- What is one thing you want to accomplish in college?
In this essay, focus on the interests/activities that you’re passionate about. Make sure to focus your essay around one or two focused and achievable goals. This is also a great opportunity to mention specifics about the college you’re applying to.
With these prompts and ideas, you’ll be off to a great start on your college applications. One last piece of advice: Give yourself plenty of time to outline ideas and review — don’t wait until the last minute!
Kayla Rutledge is a college student who spends most of her time writing, singing for her church and eating quesadillas.
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“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.”
– Joseph Conrad
That is one of the golden rules every student/young writer should memorize to carry out meaningful, powerful persuasive papers. The initial step to success is choosing the most interesting persuasive essay topics. To choose which subject you are going to discuss, it is necessary to view the full list of good persuasive speech topics from the particular field of study.
GET YOUR PERFECT RERSUASIVE ESSAY NOW
Dedicate a few minutes to looking through this article. It contains a number of the good persuasive speech topics high school & college teachers tend to assign. Do you have any questions left? A professional online writing service is willing to help every student who has problems with meeting the deadlines or writing argumentative papers.
Why Would a Student Need a List of the Interesting Persuasive Essay Topics?
What if I tell you that by reading this article every student will learn more about how to pick interesting persuasive essay topics and receive A+. Isn’t it a goal of each school/college student? Having more than 100 good persuasive essay topics is never enough without several supportive skills:
- Reading & Comprehension
- Research & Analysis
- Critical Thinking
The initial step to success is still selecting the subject to write about and acknowledging the opposing arguments.
Another great idea is to get some free essay examples of different types and on various subjects to get an overall idea of how a successful debatable paper looks.
The rest of the skills are gained during the elementary & middle school education. The teachers do not always assign the particular topic. Many students get stuck at the stage of choosing the subject; they fail the mission by being late.
It sounds like enough reasons to read the proposed article, which contains more than 100 interesting persuasive essay topics and valuable writing tips. Have I persuaded you to go on reading? It is the brilliant example of persuasive writing!
7 Tickets to a Winning Persuasive Essay
Take a stand: The golden rule of persuasive writing number one. Forget about the wishy-washy declarations in this type of academic writing: avoid generalizations like “Gender Studies as a school subject has its advantages & disadvantages.” A student must take a specific position (example: “Gender Studies is a useless, discriminative subject that must be removed from the high school/college curriculum.”
Check whether you have enough evidence to support the main argument (thesis statement). Conduct an in-depth research sitting in front of your computer or a school/college library. Apply both primary & secondary sources to collect different points of view, shocking facts, and impressive statistics.
“If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.”
– Harvey Diamond
Decide on the target audience. Harvey is not the one to prove the significant role of the target reading/listening audience in the persuasive essay writing.
Out of the list of good persuasive speech topics, make a shorter list specifying the ideas you are familiar with and possess enough evidence to support your argument. The writer’s position must make sense (example: instead of claiming that murder is bad, state that a death penalty is not the most effective punishment and it will not stop serial killers fro what they do.)
Follow the accepted academic paper structure: introduction, 3-5 body paragraphs (one argument per each), conclusion, and Bibliography/References page.
Define the purpose. Are you trying to introduce an unpopular view on the subject of matter or are you writing to prove your position is right? The tone/voice of the final paper depends on these factors.
Add something more than evidence. Write your paper on one of the interesting persuasive essay topics based on the collected evidence, but do not forget to include other supporting elements such as examples & meaningful explanations. It would be great to write about things the writer has faced in his life.
GET YOUR PERSUASIVE ESSAY HERE
Enjoy 103 Good Persuasive Speech Topics: Make Your Choice Wisely!
Are you waiting impatiently to view the recommended list of good persuasive speech topics? We have divided 100+ cool persuasive topics into separate categories to make it simpler to choose the subject based on the student’s specialization.
Sports Persuasive Essay Topics
- Girls and boys can play in the same games teams
- Every professional athlete must pass the drug test before the contest
- What is the role of sports day in educational life?
- Are athletes better role models than rock stars?
- High school & college sportsmen should be paid
- Extreme kinds of sports must be banned for children
- The scandals may ruin the Olympic Games
- David Beckham is an overrated football player
- Swimming is the safest and healthiest type of sports
- The role of Physical Education in modern schools is underestimated
Persuasive Essay Topics on Education
- Schools should make the classes shorter and more frequent
- It is important to decrease the amount of homework (get inspired)
- Why do parents deserve a greater impact on education?
- Which subject can be excluded from the high school program?
- Teachers deserve shorter holidays
- Students need longer holidays
- Gender Studies is a discriminative subject
- Should students be rewarded for the high test scores?
- Is there a way to punish school bullying effectively?
- Should schools abolish examinations?
Persuasive Essay Topics about Animals
- Why protecting a Giant Panda is critical?
- Zoos are worse than human prisons
- A zoo is much better than a jail
- Foxes should be bred into the home pets
- What is the least dangerous animal on the planet?
- The influence of wild animals on nature
- Hunting for sport is an acceptable pastime
- They should make hunting illegal
- No one has a right to keep wild-caught exotic animals against their will
- People should stop wearing fur & leather clothing
Good Persuasive Essay Topics for High School
- Pros and cons of wearing a school uniform
- The problem of hate crime in schools
- Our society is no longer male-dominated
- Does modern TV impinge on the adolescent’s intellect?
- Global Warming: myth or truth?
- The ethical & moral aspects of cloning
- Abortions should be illegal
- Death sentence is an acceptable punishing measure
- Companies must start paying paternity leave to fathers
- Should various communication devices be allowed during the examinations?
Persuasive Essay Topics about Music
- Percussionists cannot be called professional musicians
- It is time to make music literacy a mandatory element of high school/college curricula
- Are school students better off studying dance or music?
- Why are American and British musicians more paid than the artists from the rest of the world?
- Does it make sense to invest in your personal band?
- Every person with normal hearing can sing
- Playing bass guitar is not easier than playing 6-string electro guitar
- Music is one of the best treatments to cure mental disorders
- Can some genres like heavy metal push the children to commit suicide?
- Is gothic music focus on the topic of death?
Science Persuasive Essay Topics
- Are cell phones safe?
- They must allow the law enforcement to apply DNA profiling in criminal investigations
- People have no right to conduct medical research on animal species
- The government should participate in developing measures necessary to prevent rare species of plants/animals from extinction
- Our activity contributes to the global warming
- People alone are responsible for the high level of pollution in the atmosphere
- Should oil companies be held more accountable in terms of the oil spills?
- Can marijuana be used as a medical treatment?
- They should stop cloning animals
- Is it safe to eat genetically modified food?
Persuasive Essay Topics for Elementary Students
- The positive outcomes of war
- Homework writing assignments are useless in elementary school
- Collecting cars or dolls is the most boring hobby in the world
- Students of any age must have permission to keep their devices on during the class
- School cafeteria serve almost poisonous food
- Colleges must provide students with the free lunches
- Money can bring happiness
- Should students do homework tasks every night?
- Why can every child have a pet?
- What has more impact - recycling or donating?
Self-Help Writing Ideas
- Improve your time management to succeed at work
- The way to dress for success
- Why is it important to be true?
- Do the embarrassing episodes make people stronger?
- Potential catastrophes make people who survive value their lives more than before
- Should people live their lives spontaneously?
- Are determination and hard work enough to be successful?
- Self-confident is the most important personal trait
- Hobbies help to continue personal growth
- Is music a stress reliever capable of decreasing depression?
Government & Politics Argumentative Paper Ideas
- Recruiters must be required to post job vacancies on a government-run website
- Why is it the responsibility of our government to shelter homeless people?
- Must the religious groups drive the state fund schools?
- Puerto Rico should become a state
- Alaska has never belonged to the United States
- Barack Obama deserves to be printed on the new US banknotes
- Justice system in the United States has to be improved
- The military budget is rather huge: it is time to reduce it!
- Is a war on drugs failure?
- Marijuana can help to achieve peace around the world
Funny & Humorous Debatable Paper Ideas
(more ideas to make your homework answers smart!)
- Blondes are not necessarily dumb
- Humorous pick-up lines work
- Do men gossip more than women?
- Why should students be allowed to drink beer at school?
- They should assign PE writing homework
- Never let your parents become your FaceBook friends/followers
- Moms can be more fun & crazy than dads
- Debatable essays are pointless
- “Family Guy” displayed “Star Wars” better than George Lucas
- Men should start wearing pink clothing
Find a bonus: 3 more good persuasive essay topics you may write about:
- Reservation casinos are beneficial if managed properly (Finances class).
- Should Scotland gain independence? (History class)
- There is no way to defend & support gay marriage (International Relations class).
The proposed list of the good persuasive speech topics gives a clear understanding of what to write about to impress a high school/college teacher or the public. Choose the topic wisely! A student must be comfortable with his choice and elaborate on it to develop a powerful thesis and defend it. Don’t forget to add a strong hook at the beginning (introduction paragraph) and end up with an impressive conclusion to make the reader want to discuss the interesting persuasive essay topics of your choice. We wish you good luck!
P.S. Keep in mind you can contact online academic writers to assist in topic selection as well as writing the whole paper from A to Z.