Essay Writing Guide

Essay Topics

Last updated on: Dec 19, 2023

Essay Topics: 100+ Best Essay Topics for your Guidance

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Rylee W.

Published on: Jan 29, 2019

Essay Topics

Let’s face it, essay writing can be tedious and boring. Spending hours to write a good essay is difficult, and brainstorming essay topic ideas can be even more confusing.

This is what makes writing essays difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, you can learn  essay writing  with practice and by following some good examples. But before that, you should know how to choose a good and engaging topic for your essay.

To help you get started, we have categorized a list of a number of different types of essay topic lists.

Essay Topics

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Argumentative Essay Topics

An argumentative essay investigates a topic in great detail, forms an argument over it, and defends it using supporting data.

Below are some good argumentative essay topic ideas to help you draft winning essays.

  • School students should be allowed to curate their high school curriculum.
  • The role of physical education in the school system.
  • Should the death sentence be implemented globally?
  • It should be illegal to use certain types of animals for experiments and other research purposes.
  • Should the government do more to improve accessibility for people with physical disabilities?
  • Do people learn the art of becoming a politician, or are they born with it?
  • Social media platform owners should monitor and block comments containing hateful language.
  • Does technology play a role in making people feel more isolated?
  • Will there ever be a time when there will be no further technological advancements?
  • It should be illegal to produce and sell tobacco.
  • Girls should be motivated to take part in sports.
  • Rape victims should abort their unborn children.
  • Fathers should get equal paternity leave.
  • Do teenagers get into trouble because they are bored?
  • Individuals who have failed at parenting should be punished.
  • Vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
  • Covid-19 vaccination has more cons than pros.
  • Social media is the real cause of teenage depression.
  • Is the American education system perfect for society?
  • Recycling should be made compulsory.

Choosing a strong topic is key to writing a great essay. Have a look at our blog to select good  argumentative essay topics  to impress the audience.

Persuasive Essay Topics

A persuasive essay is similar to an argumentative paper. However, in it, the writer wants to convince the readers of their point of view. Simple essay topics would make better essays as they help the students stay focused.

Below is a list of some good persuasive essay topics for you:

  • Energy drinks should be banned in schools and colleges.
  • Gambling should be banned in the United States.
  • Should abortions be banned worldwide?
  • Hunting is an immoral act.
  • Is it okay to use animals in a circus?
  • Harmful dogs should be euthanized.
  • Cell phones should not be allowed in schools.
  • Teachers should pass a professional exam, just like students.
  • Schools should reduce the workload on students.
  • Sex education should be mandatory in high schools.
  • Vlogging isn’t an actual profession.
  • Is LinkedIn helpful for finding a job?
  • Social media has played a big role in increasing business opportunities.
  • Is Java becoming obsolete?
  • Should employers go through the candidate’s social media profiles?
  • Animal testing should be banned.
  • Violent video games should be banned.
  • Parents with mental disabilities should not be allowed to adopt children.
  • Alcohol consumption should be legalized in Muslim countries.
  • Every person should get Covid-19 vaccination.

For your help, we have gathered a wide range of  persuasive essay topics . Give it a read.

Descriptive Essay Topics

A descriptive essay describes a specific thing by using sensory data. It is done to engage the reader’s five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight).

The following is a list of descriptive essay topic ideas for the students.

  • The person who is responsible for making a difference in my life.
  • Describe a smartphone and its benefits to someone from the ‘60s.
  • The most interesting piece of art I have ever seen.
  • Describe the experience of falling in love.
  • What does a place that only exists in your imagination look like?
  • Describe meeting a famous person.
  • Describe yourself and your personality to a stranger.
  • What will life be like in 2050?
  • An experience that changed my life forever.
  • Your idea of the perfect day.
  • My first trip abroad.
  • The most significant event in American History.
  • A popular book series that disappointed you.
  • A look into my daily life.
  • A day in the life of an ER doctor.
  • A trip to the museum.
  • The most interesting movie I watched during my summer vacation.
  • My favorite childhood memory.
  • An incident that changed my life.
  • An incident that restored my faith in humanity.

Here are some more  descriptive essay topics  to help you find a good idea for your essay.

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Narrative Essay Topics

In a narrative essay, your goal is to share a personal experience by telling a story. This creative form of writing depends on how strong and exciting the theme is. The article topics for students given here are carefully curated and would help the students do good in their essays.

Some examples and topics of narrative topic ideas are presented below.

  • The experience that taught me how looks could be deceiving.
  • A week without internet and technology.
  • The impact your first love had on your life.
  • How much did your teachers contribute to making you the person you are today?
  • An experience that made you realize your parents were or weren’t always right.
  • A moment when someone you didn’t like surprised you with kindness.
  • The influence technology has had on your hobbies and life.
  • An achievement outside of academic life?
  • Which school lesson had the biggest influence on your life?
  • A day when you fought procrastination.
  • The time you faced rejection.
  • The time when you stood against your parents.
  • An experience that left you helpless.
  • The time you prayed to be an only child.
  • An act of kindness you can never forget.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Your biggest pet peeve.
  • Your definition of a perfect weekend.
  • The things you regret most in life.
  • Your first experience of an air trip.

Choosing interesting  narrative essay topics  is essential to make the content compelling for the readers.

Research Essay Topics

While writing a research essay, the most crucial step is choosing a topic for your essay. Select a topic that is broad enough to compose an entire research essay on it.

Below are some of the best topics for your research essay.

  • Effects of violent cartoons on children.
  • Should universities provide accommodations to disabled students?
  • Events and experiences I agree are causing the increase in terrorism.
  • How do technology and gadgets affect the studies of children?
  • Do children who attend preschool do better in school?
  • Universities are becoming business-driven.
  • Does college debt affect the future lives of students?
  • Why has the divorce rate changed in the past decade?
  • Schools should allow the use of smartphones in school.
  • Effective ways to decrease depression among our youth.
  • Analyze the relationship between the United States of America and North Korea.
  • Why did the UK decide to leave the EU?
  • Is it true that students learn better in a same-sex school?
  • How does giving kids different gadgets affect their studies?
  • Compare the immigration policies of two different countries.
  • Events that lead to World War I.
  • Pros and cons of studying abroad.
  • How has Covid-19 influenced the education system of the world?
  • Individual acts that lead to Global Warming.
  • Effectiveness of the policies made to control Covid-19.

Looking for more? We have an extensive range of  research essay topics  to make the audience fall in love with your work.

Expository Essay Topics

While writing an expository essay, you have to explain and clarify your topic clearly to the readers.

Below is a list of expository essay topics:

  • Why do teenagers commit suicide?
  • What is the impact of music on our youth?
  • What are the consequences of skipping school?
  • Why do teenagers use drugs?
  • How can pets make you happy and improve your life?
  • Consequences of having alcoholic drinks within a school campus.
  • How does drug use affect relationships?
  • Is global warming a cause of skin cancer?
  • Is sodium bad for your health?
  • What is the line between being overweight and being obese?
  • Why do you want to pursue your desired career?
  • Explain how advancements in science improve the quality of life for humans.
  • What are some unconventional ways of relieving stress?
  • If you could swap your lives with someone, who would it be and why?
  • What are some major stress factors in a teenager’s life?
  • Why is getting a degree important for job life?
  • Pros and cons of getting financial aid.
  • How emotional support animals help in treating mental conditions.
  • How does prostitution influence society?
  • The environmental causes of smoking.

5StarEssays.com has gathered an additional and extensive list of  expository essay topics .

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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In a compare and contrast essay, you evaluate and analyze the similarities and differences between the two subjects. Your reader must be able to form an opinion after weighing the pros and cons you have set forth.

Below are some topics for you to choose for your compare and contrast paper:

  • Extroverts and introverts.
  • Generation Y Vs. Generation Z.
  • Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones.
  • Unemployed students Vs. students with a part-time job.
  • SAT and TOEFL.
  • Persuasive and argumentative essays - How are they similar?
  • How were the causes of World War I different from the causes of World War II?
  • Education vs. professional career: what is more difficult?
  • Real-life or spending your time daydreaming.
  • Consequences of earthquake and tsunami: what’s worse?
  • Being popular in high school or alone?
  • Part-time work or studying for a higher degree?
  • Getting married at an old age or a young age?
  • Fashion today Vs. twenty years ago.
  • Donald Trump Vs. Hillary Clinton.
  • Democracy Vs. Dictatorship
  • Vietnam War Vs. War on Terror.
  • Benefits of drinking tea Vs. coffee.
  • Greek and Roman methodologies - Similarities and differences.
  • Traditional Vs. distant learning.

Get more interesting  compare and contrast essay topics  at 5StarEssays.com to impress your instructors.

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

The cause and effect essay explains why something happens and what happens as a result of those happenings. A cause and effect essay is a type of expository essay.

Here are a few topics for your cause and effect essay:

  • What are the causes of eating disorders?
  • Effects of climate change and global warming.
  • The effects of the Feminism movement.
  • What are the causes of increasing depression among teenagers?
  • What are the causes of suicidal thoughts?
  • Is keeping a pet effective in calming your mind?
  • How does divorce affects children?
  • Why are men afraid of commitment?
  • Effects of social media on youth.
  • Has social media affected relationships among families?
  • Discuss the effects of homeschooling on children.
  • Causes of heart diseases.
  • Causes of sibling rivalry.
  • Cramming doesn't help improve test scores.
  • Cause and effect of depression in the workplace.
  • How do abusive parents influence the mental stability of a child?
  • Causes and effects of bullying.
  • Causes of obesity in teenagers.
  • Effects of taking a balanced diet on health?
  • Causes and effects of insomnia.

To get more ideas, visit our  cause and effect essay topics  that are remarkable and well-suited for a great essay.

Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics

Argumentative essay topics are quite popular assignments in universities. If you are a student searching for a captivating argumentative essay topic, here is a list of ideas you can consider.

  • Third world war should be prevented by the Russian and US governments.
  • Political policies and practices affecting students.
  • Is gun control effective in reducing crime?
  • Same-sex marriage and constitutional law.
  • Is society over-regulated?
  • Are leaders born or made?
  • No one should be above the law.
  • Monarchy: pros and cons.
  • Rules on Political Activities by Federal Employees.
  • The most corrupt countries in the world.
  • Mercy killing should be legalized in all countries of the world.
  • Death penalties should be abolished.
  • Third-world countries should be provided with education plans by the developed countries.
  • Muslims should not be labeled as terrorists.
  • Illegal immigrants should be given equal rights.
  • Abortions should be legalized.
  • Live-in relationships should be encouraged.
  • Professional athletes should be allowed to consume steroids.
  • Should physical punishments be given to children?
  • Smoking in public should be an offensive crime.

Funny Argumentative Essay Topics

Are you looking for some funny argumentative essay topics for your essay? If so, choose a topic from the following list.

  • Why do people like watching funny videos?
  • What your cat is really thinking.
  • Why spam emails should be your favorite type of email.
  • Why wearing braces is fun.
  • School dropouts are the best in our society.
  • Why I don't like country music.
  • Types of dates.
  • A better way to get things done.
  • What organic food really is.
  • Things guys do that girls hate.
  • How to annoy your friend.
  • Why do women pretend that they enjoy sports?
  • Things preventing you from completing your homework in time.
  • Funny things we see in wedding ceremonies.
  • Why are spam emails more interesting?
  • Why does Starbucks coffee taste better?
  • Why are backbenchers smarter than other students?
  • Clowns are scarier than funny.
  • Should we be maintaining social distancing even after Covid-19?
  • Why is watching movies better than reading books?

Informative Essay Topics for Students

Essay writing requires depth. However, you don’t have to choose a complex topic in middle school, high school, or college.

Here is a list of interesting essay topics for middle school, high school, and college students.

Essay Topics for College Students

  • Virtual classes cannot replace the traditional class system.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of online classes.
  • Is there a need to reform the college education system?
  • Assault weapons should not be legal.
  • People with a history of mental illness should not be allowed to purchase firearms.
  • The taxation system needs to be changed around the globe.
  • Kids should not be the target audience in advertising.
  • The number of calories should be mentioned with every meal.
  • Feminists have effectively improved the workforce for women.
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • How to identify fake news?
  • How to maintain a healthy life?
  • How to treat PTSD naturally?
  • Should people be judged on their appearance?
  • How is technology influencing the work performance of people?
  • Private Vs. public schools
  • How to choose majors in high school?
  • Impact of legalizing drugs on society.
  • Significance of learning social values.
  • How to prevent bullying on campus?

Essay Topics for High School

  • The choice to join the armed forces should be an individual decision.
  • Listening to music can increase work efficiency.
  • Being honest has more cons than pros.
  • People who have been in an accident value life more than others.
  • Embarrassing moments help boost your confidence.
  • Kindness is the most valuable personal trait.
  • Spontaneity can improve your life.
  • Can hobbies help improve the richness of one’s life?
  • Dressing properly in the office improves work efficiency
  • Being organized can help in school as well as the office.
  • Impact of homosexuality on society.
  • What is feminism?
  • How to overcome fears and phobias?
  • Significance of having leadership skills in job life?
  • Causes and treatments for bipolar disorder.
  • Side effects of consuming antidepressants.
  • How important is mental health in succeeding professionally?
  • How do teaching methods influence learning abilities?
  • Should specially-abled people be allowed to work in offices?
  • Discrimination and racism in the US.

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Essay Topics for Middle School

  • Every child should have chores at home.
  • There should not be any summer classes.
  • Should students continue studying during summer vacation?
  • Parents should pay attention to the amount of time their children spend watching television.
  • Favorite family summer vacation.
  • Sports should be mandatory in every school.
  • Processed foods should not be part of private and public school lunch.
  • Do students still use newspapers for research?
  • Every individual should spend a year doing community service.
  • The weekend should be 3 days long.

Still need help choosing an essay topic? 5StarEssays is a professional  essay writing service  that helps you get a high quality essay. We have a team of essay writers who are professionals and can do your essay . 

We also have an AI-powered paper writer  for you to help you generate an essay in seconds to use as a reference!

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Essay Topics & Ideas

what is the ideas for essay

You’ve made it to the perfect article! After reading this you’ll not just know how to come up with an idea for an essay, but have over 300 examples to inspire you. 

Why Essay Ideas and Great Essay Topics are Vital

The difference between having fun while writing an interesting, high scoring essay, and struggling to finish an essay the night before it’s due has less to do with how well you write and more to do with the topic you choose. A topic you feel passionate about will make you more excited to actually do the writing and will make the writing process easier and the end product better. Don’t get carried away though! Think about the audience you’re writing for and choose a topic that they would find at least somewhat interesting. Another useful way to help decide between several topics you’re passionate about is choosing one that you already have a lot of information about. This will cut down on your research time, making your writing flow, weaving facts and references into the narrative. 

300+ Essay Topic Ideas

You’ll find over 300 topic ideas divided into various categories down below. Put your own spin on any of these ideas and take the first step in writing a fun, high scoring essay. Keep in mind - these are topic ideas, not titles!

Essay Topics for Kids

Some really simple questions to inspire young children to come up with a fun topic!

Who is your favorite superhero and why?
What do you like the most about your parents?
What is your favorite season?
What do you like the most about Christmas?
What have you learned from cartoons?
What does your brother or sister do for fun?
Do you like vegetables? Why or why not!
How was your first day of school?
What is your favorite thing to eat?

Essay Topics for Middle School

Some slightly more complicated questions to help middle schoolers find a great topic.  

Who is your best friend and why?
What are you the best at?
What’s your favorite cuisine?
Who’s your role model?
What do you think about social media?
Explain what friendship means to you
Choose a science term you love and write about it
What do you want to be when you’re older?
What was it like losing your first tooth?
What do you like the most about school?

Essay Topics for College

Some complicated question to ignite the imaginations of sophisticated college students. 

What were the driving factors behind your choice of major?
How did you deal with homesickness?
What new clubs and activities did you start enjoying in college?
Does a college degree seem worth it so far?
Is independence everything you thought it would be?
What would you change about your college experience?
What is a course that you found yourself enjoying despite hating it in high school?
How different is socializing in college compared to high school?
Would you have preferred to have gone to a larger or smaller college and why?
Do you think you’ve managed your time well?

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Essay Topics by Essay Type

This section will cover the 4 main types of essays you will be asked to write in your academic career.

  • Expository writing asks the writer to do some research and explain concepts and ideas. These include Informative, Cause & Effect, and Research essays.
  • Persuasive writing is all about trying to convince the reader to come to your side of an issue. These include Persuasive, Argumentative, and Rhetorical Analysis essays.
  • Descriptive writing allows for more creativity, painting an experience with words that explain ideas and convey emotions. These include Descriptive and Definition essays.
  • Narrative writing is about sharing experiences through storytelling. These include Narrative, Personal, Reflective, and Process essays. ‍

Informative Essay Topics

Pretty straightforward, do some research and present the facts. Keep your opinions out of it!

The history of bathing culture in ancient China
Why salt used to be worth its weight in gold
The impact of prohibition on modern attitudes towards alcohol
An in-depth critique of your favorite book or movie 
Why a little bit of stress is a good thing
The story of how a chocolate bar gets made
The top 10 richest people in the world
The best videogames of each decade 
How to get out of a bad relationship
The evolution of the internet 

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Explore how one thing impacts the other, also known as reason and result essays. 

The impact of Young Adult fiction on teenagers
How the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought the world closer together
Dealing with a cross-cultural relationship
Wearing school uniforms reduces bullying
The effects of having a toxic parent
Why there’s a rise in eating disorders amongst young people today
Ways to lead a healthier lifestyle and why it’s important
The impact of going to college on earning potential 
Why everyone needs a vacation once every 6 months
The impact of group sports on an individuals psychology

Research Essay Topics

More in-depth analysis usually requiring scientific research. Sometimes you just collect and synthesize information, sometimes you may be asked to give an opinion. 

The extent of child labor in the fast fashion industry 
Has science fiction driven scientific discovery and if so, what can we expect from the future?
The impact of climate change on migratory wildlife 
How do transfats differ from healthy fats and why they are bad?
Is there a connection between social media usage and reported happiness?
How have film industries around the world shaped and influenced each other?
Which country is going to be the next superpower?
An analysis of modern pop music lyrics 
Themes and motifs in anime that are similar to Shakespeare’s works
What type of underwear is best for different weather conditions

Persuasive Essay Topics

Using emotions to convince someone that your perspective on an issue is correct.

What does the term “Globalist” actually means
The responsibility for sex and drug education lies with parents
Why veganism is the only morally justifiable diet
Should there be limits on freedom of speech?
Students should be allowed to listen to music when they take exams
Why some words should not be used regardless of context
Should alternative and homeopathic medicine come with warning labels?
There needs to be a minimum age for social media use
Online friends are just as valuable as offline friends
Instagram is bad for the body image of young adults

Argumentative Essay Topics

Using logic and facts to convince somebody that your perspective on an issue is correct.

Is cancel culture a good way for groups to police people?
Should celebrities have public opinions about politics?
Why is ok to eat plants but not animals?
Should everyone be forced to take vaccines?
What are the lasting impacts of internment camps in the USA?
Should animals have the same rights as humans?
Is it justifiable to spend billions getting to Mars when children still die of starvation on Earth?
Why video games should be considered sports
Should countries be allowed to censor movies?
Is health care a basic human right?

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

A specific type of essay that focuses less on what the content is and more on how the author goes about writing it. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray: A peek into the mind of Oscar Wilde
The movie versions of famous books 
A scientific speech given by a Nobel prize winner
Your favorite Superbowl commercial 
A stand up special by a comedian 
A speech given by your principal
A particularly excellent billboard you came across
A speech by an activist like Greta Thunberg
A monologue by your favorite talk show host
A rant by your favorite social media personality

Descriptive Essay Topics

Detail rich writing that conveys intangible things like ambiance and emotion.

How would an alien reporting back to the mothership explain humans?
The feeling of a beautiful sunset on the beach 
What’s special about your favorite homecooked meal
Holding a baby for the first time
The most embarrassing moment of your life
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be 
Why your favorite city in the world is the best
Your favorite childhood outfit 
What is your mental happy place?
What it’s like to be in love

Definition Essay Topics

Defining an interesting term that has an imprecise meaning or a meaning that differs from culture to culture. 

Why anybody can be privileged in one way or another
Is communism really as bad as people think?
The importance of slang (choose any slang word like yeet, lit, snack)
Teleportation and why it’s impossible
The difference between being smart and being clever
Making fun or being in awe of modern art
If you’re born after the year 2000 is the internet a basic right?
Why I love my dog differently than my romantic partner
Does mental health mean different things in different cultures?
The World Wide Web: What WWW really means

Find out more ideas of definition essay topics in or guides.

Narrative Essay Topics

An academic form of storytelling that is full of details and action. Usually drawn from the writer’s own experiences. Feel feel to use personal pronouns!

Why a certain phrase became your motto
A time when you were convinced to change your mind about something 
A random act of kindness you witnessed
What time period you would go to if time travel were possible
A time you panicked because you thought you lost your phone
The first time you felt butterflies in your stomach
Your most disappointing birthday
A conversation that impacted the way you approach life
What it would be like to have a twin
A day in the life of a goat

We collected 150 ideas of nurrative essay topics in another article!

Personal Essay Topics

A style of writing close to journaling. It should feel friendly and comfortable and can be as personal as you want. 

What are some of the challenges you have overcome in your life?
How important is spending time in nature to you?
What your YouTube channel would be about 
Which of your favorite movies would you want a sequel for?
What you wish people would know about you before meeting for the first time
What is the most rebellious thing you’ve done? 
Would you be ok in a nontraditional occupation?
How much does being a sports fan define you?
Why certain items of clothing have special meaning to you
Why you still believe or don’t believe in ghosts

Reflective Essay Topics

Another personal style that allows the writer to express how they felt at certain moments and how certain things impacted them. 

When was the last time you laughed with someone so hard you couldn’t stop?
Are certain people and certain places forever linked in your memory?
The worst punishment you have endured
A time when you helped someone in need and why it was important to you
Your first time failing at something and what it taught you
The joys of playing with a pet
The feeling of walking in warm rain 
What it was like moving back to a city you left
Reconnecting with old friends because of social media
What it felt like getting lost

Process Essay Topics

A step by step guide on how to make something happen. 

How to teach an old person to use a smartphone
How to find better friends 
How to become a better writer
How to build followers of social media
How to say no to people without hurting their feelings
How to make the sweetest handmade gifts
How to impress everyone in a room with just a few words
How to take a comprehensive two-minute shower
How to choose the tastiest fruits
How to get over an ex

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Essay Topic Idea by Category

In this section, you’ll find 10 topics per popular category. Search for the category that’s most related to your class or find something you like personally. Any of these topics can be used as extended essay topics, just write more than usual!

Psychology Essay Topics

Some ideas to inspire your essay about the mind.

How much control do you have over your own thoughts?
How does society define what “crazy” is?
Knowing someone who has a mental disorder
Your own experiences with mental health
Mental health is just as important as physical health
The difference between confidence and arrogance
Pick an interesting psychology concept and define it
The different attitudes towards therapy in different socio-economic groups 
The effects of Disney movies on the concept of love
Diagnose your favorite superhero with their most likely disorder

Philosophy Essay Topics

Ideas for the deep thinkers.

The changing importance of philosophy in the 2020s
Is philosophy the same as religion? Why or why not?
Compare Plato’s Allegory of Cave to The Matrix Trilogy
Utilitarian philosophy in Star Trek
Do video games promote escapism and if, isn’t that the point of technology?
Should a majority force a minority to follow their wishes?
How do you find the line between free speech and harassment?
Is there such a thing as being too nice?
Would you date somebody who held very different beliefs than you?
Choose a concept by a famous philosopher and define it.

Technology Essay Topics

Fascinating ideas to explore for the tech-savvy.

What the next big leap in technology is going to be
Can humans already be considered cyborgs?
How is artificial intelligence going to affect jobs in the future?
Do big technology companies have too much power?
If robots achieved sentience, should they be given the same rights as humans?
Compare and contrast the changes in computing power in the last 20 years
Explain how the internet actually works
Analyze historical technological advancements like the steam engine or light bulb
Would you be willing to be a Mars colonist?
Make predictions about the technology of the future 

Ethics Essay Topics

Explore right and wrong with these topic ideas.

What is the difference between morals and laws?
Is justice an objective concept or is it determined by the majority?
Is it ok for parents to have a favorite child or for children to have a favorite parent?
Would you save your own pet over a human life?
Should people be allowed to not wear masks if it is against their beliefs?
Is it morally wrong to be in a polygamous relationship?
Loyalty is considered a good thing, but people have done terrible things because of it. 
What is the best way to punish criminals?
Should there be laws that are enforceable everywhere in the world?
Who has the most responsibility to take care of the environment?

Health Essay Topics

Write about being in tune with your body and how to lead a better life.

How to be healthy without dieting
Compare how your body feels now to 5 years ago 
Choose a health buzz word like superfoods and explain what it means
Should governments provide free mental healthcare?
How to stay positive during the lockdown
What are the most unhealthy fast food burgers?
What are the impacts of good nutrition on energy levels?
Are vitamin supplements worth it?
Explain the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria 
Does being thinner automatically mean you are healthier?

History Essay Topics

Ideas to inspire the history buffs out there.

What was the impact of the 2007 financial crisis on your family?
Which time period was it the best to be a common person?
Trace your family history as far back as you can
What are the biggest lessons learned from history?
Choose your favorite hobby and trace its origins
Who was the richest person in all of human history?
What did people think of fossils before humans understood dinosaurs?
Compare and contrast the first great human civilizations
Why was India such an important destination in the middle ages?
What is the impact of the slave trade in modern Africa?

Education Essay Topics

Educate your readers about education.

Should students have more freedom in choosing what classes they take?
Who has the responsibility to educate children about religion?
What are the other forms of education and are they effective?
Trace the history of the modern educational system
Does language affect how well you score on exams?
Does separating people based on standardized testing make sense?
What is the best way to reward excellent teachers?
Why can some countries provide free university education?
What are the biggest challenges you have faced academically?
Should there be a Nobel Prize for education?

Music Essay Topics

Ideas that will inspire music lovers.

What is the first song that you can remember?
Do different kinds of music affect how well you can study?
Could listening to music be considered a form of meditation?
Do musicians appreciate music more than nonmusicians?
What is the best genre of music in your opinion?
Could you be good friends with someone who has completely opposite music tastes?
What instrument would you like to be amazing at
Compare and contrast classical music with modern pop hits
Have lyrics actually gotten better or worse over the decades?
What is the future of music going to be like?

Environment Essay Topics

Share your love of mother Earth with these topic ideas.

How can global warming lead to colder temperatures in some places?
What you personally do to help save the environment
Explore one of the worst pollution disasters in history
Should rich countries help poorer countries with carbon emission goals?
How have plate tectonics and volcanoes shaped our world
What would be the impact of rising sea levels 
Why are invasive species so dangerous?
What was the Earth’s climate like in the past?
What are the biggest specific threats to the environment?
Research the history behind finding medicines in nature

Sociology Essay Topics

Write about the behavior of humans and groups.

What is groupthink and does social media make it worse?
Do groups of people make better decisions than individuals?
Explore a subculture that you’re unfamiliar with 
What did you learn on your first trip abroad?
What can humans learn from animal social groups?
Why are people so different around the world?
What are the key factors of attraction?
What will future generations look back on in 2020 that they would find repulsive? 
What is your favorite festival from another culture?
Why did different places in the world develop different cuisines?

Economics Essay Topics

Ideas to write about the money side of things.

What is the effect of cryptocurrency on traditional money systems?
What is your first memory of earning any money?
Should wealthier people be taxed more than poorer people?
What percentage of GDP should be spent on education?
Should businesses do more corporate social responsibility?
Choose an economics term and explain it
Trace the origins of money 
How companies create artificial shortages to increase prices
How can a government control how much its money is worth
What is the role of the World Bank?

More Fun & Interesting Essay Topics

Some weird, crazy, topic ideas to set the inner creative free

What is the meaning of life?
How would you make friends with an alien
What would your supervillain plan to take over the world be?
Which fictional character would you like to be?
How many tears does the ocean hold?
A day in the life of a library book
The journey of a meme
How to destroy an influencer
A time you felt like you were in a movie
What music genre are you?
Which Disney movie do you relate to the most?
How would you survive on 5 dollars a day?
A time you were convinced you were living in the matrix
Gaming for 24 hours straight
Having crushes on multiple people
The sneakiest thing you’ve ever done
What kind of rich person would you be?
What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?
How to get rid of an earworm
Your favorite weird food combination

Wrapping It Up

The team of experts at Studyfy offers professional essay writing services , dissertation writing services , research paper writing services , as well as help with writing admission essays. They have vast experience and knowledge in different fields of study, and can provide you with top-quality academic help to ensure that you succeed in your studies. Contact them today and take the first step towards achieving your academic goals!

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52 Argumentative Essay Ideas that are Actually Interesting

What’s covered:, how to pick a good argumentative essay topic, elements of a strong argumentative essay, argumentative essay idea example topics.

Are you having writer’s block? Coming up with an essay topic can be the hardest part of the process. You have very likely encountered argumentative essay writing in high school and have been asked to write your own. If you’re having trouble finding a topic, we’ve created a list of 52 essay ideas to help jumpstart your brainstorming process! In addition, this post will cover strategies for picking a topic and how to make your argument a strong one. Ultimately, the goal is to convince your reader. 

An argumentative essay tasks the writer with presenting an assertion and bolstering that assertion with proper research. You’ll present the claim’s authenticity. This means that whatever argument you’re making must be empirically true! Writing an argumentative essay without any evidence will leave you stranded without any facts to back up your claim. When choosing your essay topic, begin by thinking about themes that have been researched before. Readers will be more engaged with an argument that is supported by data.

This isn’t to say that your argumentative essay topic has to be as well-known, like “Gravity: Does it Exist?” but it shouldn’t be so obscure that there isn’t ample evidence. Finding a topic with multiple sources confirming its validity will help you support your thesis throughout your essay. If upon review of these articles you begin to doubt their worth due to small sample sizes, biased funding sources, or scientific disintegrity, don’t be afraid to move on to a different topic. Your ultimate goal should be proving to your audience that your argument is true because the data supports it.

The hardest essays to write are the ones that you don’t care about. If you don’t care about your topic, why should someone else? Topics that are more personal to the reader are immediately more thoughtful and meaningful because the author’s passion shines through. If you are free to choose an argumentative essay topic, find a topic where the papers you read and cite are fun to read. It’s much easier to write when the passion is already inside of you!

However, you won’t always have the choice to pick your topic. You may receive an assignment to write an argumentative essay that you feel is boring. There is still value in writing an argumentative essay on a topic that may not be of interest to you. It will push you to study a new topic, and broaden your ability to write on a variety of topics. Getting good at proving a point thoroughly and effectively will help you to both understand different fields more completely and increase your comfort with scientific writing.

Convincing Thesis Statement

It’s important to remember the general essay structure: an introduction paragraph with a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A strong thesis statement will set your essay up for success. What is it? A succinct, concise, and pithy sentence found in your first paragraph that summarizes your main point. Pour over this statement to ensure that you can set up your reader to understand your essay. You should also restate your thesis throughout your essay to keep your reader focused on your point.

Ample Research

A typical argumentative essay prompt may look like this: “What has been the most important invention of the 21st century? Support your claim with evidence.” This question is open-ended and gives you flexibility. But that also means it requires research to prove your point convincingly. The strongest essays weave scientific quotes and results into your writing. You can use recent articles, primary sources, or news sources. Maybe you even cite your own research. Remember, this process takes time, so be sure you set aside enough time to dive deep into your topic.

Clear Structure

If the reader can’t follow your argument, all your research could be for nothing! Structure is key to persuading your audience. Below are two common argumentative essay structures that you can use to organize your essays.

The Toulmin argument and the Rogerian argument each contain the four sections mentioned above but executes them in different ways. Be sure to familiarize yourself with both essay structures so that your essay is the most effective it can be.

The Toulmin argument has a straightforward presentation. You begin with your assertion, your thesis statement. You then list the evidence that supports your point and why these are valid sources. The bulk of your essay should be explaining how your sources support your claim. You then end your essay by acknowledging and discussing the problems or flaws that readers may find in your presentation. Then, you should list the solutions to these and alternative perspectives and prove your argument is stronger.

The Rogerian argument has a more complex structure. You begin with a discussion of what opposing sides do right and the validity of their arguments. This is effective because it allows you to piece apart your opponent’s argument. The next section contains your position on the questions. In this section, it is important to list problems with your opponent’s argument that your argument fixes. This way, your position feels much stronger. Your essay ends with suggesting a possible compromise between the two sides. A combination of the two sides could be the most effective solution.

  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Is our election process fair?
  • Is the electoral college outdated?
  • Should we have lower taxes?
  • How many Supreme Court Justices should there be?
  • Should there be different term limits for elected officials?
  • Should the drinking age be lowered?
  • Does religion cause war?
  • Should the country legalize marijuana?
  • Should the country have tighter gun control laws?
  • Should men get paternity leave?
  • Should maternity leave be longer?
  • Should smoking be banned?
  • Should the government have a say in our diet?
  • Should birth control be free?
  • Should we increase access to condoms for teens?
  • Should abortion be legal?
  • Do school uniforms help educational attainment?
  • Are kids better or worse students than they were ten years ago?
  • Should students be allowed to cheat?
  • Is school too long?
  • Does school start too early?
  • Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school?
  • Is summer break still relevant?
  • Is college too expensive?

Art / Culture

  • How can you reform copyright law?
  • What was the best decade for music?
  • Do video games cause students to be more violent?
  • Should content online be more harshly regulated?
  • Should graffiti be considered art or vandalism?
  • Should schools ban books?
  • How important is art education?
  • Should music be taught in school?
  • Are music-sharing services helpful to artists?
  • What is the best way to teach science in a religious school?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should parents be allowed to modify their unborn children?
  • Should vaccinations be required for attending school?
  • Are GMOs helpful or harmful?
  • Are we too dependent on our phones?
  • Should everyone have internet access?
  • Should internet access be free?
  • Should the police force be required to wear body cams?
  • Should social media companies be allowed to collect data from their users?
  • How has the internet impacted human society?
  • Should self-driving cars be allowed on the streets?
  • Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
  • Are professional athletes paid too much?
  • Should the U.S. have more professional sports teams?
  • Should sports be separated by gender?
  • Should college athletes be paid?
  • What are the best ways to increase safety in sports?

Where to Get More Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

If you need more help brainstorming topics, especially those that are personalized to your interests, you can use CollegeVine’s free AI tutor, Ivy . Ivy can help you come up with original argumentative essay ideas, and she can also help with the rest of your homework, from math to languages.

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Become a Writer Today

101 Great Essay Writing Topics for Students

Before you sit down to write, you need a topic, and these essay writing topics can help you get started.

Writing an essay is an important skill for high school and college students. Essays show a writer’s ability to think through a topic, explore their point of view and persuade or inform others of that. Yet, finding essay writing topics can feel vague. 

This list will help students find the right topic for a descriptive essay or argumentative essay. It outlines a number of hot topics that students can delve into in order to express their opinions and showcase their writing skills. You can use these to practice your essay writing skills or as prompts for you or students.

1. Is Climate Change Real?

2. the benefits (or drawbacks) of homework , 3. a funny childhood memory, 4. video game addiction, 5. the role of pets in our lives, 6. my summer vacation, 7. a personal victory or success, 8. what will life be like in 2050, 9. a trip to the museum, 10. describe meeting a famous person, 11. the impact of social media on tweens, 12. importance of school uniforms, 13. extracurricular activities: essential or optional, 14. favorite book and its impact, 15. the influence of celebrities on youth, 16. the significance of recreational activities, 17. if i were the principal of my school, 18. why the sale and production of tobacco should get banned, 19. should every country have the death sentence, 20. is homeschooling better or worse than public school, 21. is the us election process fair, 22. how can we reduce climate change, 23. your responsibility in climate change, 24. are you politically influenced by media, 25. feminism then and now, 26. the impact of immigration on host countries, 27. are environmentalist groups doing the wrong protests, 28. should we cancel cancel culture, 29. is artificial intelligence a boon or bane to society, 30. is genetic engineering ethical, 31. the role of social movements in social change, 32. censorship in media: necessary or suppressive, 33. is technology making education lazy, 34. are we supposed to share culture, 35. why soda should not be on fast food kids meals, 36. illegal immigrants should not be jailed, 37. breastfeeding in public should be considered normal, 38. why gun control is needed, 39. a turning point in your life, 40. should religion be taught in schools, 41. recycling should be compulsory, 42. colleges are becoming business driven, 43. the necessity of art in education, 44. the importance of space exploration, 45. the future of renewable energy, 46. fast fashion’s environmental impact, 47. social media and its influence on body image, 48. the role of social media in interpersonal relationships, 49. the consequences of cyberbullying, 50. the relevance of standardized testing today, 51. the influence of video games on youth behavior, 52. homework vs. class assignments, 53. social media vs. in-person interaction, 54. physical education vs. nutritional education, 55. life before and after the internet, 56. right side vs left side of the brian thinkers, 57. tea vs coffee, 58. fashion today vs 20 years ago, 59. ebooks vs. physical books, 60. urban vs. rural living, 61. traditional vs. digital art, 62. freelance vs. full-time employment, 63. western vs. eastern philosophies, 64. democracy vs. dictatorship, 65. introverts vs. extroverts, 66. working in your country vs. working abroad, 67. science fiction vs. fantasy, 68. public vs. private healthcare, 69. first day of school memories, 70. a memorable act of kindness, 71. your best or worst holiday, 72. an experience with peer pressure, 73. a surprising event or change of fortune., 74. your first teacher, 75. your idea of the perfect day, 76. imagine a week without the internet or technology, 77. a day you overcame rejection, 78. overcoming my fear, 79. the day i lost my first pet, 80. that someone who influenced me, 81. the most embarrassing moment, 82. the time i stood up for what i believe, 83. the invention i wish i had thought of, 84. an unexpected friendship, 85. the day that defined my future, 86. how is global warming changing the environment, 87. the causes of world war ii, 88. what is racism, and how are people sometimes unaware of it, 89. does free will exist, 90. what reading means to me, 91. the role of journalists and the media, 92. animal testing should be banned, 93. why do teenagers commit suicide, 94. the role of the united nations, 95. the history and impact of the internet, 96. why is financial literacy crucial today, 97. the importance of technology in healthcare, 98. the rise of electric vehicles, 99. an analysis of a popular tv show, 100. the value of learning a second language, 101. the stigma around mental health, a final word on the best essay writing topics, what are some topics for a persuasive essay, what are some good topics for an essay, essay writing resources, best essay writing topics for middle school students.

Great essay writing topics

If you are picking an essay for a 7th or 8th-grade student, the topic needs to be something that students in that age range are interested in. This will help them want to do the research and explore their ideas. This age range will often write expository essays or narrative essays, rather than persuasive ones.

Here are some essay topics to consider:

Climate change is a hot topic with middle schoolers, and this essay topic idea lets them explore it. This essay topic can work well for a persuasive, informative, or cause-and-effect essay.

Few middle school students enjoy homework, but this can be a great way to get them to dig into why the education system relies on homework. Students can give their opinions about the need for homework or why homework should be eliminated.

Middle school students who are not ready to write on argumentative essay topics can practice their English essay writing skills by writing about a funny thing that happened as a child. This topic should focus on entertaining, engaging storytelling. 

Video game addiction

Many young students spend a lot of time playing video games, and this can translate into an essay topic. Exploring the mental health effects of too much video gameplay is a good option. Ask them to write about games they live or spend too much time playing.

Do you have a pet at home that you can’t imagine not being there when you return? How do you treat it, and do you think of your pet as a best friend? Opt for a cause-and-effect essay on the role of pets in our lives to showcase this bond. Then, include the positive effects of owning a pet. Don’t forget to talk about the responsibilities that come with it.

This is a staple choice of teachers everywhere, particularly after the summer break. All younger students can write essays easily enough about how they spent a few weeks off school and where they went. Perhaps it was time with a family member or a best friend? There is a good reason that many elementary and middle school teachers assign this as a writing assignment at the start of school.

A student could start writing this essay by writing about when they felt like all was lost. Then, they could describe how they picked themselves up off the dirt and achieved a victory.

Will we find solutions to the problems we face today, like poverty and homelessness? Will technology enrich our lives further or be the cause of new issues?

Many young students often think about the future, and this topic allows them to let their imaginations run loose.

This way, they can express their ideas on how the world will look like in a few decades. It also gives you insight into the child’s personality. Do they see the positives in everything, or are they a bit more realistic?

As children, we loved going to the museum. Even today, it’s interesting to look at historical art, sculptures, and old vehicles. 

This essay topic works exceptionally well right after a school holiday. Maybe the young student just witnessed some of the best historical pieces. Writing about this topic allows them to reconnect with the emotions they felt.

In this essay, ask students what they liked most about visiting the museum, what important lessons they learned, and how they felt in the moment.

We all have favorite celebrities that we’d love to meet. This could be an actor, musician, or athlete.

In this essay topic, ask students to describe what it’s like to meet a famous person. How would they feel, what questions would the student ask them, and what activities would they do together?

By asking your student to write the essay as descriptively as possible, they’ll experience the positive emotions associated with meeting their idol.

For this prompt, your goal is to explore the balance between the good, the bad, and the unknown in social media platforms. As a middle schooler, you know better than anyone how integral social media is in your daily life. Think about it – how many people your age don’t have a phone connected to the internet?

A cause-and-effect essay on this subject will allow you to investigate how social networking systems influence people. Self-reflect and analyze how social media sites affect your feelings, friendships, and even schoolwork.

Have you ever wondered why some schools insist on their students having uniforms? This is despite other schools being more lenient and letting their students wear whatever they want. If you are, then satiate your curiosity via this prompt.

An argumentative essay will help you understand both sides of the debate. You can discuss why schools make uniforms mandatory or optional and investigate how uniforms affect students’ behavior, academic performance, and school pride.

Are you a part of your school’s sports team or another club, or do you prefer to focus your time on academics only? If you have ever wondered what extracurricular activities are for, use this prompt to write an informative essay on the importance of extracurricular activities.

Write about the exact details of the role of extracurricular activities in a student’s overall development. Explore and add the benefits and drawbacks of these activities as well. Through your essay, other students can make informed choices about how they spend their time at school.

Books are all about exploration. When you use books for school, they aim to make you more knowledgeable. But they are also doors to fantasy lands and help you learn more about yourself.

Do you have a favorite book that left a mark on you? For this prompt, write a personal narrative essay sharing that experience. Analyze why the book matters, then add how it has changed or defined you. Your essay might sway others to read your favorite book.

Celebrities and influences are everywhere – so much so that you can’t avoid them no matter how hard you try. They’re in the music you listen to, the streets you drive through, and even the boxes of your favorite cereals. For this prompt, write an argumentative essay about these celebrities and their critical influence on younger people.

Focus on celebrities’ sway on youth’s behavior, values, and aspirations. Argue whether they are positive role models or if they set unrealistic expectations. It’s best to choose celebrities everyone knows, like the Kardashians or the Bangtan Boys.

What do you do when you have time off from school? Aside from the instances you attend family events, do you like swimming, biking, or drawing? This prompt is perfect for a descriptive essay where you can detail your favored recreational activity.

Start with how you discovered the activity and why you got hooked on it. Include its significance to your life. Does it help you relax, meet new people, etc.? You can also talk about the skills you gained by doing this recreational activity regularly.

Have you ever dreamt of calling the shots at school? What about imagining being the principal? In this essay, share ideas on what parts of your school you want to keep or change. Analyze each critically and propose the improvements the school needs. Via this prompt, you can showcase your leadership skills. Remember to express your thoughts respectfully and constructively, and don’t forget to offer rational explanations for each proposed change. 

Controversial Essay Writing Topics for Older Students

As they enter high school and college, students should start transitioning from informative essays to persuasive ones. Controversial essay topics are a good way to do this. They help students develop their critical thinking skills and learn how to reason an argument. The below topics the bill well:

Few people would argue about the health benefits of tobacco, yet it remains a top-selling product. This essay will explore the benefits of banning the sale of the product altogether.

The death sentence is a controversial ethical and social issue. This essay will explore whether or not it is a suitable method of punishment and deterrent for serious crimes and the benefits or drawbacks of adding it to every country across the globe.

Homeschooling is growing in popularity, and this school essay topic will explore the benefits or drawbacks of this particular school choice. It may be pulled from personal experience if the student is homeschooled. 

Elections are an essential part of our lives. It gives us the power to determine who will govern our country. However, is the election process fair?

In the essay, your student will get an opportunity to voice their ideas, describe what changes they’d like to see, and how those changes will positively impact the nation.

This essay topic requires more research, and students walk away with knowledge that can help them in the long term.

Climate change is a serious topic that impacts everyone’s life. Sea levels are rising, which makes it difficult for animals like polar bears to survive.

When writing about this essay topic, students will have to research the effect of climate change, what causes it, and how to reduce its impact.

This requires logical thinking and creativity. It’ll encourage students to come up with a plan of action. Maybe they’ll limit the number of carbon emissions released by companies, promote solar power, or decrease the price of energy-efficient appliances.

Climate change has always been a controversial topic. There are many protests about it, but despite the protests, there are still no proper solutions. For this prompt, focus on what you, as a student, can do to help stop or slow down climate change. Identify your personal role in this phenomenon. Examine both your positive and negative contributions. As you write this essay, you can also discover sustainable life changes to add to your life. You can even encourage your future readers to follow your example.

Keeping up to date with world news is easy because we’re connected to the media 24/7. With this in mind, create a cause-and-effect essay and inspect the power of media in shaping your political views.

For instance, have you sided with a viewpoint because of a convincing social media post? For sure, many have experienced this once or twice. Dig deeper via your essay, analyze the media’s role and motivations, and present your findings.

If you plan to create a compare-and-contrast essay, go for this prompt. Analyze the evolution of feminist movements. Then, examine their origins, goals, and the changes they’ve brought about.

Have you ever wondered how the feminism of your grandma’s era differed from today’s? By researching this topic, you’ll not only increase your knowledge – you’ll also be able to educate others.

Are you looking at writing about globally relevant issues? If so, immigration is a complex subject you can explore—research immigration in the news, books, or even movies. You can even ask your teacher for help if you need to. For this prompt, connect your findings to the issues of the countries receiving immigrants. Make sure to differentiate the legal from illegal immigrants to relay your points better.

The environment is a sacred and essential part of our lives. And so it’s easy to understand the movements and the organizations that want to protect it. But do you think their actions will make others appreciate their cause in the long run?

This is why this controversial prompt is perfect for a persuasive essay. Talk about the recent protests. It can be the protestor’s destruction of paintings of legendary artists, glueing their hands on airport runways, or stopping people on the streets. Critique the strategies of environmental activist groups. Are they properly raising awareness? Or are their methods causing more harm than good?

Cancel culture is often based on limited evidence and incites blind hate. As an older student, you’re likely familiar with the term and its implications. In your essay, list cancel culture’s pros and cons and analyze each in depth.

Is cancel culture helpful? Is it only spreading misinformation? Is the hive mentality it encourages good? Share your thoughts on this recent societal development. Then, offer ways on how to better interact with cancel culture. For instance, you can recommend holding off judgment and thoroughly researching the issue first to make up your own mind.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay, but how helpful is it? For this prompt, create an expository essay that analyzes how AI is both a boon and a bane. For example, AI can make companies’ systems more efficient. But at the same time, it takes jobs away from writers, artists, and even tech devs.

Cite recent happenings, like the Texas A&M Commerce professor who failed his entire class to show the issue’s relevancy. As a student, you’re pretty familiar with AI developments. You might even have experienced it first-hand. Stop and think about AI’s broader implications via your essay.

Genetic engineering has always been a controversial subject. Since you’re an older student, you’ve probably had debates about this in class or with friends. To better understand the issue, construct a well-researched, argumentative essay on genetic engineering and the ethics that surround it.

As a student and a general public member, you are not just an observer of what happens in society. You are an active participant in social dynamics. So, for this prompt, opt for a cause-and-effect essay where you analyze how collective actions and thinking shape societies. Support your thoughts with evidence and share your realizations.

For this prompt, start by defining freedom of expression and comparing it with censorship. Then, present cases (preferably recent ones) to explain why censorship is necessary or repressive. This will help you create an informative essay that educates your readers.

In your essay, answer the question: “Is technology helpful or detrimental to education?” As a student, you’re at the center of this revolution. For instance, online classes are more prevalent now than some years ago. Submitting soft copies of papers online wasn’t even a thing then. Write an expository essay about whether technology aids or hampers your learning process.

If you want to write a thought-provoking descriptive essay, consider this prompt: There are unique cultures. But should these cultures remain exclusive? Think about your own culture and what it means to you. Would you like to share your culture? It’s time to share your thoughts and experiences.

In the same essay, you can also mention cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation. Talk about these ideas’ differences and similarities.

Persuasive Essay Topics for Older Students

Persuasive essays work to convince a reader of the writer’s point of view. These topics lend themselves well to a great essay that focuses on persuasion.

Fast food kids meals target young consumers, and soda is often included. Making junk food a way of life contributes to childhood obesity, and this topic could explore alternatives to soda for these kid-centered meals.

When people enter a country illegally, putting them in jail does not solve the problem. Instead, alternative punishments or even help with attaining legal immigrant status can reduce the strain on an overloaded system while also helping these individuals become part of society. 

Babies need breast milk to survive, yet many places in society frown on women feeding their babies in public. This essay  will  explore why this is an outdated and unhealthy idea.

The best topics for persuasive essays are ones that are a little controversial. Gun control fits the bill well, and it can be a good topic for an essay. Other topics include alcohol, drugs and, in some cases, religion. That said, it depends on the nature of your students and school.

All the students can typically point to an occasion or life event when their worldview or concept changed. Ask them to write about a defining life experience.

This essay topic is for older students and adult learners who can take a thoughtful but critical stance on the role of religion in schools today. Should it be taught or removed from schools, and why?

The average American produces 1,704 pounds of garbage per year. Most of this is thrown in landfills, which can be equally as damaging to the environment as littering. Oceans are also filled with plastic that negatively affects the lives of marine life.

However, if we can recycle all that waste, we won’t damage the environment. This essay topic encourages older students to research recycling and the pros and cons of making it mandatory. 

Getting a tertiary education is essential. It allows you to learn a marketable skill that other people pay you for. 

However, private colleges are becoming more common, leading people to think that these institutions are more focused on making money.

When writing about this topic, students need to research the cost of college tuition, how this high price negatively impacts their adult lives, and how the government can fix it.

Through this prompt, explore and express the value of creativity and aesthetics in one’s learning. Explain why art is essential. How does it influence your learning and perception of the world? Consider this: art is a medium of expression and critical thinking. To write this essay effectively, identify, describe, and reflect on different art forms. You can also focus on art forms that you’ve experienced.

Have you ever looked at the night sky and wondered what’s out there? Space exploration is all about the curiosity to discover the unknown. In your essay, go beyond rockets or astronauts and highlight man’s thirst for knowledge.

Start with the historical record of space exploration. Mention how it started and how it became possible. You can even include its milestone achievements. Then, move on to experts’ predictions on the future of space exploration. Discuss its benefits to humans, common challenges, and implications for our future.

Let’s now jump to another vital global discourse. Are you aware of the environmental and economic connotations of renewable energy? You may be young now, but you’re not a stranger to the problems of this planet. Through this prompt, you can become a part of the solution. In your essay, define and discuss different types of renewable energy. Underscore their potential, pros, and cons versus traditional energy sources.

Have you ever wondered where your clothes come from and where they end up? Sadly, most of us consume fast fashion. But have you considered fast fashion’s environmental consequences?

In your essay, identify facts about fast fashion. Credible sources should support these facts so readers can realize how detrimental it is to the environment. Review the lifecycle of a typical fast fashion item. Include the environmental cost at each stage. Then, look for ways to promote sustainable fashion choices.

Today, social media dominates our lives. But have you thought about how it affects how you view your body image? This is a sensitive issue, but timely nonetheless.

For this prompt, voice your experiences and insights about social media and the unrealistic body standards it presents. By doing so, you can help others navigate through the maze of internet likes and shares. Talk about how social networking services impact how people view themselves, including their self-esteem. Then, offer ways on how to circumvent these problems.

It’s a fact today that most of our relationships start and are maintained online. But does this virtual connection hamper real-life relationships?

Through your essay, explore the link between social media and interpersonal relationships. You can tell it from your perspective. How have your relationships evolved in the age of social media? Review the dynamics of online friendships, mentioning the blurred lines between the virtual and real world. It would be useful to talk to someone you know who remembers a time before mobile phones and social media, which only became prevalent in recent decades.

Sadly, the rise of social networks also gives bullies more channels to hurt others. Now, they can also hide behind screens. In your essay, define cyberbullying and its effects on the victim’s mental health. You can even include real-life cases for illustration. End your paper by presenting measures to prevent cyberbullying.

The education system needs some updating. If you want to delve into this issue, use a prompt that critiques its current methods. One of the most timely is standardized testing. What’s your take on it? Does it measure intelligence, or is it merely rote learning? List the pros and cons of standardized testing from your perspective as a student. Write as if you want to spark a conversation about educational reform.

At your age, you’ve probably experienced the evolution of video games first-hand. If you’re a gamer, have you ever questioned how it influenced your behavior? What about your peers?

For this prompt, focus on the psychological aspects of gaming. Mention the impact of different gaming genres on mental health and behavior. Don’t just talk about the adverse effects. It’s best to also consider the potential benefits of gaming as a learning tool.

Compare and Contrast Essays for Older Students

This type of essay compares two like or unlike things, drawing ways they are the same or different. It’s useful as it provides a structure for aspiring essayists that they can use to outline a longer work. Some ideas include:

Which has more value, homework or assignments completed in class? This essay topic will explore the contrast between these two types of school assignments. For fun, give it to students to complete in class… and then ask them to revise it at home.

Social media can keep people connected, but the increased push for social media connection can detract from in-person communication. This essay will explore the contrast between the two types of communication.

Both exercise and diet play a role in health. This essay  will  explore the impact of both through the education system.

Older students and adult learners can remember a time before we spend so much time. Is life any better now that we spend so much time connected to the Internet? This essay explores what it means to be constantly connected.

Right side of the brain thinkers are typically more creative and artistic. The left side of the brain thinkers are analytical and mathematical. What’s more valuable in today’s society? What can each type learn from its counterpart? And are you truly one type exclusively?

Caffeine is a staple for many students and workers. It gives you a boost of energy in the morning, which allows you to get more done. It also helps if you have a test coming up and need to study hard.

However, larger amounts of caffeine are known to cause heart palpitations, anxiety, and increased stress.

In this essay, students look at the benefits and drawbacks of tea and coffee. It empowers them with knowledge on when to limit their consumption.

Fashion is constantly changing. What looked cool 20 years ago might look weird today. Older students will also notice how their fashion choices changed from middle school to high school and from high school to college.

In this essay, students talk about what causes this change and how long it takes for the public to accept a specific style.

You’ve likely used ebooks and physical books for your studies and hobbies. In your essay, use your experience to analyze these different reading mediums. Are you an avid Kindle user? Or do you thrive on the feel of a physical book? Write about relevant aspects like convenience, feel, accessibility, and cost. Always support your arguments with personal anecdotes and factual data.

Do you live in the city or the outskirts? Both have pros and cons. If you’ve always been a city student, maybe you’ve wondered what life is like on the other side. If so, then this prompt lets you delve into these contrasting lifestyles.

Feel free to discuss factors such as access to amenities, social interactions, and lifestyle choices. Try to visualize and put yourself in both scenarios to offer an authentic perspective.

There’s been a divide between traditional and digital art for a long time. In this prompt, uncover the why . Consider aspects like skill set, accessibility, impact, and audience reach. Then, add your thoughts on the issue. Are you drawn to the authenticity of traditional art? Or do you admire the versatility of digital art? Bring in your observations and experiences to make your essay stand out.

You might still be a student, but you’ve thought about what your job will be like in the future, right? Then, have you ever wondered about the benefits of being your boss versus the security of a full-time job? Explore these contrasting work styles. By the end of your essay, you will also better understand what awaits you after graduation.

Talk about job stability, work-life balance, income potential, and personal growth. You can draw on real-life examples from people you know.

For a more intriguing essay, explore different philosophical frameworks. Are you drawn to Western philosophy’s empirical approach? Or do you prefer Eastern thought’s spiritual aspects? Explore themes such as the self, ethics, knowledge, and reality. Then, compare how these philosophies approach these ideas differently. This is your chance to show off your critical thinking skills.

Another complicated but interesting prompt is analyzing two contrasting political systems, democracy and dictatorship. Inspect how each system impacts citizens’ rights, economic development, social equality, and international relations. Don’t shy away from using historical and current examples to solidify your arguments.

Are you an introvert, extrovert, or something in between? Picking this topic will not only give you an exciting essay. You will also learn more about yourself. This encourages you to delve into the psychological aspects of these personality types.

In your essay, analyze how these traits affect one’s social interactions, career choices, and personal well-being. Be critical of stereotypes and delve into the potential benefits and challenges of both.

Have you ever dreamed of living and working abroad? Or do you want to stay where you are now, close to home? Here, you can explore the pros and cons of working or leaving your home country. Mention cultural exposure, career opportunities, and personal growth. Contrast it with the challenges of adapting to a new environment.

Science fiction and fantasy are both popular, even today. Why not when it opens doors to various imaginations? For your essay, dive into why these genres are favored and highlight their unique characteristics. Include their societal implications and why they appeal to certain readers.

Debate has been raging on the implications of public and private healthcare systems. These debates often concern a country’s economy and its citizens’ lives. When writing this essay, you can use your personal experience or rely on secondary research. Discuss aspects like accessibility, cost, quality of care, and efficiency. For this prompt, add real-world examples and facts to strengthen your arguments.

Narrative Essay Topics for Older Students

Sometimes, an everyday life experience can make great essay material, and writing about your own life means less risk of plagiarism. Here are some ideas:

The first day of school in a new school can be the fodder for a number of personal stories about school life and the social aspects of it. Writers can capture those emotions in this type of essay. It’s also a suitable type of essay to write as it can serve as a gateway into other types of writing, like a memoir.

If someone did something for you once that really stood out, transform that into an essay topic. You will enjoy remembering the action while creating your essay.

What you did or didn’t do on your summer vacation as a child can be a great starting point for a narrative essay. Older students can use this essay prompt to write about past experiences and reflect on them beyond simply reporting.

Peer pressure can be positive or negative, but everyone has experienced it. This essay will explore a time when peer pressure made you do something or not do something and what the effect of that decision was.

Was this change in your life for the best or the worst, and how did you respond? Describe in detail.

When you first met your mentor, teacher or guide. How did you respond to them, and what did they have to show you? Similarly, a student could also write an essay about a teacher they shunned or turned away from.

When waking up in the morning, we all strive to have the perfect day. Ask students what their perfect day will look like, what activities they’d do, and with whom.

By being as descriptive as possible, students picture the perfect day in their minds. This improves students’ storytelling skills and helps them structure events in chronological order.

This fun experiment gives students insight into how reliant they are on technology and how their lives will look without it.

By imagining this week in their heads, it’ll give them an idea of what other activities they’ll engage in. This could be working out, socializing, or learning a new skill.

Rejection is something everyone must face at some point. Few things are scarier than rejection. But when you overcome it, you get a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

For example, this could be asking that cute guy or girl out on a date or applying for a job at your dream company.

Are you interested in writing an essay while also self-reflecting? When you use this prompt, you also demonstrate your tenacity to overcome obstacles. Think back to any fear you have had. It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small as long as they shape your character.

Begin your essay by describing the fear you had and why. Then, narrate what you did to overcome it. Remember to discuss the aftermath and the personal growth you experienced.

Losing a pet is a personal experience. How you handled your emotions at that time shows your nature. When you write your essay, paint a vivid picture of your pet by describing quirks and traits. Explain how losing a pet changed you; don’t avoid the pain. Then, talk about your grieving process and eventual acceptance.

Did someone come to mind when you read the prompt? It’s unsurprising if they did, considering that every person has that one person who left a significant impact on their life. 

For your essay, choose and write about that individual who helps you appreciate life. Give specific details, such as when they made you realize something, and then connect them to how their teachings shaped you. This prompt also allows students to reflect on their character description and development. 

For a fun narrative essay, share the moment you felt the most embarrassed. You don’t have to be specific about it; you can instead focus on what you felt then and how you cope during that awkward situation. You can also mention what you think of the memory now that you’re looking back at it. Is it as embarrassing as you’ve thought back then?

Here is a medium to exhibit your ethics and the strength of your convictions. For this prompt, narrate the situation and explain why you must stand up. What were your thoughts during that moment? Talk about your emotions then and the consequences you’ve faced, if any. Mention how the experience shaped your approach to similar situations.

Is there any invention that made you go, “Ah, I wish I thought of that before!” It can be because of the fame that came with it, the profit, or just the sheer genius of its inventor. Select an invention that fascinates you and explain why it interests you. Think of why you wish you’d come up with it. Talk about its impact on the world and how it aligns with your interests or passions.

Friendships often form in the most unexpected places and situations. For this prompt, highlight your openness to diverse experiences and people.

In your essay, describe the circumstances that led to this unexpected friendship. Add why you found it so surprising. Speak about the qualities you appreciate in your friend and include how this relationship has affected your life. Your objective is to encourage others to broaden their social circles.

For this prompt, share a turning point in your life that set your future course. Present a comprehensive account of the event or decision that significantly impacted your future by mentioning factors that influenced it. Add your thoughts and feelings then and how things have unfolded since then.

Informative Essay Topics for Older Students

Sometimes, the goal of an essay is not to persuade but to inform. Informative or expository essay topics need to have a lot of information behind them so students have something to write about. These topics lend themselves well to that:

Global warming has many effects, and this essay  will  explore those thoroughly. The goal is to inform, not persuade or create change.

Exploring the causes behind a global war, like World War II, can create a long essay. You can spin this essay topic easily enough by picking other historical events.

Racism is a hot topic today, and this essay will explore how it can often hide in someone’s way of thinking. 

A popular essay topic in many philosophy and art classes, this is an open-ended subject. A student can use it to explore their personal philosophy and develop their critical thinking skills.

Check out this list for other philosophy questions .

Becoming a better writer means spending a lot of time reading great books. One of the best ways to encourage reading is asking readers and students to reflect on why they love reading what they learned from previous books. It’s good subject matter for an essay too.

Many people are skeptical and or don’t trust news produced by journalists. But are they right? Surely there is a bar between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources? In this essay, explore how to tell good journalism apart from bad journalism.

When testing products to see if it’s safe for humans, scientists will run tests on animals. However, this testing isn’t only cruel but ineffective. Animals don’t get certain diseases that humans do. This includes HIV, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and certain types of cancers.

In this essay, students must conduct research and present a case for why animal testing is unethical.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 to 24. This is a complex topic since there could be several different factors at play. Some of these include bullying, abuse, and traumatic stress.

When writing this essay, students will be encouraged to dig deeper into the main reasons why teenagers commit suicide and how we can help them as a community. This spreads awareness and gets people to take positive action.

How much do you know about the United Nations? This prompt will test your knowledge of international relations and politics as you have to pen a paper that’s easy to understand. Include the intricacies of global leadership and peacekeeping by explaining the critical functions of the UN. Then, add how it helps society and how its efforts benefit you as a student.

Where did the internet come from? How did it develop to be what it is today? In your essay, recall the history of the World Wide Web and its profound impact on our daily lives. As an older student, you’ve lived through some of the internet’s transformative phases. How has that shaped the way you live, work, or study? Answer all of these in your paper.

Many people still get confused about handling their incomes, budgets, and expenses. In your essay, explain why many fumble their finances. Include how understanding one’s finances matters now more than ever.

For a more relatable paper, you can narrate your personal journey towards financial literacy. You can also analyze current financial trends and their implications for the average person.

Technology has revolutionized healthcare, so it’ll always be a timely topic. For this prompt, delve into the impact of technological advancements on health and medicine. It’s a brilliant way to explore subjects like telemedicine or electronic health records. You can even include the role of AI in disease diagnosis.

Have you noticed more electric vehicles on the road recently? In your essay, analyze the surge in popularity of electric vehicles. Add their environmental impact and the technological advances that have made them viable. Don’t forget to include your thoughts on a future dominated by electric vehicles.

If you have a TV show you’re fond of, then you can talk about it in your essay. Explore the show’s central themes, character developments, and narrative techniques. It might even give you an excuse to rewatch your favorite series!

Parlez-vous Français? If you have a second language or are interested in learning one someday, this prompt is for you. Remember to focus your essay on the benefits of bilingualism or multilingualism. If you have any, include your memories of learning a new language. You can also ask others who speak more than one language about their experiences. Add the challenges, triumphs, and doors it has opened for you.

Today, there is the question of whether we’re doing enough to address mental health. In your paper, be open and talk about the stigma around mental health issues. You can opt to share your personal experiences or observations. Then, don’t forget to add the consequences of ignoring mental health. It’s a powerful way to raise awareness and promote empathy.

Whether you are a high school student writing an essay for homework or you are sitting down to write a college essay as you apply for school, procrastination often occurs because you do not know what to write about. Having a list of topics  handy will help. 

To choose a topic, first, decide what type of essay you need to write. Then, browse this list of writing topics to find one that is interesting to you, or use the list to think of a different, similar topic. Soon, you will have an essay that is engaging and informative and can showcase your writing abilities well. 

If you need more inspiration, check out our guide to the 101+ best writing prompts .

FAQs About the Best Essay Writing Topics

Persuasive essays require a controversial topic in order to give the writer the freedom to write in a persuasive manner. Some good topics for these essays include: Soda in fast food meals Breastfeeding in public Using jail to deter illegal immigrants Banning cell phones for young children

Some good topics for an essay include: Gun control Social media Personal experiences Health Social issues A life event

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Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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160 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2024

April 3, 2024

argumentative essay topics

The skill of writing an excellent argumentative essay is a crucial one for every high school or college student to master. In sum, argumentative essays teach students how to organize their thoughts logically and present them in a convincing way. This skill is helpful not only for those pursuing degrees in law , international relations , or public policy , but for any student who wishes to develop their critical thinking faculties. In this article, we’ll cover what makes a good argument essay and offer several argumentative essay topics for high school and college students. Let’s begin!

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay that uses research to present a reasoned argument on a particular subject . As with the persuasive essay , the purpose of an argumentative essay is to sway the reader to the writer’s position. However, a strong persuasive essay makes its point through diligent research and emotion while a strong argumentative essay should be based solely on facts, not feelings.

Moreover, each fact should be supported by clear evidence from credible sources . Furthermore, a good argumentative essay will have an easy-to-follow structure. When organizing your argumentative essay, use this format as a guide:

  • Introduction
  • Supporting body paragraphs
  • Paragraph(s) addressing common counterarguments

Argumentative Essay Format

In the introduction , the writer presents their position and thesis statement —a sentence that summarizes the paper’s main points. The body paragraphs then draw upon supporting evidence to back up this initial statement, with each paragraph focusing on its own point. The length of your paper will determine the amount of examples you need. In general, you’ll likely need at least two to three. Additionally, your examples should be as detailed as possible, citing specific research, case studies, statistics, or anecdotes.

In the counterargument paragraph , the writer acknowledges and refutes opposing viewpoints. Finally, in the conclusion , the writer restates the main argument made in the thesis statement and summarizes the points of the essay. Additionally, the conclusion may offer a final proposal to persuade the reader of the essay’s position.

How to Write an Effective Argumentative Essay, Step by Step

  • Choose your topic. Use the list below to help you pick a topic. Ideally, a good argumentative essay topic will be meaningful to you—writing is always stronger when you are interested in the subject matter. In addition, the topic should be complex with plenty of “pro” and “con” arguments. Avoid choosing a topic that is either widely accepted as fact or too narrow. For example, “Is the earth round?” would not be a solid choice.
  • Research. Use the library, the web, and any other resources to gather information about your argumentative essay topic. Research widely but smartly. As you go, take organized notes, marking the source of every quote and where it may fit in the scheme of your larger essay. Moreover, remember to look for (and research) possible counterarguments.
  • Outline . Using the argument essay format above, create an outline for your essay. Then, brainstorm a thesis statement covering your argument’s main points, and begin to put your examples in order, focusing on logical flow. It’s often best to place your strongest example last.
  • Write . Draw on your research and outline to create a first draft. Remember, your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. (As Voltaire says, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”) Accordingly, just focus on getting the words down on paper.
  • Does my thesis statement need to be adjusted?
  • Which examples feel strongest? Weakest?
  • Do the transitions flow smoothly?
  • Do I have a strong opening paragraph?
  • Does the conclusion reinforce my argument?

Tips for Revising an Argument Essay

Evaluating your own work can be difficult, so you might consider the following strategies:

  • Read your work aloud to yourself.
  • Record yourself reading your paper, and listen to the recording.
  • Reverse outline your paper. Firstly, next to each paragraph, write a short summary of that paragraph’s main points/idea. Then, read through your reverse outline. Does it have a logical flow? If not, where should you adjust?
  • Print out your paper and cut it into paragraphs. What happens when you rearrange the paragraphs?

Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School, High School, and College Students

Family argumentative essay topics.

  • Should the government provide financial incentives for families to have children to address the declining birth rate?
  • Should we require parents to provide their children with a certain level of nutrition and physical activity to prevent childhood obesity?
  • Should parents implement limits on how much time their children spend playing video games?
  • Should cell phones be banned from family/holiday gatherings?
  • Should we hold parents legally responsible for their children’s actions?
  • Should children have the right to sue their parents for neglect?
  • Should parents have the right to choose their child’s religion?
  • Are spanking and other forms of physical punishment an effective method of discipline?
  • Should courts allow children to choose where they live in cases of divorce?
  • Should parents have the right to monitor teens’ activity on social media?
  • Should parents control their child’s medical treatment, even if it goes against the child’s wishes?
  • Should parents be allowed to post pictures of their children on social media without their consent?
  • Should fathers have a legal say in whether their partners do or do not receive an abortion?
  • Can television have positive developmental benefits on children?
  • Should the driving age be raised to prevent teen car accidents?
  • Should adult children be legally required to care for their aging parents?

Education Argument Essay Topics

  • Should schools ban the use of technology like ChatGPT?
  • Are zoos unethical, or necessary for conservation and education?
  • To what degree should we hold parents responsible in the event of a school shooting?
  • Should schools offer students a set number of mental health days?
  • Should school science curriculums offer a course on combating climate change?
  • Should public libraries be allowed to ban certain books? If so, what types?
  • What role, if any, should prayer play in public schools?
  • Should schools push to abolish homework?
  • Are gifted and talented programs in schools more harmful than beneficial due to their exclusionary nature?
  • Should universities do away with Greek life?
  • Should schools remove artwork, such as murals, that some perceive as offensive?
  • Should the government grant parents the right to choose alternative education options for their children and use taxpayer funds to support these options?
  • Is homeschooling better than traditional schooling for children’s academic and social development?
  • Should we require schools to teach sex education to reduce teen pregnancy rates?
  • Should we require schools to provide sex education that includes information about both homosexual and heterosexual relationships?
  • Should colleges use affirmative action and other race-conscious policies to address diversity on campus?
  • Should public schools remove the line “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance?
  • Should college admissions officers be allowed to look at students’ social media accounts?
  • Should schools abolish their dress codes, many of which unfairly target girls, LGBTQ students, and students of color?
  • Should schools be required to stock free period products in bathrooms?
  • Should legacy students receive preferential treatment during the college admissions process?
  • Are school “voluntourism” trips ethical?

Government Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. decriminalize prostitution?
  • Should the U.S. issue migration visas to all eligible applicants?
  • Should the federal government cancel all student loan debt?
  • Should we lower the minimum voting age? If so, to what?
  • Should the federal government abolish all laws penalizing drug production and use?
  • Should the U.S. use its military power to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan?
  • Should the U.S. supply Ukraine with further military intelligence and supplies?
  • Should the North and South of the U.S. split up into two regions?
  • Should Americans hold up nationalism as a critical value?
  • Should we permit Supreme Court justices to hold their positions indefinitely?
  • Should Supreme Court justices be democratically elected?
  • Is the Electoral College still a productive approach to electing the U.S. president?
  • Should the U.S. implement a national firearm registry?
  • Is it ethical for countries like China and Israel to mandate compulsory military service for all citizens?
  • Should the U.S. government implement a ranked-choice voting system?
  • Should institutions that benefited from slavery be required to provide reparations?
  • Based on the 1619 project, should history classes change how they teach about the founding of the U.S.?
  • Should term limits be imposed on Senators and Representatives? If so, how long?
  • Should women be allowed into special forces units?
  • Should the federal government implement stronger, universal firearm licensing laws?
  • Do public sex offender registries help prevent future sex crimes?
  • Should the government be allowed to regulate family size?
  • Should all adults legally be considered mandated reporters?
  • Should the government fund public universities to make higher education more accessible to low-income students?
  • Should the government fund universal preschool to improve children’s readiness for kindergarten?

Health/Bioethics Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. government offer its own healthcare plan?
  • In the case of highly infectious pandemics, should we focus on individual freedoms or public safety when implementing policies to control the spread?
  • Should we legally require parents to vaccinate their children to protect public health?
  • Is it ethical for parents to use genetic engineering to create “designer babies” with specific physical and intellectual traits?
  • Should the government fund research on embryonic stem cells for medical treatments?
  • Should the government legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill patients?
  • Should organ donation be mandatory?
  • Is cloning animals ethical?
  • Should cancer screenings start earlier? If so, what age?
  • Is surrogacy ethical?
  • Should birth control require a prescription?
  • Should minors have access to emergency contraception?
  • Should hospitals be for-profit or nonprofit institutions?

Good Argumentative Essay Topics — Continued

Social media argumentative essay topics.

  • Should the federal government increase its efforts to minimize the negative impact of social media?
  • Do social media and smartphones strengthen one’s relationships?
  • Should antitrust regulators take action to limit the size of big tech companies?
  • Should social media platforms ban political advertisements?
  • Should the federal government hold social media companies accountable for instances of hate speech discovered on their platforms?
  • Do apps such as TikTok and Instagram ultimately worsen the mental well-being of teenagers?
  • Should governments oversee how social media platforms manage their users’ data?
  • Should social media platforms like Facebook enforce a minimum age requirement for users?
  • Should social media companies be held responsible for cases of cyberbullying?
  • Should the United States ban TikTok?
  • Is social media harmful to children?
  • Should employers screen applicants’ social media accounts during the hiring process?

Religion Argument Essay Topics

  • Should religious institutions be tax-exempt?
  • Should religious symbols such as the hijab or crucifix be allowed in public spaces?
  • Should religious freedoms be protected, even when they conflict with secular laws?
  • Should the government regulate religious practices?
  • Should we allow churches to engage in political activities?
  • Religion: a force for good or evil in the world?
  • Should the government provide funding for religious schools?
  • Is it ethical for healthcare providers to deny abortions based on religious beliefs?
  • Should religious organizations be allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices?
  • Should we allow people to opt out of medical treatments based on their religious beliefs?
  • Should the U.S. government hold religious organizations accountable for cases of sexual abuse within their community?
  • Should religious beliefs be exempt from anti-discrimination laws?
  • Should religious individuals be allowed to refuse services to others based on their beliefs or lifestyles? (As in this famous case .)
  • Should the US ban religion-based federal holidays?
  • Should public schools be allowed to teach children about religious holidays?

Science Argument Essay Topics

  • Would the world be safer if we eliminated nuclear weapons?
  • Should scientists bring back extinct animals? If so, which ones?
  • Should we hold companies fiscally responsible for their carbon footprint?
  • Should we ban pesticides in favor of organic farming methods?
  • Should the federal government ban all fossil fuels, despite the potential economic impact on specific industries and communities?
  • What renewable energy source should the U.S. invest more money in?
  • Should the FDA outlaw GMOs?
  • Should we worry about artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence?
  • Should the alternative medicine industry be more stringently regulated?
  • Is colonizing Mars a viable option?
  • Is the animal testing worth the potential to save human lives?

Sports Argument Essay Topics

  • Should colleges compensate student-athletes?
  • How should sports teams and leagues address the gender pay gap?
  • Should youth sports teams do away with scorekeeping?
  • Should we ban aggressive contact sports like boxing and MMA?
  • Should professional sports associations mandate that athletes stand during the national anthem?
  • Should high schools require their student-athletes to maintain a certain GPA?
  • Should transgender athletes compete in sports according to their gender identity?
  • Should schools ban football due to the inherent danger it poses to players?
  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
  • Do participation trophies foster entitlement and unrealistic expectations?
  • Should sports teams be divided by gender?
  • Should professional athletes be allowed to compete in the Olympics?
  • Should women be allowed on NFL teams?

Technology Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should sites like DALL-E compensate the artists whose work it was trained on?
  • Should the federal government make human exploration of space a more significant priority?
  • Is it ethical for the government to use surveillance technology to monitor citizens?
  • Should websites require proof of age from their users? If so, what age?
  • Should we consider A.I.-generated images and text pieces of art?
  • Does the use of facial recognition technology violate individuals’ privacy?
  • Is online learning as effective as in-person learning?
  • Does computing harm the environment?
  • Should buying, sharing, and selling collected personal data be illegal?
  • Are electric cars really better for the environment?
  • Should car companies be held responsible for self-driving car accidents?
  • Should private jets be banned?
  • Do violent video games contribute to real-life violence?

Business Argument Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. government phase out the use of paper money in favor of a fully digital currency system?
  • Should the federal government abolish its patent and copyright laws?
  • Should we replace the Federal Reserve with free-market institutions?
  • Is free-market ideology responsible for the U.S. economy’s poor performance over the past decade?
  • Will cryptocurrencies overtake natural resources like gold and silver?
  • Is capitalism the best economic system? What system would be better?
  • Should the U.S. government enact a universal basic income?
  • Should we require companies to provide paid parental leave to their employees?
  • Should the government raise the minimum wage? If so, to what?
  • Should antitrust regulators break up large companies to promote competition?
  • Is it ethical for companies to prioritize profits over social responsibility?
  • Should gig-economy workers like Uber and Lyft drivers be considered employees or independent contractors?
  • Should the federal government regulate the gig economy to ensure fair treatment of workers?
  • Should the government require companies to disclose the environmental impact of their products?
  • Should companies be allowed to fire employees based on political views or activities?
  • Should tipping practices be phased out?
  • Should employees who choose not to have children be given the same amount of paid leave as parents?
  • Should MLMs (multi-level marketing companies) be illegal?
  • Should employers be allowed to factor tattoos and personal appearance into hiring decisions?

In Conclusion – Argument Essay Topics

Using the tips above, you can effectively structure and pen a compelling argumentative essay that will wow your instructor and classmates. Remember to craft a thesis statement that offers readers a roadmap through your essay, draw on your sources wisely to back up any claims, and read through your paper several times before it’s due to catch any last-minute proofreading errors. With time, diligence, and patience, your essay will be the most outstanding assignment you’ve ever turned in…until the next one rolls around.

Looking for more fresh and engaging topics for use in the classroom? You might consider checking out the following:

  • 125 Good Debate Topics for High School Students
  • 150 Good Persuasive Speech Topics
  • 7 Best Places to Study
  • Guide to the IB Extended Essay
  • How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay
  • AP Lit Reading List
  • How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay
  • 49 Most Interesting Biology Research Topics
  • High School Success

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Lauren Green

With a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia University and an MFA in Fiction from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, Lauren has been a professional writer for over a decade. She is the author of the chapbook  A Great Dark House  (Poetry Society of America, 2023) and a forthcoming novel (Viking/Penguin).

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to come up with great college essay ideas.

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College Essays

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Writing the college application essay is a tough gig. You've got to be charming, personal, memorable, and insightful--all in under two pages! But I'm going to tell you a secret: half of a great personal essay is a great topic idea. If you're passionate about what you're writing, and if you're truly documenting something meaningful and serious about yourself and your life, then that passion and meaning will come alive on the page and in the mind of your reader.

So how do you come up with an essay idea? The best way is to brainstorm your way to an event from your life that reveals a core truth about you. In this article, I will help you do just that. Keep reading to find 35 jumping off points that touch on every possible memory you could harness, as well as advice on how to use your brainstorming session to fully realize your idea for an essay topic.

What Makes an Essay Topic Great?

What does your application tell admissions officers about you? Mostly it's just numbers and facts: your name, your high school, your grades and SAT scores. These stats would be enough if colleges were looking to build a robot army, but they aren't.

So how do they get to see a slice of the real you? How can they get a feel for the personality, character, and feelings that make you the person that you are? It's through your college essay. The essay is a way to introduce yourself to colleges in a way that displays your maturity. This is important because admissions officers want to make sure that you will thrive in the independence of college life and work.

This is why finding a great college essay topic is so hugely important: because it will allow you to demonstrate the maturity level admissions teams are looking for. This is best expressed through the ability to have insight about what has made you into you, through the ability to share some vulnerabilities or defining experiences, and through the ability to be a creative thinker and problem solver.

In other words, a great topic is an event from your past that you can narrate, draw conclusions from, explain the effect of. Most importantly, you should be able to describe how it has changed you from the kind of person you were to the better person that you are now. If you can do all that, you are well ahead of the essay game.

How Do You Know If Your College Essay Topic Is Great?

Eric Maloof, the Director of International Admission at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas has a great checklist for figuring out whether you're on the right track with your essay topic . He says, if you can answer "yes" to these two questions, then you've got the makings of a great essay:

  • Is the topic of my essay important to me?
  • Am I the only person who could have written this essay?

So how do you translate this checklist into essay topic action items?

Make it personal. Write about something personal, deeply felt, and authentic to the real you (but which is not an overshare). Take a narrow slice of your life: one event, one influential person, one meaningful experience—and then you expand out from that slice into a broader explanation of yourself.

Always think about your reader. In this case, your reader is an admission officer who is slogging through hundreds of college essays. You don't want to bore that person, and you don't want to offend that person. Instead, you want to come across as likable and memorable.

Put the reader in the experience with you by making your narrow slice of life feel alive. This means that your writing needs to be chock-full of specific details, sensory descriptions, words that describe emotions, and maybe even dialog. This is why it's very important to make the essay topic personal and deeply felt. Readers can tell when a writer isn't really connected to whatever he is writing about. And the reverse is true as well: deep emotion shows through your writing.

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Coming Up With Great College Essay Ideas

Some people know right off the bat that they have to write about that one specific defining moment of their lives. But if you're reading this, chances are you aren't one of these people. Don't worry—I wasn't one of them either! What this means is that you—like me—will have to put in a little work to come up with the perfect idea by first doing some brainstorming.

I've come up with about 35 different brainstorming jumping off points that ask questions about your life and your experiences. The idea here is to jog your memory about the key life events that have shaped you and affected you deeply.

I recommend you spend at least two minutes on each question, coming up with and writing down at least one answer—or as many answers as you can think of. Seriously—time yourself. Two minutes is longer than you think! I would also recommend doing this over several sittings to get your maximum memory retrieval going—even if it takes a couple of days, it'll be worth it.

Then, we will use this list of experiences and thoughts to narrow your choices down to the one topic idea that you will use for your college essay.

Brainstorming Technique 1: Think About Defining Moments in Your Life

  • What is your happiest memory? Why? What was good about it? Who and what was around you then? What did it mean to you?
  • What is your saddest memory? Would you change the thing that happened or did you learn something crucial from the experience?
  • What is the most important decision you've had to make? What was hard about the choice? What was easy? Were the consequences of your decision what you had imagined before making it? Did you plan and game out your choices, or did you follow gut instinct?
  • What decision did you not have any say in, but would have wanted to? Why were you powerless to participate in this decision? How did the choice made affect you? What do you think would have happened if a different choice had been made?
  • What the most dangerous or scary thing that you've lived through? What was threatened? What were the stakes? How did you survive/overcome it? How did you cope emotionally with the fallout?
  • When did you first feel like you were no longer a child? Who and what was around you then? What had you just done or seen? What was the difference between your childhood self and your more adult self?
  • What are you most proud of about yourself? Is it a talent or skill? A personality trait or quality? An accomplishment? Why is this the thing that makes you proud?

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Brainstorming Technique 2: Remember Influential People

  • Which of your parents (or parental figures) are you most like in personality and character? Which of their traits do you see in yourself? Which do you not? Do you wish you were more like this parent or less?
  • Which of your grandparents, great-grandparents, or other older relatives has had the most influence on your life? Is it a positive influence, where you want to follow in their footsteps in some way? A negative influence, where you want to avoid becoming like them in some way? How is the world they come from like your world? How is it different?
  • Which teacher has challenged you the most? What has that challenge been? How did you respond?
  • What is something that someone once said to you that has stuck with you? When and where did they say it? Why do you think it's lodged in your memory?
  • Which of your friends would you trade places with for a day? Why?
  • If you could intern for a week or a month with anyone—living or dead, historical or fictional—who would it be? What would you want that person to teach you? How did you first encounter this person or character? How do you think this person would react to you?
  • Of the people you know personally, whose life is harder than yours? What makes it that way—their external circumstances? Their inner state? Have you ever tried to help this person? If yes, did it work? If no, how would you help them if you could?
  • Of the people you know personally, whose life is easier than yours? Are you jealous? Why or why not?

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Brainstorming Technique 3: Recreate Important Times or Places

  • When is the last time you felt so immersed in what you were doing that you lost all track of time or anything else from the outside world? What were you doing? Why do you think this activity got you into this near-zen state?
  • Where do you most often tend to daydream? Why do you think this place has this effect on you? Do you seek it out? Avoid it? Why?
  • What is the best time of day? The worst? Why?
  • What is your favorite corner of, or space in, the place where you live? What do you like about it? When do you go there, and what do you use it for?
  • What is your least favorite corner of, or space in, the place where you live? Why do you dislike it? What do you associate it with?
  • If you had to repeat a day over and over, like the movie Groundhog Day , what day would it be? If you'd pick a day from your life that has already happened, why would you want to be stuck it in? To relive something great? To fix mistakes? If you'd pick a day that hasn't yet occurred, what would the day you were stuck in be like?
  • If you could go back in time to give yourself advice, when would you go back to? What advice would you give? Why? What effect would you want your advice to have?

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Brainstorming Technique 4: Answer Thought-Provoking Questions

  • If you could take a Mulligan and do over one thing in your life, what would it be? Would you change what you did the first time around? Why?
  • Or, if you could take another crack at doing something again, what would you pick? Something positive—having another shot at repeating a good experience? Something negative—getting the chance to try another tactic to avoid a bad experience?
  • Which piece of yourself could you never change while remaining the same person? Your race? Ethnicity? Intellect? Height? Freckles? Loyalty? Sense of humor? Why is that the thing that you'd cling to as the thing that makes you who you are?
  • Which of your beliefs, ideas, or tastes puts you in the minority? Why do you think/believe/like this thing when no one else seems to?
  • What are you most frightened of? What are you not frightened enough of? Why?
  • What is your most treasured possession? What would you grab before running out of the house during a fire? What is this object's story and why is it so valuable to you?
  • What skill or talent that you don't have now would you most like to have? Is it an extension of something you already do? Something you've never had the guts to try doing? Something you plan on learning in the future?
  • Which traditions that you grew up with will you pass on? Which will you ignore? Why?

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Brainstorming Technique 5: Find a Trait or Characteristic and Trace It Back

  • What are three adjectives you'd use to describe yourself? Why these three? Which of these is the one you're most proud of? Least proud of? When did you last exhibit this trait? What were you doing?
  • How would your best friend describe you? What about your parents? How are the adjectives they'd come up with different from the ones you'd use? When have they seen this quality or trait in you?
  • What everyday thing are you the world's greatest at? Who taught you how to do it? What memories do you have associated with this activity? Which aspects of it have you perfected?
  • Imagine that it's the future and that you've become well known. What will you become famous for? Is it for something creative or a performance? For the way you will have helped others? For your business accomplishments? For your athletic prowess? When you make a speech about this fame, whom will you thank for putting you where you are?
  • What do you most like about yourself? This is different from the thing you're most proud of—this is the thing that you know about yourself that makes you smile. Can you describe a time when this thing was useful or effective in some way?

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How to Turn Your Brainstorming List Into an Essay Topic

Now that you have a cornucopia of daydreams, memories, thoughts, and ambitions, it's time to thin the herd, prune the dead branches, and whatever other mixed metaphors about separating the wheat from the chaff you can think of.

So how do you narrow down your many ideas into one?

Use the magic power of time. One of the best things you can do with your stack of college essay topics is to forget about them. Put them away for a couple of days so that you create a little mental space. When you come back to everything you wrote after a day or two, you will get the chance to read it with fresh eyes.

Let the cream rise to the top. When you reread your topics after having let them sit, do two things:

  • Cross out any ideas that don't speak to you in some way. If something doesn't ring true, if it doesn't spark your interest, or if it doesn't connect with an emotion, then consider reject it.
  • Circle or highlight any topics that pop out at you. If it feels engaging, if you get excited at the prospect of talking about it, if it resonates with a feeling, then put it at the top of the idea pile.

Rinse and repeat. Go through the process of letting a few days pass and then rereading your ideas at least one more time. This time, don't bother looking at the topics you've already rejected. Instead, concentrate on those you highlighted earlier and maybe some of the ones that were neither circled nor thrown away.

Trust your gut instinct (but verify). Now that you've gone through and culled your ideas several times based on whether or not they really truly appeal to you, you should have a list of your top choices—all the ones you've circled or highlighted along the way. Now is the moment of truth. Imagine yourself telling the story of each of these experiences to someone who wants to get to know you. Rank your possible topics in order of how excited you are to share this story. Really listen to your intuition here. If you're squeamish, shy, unexcited, or otherwise not happy at the thought of having to tell someone about the experience, it will make a terrible essay topic.

Develop your top two to four choices to see which is best. Unless you feel very strongly about one of your top choices, the only way to really know which of your best ideas is the perfect one is to try actually making them into essays. For each one, go through the steps listed in the next section of the article under "Find Your Idea's Narrative." Then, use your best judgment (and maybe that of your parents, teachers, or school counselor) to figure out which one to draft into your personal statement.

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How to Make Your Idea Into a College Essay

Now, let's talk about what to do in order to flesh out your topic concept into a great college essay. First, I'll give you some pointers on expanding your idea into an essay-worthy story, and then talk a bit about how to draft and polish your personal statement.

Find Your Topic's Narrative

All great college essays have the same foundation as good short stories or enjoyable movies—an involving story. Let's go through what features make for a story that you don't want to put down:

A compelling character with an arc. Think about the experience that you want to write about. What were you like before it happened? What did you learn, feel, or think about during it? What happened afterwards? What do you now know about yourself that you didn't before?

Sensory details that create a "you are there!" experience for the reader. When you're writing about your experience, focus on trying to really make the situation come alive. Where were you? Who else was there? What did it look like? What did it sound like? Were there memorable textures, smells, tastes? Does it compare to anything else? When you're writing about the people you interacted with, give them a small snippet of dialog to say so the reader can "hear" that person's voice. When you are writing about yourself, make sure to include words that explain the emotions you are feeling at different parts of the story.

An insightful ending. Your essay should end with an uplifting, personal, and interesting revelation about the kind of person you are today, and how the story you have just described has made and shaped you.

Draft and Revise

The key to great writing is rewriting. So work out a draft, and then put it aside and give yourself a few days to forget what you've written. When you come back to look at it again look for places where you slow down your reading, where something seems out of place or awkward. Can you fix this by changing around the order of your essay? By explaining further? By adding details? Experiment.

Get advice. Colleges expect your essay to be your work, but most recommend having someone else cast a fresh eye over it. A good way to get a teacher or a parent involved is to ask them whether your story is clear and specific, and whether your insight about yourself flows logically from the story you tell.

Execute flawlessly. Dot every i, cross every t, delicately place every comma where it needs to go. Grammar mistakes, misspellings, and awkward sentence structure don't just make your writing look bad—they take the reader out of the story you're telling. And that makes you memorable, but in a bad way.

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The Bottom Line

  • Your college essay topic needs to come from the fact that essays are a way for colleges to get to know the real you , a you that is separate from your grades and scores.
  • A great way to come up with topics is to wholeheartedly dive into a brainstorming exercise. The more ideas about your life that tumble out of your memory and onto the page, the better chance you have of finding the perfect college essay topic.
  • Answer my brainstorming questions without editing yourself at first. Instead, simply write down as many things that pop into your head as you can—even if you end up going off topic.
  • After you've generated a list of possible topics, leave it alone for a few days and then come back to pick out the ones that seem the most promising.
  • Flesh out your top few ideas into full-blown narratives , to understand which reveals the most interesting thing about you as a person.
  • Don't shy away from asking for help. At each stage of the writing process get a parent or teacher to look over what you're working on, not to do your work for you but to hopefully gently steer you in a better direction if you're running into trouble.

What's Next?

Ready to start working on your essay? Check out our explanation of the point of the personal essay and the role it plays on your applications .

For more detailed advice on writing a great college essay, read our guide to the Common Application essay prompts and get advice on how to pick the Common App prompt that's right for you .

Thinking of taking the SAT again before submitting your applications? We have put together the ultimate guide to studying for the SAT to give you the ins and outs of the best ways to study.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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List of Topics for How-to Essays

Choosing the Right Topic Is Critical to Success

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  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

Your first challenge in writing a how-to essay is deciding on a topic. If you're like many students, you might feel as though you don't know anything well enough to teach others. But that's not true. All people have something that they can do so well that they don't even think about how to do it anymore—they just do it.

Choosing the Right Topic

When you read over the list below you will realize that you do know many things in depth, some well enough to teach. Typically, your inspiration will be based on lateral thinking. For example, from the list below, you may decide to write an essay on how to cook a Scottish egg after you see "Crack an egg" in the list. Or you may decide to write about how to make an Excel spreadsheet with all of your homework listed, after seeing "Organize your homework" on the list. 

Narrow your choices to a few topics , and then brainstorm for a few minutes about each topic. Determine which one has the most potential — one that can be divided into five to 10 clear paragraphs that you can explain well.

Writing Tips

Some topics are easier than others to explain. Straightforward processes versus ones with lots of contingencies will be much less complicated to write out, for instance. If you find that you've chosen a topic that's just too broad, pick one portion of it to explain. Remember, you want your reader to be able to follow your instructions to successfully complete the process.

In your drafting, err on the side of too much detail and description rather than too little. (It's easier to cut material that you don't need than to add in it later.) If you're not allowed to use images with your instructions, choosing a topic that is aided by visuals makes writing the instructional process much more challenging, so take your assignment parameters into consideration as you choose what to write about.

If you know your topic so well that it comes naturally to you, it may be tough to write instructions for a beginner who has no knowledge of the topic, because you forget how much you didn't know when you first started. Have a partner try out your instructions during the drafting or revision phase (or both) to see what you've left out or what isn't explained clearly enough.

How-to Topics for a Process Essay 

  • Raccoon-proof your campsite
  • Make an obstacle course for squirrels
  • Set a table
  • Make a pet costume
  • Start a band
  • Make a piñata
  • Make an omelet
  • Start beekeeping
  • Make a quilt
  • Decorate a bedroom
  • Create a podcast
  • Start a recycling program
  • Collect stamps
  • Clean a bedroom
  • Make a pizza
  • Make a volcano
  • Organize your homework
  • Play the guitar
  • Make a sock puppet
  • Make a doll dress
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Write a complaint
  • Plan a party
  • Plant a tree
  • Create a cartoon character
  • Improve your spelling
  • Bake a layer cake
  • Change a tire
  • Drive a stick shift
  • Make a Christmas stocking
  • Learn to dance
  • Do a magic trick
  • Go bird watching
  • Make a music video
  • Make a candle
  • Paint a picture
  • Create art with crayons
  • Create a web page
  • Stay safe on the Internet
  • Write a song
  • Write a poem
  • Make a handbag
  • Tie a scarf
  • Mow the lawn
  • Make a hamburger
  • Make pancakes
  • Make a pillow
  • Play football
  • Make a sculpture
  • Make a lamp
  • Make shadow puppets
  • Care for pets
  • Build a tree house
  • Play hide and seek
  • Paint fingernails
  • Make homemade slippers
  • Tie macramé knots
  • Make a sandwich
  • Make chocolate milk
  • Make hot chocolate
  • Climb a tree
  • Make a milkshake
  • Sell old toys
  • Ride a skateboard
  • Eat crab legs
  • Become a vegetarian
  • Make a salad
  • Design a jack-o-lantern
  • Ride a horse
  • Race turtles
  • Catch lightning bugs
  • Make a wildflower bouquet
  • Cut paper dolls
  • Eat an ice cream cone
  • Change a diaper
  • Make fruit punch
  • Make a campaign poster
  • Make a fake tattoo
  • Interview a celebrity
  • Catch a fish
  • Make a snowman
  • Make an igloo
  • Make a paper fan
  • Write a newsletter
  • Crack an egg
  • Make a necklace
  • Tie a necktie
  • Ride the subway
  • Walk like a model
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Pitch a tent
  • Find something you've lost
  • Curl your hair
  • Saddle a horse
  • Make a sandcastle
  • Bob for apples
  • Apply for a job
  • Draw stick figures
  • Open a bank account
  • Learn a new language
  • Ask for a later curfew
  • Behave at a fancy dinner
  • Ask somebody out
  • Pose for a picture
  • Wake up in a good mood
  • Send Morse code messages
  • Make a kite
  • Hem your jeans
  • Pitch a fastball
  • Be a ghost hunter
  • Make string art
  • Mop a floor
  • Peel an apple
  • String popcorn
  • Remix a song
  • Walk a tightrope
  • Stand on your head
  • Find the Big Dipper
  • Wrap a gift
  • Roast a marshmallow
  • Clean a window
  • Make a campfire
  • Have a yard sale
  • Create a carnival in your yard
  • Make balloon animals
  • Plan a surprise party
  • Wear eye makeup
  • Invent a secret code
  • Recognize animal tracks
  • Train a dog to shake hands
  • Make a paper airplane
  • Pull a tooth
  • Create playlists
  • Play rock, paper, scissors
  • Floss your teeth
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America’s Colleges Are Reaping What They Sowed

Universities spent years saying that activism is not just welcome but encouraged on their campuses. Students took them at their word.

Juxtaposition of Columbia 2024 and 1968 protests

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N ick Wilson, a sophomore at Cornell University, came to Ithaca, New York, to refine his skills as an activist. Attracted by both Cornell’s labor-relations school and the university’s history of campus radicalism, he wrote his application essay about his involvement with a Democratic Socialists of America campaign to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act . When he arrived on campus, he witnessed any number of signs that Cornell shared his commitment to not just activism but also militant protest, taking note of a plaque commemorating the armed occupation of Willard Straight Hall in 1969.

Cornell positively romanticizes that event: The university library has published a “ Willard Straight Hall Occupation Study Guide ,” and the office of the dean of students once co-sponsored a panel on the protest. The school has repeatedly screened a documentary about the occupation, Agents of Change . The school’s official newspaper, published by the university media-relations office, ran a series of articles honoring the 40th anniversary, in 2009, and in 2019, Cornell held a yearlong celebration for the 50th, complete with a commemorative walk, a dedication ceremony, and a public conversation with some of the occupiers. “ Occupation Anniversary Inspires Continued Progress ,” the Cornell Chronicle headline read.

As Wilson has discovered firsthand, however, the school’s hagiographical odes to prior protests have not prevented it from cracking down on pro-Palestine protests in the present. Now that he has been suspended for the very thing he told Cornell he came there to learn how to do—radical political organizing—he is left reflecting on the school’s hypocrisies. That the theme of this school year at Cornell is “Freedom of Expression” adds a layer of grim humor to the affair.

Evan Mandery: University of hypocrisy

University leaders are in a bind. “These protests are really dynamic situations that can change from minute to minute,” Stephen Solomon, who teaches First Amendment law and is the director of NYU’s First Amendment Watch—an organization devoted to free speech—told me. “But the obligation of universities is to make the distinction between speech protected by the First Amendment and speech that is not.” Some of the speech and tactics protesters are employing may not be protected under the First Amendment, while much of it plainly is. The challenge universities are confronting is not just the law but also their own rhetoric. Many universities at the center of the ongoing police crackdowns have long sought to portray themselves as bastions of activism and free thought. Cornell is one of many universities that champion their legacy of student activism when convenient, only to bring the hammer down on present-day activists when it’s not. The same colleges that appeal to students such as Wilson by promoting opportunities for engagement and activism are now suspending them. And they’re calling the cops.

The police activity we are seeing universities level against their own students does not just scuff the carefully cultivated progressive reputations of elite private universities such as Columbia, Emory University, and NYU, or the equally manicured free-speech bona fides of red-state public schools such as Indiana University and the University of Texas at Austin. It also exposes what these universities have become in the 21st century. Administrators have spent much of the recent past recruiting social-justice-minded students and faculty to their campuses under the implicit, and often explicit, promise that activism is not just welcome but encouraged. Now the leaders of those universities are shocked to find that their charges and employees believed them. And rather than try to understand their role in cultivating this morass, the Ivory Tower’s bigwigs have decided to apply their boot heels to the throats of those under their care.

I spoke with 30 students, professors, and administrators from eight schools—a mix of public and private institutions across the United States—to get a sense of the disconnect between these institutions’ marketing of activism and their treatment of protesters. A number of people asked to remain anonymous. Some were untenured faculty or administrators concerned about repercussions from, or for, their institutions. Others were directly involved in organizing protests and were wary of being harassed. Several incoming students I spoke with were worried about being punished by their school before they even arrived. Despite a variety of ideological commitments and often conflicting views on the protests, many of those I interviewed were “shocked but not surprised”—a phrase that came up time and again—by the hypocrisy exhibited by the universities with which they were affiliated. (I reached out to Columbia, NYU, Cornell, and Emory for comment on the disconnect between their championing of past protests and their crackdowns on the current protesters. Representatives from Columbia, Cornell, and Emory pointed me to previous public statements. NYU did not respond.)

The sense that Columbia trades on the legacy of the Vietnam protests that rocked campus in 1968 was widespread among the students I spoke with. Indeed, the university honors its activist past both directly and indirectly, through library archives , an online exhibit , an official “Columbia 1968” X account , no shortage of anniversary articles in Columbia Magazine , and a current course titled simply “Columbia 1968.” The university is sometimes referred to by alumni and aspirants as the “Protest Ivy.” One incoming student told me that he applied to the school in part because of an admissions page that prominently listed community organizers and activists among its “distinguished alumni.”

Joseph Slaughter, an English professor and the executive director of Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, talked with his class about the 1968 protests after the recent arrests at the school. He said his students felt that the university had actively marketed its history to them. “Many, many, many of them said they were sold the story of 1968 as part of coming to Columbia,” he told me. “They talked about it as what the university presents to them as the long history and tradition of student activism. They described it as part of the brand.”

This message reaches students before they take their first college class. As pro-Palestine demonstrations began to raise tensions on campus last month, administrators were keen to cast these protests as part of Columbia’s proud culture of student activism. The aforementioned high-school senior who had been impressed by Columbia’s activist alumni attended the university’s admitted-students weekend just days before the April 18 NYPD roundup. During the event, the student said, an admissions official warned attendees that they may experience “disruptions” during their visit, but boasted that these were simply part of the school’s “long and robust history of student protest.”

Remarkably, after more than 100 students were arrested on the order of Columbia President Minouche Shafik—in which she overruled a unanimous vote by the university senate’s executive committee not to bring the NYPD to campus —university administrators were still pushing this message to new students and parents. An email sent on April 19 informed incoming students that “demonstration, political activism, and deep respect for freedom of expression have long been part of the fabric of our campus.” Another email sent on April 20 again promoted Columbia’s tradition of activism, protest, and support of free speech. “This can sometimes create moments of tension,” the email read, “but the rich dialogue and debate that accompany this tradition is central to our educational experience.”

Evelyn Douek and Genevieve Lakier: The hypocrisy underlying the campus-speech controversy

Another student who attended a different event for admitted students, this one on April 21, said that every administrator she heard speak paid lip service to the school’s long history of protest. Her own feelings about the pro-Palestine protests were mixed—she said she believes that a genocide is happening in Gaza and also that some elements of the protest are plainly anti-Semitic—but her feelings about Columbia’s decision to involve the police were unambiguous. “It’s reprehensible but exactly what an Ivy League institution would do in this situation. I don’t know why everyone is shocked,” she said, adding: “It makes me terrified to go there.”

Beth Massey, a veteran activist who participated in the 1968 protests, told me with a laugh, “They might want to tell us they’re progressive, but they’re doing the business of the ruling class.” She was not surprised by the harsh response to the current student encampment or by the fact that it lit the fuse on a nationwide protest movement. Massey had been drawn to the radical reputation of Columbia’s sister school, Barnard College, as an open-minded teenager from the segregated South: “I actually wanted to go to Barnard because they had a history of progressive struggle that had happened going all the way back into the ’40s.” And the barn-burning history that appealed to Massey in the late 1960s has continued to attract contemporary students, albeit with one key difference: Today, that radical history has become part of the way that Barnard and Columbia sell their $60,000-plus annual tuition.

Of course, Columbia is not alone. The same trends have also prevailed at NYU, which likes to crow about its own radical history and promises contemporary students “ a world of activism opportunities .” An article published on the university’s website in March—titled “Make a Difference Through Activism at NYU”—promises students “myriad chances to put your activism into action.” The article points to campus institutions that “provide students with resources and opportunities to spark activism and change both on campus and beyond.” The six years I spent as a graduate student at NYU gave me plenty of reasons to be cynical about the university and taught me to view all of this empty activism prattle as white noise. But even I was astounded to see a video of students and faculty set upon by the NYPD, arrested at the behest of President Linda Mills.

“Across the board, there is a heightened awareness of hypocrisy,” Mohamad Bazzi, a journalism professor at NYU, told me, noting that faculty were acutely conscious of the gap between the institution’s intensive commitment to DEI and the police crackdown. The university has recently made several “cluster hires”—centered on activism-oriented themes such as anti-racism, social justice, and indigeneity—that helped diversify the faculty. Some of those recent hires were among the people who spent a night zip-tied in a jail cell, arrested for the exact kind of activism that had made them attractive to NYU in the first place. And it wasn’t just faculty. The law students I spoke with were especially acerbic. After honing her activism skills at her undergraduate institution—another university that recently saw a violent police response to pro-Palestine protests—one law student said she came to NYU because she was drawn to its progressive reputation and its high percentage of prison-abolitionist faculty. This irony was not lost on her as the police descended on the encampment.

After Columbia students were arrested on April 18, students at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study decided to cancel a planned art festival and instead use the time to make sandwiches as jail support for their detained uptown peers. The school took photos of the students layering cold cuts on bread and posted it to Gallatin’s official Instagram. These posts not only failed to mention that the students were working in support of the pro-Palestine protesters; the caption—“making sandwiches for those in need”—implied that the undergrads might be preparing meals for, say, the homeless.

The contradictions on display at Cornell, Columbia, and NYU are not limited to the state of New York. The police response at Emory, another university that brags about its tradition of student protest, was among the most disturbing I have seen. Faculty members I spoke with at the Atlanta school, including two who had been arrested—the philosophy professor Noëlle McAfee and the English and Indigenous-studies professor Emil’ Keme—recounted harrowing scenes: a student being knocked down, an elderly woman struggling to breathe after tear-gas exposure, a colleague with welts from rubber bullets. These images sharply contrast with the university’s progressive mythmaking, a process that was in place even before 2020’s “summer of racial reckoning” sent universities scrambling to shore up their activist credentials.

In 2018, Emory’s Campus Life office partnered with students and a design studio to begin work on an exhibit celebrating the university’s history of identity-based activism. Then, not long after George Floyd’s murder, the university’s library released a series of blog posts focusing on topics including “Black Student Activism at Emory,” “Protests and Movements,” “Voting Rights and Public Policy,” and “Authors and Artists as Activists.” That same year, the university announced its new Arts and Social Justice Fellows initiative, a program that “brings Atlanta artists into Emory classrooms to help students translate their learning into creative activism in the name of social justice.” In 2021, the university put on an exhibit celebrating its 1969 protests , in which “Black students marched, demonstrated, picketed, and ‘rapped’ on those institutions affecting the lives of workers and students at Emory.” Like Cornell’s and Columbia’s, Emory’s protests seem to age like fine wine: It takes half a century before the institution begins enjoying them.

N early every person I talked with believed that their universities’ responses were driven by donors, alumni, politicians, or some combination thereof. They did not believe that they were grounded in serious or reasonable concerns about the physical safety of students; in fact, most felt strongly that introducing police into the equation had made things far more dangerous for both pro-Palestine protesters and pro-Israel counterprotesters. Jeremi Suri, a historian at UT Austin—who told me he is not politically aligned with the protesters—recalls pleading with both the dean of students and the mounted state troopers to call off the charge. “It was like the Russian army had come onto campus,” Suri mused. “I was out there for 45 minutes to an hour. I’m very sensitive to anti-Semitism. Nothing anti-Semitic was said.” He added: “There was no reason not to let them shout until their voices went out.”

From the May 1930 issue: Hypocrisy–a defense

As one experienced senior administrator at a major research university told me, the conflagration we are witnessing shows how little many university presidents understand either their campus communities or the young people who populate them. “When I saw what Columbia was doing, my immediate thought was: They have not thought about day two ,” he said, laughing. “If you confront an 18-year-old activist, they don’t back down. They double down.” That’s what happened in 1968, and it’s happening again now. Early Tuesday morning, Columbia students occupied Hamilton Hall—the site of the 1968 occupation, which they rechristened Hind’s Hall in honor of a 6-year-old Palestinian girl killed in Gaza—in response to the university’s draconian handling of the protests. They explicitly tied these events to the university’s past, calling out its hypocrisy on Instagram: “This escalation is in line with the historical student movements of 1968 … which Columbia repressed then and celebrates today.” The university, for its part, responded now as it did then: Late on Tuesday, the NYPD swarmed the campus in an overnight raid that led to the arrest of dozens of students.

The students, professors, and administrators I’ve spoken with in recent days have made clear that this hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed and that the crackdown isn’t working, but making things worse. The campus resistance has expanded to include faculty and students who were originally more ambivalent about the protests and, in a number of cases, who support Israel. They are disturbed by what they rightly see as violations of free expression, the erosion of faculty governance, and the overreach of administrators. Above all, they’re fed up with the incandescent hypocrisy of institutions, hoisted with their own progressive petards, as the unstoppable force of years’ worth of self-righteous rhetoric and pseudo-radical posturing meets the immovable object of students who took them at their word.

In another video published by The Cornell Daily Sun , recorded only hours after he was suspended, Nick Wilson explained to a crowd of student protesters what had brought him to the school. “In high school, I discovered my passion, which was community organizing for a better world. I told Cornell University that’s why I wanted to be here,” he said, referencing his college essay. Then he paused for emphasis, looking around as his peers began to cheer. “And those fuckers admitted me.”

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What Can Sankofa Teach Us?

The popular african symbol—which means ‘return to your past’—continues to guide and inspire the black diaspora.

What Can Sankofa Teach Us? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Over the last few decades, the African American community has embraced Sankofa—a concept that calls for people to reach back to move forward. Scholar Christel N. Temple writes about the power and promise of the Adinkra symbol. Image of the Sankofa Village Community Garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; courtesy of Yasmine Abbas, Penn State.

by Christel N. Temple | May 9, 2024

This essay publishes alongside tonight’s Zócalo and Destination Crenshaw event, “How Do You Grow a Rose From Concrete?” Register here to join the program live in-person at Crenshaw High School or virtually online at 6 p.m. PT.

Affixed on jewelry, tattoos, fabric, and home decor, and even in the pattern of wrought-iron fences in places like Washington, D.C., and Savannah, Georgia, is a heart-shaped symbol with curly circles at the top and bottom, almost like the mirroring of two S’s to make a heart.

It is one version of the popular Adinkra symbol Sankofa .

Sankofa literally means “return to your past” or “go back and fetch it.” It can also mean “it is not taboo to go back and fetch it,” which is useful as an apology (e.g., “I invoke Sankofa and wish to go back and correct what I did at yesterday’s meeting when I incorrectly accused you of wrongdoing”).

Also commonly symbolized by the outline of a bird whose head and beak are pointed backward, toward its tail, often with an egg either in the beak or nestled in the tail, Sankofa has become a cultural phenomenon. It gives a name to the African diaspora’s concerns for heritage, legacy, authenticity, and dignity—in the U.S. and beyond.

Sankofa belongs to a communication system called the Adinkera, or Adinkra, which comes from present-day Ghana and Ivory Coast—key West African regions from which African Americans’ ancestors came.

After Ghana’s independence from Britain in 1957, the country’s first prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah, instituted a national policy to revive and celebrate the Adinkra system, particularly the concept of Sankofa. Nkrumah also welcomed the descendants of enslaved Africans to repatriate, or at least visit, the nation. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, and many other artists, activists, and culturally curious African Americans began making trips to Ghana in the late 1950s, where they would have likely encountered Adinkra symbols and philosophies. Scholarship around the Adinkra started to become more visible stateside, too, beginning in 1983 with the publication of Ivory Coast anthropologist Georges Niangoran-Bouah’s The Akan World of Gold Weights .

The concept of Sankofa resonates with core aspects of African American culture and life. The ideas of “return” and “back-to-Africa” anchor African American nationalist thought. Even more pervasive in Black people’s consciousness is the endearment of Africa as a homeland. By reflecting folk narratives presenting flight as self-emancipation and escape from enslavement and oppression, Sankofa embodies a sense of love, affection, respect, and sacred remembrance that affirms African American cultural uniqueness and celebrated difference. The principle of Sankofa is a reminder that “flight” and “return” go hand in hand. Just as peace can only come from knowing one’s legacy as well as the healing power of cultural memory.

Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima’s 1993 resistance-themed feature film Sankofa helped introduce the proverb to a wider audience. The multi-award-winning independent film begins in contemporary times, with a culturally unaware African American model doing a photoshoot on the same Ghana beach where the historic Elmina enslavement fort still stands. The model then travels through time to the enslavement past and discovers the sacredness of how her ancestors survived through revolts and sacrifice. Rich in themes of communalism, revolt, Pan-Africanism, and intellectual agency, Sankofa is a revolutionary vision of enslavement courage. In the years since its release, it has attracted a cult and cultural following.

The Sankofa cultural explosion continues in high schools and colleges today. In Black Studies classes, teachers introduce Sankofa to newer generations through the film and as an example of African philosophy. For many, it is a new and inspirational experience that reinforces the educational goals of historical recovery and presents the rich intellectual tradition of the African world. In practices of Black psychology, Sankofa grounds wellness and renewal in ancient wisdom. And in literary analysis, Sankofa is a paradigm that asks readers to map the ways characters of African descent travel and explore heritage homelands. This travel is often multidirectional and involves not just Africa, but also the Americas, the Caribbean, and even Europe.

But Sankofa is most visible outside of academia, in the explosion of businesses, schools, and community engagement projects that have embraced the name “Sankofa.” Represented by familiar icons (a heart, a bird) rather than some of the less familiar geometric shapes in the Adinkra, Sankofa holds immediate, recognizable visual appeal. While community institutions may not necessarily have a deep understanding of Sankofa’s precise Adinkra meaning, Sankofa has also been embraced by some as a general African/Black legacy concept that communicates that they are proud agents of a global heritage.

Consider just a sampling: Sankofa Kitchen (Dallas); Sankofa Arts Lounge (Dallas); Sankofa Research Institute (Houston); Sankofa Village for the Arts (Pittsburgh); Sankofa African and World Bazaar (Baltimore); Sankofa Church (Atlanta); Sankofa Community Discount Card (Atlanta); Sankofa Initiative (Jacksonville); Sankofa Creations Spalon (Jacksonville); Sankofa Jazz Festival (Miami); and Sankofa Soul, the sponsor of music festivals in St. Lucia, Curacao, Brooklyn, and Coney Island.

For hundreds of years, African Americans have used everything from storytelling to art to religion to keep their heritage alive in a hostile U.S. In 1991, African American archaeologists even discovered Sankofa symbols in a colonial-era African burial ground during a high-rise construction project in lower Manhattan; that site is now a national monument . Such relics from the past, like the Akan gold weights that fueled commerce for 500 years, show the depth and longevity of the ancient traditional West African roots of African Americans.

The knowledge imparted by African ancestors—an inheritance forcibly taken away, though never completely lost—has endured, yet African Americans revel in the more recent awareness of the vast Adinkra system because it is specific amidst a cultural history that largely has been a generic remembrance.

Imagine the possibilities for cultural reclamation and enrichment if the African American and diasporic communities continue to utilize not just Sankofa but the wealth of philosophies shared within the entire Adinkra system. Because among its symbols lie universal wisdom around the human capacity to heal, to repair, to renew, and to return.

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Rick Scott's one-man rally for Trump exposes GOP abandonment

There has been remarkably little public support for donald trump during his first criminal trial, by heather digby parton.

There have been a lot of raised eyebrows over the fact that with the exception of one appearance by his son Eric, Donald Trump's family is not present to support him at his criminal trial in Manhattan. Normally you would see the wife and the adult kids lined up behind the defendant to show a united front, even if the subject at hand was uncomfortable.  There really isn't such a thing as a pleasant criminal trial but it's something that is commonly done and I would certainly have thought that it would be wise in this case, since he's running for president and all. It would have been especially useful to at least see Melania and Ivanka playing the trad-wife and loyal daughter, suggesting by their presence that their man can do no wrong in their eyes. They're supposed to be Republicans, after all. 

Why MAGA hasn't turned up to support him in his moment of need when there always seems to be a few thousand who like to go to his rallies is a mystery but it clearly has Trump feeling down in the dumps.

But how could they? Everyone knows that his cultivated image of a wealthy playboy who wined and dined beautiful women like he was some kind of matinee idol is another one of his lies. This man had a casting couch routine more in the mold of a creepy Harvey Weinstein than a glamorous Tony Stark and they know it. 

Trump is intensely frustrated over the fact that because of the judge's gag order, he is no longer allowed to verbally assault and threaten the witnesses or the jury. But since the judge told him this week that he will have no choice but to jail him for contempt if he violates it one more time, he's managed to keep it together and confine his insults and threats to the judge, the prosecutors and Joe Biden. But you can feel the tension in Trump when he makes his frequent forays into the strange echo chamber hallway where he rants about the proceedings and reads clippings from Fox News personalities saying the trial is a travesty. 

One can imagine how the thought of going to jail petrifies him. This is a man who has been pampered his entire life. His elaborate morning ablutions with the hair and the make-up routine alone make any kind of imprisonment unthinkable. But he really, really wants to go after Stormy Daniels, so much so that he had his lawyers ask the judge to lift the gag order for her specifically since she is now finished testifying. (The judge said no, that he was preserving the integrity of the court.) 

For Trump this goes against every fiber of his being, as was not so coincidentally conveyed to the jury yesterday afternoon when one of his book publishers testified and was asked to read aloud some passages from his books, including this charming commentary:

"For many years I've said that if someone screws you, screw them back. If somebody hurts you you just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye." 

Trump will just have to let his allies in the right-wing media do that for him for the moment — and they are more than eager to comply. 

It's doubtful that Trump wanted his family to be there to hear all these sordid details in person anyway. But he reportedly was quite upset that his political allies weren't in attendance during the first two weeks of the trial.  According to NBC News , he whined "no one is defending me" and pouted over the fact that there  wasn't a big crowd of protesters outside . He lied about that, of course, and said on camera that there were hundreds of people blocked from protesting.

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He actually  called  for his followers to come to the trial on his Truth Social platform — “GO OUT AND PEACEFULLY PROTEST. RALLY BEHIND MAGA. SAVE OUR COUNTRY!” — but other than a dozen or so kooks, they haven't shown up. From the very beginning of his legal travails he's issued threats that his people "won't stand for it" saying  as far back as 2022,  “If these radical, vicious racist prosecutors do anything wrong, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had … in Washington, D.C, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt." 

Why MAGA hasn't turned up to support him in his moment of need when there always seems to be a few thousand who like to go to his rallies is a mystery but it clearly has him feeling down in the dumps. So now he's got some of his employees, political cronies and right-wing media personalities attending the trial to give him a little boost. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who Politico r eports  hangs around Trump as much as possible, was among the first to heed the call. Also showing up despite having much more important things to do were campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita along with advisor Boris Epshteyn and Natalie Harp, who t he New York Times describes this way:

Called “the human printer” by colleagues, Ms. Harp often carries a portable device so she can quickly provide Mr. Trump with hard copies of mood-boosting news articles and social media posts by people praising him.

That's just pathetic. 

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter , Crash Course.

The lawyer who has lost several cases for Trump but who defends him vociferously on TV, Alina Habba, has appeared in the courtroom. And on Thursday former judge and current Fox News member of "The Five," Jeanine Pirro was in attendance. The big name of the day, however, was Florida Senator Rick Scott who went the extra mile and held a press conference where he compared Trump to himself:

Scott's company paid $1.7 billion in fines to settle charges of rampant Medicare fraud, at the time the largest ever imposed, and Scott has previously  said , “I take responsibility for what happened on my watch as CEO.” Today he says he's a victim of the deep state. 

The ambitious senator is said to be angling for the VP slot or Senate majority leader and he knows that whining like a five-year-old about being victimized is the quickest way to Donald Trump's heart. Scott's the first contender to be there in his time of need and I'm sure Trump noticed. If the rest of them haven't figured out by now that job one is defending Dear Leader and singing his praises then they'd better just take their names off the list right now. Look for the whole crew to traipse up there over the next few weeks. Donald Trump needs cheering up and nothing makes him happier than lackeys begging for his favor. 

about this topic

  • "He was bigger and blocking the way": Stormy Daniels takes the stand and reminds people who Trump is
  • Trump's trial paints him as a clown — but MAGA sees a boss
  • "Oh my god": Stormy Daniels lawyer texted "what have we done?" after seeing Trump win election

Heather Digby Parton, also known as " Digby ," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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