Personal Essay Topics

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A personal essay is an essay about your life, thoughts, or experiences. This type of essay will give readers a glimpse into your most intimate life experiences and life lessons. There are many reasons you may need to write a personal essay , from a simple class assignment to a college application requirement . You can use the list below for inspiration. Consider each statement a starting point, and write about a memorable moment that the prompt brings to mind.

  • Your bravest moment
  • How you met your best friend
  • What makes your mom or dad special
  • How you overcame a fear
  • Why you will succeed
  • Why you made a difficult choice
  • A special place
  • A place you try to avoid
  • When a friend let you down
  • An event that changed your life
  • A special encounter with an animal
  • A time when you felt out of place
  • An odd experience that didn't make sense at the time
  • Words of wisdom that hit home and changed your way of thinking
  • A person that you do not like
  • A time when you disappointed someone
  • Your fondest memory
  • A time when you saw your parent cry
  • The moment when you knew you were grown up
  • Your earliest memory of holiday celebrations in your home
  • Times when you should have made a better choice
  • A time when you dodged a dangerous situation
  • A person you will think about at the end of your life
  • Your favorite time period
  • A failure you've experienced
  • A disappointment you've experienced
  • A surprising turn of events
  • What you would do with power
  • What superpower you would choose
  • If you could switch lives with someone
  • How money matters in your life
  • Your biggest loss
  • A time when you felt you did the wrong thing
  • A proud moment when you did the right thing
  • An experience that you've never shared with another person
  • A special place that you shared with a childhood friend
  • A first encounter with a stranger
  • Your first handshake
  • Where you go to hide
  • If you had a do-over
  • A book that changed your life
  • Words that stung
  • When you had the desire to run
  • When you had the urge to crawl into a hole
  • Words that prompted hope
  • When a child taught you a lesson
  • Your proudest moment
  • If your dog could talk
  • Your favorite time with family
  • If you could live in another country
  • If you could invent something
  • The world a hundred years from now
  • If you had lived a hundred years earlier
  • The animal you'd like to be
  • One thing you'd change at your school
  • The greatest movie moment
  • The type of teacher you would be
  • If you could be a building
  • A statue you'd like to see
  • If you could live anywhere
  • The greatest discovery
  • If you could change one thing about yourself
  • An animal that could be in charge
  • Something you can do that robots could never do
  • Your most unfortunate day
  • Your secret talent
  • Your secret love
  • The most beautiful thing you've ever seen
  • The ugliest thing you've seen
  • Something you've witnessed
  • An accident that changed everything
  • A wrong choice
  • A right choice
  • If you were a food
  • How you'd spend a million dollars
  • If you could start a charity
  • The meaning of color
  • A close call
  • Your favorite gift
  • A chore you'd do away with
  • A secret place
  • Something you can't resist
  • A hard lesson
  • A visitor you'll never forget
  • An unexplained event
  • Your longest minute
  • An awkward social moment
  • An experience with death
  • Why you'll never tell a lie
  • If your mom knew, she'd kill you
  • A kiss that meant a lot
  • When you needed a hug
  • The hardest news you've had to deliver
  • A special morning
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110 Personal Essay Topics

Though written from a lived experience, personal essay topics can be tricky to come up with because they have to be universal enough for other people to relate to.

Since the skill of writing a good essay is being able to paint an image with words, students must choose a topic that will get others interested in the story and what it has to say about life, society, or themselves.

In essence, personal essays are written from a personal point of view and express a writer’s own insights, opinions, and feelings on a particular topic. Additionally, these types of essays lead to an overall point, lesson, realization, or revelation.

Most commonly, personal essays are written by high school students as part of their college applications. However, there are many other reasons that a personal essay may be assigned or written, including:

  • Scholarship applications
  • Job interview
  • Writing contest
  • Grad school admission

Students and others struggling with a valuable personal essay topic can choose from any of the 110 personal essay topics on this list to help them get started.

How to Write a Personal Essay

Writing a personal essay will require you to follow a traditional essay’s guidelines, structure, and format. However, you will also need to ensure that your essay is personal or tells a story about yourself rather than being entirely academic.

For example, you might want to explain an experience that changed how you saw the world or share an opinion on something important to you – even if the rest of the world doesn’t agree with it.

It often helps to make a list of experiences that you may want to share before starting with the writing aspect of the personal essay.


The introduction to your personal essay will set the scene for the reader. Therefore, your personal essay needs to start with a compelling hook that will draw the reader in and make them want to read more.

This hook statement could be a humorous or poignant anecdote related to your topic or a line of questioning that the reader will be interested in following. For example, some possible opening lines for a personal essay could start with:

  • “I remember exactly where I was when I first realized …”
  • “What would you do if you knew the world was going to end tomorrow?
  • “So, I once had this problem …”

These beginning lines will often create questions in the reader’s mind, which is an excellent way to capture their interest and keep them reading. Following this initial opening sentence, you can introduce other details as you build up the main point of the story.

Your introduction should end with a thesis statement that verbalizes the general direction the story will go.

Body Paragraphs

Generally, a personal essay will have no less than three body paragraphs that detail your experience in chronological order. Each section should discuss one part of the story, including the events leading up to it, what happened during the experience, and what you learned from it.

Body paragraphs may also include examples of feelings, emotions, or arguments that support your experience. The goal of a personal essay is to share a compelling story and teach the reader something about life or themselves by using specific details and language.

Consider this formatting when creating the body paragraphs of your personal essay:

1st Paragraph

  • Beginning of the story that answers questions related to “Who?” and “Where?”
  • Initial attitudes, moods, feelings, and assumptions about the event or experience about to take place

2nd Paragraph

  • Middle of the story
  • Details that show how the situation evolved over time, including any changes in mood or assumption on your part

3rd Paragraph

  • Ending of the story/resolution
  • The final analysis on overall feelings, emotions, and mood

By sticking to this formatting for the body paragraphs, students can ensure that they are telling the story correctly and including every key detail as it happens.

Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion of a personal essay is optional and depends on what you want to accomplish with the telling of your story. If you want to leave the reader feeling inspired or emotionally moved, then focus on summarizing the main points in a short paragraph that ends on a positive note.

However, if this was a darker story, you may want to use the concluding paragraph to sum up your feelings after the experience has ended or explore any unanswered questions that remain.

In any event, your conclusion does need to include an overall moral or lesson of how the writer:

  • overcame hardship
  • rose to the occasion
  • identified new traits or abilities that they never realized existed
  • turned defeat into success
  • followed their instincts and made the right choice
  • came to appreciate something about life after the experience took place

Any of these statements can stand alone as a powerful lesson learned. However, when combined in one concluding paragraph, you will leave your reader with a profound impression.

Using any of these 110 personal essay topics will ensure that you have a strong and interesting story to tell.

Personal Essay Topics About Relationships

  • What was a time when you made a friend?
  • What would your worst enemy say about you?
  • Talk about the death of a friend.
  • How did it feel to be bullied in school?
  • The time when you had to get along with a sibling despite being different ages
  • What you learned from your first relationship
  • Why marriage isn’t important to you
  • How you discovered polyamory, and how it changed your view of relationships
  • How your best friend made you a better person
  • The lesson you learned from being catfished
  • The first time you experienced heartbreak
  • A funny story about how technology ruined a relationship.
  • How did you learn to recognize love?
  • Who would you consider your soulmate? What makes them that person specifically for you?
  • What was your most embarrassing moment as a boyfriend or girlfriend, and what did you learn from it?

Personal Essay Topics About Hardships

  • The worst thing that ever happened to me
  • The roughest time in my family’s life
  • The hardest challenge I’ve ever had to overcome
  • How did you deal with the stress of moving?
  • What was your most embarrassing moment as a kid?
  • What are some reasons that I am grateful for my disability/illness/condition?
  • When have you had an “Aha!” moment in life?
  • What’s something terrible that happened to you that turned into something good?
  • What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my failures?
  • The time when it almost felt like the world was against me
  • How did I handle/recover from a severe illness/injury/accident?
  • When was the first time I realized that life isn’t fair?
  • What was the biggest struggle I went through in my teens?
  • The most challenging situation I faced in high school
  • When was a time when I made a negative impact on someone else?
  • The first time I got caught stealing
  • The most embarrassing mistake I ever made with money
  • What was the most challenging thing about getting sober/clean/overcoming addiction?
  • When did I realize that life is short and that nobody is promised tomorrow?
  • How did you learn to persevere through tough times?

Personal Essay Topics About Success & Achievements

  • Best moment in my sports career
  • My greatest success story
  • The time I overcame my fear and found strength I didn’t know I had.
  • What’s the happiest day of my life?
  • How did I learn to overcome failure?
  • The time I knew that dreams really do come true
  • My greatest triumph over adversity – and what it taught me about myself.
  • What made you realize that you have to work hard in order to achieve something meaningful in life?
  • When did I know that I had made it in life?
  • When was the first time you were acknowledged for your achievements?
  • The night when my hard work truly paid off
  • My most powerful moment after overcoming a setback
  • How did I become successful?
  • What are some defining moments in my career?
  • How did I make it through a difficult time in college/university?
  • What motivated me to become the person I am today?

Personal Essay Topics About Personal Growth & Self-Reflection

  • Whose lifelong encouragement helped make me who I am today
  • The first time I took responsibility for my own actions
  • What gave me the courage to be myself?
  • The most valuable life lesson I’ve ever received. Who taught it to me, and what was the context?
  • How did I get through a difficult childhood/adolescence/teenage years?
  • What did I learn from becoming a yoga master?
  • How has meditation helped me overcome anger issues?
  • How did I recover from using drugs and alcohol?
  • What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from quitting my job?
  • When did I realize that life is too short to hate someone?
  • The moment when I knew it was time for a change
  • I made a mistake – and this is how I bounced back
  • How did I overcome depression/anxiety/mental illness?

Personal Essay Topics About Passions & Hobbies

  • How did learning a skill change my life?
  • Why exercise makes me a better person
  • My passion for writing
  • What’s the best advice I’ve ever received? Who gave it to me, and in what situation?
  • The moment when I realized my true calling in life
  • The importance of keeping a journal and how it has helped me become a better person
  • My biggest bucket list dream and why it’s so important to me
  • What is my vision for the future?
  • How did I find peace, contentment, and happiness?
  • The time when I truly lived outside of my comfort zone
  • When was the moment when I felt like I “got” meditation?
  • My journey towards becoming vegan. What inspired me to make this change, and what were the challenges I faced?
  • What lessons have been easy for me to learn, and which ones have been harder?
  • The time when travel changed my life

Personal Essay Topics About Challenges & Failures

  • The low point of my life and how I got through it
  • How did an illness/injury/death in the family affect me?
  • Why did I decide to stop going on blind dates?
  • What were the consequences of losing my temper, and how did I make amends?
  • The time when I was broken. What happened, who got hurt, and how did it affect me? How did I overcome this experience?
  • When was the moment when I realized that my words carry weight?

Personal Essay Topics About Family & Childhood Memories

  • The time when my family showed me what unconditional love means
  • My most vivid childhood memory and how it has affected me as an adult
  • How did I learn to be patient and kind?
  • What was the moment that sparked a change in my life? What caused this change, and what happened after the changes took place?
  • The moment when I realized the true meaning of friendship
  • What lessons did growing up teach me about life?
  • My childhood dream and what it taught me about myself
  • How do I feel about my hometown after living in three different places?
  • Why is it important to visit your birthplace/hometown during holidays/vacations?
  • My family’s most influential life lesson and how it has affected me
  • What was the moment when I realized that my parents had their own struggles?
  • The time when I learned about my family history. What happened, why did this happen, and how did it affect me? How did things change after this event?
  • What do I know about family traditions now that I didn’t understand as a child?
  • Why are your family memories vital to you?

Personal Essay Topics About Cultural Heritage & Identity

  • What does being bilingual/multilingual mean to me? Why is it unique?
  • My first interaction with someone from another culture
  • What’s wrong with cultural appropriation, and how did I learn to stop?
  • The moment when I became aware of my race/ethnicity
  • My culture’s most influential life lesson and how it has affected me
  • How I learned to not be afraid of my cultural differences
  • Why is diversity important in my community? In what ways do I contribute?
  • The moment I realized that I am proud of my culture
  • How has the immigrant/refugee experience shaped who you are today?
  • How traditions have changed the way I view my family

Personal Essay Topics About Childhood Dreams & Aspirations

  • What were my childhood dreams, and how have they changed over the years?
  • How did I make peace with the fear of growing up?

Any of these 110 personal essay topics are perfect for students struggling to find a topic that will impress a college admission officer or any other person with whom you’re trying to connect with on a personal level through storytelling.

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Group 6

personal essays topics

Narrative Essay Topics: TOP 200 Choices for Students

personal essays topics

Imagine yourself facing a blank page, ready to fill it with your memories and imagination. What story will you tell today?

As students, you often have to write narratives that capture people's attention. But with so many stories to choose from, where do you start? How do you find the perfect topic that will grab our readers' interest and make them think?

Join our essay service experts as we explore 200 topics for college where stories are waiting to be told, and experiences are ready to be shared. From everyday events to unforgettable moments, each topic is a chance to connect with your readers and make them feel something.

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Ideas for Narrative Essay Topics

After exploring how students write narrative paragraphs, we've put together a list of narrative essay topics designed specifically for college and school students. This list covers a wide range of subjects, so pick one that speaks to you! If you want to see how to develop a topic into a written essay, check out our narrative essay example . 

Literacy Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

How about delving into captivating literacy narrative essay topics designed specifically for college-level writing? Exciting, isn't it?

  • How did a childhood book shape your view of the world?
  • What challenges did you face when learning to read in a second language?
  • How has storytelling within your family influenced your literacy journey?
  • Can you recall a pivotal moment that ignited your love for reading?
  • How did a specific teacher inspire your passion for literature?
  • Have you ever encountered a character in a book who profoundly impacted your perspective on life?
  • What role did writing play in helping you navigate a difficult period in your life?
  • How has your relationship with technology affected your reading habits?
  • What cultural or historical event sparked your interest in a particular genre of literature?
  • How has poetry shaped your understanding of language and emotion?
  • Have you ever experienced a breakthrough moment in your writing process?
  • How has reading aloud impacted your comprehension and enjoyment of literature?
  • Can you recall a time when a book challenged your beliefs or worldview?
  • How has participating in a book club enriched your reading experience?
  • What strategies have you developed to overcome reading difficulties or distractions?

Personal Narrative Essay Topics on Relationships

Take a moment to reflect on your past experiences and craft compelling personal narratives with these essay ideas.

  • How did a specific friendship shape who you are today?
  • Can you recount a moment that strengthened your bond with a family member?
  • What challenges have you faced in maintaining a long-distance relationship?
  • How has a mentor influenced your personal and professional development?
  • Have you experienced a betrayal in a relationship? How did it impact you?
  • Can you describe a memorable conflict resolution process within a relationship?
  • How has your relationship with a pet affected your emotional well-being?
  • What lessons have you learned from navigating a romantic relationship?
  • How has your relationship with a sibling evolved over time?
  • Can you recall a time when you had to set boundaries in a friendship?
  • How has volunteering or community involvement enriched your relationships?
  • What cultural differences have influenced your relationships with others?
  • Can you share a moment when you felt truly understood by someone?
  • How has technology affected the dynamics of your relationships?
  • Have you ever experienced a reconciliation that transformed a strained relationship?

Best Narrative Essay Topics on Education and Learning

Consider the beauty of sharing your personal experiences and emotions in a captivating manner through these ideas for personal narrative essays.

  • What was the most valuable lesson you learned outside of the classroom?
  • Can you recount a moment when a teacher's unconventional method transformed your understanding of a subject?
  • How has a field trip or experiential learning opportunity impacted your education?
  • What challenges have you faced in balancing extracurricular activities with academics?
  • Have you ever had a "Eureka!" moment while studying? Describe it.
  • How has learning a new skill outside of school influenced your academic performance?
  • Can you recall a time when a peer's perspective challenged your own understanding of a topic?
  • How has technology enhanced or hindered your learning experience?
  • What role does creativity play in your approach to learning?
  • Have you ever experienced a setback that ultimately propelled you forward academically?
  • How has your cultural background influenced your learning style?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to advocate for yourself within an educational setting?
  • How has mentorship shaped your educational journey?
  • What strategies have you employed to overcome academic challenges or obstacles?
  • Can you reflect on a time when failure taught you a valuable lesson about learning?

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Personal Narrative Essay Ideas on Reflection on Life

Why not ignite your creativity with a range of narrative essay topics, from extraordinary moments to everyday experiences?

  • How has a moment of failure ultimately led to personal growth and resilience?
  • Can you recount a pivotal decision that significantly altered the course of your life?
  • What lessons have you learned from navigating a crossroads or major life transition?
  • How has your perspective on success evolved over time?
  • Can you reflect on a time when you had to confront and overcome a deeply held fear?
  • What role has gratitude played in shaping your outlook on life?
  • How have your values and beliefs been influenced by significant life experiences?
  • Can you describe a moment when you found clarity and purpose amidst chaos or uncertainty?
  • What impact has traveling to a new place had on your understanding of the world and yourself?
  • How has adversity strengthened your character and determination?
  • Can you recall a time when a random act of kindness profoundly impacted your life?
  • What lessons have you learned from embracing vulnerability and authenticity in relationships?
  • How has practicing mindfulness or self-reflection enhanced your well-being and happiness?
  • Can you reflect on a period of personal transformation or self-discovery?
  • How have you found meaning and fulfillment in pursuing your passions and interests?

Ideas for a Narrative Essay on Culture and Society

Engaging your readers with narrative essays on culture and society is a great way to spark interest, offering captivating ideas for exploration.

  • How has your family's unique culinary heritage influenced your cultural identity?
  • Can you reflect on a specific cultural artifact or heirloom that holds deep significance for your family?
  • What challenges have you faced in preserving traditional customs while adapting to modern societal expectations?
  • How has a local festival or celebration revealed the intricacies of your community's cultural tapestry?
  • Can you recount a moment when you navigated a cultural clash between your upbringing and the dominant culture?
  • How has your experience as a first-generation immigrant shaped your understanding of cultural assimilation?
  • What lessons have you learned from participating in intercultural exchange programs or initiatives?
  • Can you describe a unique cultural practice or tradition within your community that outsiders might find intriguing or misunderstood?
  • How has the revitalization of indigenous languages contributed to the preservation of cultural heritage in your region?
  • Can you reflect on a personal journey of reconnecting with your cultural roots after a period of assimilation or disconnection?
  • What role does storytelling play in passing down cultural wisdom and values within your family or community?
  • How has the portrayal of your culture in mainstream media affected your sense of belonging and self-perception?
  • Can you recount a moment when you challenged cultural stereotypes through creative expression or advocacy?
  • How has the migration of a specific cultural group enriched the social fabric and economic landscape of your community?
  • What initiatives or grassroots movements are currently underway to promote cross-cultural understanding and cooperation in your society?

Since you're working on essays, we think it's suitable to suggest you learn more about the case study format , which is another common college assignment.

Narrative Writing Topics on Hobbies and Interests

Wow your readers by turning your passions and hobbies into compelling narrative essay topics that will get them thinking.

  • How has your passion for urban gardening transformed neglected spaces in your community?
  • Can you recount a thrilling adventure from your hobby of urban exploration?
  • What lessons have you learned from restoring vintage motorcycles in your spare time?
  • How has your fascination with birdwatching deepened your connection to nature and conservation efforts?
  • Can you describe a memorable moment from your hobby of foraging wild edibles in the wilderness?
  • What unique skills have you developed through your hobby of beekeeping, and how have they impacted your daily life?
  • How has your interest in historical reenactment brought the past to life in unexpected ways?
  • Can you reflect on a transformative experience from your hobby of landscape photography?
  • What insights have you gained from practicing the art of bonsai cultivation and nurturing miniature ecosystems?
  • How has your passion for stargazing inspired awe and wonder in the vastness of the universe?
  • Can you recount a challenging project from your hobby of woodworking and the satisfaction it brought upon completion?
  • What cultural connections have you discovered through your hobby of traditional folk dancing?
  • How has your interest in sustainable fashion influenced your consumer habits and environmental awareness?
  • Can you describe a moment of serenity and mindfulness experienced while practicing the art of tea ceremony?
  • How has your hobby of letterpress printing preserved the tactile beauty of handmade craftsmanship in a digital age?

Narrative Essay Titles on Life-Changing Moments

Life is full of unexpected twists that can lead to life-changing moments. Take a look at these narrative essay titles for stories that have had a lasting impact on your life.

  • How did surviving a natural disaster reshape your perspective on life?
  • Can you recall a single conversation that drastically altered the course of your life?
  • What was the pivotal moment that inspired you to pursue your dreams against all odds?
  • How did a chance encounter lead to a life-changing friendship or partnership?
  • Can you reflect on the decision that transformed your career trajectory?
  • What profound lesson did you learn from facing a life-threatening illness or injury?
  • How did traveling to a new country open your eyes to new possibilities and opportunities?
  • Can you recount the moment when you discovered your true passion or calling in life?
  • What was the turning point that allowed you to break free from a toxic relationship or environment?
  • How did experiencing failure or rejection ultimately lead to personal growth and resilience?
  • Can you describe the moment when you found the strength to overcome a deep-seated fear or insecurity?
  • What life-changing realization did you have while experiencing a period of solitude or introspection?
  • How did a profound act of kindness from a stranger restore your faith in humanity?
  • Can you reflect on the moment when you forgave someone who had deeply hurt you, and how it changed your perspective on forgiveness?
  • What pivotal decision did you make that allowed you to reclaim control over your own happiness and destiny?

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Good Narrative Topics on Travel and Adventure

Consider creating intriguing titles for your narrative essay ideas by exploring thrilling travel adventures.

  • Can you recount a memorable encounter with wildlife during your solo hiking adventure?
  • How did a spontaneous decision to explore an unfamiliar city lead to unexpected discoveries?
  • What lessons did you learn from navigating a foreign country with only a map and your instincts?
  • Can you describe the exhilaration of conquering a challenging mountain peak for the first time?
  • How did immersing yourself in a local culture during your travels broaden your perspective on the world?
  • What unexpected obstacles did you encounter while embarking on a backpacking journey through rugged terrain?
  • Can you reflect on the transformative experience of volunteering abroad in a community-driven project?
  • How did getting lost in a labyrinthine city alleyway lead to serendipitous encounters and newfound friendships?
  • What was the most memorable meal you had while sampling street food in a bustling market abroad?
  • Can you recount the adrenaline rush of participating in an extreme sports activity in a foreign land?
  • How did witnessing a breathtaking natural phenomenon during your travels leave a lasting impression on you?
  • What cultural traditions or rituals did you participate in during a homestay experience with a local family?
  • Can you describe the sense of wonder and awe you felt while exploring ancient ruins or historical sites?
  • How did navigating a language barrier challenge and ultimately enrich your travel experience?
  • What valuable life lessons did you learn from the mishaps and misadventures encountered during your journey off the beaten path?

Narrative Essay Topic Ideas on Career and Work Experience

College students can uncover captivating narrative essay ideas by exploring potential career paths or reminiscing about past job experiences.

  • How did a challenging project at work showcase your problem-solving skills and resilience?
  • Can you reflect on a pivotal mentorship experience that guided your career trajectory?
  • What valuable lessons did you learn from a career setback or failure, and how did it shape your future success?
  • How did a workplace conflict lead to personal growth and improved communication skills?
  • Can you recount a moment when taking a professional risk paid off in unexpected ways?
  • What insights did you gain from transitioning to a new industry or career path?
  • How did participating in a cross-functional team project enhance your collaboration and leadership abilities?
  • Can you describe the satisfaction of achieving a long-term career goal after years of hard work and perseverance?
  • What impact did a meaningful recognition or award have on your motivation and sense of accomplishment?
  • How did volunteering or pro bono work contribute to your professional development and sense of purpose?
  • Can you reflect on the decision to leave a stable job in pursuit of passion or fulfillment?
  • What strategies did you employ to navigate a toxic work environment and maintain your well-being?
  • How did a career setback lead to unexpected opportunities for personal and professional growth?
  • Can you describe a moment when mentorship or sponsorship played a crucial role in advancing your career?
  • What lessons did you learn from a challenging client or customer interaction, and how did it shape your approach to customer service and relationship-building?

Interesting Narrative Essay Topics about Challenges and Obstacles

If you're not sure what to write about for your narrative essay, think back to the tough times you've had and how you managed to get through them.

  • How did you conquer a once-paralyzing fear to chase your dreams?
  • What new strengths did you discover while adapting to a physical challenge?
  • Can you recall a creative solution you used during a tough financial period?
  • When did you bravely stand against injustice, despite opposition?
  • How did overcoming a language barrier broaden your horizons?
  • What key lessons did you learn from a major setback in your life?
  • How did you manage overwhelming stress and responsibilities?
  • What inner reserves of resilience did you draw upon after personal loss?
  • Describe a time when you defied societal norms to pursue your goals.
  • Reflect on a moment when failure fueled your determination for success.
  • When did you find the courage to leave your comfort zone behind?
  • How did community support bolster you through a challenging time?
  • Share a time when self-doubt led to newfound confidence.
  • Can you recount a tragedy that spurred your personal growth?
  • What insights did overcoming a monumental obstacle reveal about life?

Best Narrative Essay Topics: How to Choose the One That Resonates 

A narrative essay is a type of writing that tells a personal story, including characters, plot, setting, and the order of events. Its main goal is to connect with readers emotionally and share a specific message or insight through the retelling of a meaningful experience.

Students write narrative essays as part of their studies for several reasons. Firstly, it allows them to express themselves creatively by sharing their unique experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Secondly, it helps them develop important writing skills like organizing ideas and thoughts effectively.

Narrative Essay topics

Choosing good narrative essay ideas involves looking at personal experiences, interests, and the potential for engaging storytelling. Here's a simple guide to help you pick the right topic:

  • Think about significant moments in your life that had a lasting impact, such as personal growth or overcoming challenges.
  • Choose topics related to your hobbies, interests, or areas of expertise to make your story more engaging.
  • Consider what your audience would be interested in and choose topics that resonate with them.
  • Focus on a specific event or detail to make your narrative more focused and impactful.
  • Look for universal themes like love or personal transformation that connect with readers on a deeper level.
  • Brainstorm ideas and write freely to uncover compelling topics.
  • Decide on storytelling techniques like flashbacks or foreshadowing and choose a topic that fits.
  • Get feedback from friends, peers, or instructors to see if your topics are interesting and impactful.
  • Choose topics that evoke strong emotions for a more compelling narrative.
  • Select a topic that you personally connect with to make your story authentic.

Once you've chosen a topic, brainstorm ideas and create an outline for your essay. Follow your professor's instructions carefully and consider seeking help from our narrative essay writing service if needed.

Bring your stories to life with EssayPro. Select from a vast array of narrative essay topics and let our professionals help you weave your tales into captivating essays. Whether it's adventure, reflection, or imagination, we're here to assist.

Final Remarks

As we wrap up, our list of 200 narrative essay topics is here to fuel your creativity for your next writing project! Whether you're sharing a memorable event, reliving a childhood memory, or expressing a profound insight, crafting a narrative essay can be an uplifting experience that resonates deeply with readers.

And if you're gearing up for college admissions, why not check out our admission essay writing service ? We've already assisted countless students in securing their spots at their dream colleges, and we'd love to help you, too!

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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

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100+ Personal Essay Topics For College And Writing Tips

Jared Houdi

Table of Contents

70 Great Personal Essay Topics for College

Looking for interesting personal essay writing ideas? We’ve got a bunch…

A personal essay is a typical assignment for high-school and college students. It’s a type of non-fiction that incorporates a variety of writing styles. Personal essay topics usually include real stories, experiences, and opinions of people.

Writers need to give an account of their own experience and express their thoughts on the subject of a paper. The key to success is to make an attempt to combine narration and opinion together. In this article, you will find a short writing guide and 100+ engaging personal essay topic ideas.

How to write personal essays?

Keep in mind that personal writing is always subjective. It is based on the writer’s observation, feelings, opinion, and experience. You are the speaker, so it’s quite natural to use such pronouns as I, my, me, we, and our.

First of all, most essay writing websites will say that you need to find a compelling topic. College personal essay topics include a lot of things.

Students may be asked to

  • state their opinion about an issue
  • document what they observed
  • share a story
  • give a description of an object, event, place, person
  • relate a specific subject to their own life

Whatever theme you choose, it’s crucial to start an introduction of your paper with a strong hook to capture the audience’s attention. Introduce the subject in the first paragraph. Think about the main idea you want to communicate.

In the body of your paper, inform readers about the subject. It’s better to create an outline before to start writing. It will help you organize your thoughts, stay focused, and write clearly and concisely. Start each paragraph with a new idea. Show, don’t tell. Use strong verbs and include a lot of sensory details.

End with a thought-provoking conclusion. You need to explain what lesson you have learned, how your experience contributed to your development as a person and shaped your personality.

Why choose personal persuasive essay topics for writing

When writing on personal persuasive essay topics, writers must state their position or opinion on an issue and try to persuade people to accept their point of view, telling stories and appealing to their feelings and emotions.

That differs from elaborating on personal argumentative essay topics, when students have to support their point of view with strong arguments, reasons, relevant examples, appropriate illustrations, etc.

These types of papers are not easy to write as well as papers on personal cause and effect essay topics.

But there are important reasons why you may want to do that.

  • You’ll improve communication and critical thinking skills .
  • Challenging themes can help you stand out from the crowd.
  • You will be able to demonstrate your creativity and ability to apply persuasive techniques.

… Can’t decide what idea to choose?

Here we have gathered a wide variety of moving ideas for your inspiration. Whether you need personal experience essay topics or personal narrative essay topics, we’ve got you covered.

Personal essay topics: what are they about?

You may write on any subject. Popular themes include hobbies, nature, childhood, illness, travel, making a difficult choice, learning something new, friends, family, and relationships.

You may use some personal challenge essay ideas and tell about overcoming an obstacle. Or you can buy argumentative essay if you don’t have time to work on college tasks tonight.

Actually, the subject is not as important as you think. Readers want to see your point of view that reveals your unique personality.

  • How you met a special person in your life?
  • A person you admire most.
  • The best place in the local area.
  • A place where you would like to live your whole life.
  • Works of art you admire.
  • The job of your dream.
  • Your biggest disappointment.
  • Books that made a great impression on you.
  • What annoys you?
  • Your family traditions.
  • Are you addicted to technology?
  • What modern songs inspire you?
  • Could you live without money?
  • Do you like commercials?
  • What is your best method of studying?

Personal narrative essay topics

  • Tell about your first trip abroad.
  • The most unfortunate event ever happened to you.
  • What happened during your first day at school?
  • What is your first childhood memory?
  • What is your most memorable family event?
  • Did you experience failure?
  • What games did you play when you were a child?
  • The biggest challenge you have overcome.
  • Do you remember your first birthday party?
  • Tell how you learn something new.
  • Have you ever encountered a wild animal?
  • Tell about the first time you were home alone.
  • How you cooked a meal for the first time?
  • Tell how you helped someone.
  • How you overcame fear?

Personal experience essay topics

  • What things make you feel happy?
  • How you came to healthy eating habits?
  • How did you celebrate Christmas?
  • Did you bring a stray animal home?
  • How did you learn to drive?
  • How you met a famous person?
  • How did you learn something from enemies?
  • Describe the accidents you witnessed.
  • How you got hurt?
  • Describe disastrous trips or vacations.
  • Fantastic concerts you attended.
  • Describe terrifying nightmares.
  • Your reaction when provoked.
  • Experience of being a leader.
  • A friendship breakup experience.

Personal argumentative essay topics

  • What could you live without?
  • Why are you concerned about environmental issues?
  • How much money do you need for happiness?
  • What does your ethnic identity mean to you?
  • Significance of personal growth.
  • Male and female roles in your family.
  • Your attitude to feminism.
  • Explain what does it mean to be a Human.
  • Most precious moments of your life.
  • What is more critical: wealth or happiness?
  • Your attitude to getting a tattoo.
  • Is it important to be crazy about fashion?
  • Your opinion on cosmetics surgery.
  • Significance of healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Your favourite holiday destinations.

College personal essay topics

  • Have you been in love with someone?
  • What is your life’s goal?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • How freedom matters in your life?
  • How you leave the comfort zone?
  • Things you appreciate in life.
  • What things do you hate?
  • How you met college roommates?
  • Your plans on spending a gap year.
  • How you got your first job?
  • Describe intellectual challenges you would like to solve.
  • What did you learn from failures?
  • Outdoor activities you like most.
  • Explain your commitments.
  • What motivates you?

Personal persuasive essay topics

  • Your opinion of distant learning and online education.
  • Can listening to music help complete your homework faster?
  • Can hobbies help in a future career?
  • Is it ethical to buy products tested on animals?
  • Why is volunteering important?
  • Should drugs be banned?
  • Your favourite restaurant everyone should visit.
  • Things to do to help our world survive.
  • How can we make the world a better place?
  • Is it possible to avoid stress?
  • Should zoos be forbidden?
  • How online shopping makes me spend more money?
  • Why I don’t smoke.
  • Things I want to be doing when I become 85.
  • Why do I recommend students to study abroad?

Personal cause and effect essay topics

  • Why I don’t watch TV.
  • Reasons I go in for sports.
  • Effects of social media on the daily routine.
  • How my failures make me stronger?
  • Books that changed my world view.
  • Reasons why I study computer science.
  • Influence of my parents on my life choices.
  • Importance of learning math for my future career.
  • Effect of being a single child.
  • How my pets make me a better person?
  • Influence of regular exercise on my health and wellbeing.
  • What makes me rebel against my parents?
  • How did my parents help me to study?
  • Why going to college made me an independent person?
  • What caused my burn out?

Feel free to use our good personal essay topics for creating amazing pieces that will make a powerful impression on your readers and get you high grades.

Can’t grab your thoughts together and come up with a perfect personal essay? No worries! Our writers will do all the writing, while you enjoy your free time. Psst, it takes a few clicks only…

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Top 50 Personal Essay Topics

You might be set a personal essay as a criterion for your admission to college or it might be set at any time during your academic career. A personal essay is essentially a form of self-expression. It draws on other essay formats – like a narrative essay – but of all academic assignments it is the loosest and least dogmatic. It can be more prosaic than other more technical formats demand. Whatever form, at its core is the presentation of your experience or emotions. It is a time when you can find your muse and really express yourself in the written word.

  • I went to college to say thank you to my parents
  • How being bullied made me the person I am today
  • William Blake is the poet I most admire
  • My spirit of adventure
  • How I propose to spend the long vacation
  • Why I am taking a gap year
  • What the “art of conversation” means to me
  • Why I left Facebook
  • I want to be able to drink legally before I’m 21
  • How being in a band helped my leadership skills
  • Why I chose a career in the medical field (or any other field)
  • My first experience as a babysitter
  • Becoming an older sister (or brother)
  • I will be a lifelong learner
  • My father (mother) is my hero
  • Life skills I learned in college
  • Why I love the Golden Age of Hollywood
  • Chocolate is my comfort food
  • The reasons I keep a food diary
  • The bravest thing I have ever done
  • The one thing I would change about the world
  • I will never forget the day that …
  • The advice I would give to a new high school student
  • My siblings and childhood
  • How I would spend $1 million
  • The place I would most like to live
  • The proudest moment of my life so far
  • Did I feel pressured into going to college?
  • Why I joined an online dating site
  • I wish I had looked after my teeth
  • The things I learned from my grandmother (father)
  • I’m proud to be a Millennial
  • The way I deal with my allergies
  • Why opera moves me so much
  • My love of Shakespeare
  • I will never prefer eBooks over printed books
  • Why pole dancing is my favorite form of exercise
  • I wasn’t allowed a pet as a child. Today I have 5 pets.
  • Why marine pollution breaks my heart
  • I took a gap year but wish I had traveled more
  • Why I plant a new tree every year
  • I do not use social media
  • I wish my mother had taught me to cook
  • Visiting museums has taught me a great deal
  • Monet and Van Gogh are my favorite artists
  • An eclectic music taste makes me interesting
  • I want to enter local politics in my 40s
  • It’s time I learned to appreciate my Irish roots
  • There was a time when …
  • If I ruled the world …

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242 Personal Persuasive Essay Topics and Ideas

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

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Personal essays are some of the most diverse assignments you can receive. Whether you’re a student in middle school or university, the best personal essay will highlight an individual’s personal views and unique experience. They’re not confined by the restrictions of literary essays and give plenty of opportunity for introducing the writer’s personality. The key here is selecting the right topics to talk about in a personal essay. Usually, this is the toughest part. After all, it’s the emotional core of your text. A lot of people also struggle to write about themselves and their experience as subjects of the text. Where does one start? Essay topics in general are frustrating to formulate so if you need help with some inspiration, take a look at some more ideas here ! And if you’re wondering what some good personal essay topics are, you’ll find a lot of sample ideas here as well as a guide on how to write a persuasive text.

In this article:

How to Write Personal Essays

Personal narrative essay topics, personal experience essay topics, personal argumentative essay topics, personal cause-and-effect essay topics, personal persuasive essay topics, personal essay topics for middle school, personal essay topics for high school students and college students.

Start by taking a trip down memory lane. The most gripping stories come from personal experience, especially if you’re thinking of writing a personal narrative essay. Think about a memory from your past that includes some inciting incident. If this is the first time you come across this phrase, inciting incidents are typically the metaphorical “ hooks ” of the story that have the audience interested in your text.

You could talk about your experience working as a volunteer, for example, or if you aren’t the volunteering type, you can write about some exciting memories from your childhood and summer vacations. Have you taken a trip abroad that has really left an impression on you? Are you drawn to different cultures because of that exotic trip? Maybe you went to visit a museum of your favourite artist, and this has inspired you to become an artist yourself. Perhaps you were immersed by the sound of a different language and decided to have a go at it. What have you enjoyed the most in the process? What did you hate about it? Perhaps you tried acquiring a new skill, but it went completely the wrong way for you. The list goes on and on.

There’s something there. Just remember the golden rule: always be honest in your personal essays . Trying to change your viewpoint on a subject so that it fits the masses’ opinion won’t make your personal essay enticing. The topic you’ll talk about in your personal essay is extremely important and so is the first sentence. Writing phrases such as “ever since I was a baby, I wanted to become a doctor” isn’t convincing or truthful. Try not to stick to clichés. You want to make an impression with your text, so ask yourself: What would grab your attention if you were reading your persuasive essay? I always think of Charles Dickens’ first sentence from A Christmas Carol : “Marley was dead: to begin with.” It begs for explanation and resolve, and it’s short and simple. The same should go for the personal essay entry sentence.

Why Choose Personal Persuasive Topics for Your Essay

If you’re wondering why you should choose personal persuasive topics for your essay, the answer lies in the question. We are a narrative-oriented society, and much of our relatability comes from convincingly expressing to others our individual, personal experience. What better way to let your personality shine than through conveying your emotions and adventures in a gripping story?

Personal experience essay topics vary depending on your age, and it’s quite likely that a story that worked for a high school assignment won’t have the same effect in your university days. That’s why in the sections below, we have divided the best personal essay topics into different categories. That way, you can easily navigate across all topics (and there’s quite a lot of them – a total of 242 ), but don’t let that restrict you. If you’re confident, you can always choose a topic from any of the categories.

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Of course, there are other important takeaways from writing a great personal essay. Usually, your teacher or admissions officer will look out that you have successfully done the following:

  • Communicated and implemented your critical thinking skills
  • Spoken convincingly and from experience about challenging themes that make you stand out from the crowd
  • Demonstrated your creativity and unique voice all the while applying persuasive techniques in your writing

With all this in mind, you can now start by selecting the right type of personal essay topic from our categories. We have included everything from personal essay topics for middle school to personal essay topics for high school, as well as narrative essay topics and many more. Go on, what are you waiting for?

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

Personal narrative essays are a great way to tell your unique take on a personal story. You just have to choose a project you feel passionate about. Typically, choosing a story involving your success and personality growth is your best bet, but of course, always make sure to check that your topic is suitable for the task given by your tutors. If you’re wondering what topics are suitable for a great personal narrative essay, check out the following ideas:

  • Starting your first job
  • Volunteering for the first time
  • A memorable teacher that made an impact on you
  • A dangerous experience
  • Your first journey abroad/to the countryside
  • An experience that changed your behavior
  • An experience that made you gain/lose religious faith
  • A comedic situation based on some misunderstanding
  • Events from your summer vacation that changed your life
  • The first time you got a pet
  • The experience of meeting your little sibling for the first time 
  • A time when you decided what your future job will be 
  • The change of a relationship with some you didn’t expect you’d like
  • The first time you experienced a dangerous event of some kind 
  • The first time you won something
  • Your experience participating in a sport/political/environmental design
  • A story about a teacher who inspired you
  • A story about a family member who is dear to you
  • Your experience of being in charge of something for the first time
  • Your experience traveling on your own for the first time 
  • How a book you read changed your life 
  • How the most exciting subject in school changed your life
  • How technology changed the way you access information
  • The first time you experienced an earthquake or tornado
  • A story about someone who has become your patron/idol 
  • Your reaction/opinion on an event that influenced your country 
  • A moment you caught someone in a lie
  • An episode that changed your relationship with your parents
  • An event which showed you taking responsibility and leadership 
  • An event in which you face discrimination 
  • An experience of successfully fighting procrastination 
  • A time when you helped people in a crisis
  • The experience of creating secret places in your childhood
  • An experience playing your favorite game
  • A time you got lost 
  • Your first time going on a trip by yourself 
  • The influence of technology on your younger siblings vs you
  • What you would do if you won the lottery for the first time 
  • Your best childhood memory
  • Your experience of discovering a disability for the first time 
  • A secret talent you have 
  • Your experience learning a musical instrument
  • Your experience with an inexplicable event that happened to you
  • A story about the greatest fear you have 
  • How your favorite work of art inspires you
  • The best advice you have heard in your life 
  • A place you would go to if you could travel in time 
  • A story about the most beautiful place you have visited
  • Something you witnessed in your lifetime that you will never forget
  • Your favorite holiday experience 
  • Your most awkward moment in college
  • Your biggest fear
  •  The most crucial lesson in your life 
  • Your experience of being betrayed by someone and your response to it 
  • An advice your parents gave you that wasn’t useful
  • Describe your biggest moment of failure 
  • Your biggest argument with a family member
  • A difficult decision you have made 
  • The day you realized you had made a best friend
  • The most interesting dream you have had 

Personal Experience Essay Topics

Personal experience essays aren’t that much different from personal narrative essays. They still have an element of narrative storytelling within them, but this time, they focus more on a level of experience you have gained because of a certain event. Usually, personal experience essay topics are focused around the theme of personal development. Many things can be described and included in a personal narrative essay, and you not only are given the opportunity to demonstrate your personal views on a subject, but you can also have your level of determination and ambition evaluated by a professional teacher or college admissions officer. Usually, personal narrative essay papers are written when submitting a college application, but it’s also possible to receive such an essay in school. In my personal experience, some of the greatest essays presenting an intellectual challenge are in fact the personal experience essays.

Let’s get straight into some essay prompts:

  • How do you handle stress when attending an important exam?
  • Which school subject motivated you to study hard?
  • Did a teacher have a significant influence on your confidence in selecting a career?
  • Is homework a waste of time?
  • How would you go about doing research for an essay?
  • What motivates you to study and pursue your dreams?
  • Everyone has a plan “A” when it comes to choosing a career. What is your plan “B”?
  • How has your biggest failure shaped your personality today?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment outside of college/school, and how did you come to achieve it?
  • What is the difference between female and male roles in your family? In what way would you change them?
  • How did a book/film change your worldview?
  • What role have teams and clubs had in your life?
  • What role has television had in your life? 
  • What is your relationship with social media?
  • How have moments of racial or religious discrimination affected you?

Personal Argumentative Essay Topics

Personal argumentative essay topics are generally given to college students or sometimes to people applying for a degree in Humanitarian Sciences. Such essays are a great way for admission officers to evaluate your knowledge of current events and relevant social discussions. Personal argumentative essay topics are usually considered more difficult than narrative essays, for example. For more argumentative ideas and speech topics , check the guide! Thus, if you’re planning on taking up this challenge, make sure you have enough time to prepare. If you have a whole term to prepare for this personal argumentative essay topic, you’ll surely be able to tackle it. Also, if that sounds too engaging, don’t worry, there are plenty of other, easier essay ideas on our lists!

Check out our example personal argumentative essay prompts for argumentative essay topics:

  • Should prisons be abolished? If so, what is the negative and positive impact of this global decision?
  • How does higher education affect the merit in meritocracy?
  • Should artificial intelligence be applied actively in warfare?
  • Does revolution go hand in hand with violence?
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic made us more prepared for the prevention of future epidemics occurring worldwide?
  • In what way has the instant gratification of social media changed our relationship to technology?
  • How has the digital age changed children’s relationship to empathy?
  • What would the impact of a potential legalization of productivity drugs look like in current society?
  • Is there a difference in work performance between Ivy League alumni and lower-ranking university students?
  • Is obesity preventable?
  • Is gun control a necessary method for the prevention of shootings?
  • Should everyone have the right to vote?
  • Should the right to vote be exclusively available to people with some form of education?
  • Does the #metoo movement yield meaningful social change?
  • Is knife control a necessary and sufficient method of knife crime prevention?
  • How can the value of digital collectible art be accurately determined?
  • Is fan fiction writing real writing?
  • Do all students need to learn a foreign language?
  • Should students take a gap year between high school and university?
  • Why should universities teach financial literacy?
  • Should students participate in the maintenance of school property?

Personal Cause-and-Effect Essay Topics

Personal cause-and-effect essay topics are pretty self-explanatory. You’re aiming to express your opinion on a subject that has a cause, for example, supposedly, school uniforms are meant to cause discipline among students. Exercising and backing up your opinion on this essay idea will make it personal. Here is a detailed guide on how to write a great cause and effect essay . Think of a topic that excites you. It could be something you’re unhappy with or something you think is unjust.

Here are personal cause-and-effect essay topics we came up with:

  • How can video games boost people’s IQ?
  • Can a personal relationship in a family improve with phone use?
  • Can going to college make for happier marriages?
  • How can the involvement of a parent change a child’s education?
  • How have smartphones impacted general communication?
  • What is the effect of cookies, and does it make people shop more?
  • What is the effect of tablets on young children?
  • What is the effect of mobile usage during class?
  • Why can’t another popular engine be established in place of Google?
  • What is the effect of the financial success Disney has had in the last 30 years?
  • Should dating in school be banned?
  • Can living together before marriage make a relationship between partners stronger?
  • Can a couple sleeping in separate beds have a healthy relationship?
  • What is the effect of bullying on mental health?
  • What is the cause of bullying behavior?
  • Why shouldn’t women have to work after an abortion or miscarriage?
  • What is the impact of smoking on a pregnant mother ?
  • How can the presence of acne affect the life of a teenager? What about an adult?
  • Why do some people avoid vaccines?
  • What causes a lack of interest in sports?
  • How can teenagers better protect themselves against cyberbullies?
  • What causes certain social media apps to lose popularity?
  • Can continuous sporting activities cause character development?
  • Is “cancel culture” sparking meaningful change?
  • What is the root cause of racism?
  • Why is it essential to manage forest fires?
  • What are the harmful effects of antill hunting on the ecosystem? 
  • Why is it important for everyone to conserve water?
  • What is the environmental impact of a single-use plastic ban?
  • Can a long-distance relationship work?
  • What are the causes and effects of cheating during exams?
  • Is it a necessity to have an obligatory Sex Ed class ?
  • How has the Internet changed the public’s sexual education?
  • Should there be student bars on campus?
  • Should work become mandatory for anyone over the age of 18?
  • What causes some sports to be more popular among students than others?
  • What are the effects of using computers and tablets in school? What about university?
  • Have libraries become more popular over the last few years? 
  • What caused the General Data Protection Regulation, and why is it necessary?
  • What are the effects of online dating apps such as Tinder or Grindr?
  • What are the effects of drugs and alcohol on people?
  • Should people be allowed to drive after drinking a single unit of alcohol?
  • What are the effects of a family structure on an individual?
  • Does having a sibling make a person more responsible?
  • Are siblings better at sharing?
  • How has the golden child syndrome affected millennials?
  • How can teachers positively and negatively affect student lives?
  • What are the root causes of commitment phobia in men and women?
  • What is the effect of social media on romantic relationships?
  • How does eating fast food affect the energy levels of an individual?

Personal Persuasive Essay Topics

Unlike personal cause-and-effect essay topics, personal persuasive essay topics aim to convince the reader that your opinion is right. This type of academic writing assignment explains a particular problem and uses research combined with personal experience in order to end up with a powerful persuasive conclusion. Through logic and convincing evidence, as well as always keeping in mind the goal of persuasion, you can write a powerful assignment.

Here are some personal persuasive essay ideas to choose from for your next writing assignment:

  • Is chess considered a sport or a game?
  • How is modern music not as well-composed as music from the past, such as the 1970s?
  • Is it important to put PG labels on music tracks or films?
  • Elaborate on the importance of the right education when playing professional music.
  • Is animal hunting an immoral hobby?
  • Is it a good idea to keep pets indoors?
  • The cruelty behind testing beauty products on animals
  • Is it ethical to breed animals for sale?
  • Schools have to reduce the amount of homework assigned to students.
  • SATs and ACTs are not effective ways of examining the knowledge of students.
  • There should be an Emotional Intelligence mandatory class for all years.
  • Vaccines can lead to autism.
  • Astrology isn’t an effective way of predicting future events.
  • All transport vehicles should be automatic or electric.
  • Can distant online learning replace traditional classes?
  • Working from home is better for finance but worse for mental health.
  • The current taxation system is unfair.
  • Listening to music when writing homework is an effective way of sparking productivity
  • Hustle culture has taxing effects on mental health.
  • People volunteer for their personal benefit, instead of kindness
  • People who have survived a near-death experience have a newfound appreciation for life.
  • Is “fake it until you make it” a healthy way of progressing?
  • Why do people lie on their resumes?
  • Why book reading during summer vacations should become mandatory.
  • Weekends should change from 2 days to 3 days.
  • Why we should be making selective school sports mandatory in school.
  • Cooking and body health classes should be mandatory subjects in school.
  • Can e-books and Kindles replace physical books?
  • Should the death penalty exist?
  • Why should children have chores?
  • Why should it be made mandatory for children to contribute to the overall maintenance, cleanliness, and gardening of schools?

Personal Essay Topics for Middle School

When choosing a personal essay topic, it’s important to take on subjects and ideas related to your age. Some topics require a lot more research, while others can be a little too sensitive for a younger writer. Selecting the right one for you will leave you with less workload and can guarantee you a better grade. Of course, if you feel confident and knowledgeable enough, you can try your skills with a more difficult essay idea. Paper writing can be a difficult intellectual challenge, but we’re sure that with these essay ideas, you’ll be able to tell your personal story and write a great essay:

  • How did you make a best friend?
  • A special top-secret place you have.
  • A story of a time a friend let you down.
  • A time when you disappointed someone.
  • What is your happiest memory?
  • Your first time receiving a pet.
  • Your bravest moment.
  • A time you felt embarrassed.
  • What would you do if you were omnipotent? 
  • What would you do if you could switch lives with someone? Who would it be?
  • How did a book change your life?
  • What would you do if your pet could talk?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  • If you could shapeshift into an animal, what would you be? What would you do?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Would you change anything?
  • What’s your secret talent?
  • The first time you fell in love.
  • An accident that changed your life.
  • Talk about the ugliest thing you have seen.
  • Talk about the most influential family member.
  • Talk about your favorite gift.
  • Talk about something you can’t resist.
  • Talk about a guest you had in your house that you’ll never forget.
  • Talk about the hardest news you’ve had to deliver.
  • Talk about a special gift you have received.
  • Talk about something that if your mum knew, you’d be in a lot of trouble. A lot.
  • If you could volunteer anywhere, where would it be?
  • If you won a million dollars, how would you spend them?
  • What is an unexplained event that stuck with you?
  • The one thing you can’t resist.
  • If you could be a superhero, what power would you have? Why?
  • If you could teleport anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Personal Essay Topics for High School Students and College Students

This list of personal essay topics for high school students will definitely inspire you to practice your personal essay skills. Covering topics like communication, ethical consumption, personal experience and more, you’ll be able to gain new ideas and express your deepest thoughts within the confines of the page. These personal essay topics for high school students are also a great way of reflecting on your growth and personal opinion, while expressing your thoughts and opinions.

  • What inspires you?
  • What inanimate object best embodies you?
  • What’s one thing your parents don’t understand about you?
  • What is the one quality a good person must have?
  • Describe the best decision you ever made
  • What is one thing you would change that you know will make a great difference in your life?
  • How do you respond to criticism? Talk about a time you were critiqued.
  • Do you feel the impact of peer pressure in your life? How is it manifested?
  • Are you religious, an atheist, or agnostic? Why and why not?
  • Do you feel comfortable in your body? Do you feel pressure from the media about how you “should” look?
  • What are your views on ethical consumption? Does it matter to you?
  • What are your views on veganism? 
  • Do you feel like your friends are honest with each other? Why and why not?
  • When you look back on your time in high school, what part will you remember with fondness?
  • If you could tell your 12-year-old self something, what would it be and why?
  • Do you have a dream profession? What is it?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  • Do you believe in “soulmates”? Why and why not?
  • What is your dream goal? Do you feel like you’ll ever achieve it?
  • Do you believe in the concept of “best friends”? Why and why not?
  • Do you believe in astrology? Why and why not?
  • What do you think the world will look like in 100 years?
  • If you could bring to life any famous historical figure and spend the day with them, who would you pick, and what would you do?
  • If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler? 
  • What TV series you saw recently made an impression on you? Why?
  • What part of high school do you wish you could get rid of?
  • If you could start your own business, what would you do?
  • What issues truly motivate you and why?
  • If you were an admissions officer, what positive qualities would you look for in students?
  • What period of school do you think is most important? 
  • What is your dream profession? What are it’s positives and negatives?
  • Do you think the world can function without money? What would that alternative universe look like?
  • Do you think all students should go to college? Why?

Writing essays is a great way to showcase your writing skills, as well as clearly communicate your views and ideas. Personal essay writing improves your debating, logical, and deductive skills, so it’s important that you select a topic you’re passionate about and inspired by. This will give you enough fuel to power through the most difficult essay topics while at the same time enjoy what you’re writing about. We hope you enjoyed our personal persuasive essay topics! Make sure to bookmark and come back to this personal essay ideas list in the future when you’re given an assignment! Here are some more college essay topics , check them out!

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 113 perfect persuasive essay topics for any assignment.

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Do you need to write a persuasive essay but aren’t sure what topic to focus on? Were you thrilled when your teacher said you could write about whatever you wanted but are now overwhelmed by the possibilities? We’re here to help!

Read on for a list of 113 top-notch persuasive essay topics, organized into ten categories. To help get you started, we also discuss what a persuasive essay is, how to choose a great topic, and what tips to keep in mind as you write your persuasive essay.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

In a persuasive essay, you attempt to convince readers to agree with your point of view on an argument. For example, an essay analyzing changes in Italian art during the Renaissance wouldn’t be a persuasive essay, because there’s no argument, but an essay where you argue that Italian art reached its peak during the Renaissance would be a persuasive essay because you’re trying to get your audience to agree with your viewpoint.

Persuasive and argumentative essays both try to convince readers to agree with the author, but the two essay types have key differences. Argumentative essays show a more balanced view of the issue and discuss both sides. Persuasive essays focus more heavily on the side the author agrees with. They also often include more of the author’s opinion than argumentative essays, which tend to use only facts and data to support their argument.

All persuasive essays have the following:

  • Introduction: Introduces the topic, explains why it’s important, and ends with the thesis.
  • Thesis: A sentence that sums up what the essay be discussing and what your stance on the issue is.
  • Reasons you believe your side of the argument: Why do you support the side you do? Typically each main point will have its own body paragraph.
  • Evidence supporting your argument: Facts or examples to back up your main points. Even though your opinion is allowed in persuasive essays more than most other essays, having concrete examples will make a stronger argument than relying on your opinion alone.
  • Conclusion: Restatement of thesis, summary of main points, and a recap of why the issue is important.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Essay Topic?

Theoretically, you could write a persuasive essay about any subject under the sun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Certain topics are easier to write a strong persuasive essay on, and below are tips to follow when deciding what you should write about.

It’s a Topic You Care About

Obviously, it’s possible to write an essay about a topic you find completely boring. You’ve probably done it! However, if possible, it’s always better to choose a topic that you care about and are interested in. When this is the case, you’ll find doing the research more enjoyable, writing the essay easier, and your writing will likely be better because you’ll be more passionate about and informed on the topic.

You Have Enough Evidence to Support Your Argument

Just being passionate about a subject isn’t enough to make it a good persuasive essay topic, though. You need to make sure your argument is complex enough to have at least two potential sides to root for, and you need to be able to back up your side with evidence and examples. Even though persuasive essays allow your opinion to feature more than many other essays, you still need concrete evidence to back up your claims, or you’ll end up with a weak essay.

For example, you may passionately believe that mint chocolate chip ice cream is the best ice cream flavor (I agree!), but could you really write an entire essay on this? What would be your reasons for believing mint chocolate chip is the best (besides the fact that it’s delicious)? How would you support your belief? Have enough studies been done on preferred ice cream flavors to support an entire essay? When choosing a persuasive essay idea, you want to find the right balance between something you care about (so you can write well on it) and something the rest of the world cares about (so you can reference evidence to strengthen your position).

It’s a Manageable Topic

Bigger isn’t always better, especially with essay topics. While it may seem like a great idea to choose a huge, complex topic to write about, you’ll likely struggle to sift through all the information and different sides of the issue and winnow them down to one streamlined essay. For example, choosing to write an essay about how WWII impacted American life more than WWI wouldn’t be a great idea because you’d need to analyze all the impacts of both the wars in numerous areas of American life. It’d be a huge undertaking. A better idea would be to choose one impact on American life the wars had (such as changes in female employment) and focus on that. Doing so will make researching and writing your persuasive essay much more feasible.


List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics

Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you’ll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, “should fracking be legal?” you’d decide whether you believe fracking should be legal or illegal, then you’d write an essay arguing all the reasons why your audience should agree with you.


  • Should students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Did the end of Game of Thrones fit with the rest of the series?
  • Can music be an effective way to treat mental illness?
  • With e-readers so popular, have libraries become obsolete?
  • Are the Harry Potter books more popular than they deserve to be?
  • Should music with offensive language come with a warning label?
  • What’s the best way for museums to get more people to visit?
  • Should students be able to substitute an art or music class for a PE class in school?
  • Are the Kardashians good or bad role models for young people?
  • Should people in higher income brackets pay more taxes?
  • Should all high school students be required to take a class on financial literacy?
  • Is it possible to achieve the American dream, or is it only a myth?
  • Is it better to spend a summer as an unpaid intern at a prestigious company or as a paid worker at a local store/restaurant?
  • Should the United States impose more or fewer tariffs?
  • Should college graduates have their student loans forgiven?
  • Should restaurants eliminate tipping and raise staff wages instead?
  • Should students learn cursive writing in school?
  • Which is more important: PE class or music class?
  • Is it better to have year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year?
  • Should class rank be abolished in schools?
  • Should students be taught sex education in school?
  • Should students be able to attend public universities for free?
  • What’s the most effective way to change the behavior of school bullies?
  • Are the SAT and ACT accurate ways to measure intelligence?
  • Should students be able to learn sign language instead of a foreign language?
  • Do the benefits of Greek life at colleges outweigh the negatives?
  • Does doing homework actually help students learn more?
  • Why do students in many other countries score higher than American students on math exams?
  • Should parents/teachers be able to ban certain books from schools?
  • What’s the best way to reduce cheating in school?
  • Should colleges take a student’s race into account when making admissions decisions?
  • Should there be limits to free speech?
  • Should students be required to perform community service to graduate high school?
  • Should convicted felons who have completed their sentence be allowed to vote?
  • Should gun ownership be more tightly regulated?
  • Should recycling be made mandatory?
  • Should employers be required to offer paid leave to new parents?
  • Are there any circumstances where torture should be allowed?
  • Should children under the age of 18 be able to get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons?
  • Should white supremacy groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Does making abortion illegal make women more or less safe?
  • Does foreign aid actually help developing countries?
  • Are there times a person’s freedom of speech should be curtailed?
  • Should people over a certain age not be allowed to adopt children?


  • Should the minimum voting age be raised/lowered/kept the same?
  • Should Puerto Rico be granted statehood?
  • Should the United States build a border wall with Mexico?
  • Who should be the next person printed on American banknotes?
  • Should the United States’ military budget be reduced?
  • Did China’s one child policy have overall positive or negative impacts on the country?
  • Should DREAMers be granted US citizenship?
  • Is national security more important than individual privacy?
  • What responsibility does the government have to help homeless people?
  • Should the electoral college be abolished?
  • Should the US increase or decrease the number of refugees it allows in each year?
  • Should privately-run prisons be abolished?
  • Who was the most/least effective US president?
  • Will Brexit end up helping or harming the UK?


  • What’s the best way to reduce the spread of Ebola?
  • Is the Keto diet a safe and effective way to lose weight?
  • Should the FDA regulate vitamins and supplements more strictly?
  • Should public schools require all students who attend to be vaccinated?
  • Is eating genetically modified food safe?
  • What’s the best way to make health insurance more affordable?
  • What’s the best way to lower the teen pregnancy rate?
  • Should recreational marijuana be legalized nationwide?
  • Should birth control pills be available without a prescription?
  • Should pregnant women be forbidden from buying cigarettes and alcohol?
  • Why has anxiety increased in adolescents?
  • Are low-carb or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • What caused the destruction of the USS Maine?
  • Was King Arthur a mythical legend or actual Dark Ages king?
  • Was the US justified in dropping atomic bombs during WWII?
  • What was the primary cause of the Rwandan genocide?
  • What happened to the settlers of the Roanoke colony?
  • Was disagreement over slavery the primary cause of the US Civil War?
  • What has caused the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda triangle?
  • Should nuclear power be banned?
  • Is scientific testing on animals necessary?
  • Do zoos help or harm animals?
  • Should scientists be allowed to clone humans?
  • Should animals in circuses be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets?
  • What’s the best way to reduce illegal poaching in Africa?
  • What is the best way to reduce the impact of global warming?
  • Should euthanasia be legalized?
  • Is there legitimate evidence of extraterrestrial life?
  • Should people be banned from owning aggressive dog breeds?
  • Should the United States devote more money towards space exploration?
  • Should the government subsidize renewable forms of energy?
  • Is solar energy worth the cost?
  • Should stem cells be used in medicine?
  • Is it right for the US to leave the Paris Climate Agreement?
  • Should athletes who fail a drug test receive a lifetime ban from the sport?
  • Should college athletes receive a salary?
  • Should the NFL do more to prevent concussions in players?
  • Do PE classes help students stay in shape?
  • Should horse racing be banned?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should children younger than 18 be allowed to play tackle football?
  • Are the costs of hosting an Olympic Games worth it?
  • Can online schools be as effective as traditional schools?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to be violent in real life?
  • Should facial recognition technology be banned?
  • Does excessive social media use lead to depression/anxiety?
  • Has the rise of translation technology made knowing multiple languages obsolete?
  • Was Steve Jobs a visionary or just a great marketer?
  • Should social media be banned for children younger than a certain age?
  • Which 21st-century invention has had the largest impact on society?
  • Are ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft good or bad for society?
  • Should Facebook have done more to protect the privacy of its users?
  • Will technology end up increasing or decreasing inequality worldwide?


Tips for Writing a Strong Persuasive Essay

After you’ve chosen the perfect topic for your persuasive essay, your work isn’t over. Follow the three tips below to create a top-notch essay.

Do Your Research

Your argument will fall apart if you don’t fully understand the issue you’re discussing or you overlook an important piece of it. Readers won’t be convinced by someone who doesn’t know the subject, and you likely won’t persuade any of them to begin supporting your viewpoint. Before you begin writing a single word of your essay, research your topic thoroughly. Study different sources, learn about the different sides of the argument, ask anyone who’s an expert on the topic what their opinion is, etc. You might be tempted to start writing right away, but by doing your research, you’ll make the writing process much easier when the time comes.

Make Your Thesis Perfect

Your thesis is the most important sentence in your persuasive essay. Just by reading that single sentence, your audience should know exactly what topic you’ll be discussing and where you stand on the issue. You want your thesis to be crystal clear and to accurately set up the rest of your essay. Asking classmates or your teacher to look it over before you begin writing the rest of your essay can be a big help if you’re not entirely confident in your thesis.

Consider the Other Side

You’ll spend most of your essay focusing on your side of the argument since that’s what you want readers to come away believing. However, don’t think that means you can ignore other sides of the issue. In your essay, be sure to discuss the other side’s argument, as well as why you believe this view is weak or untrue. Researching all the different viewpoints and including them in your essay will increase the quality of your writing by making your essay more complete and nuanced.

Summary: Persuasive Essay Ideas

Good persuasive essay topics can be difficult to come up with, but in this guide we’ve created a list of 113 excellent essay topics for you to browse. The best persuasive essay ideas will be those that you are interested in, have enough evidence to support your argument, and aren’t too complicated to be summarized in an essay.

After you’ve chosen your essay topic, keep these three tips in mind when you begin writing:

  • Do your research
  • Make your thesis perfect
  • Consider the other side

What's Next?

Need ideas for a research paper topic as well? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

Thinking about taking an AP English class? Read our guide on AP English classes to learn whether you should take AP English Language or AP English Literature (or both!)

Deciding between the SAT or ACT? Find out for sure which you will do the best on . Also read a detailed comparison between the two tests .

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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295 personal narrative ideas: diverse topics for your essay.

January 6, 2022

295 Personal Narrative Ideas

Personal narrative writing involves writing about a real-life experience. It’s like non-fiction. You’re writing a story about yourself because it happened to you. At some point, your stories are the perfect personal narrative writing ideas because they are yours.

This way, you get to connect with people. As a student in high school, college, middle school, or university, you can impress your teachers or professors with good personal narrative topics. By choosing the perfect topic, you can create a stellar essay to earn high grades.

Characteristics of a Good Personal Narrative Piece

As a kind of writing which relies on individual experience, your story must:

Have a Clear Purpose This could be a narration of why the story is important to you. The purpose of the story must be clearly expressed without making direct statements about it. Organized Facts and Events The fact you are writing a story about your life doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be organized. You should write sequentially as much as possible to make it organized and lucid. Sensory Description You must also describe your feeling in a way the audience can connect with it. If you need to describe how the cold touch of rain sliced through your skin on a winter dawn, do it. Let your audience feel it as much as you felt it. Involve Readers Your readers must feel important while reading your story. To achieve this, your story must carry them along. If there’s something you need to explain, explain it to make everything clear to them. Include Conflict A story is incomplete without conflicts. This is why you must create enthralling conflicts for your characters. The higher the stake, the better the feelings when the protagonist scales through it.

All these, in addition to a thesis statement are all important features that must be seen in any personal narrative writing.

The Structure of a Personal Narrative Essay

After knowing what your personal essay must have as its features, you must also structure your essay properly. To do this, you should follow this organizational structure:

  • Introduction

This is where you grab your readers’ attention. You should set the scene where major characters of the story are also introduced. After this, discuss the role of the argument and introduce the characters. Your introduction must be captivating. Note that you’re writing a story, not a paper.

This is where everything about the story is shared. You must add all the details you know to your story. For instance, the hiking experience must be profoundly discussed, and so do the events that changed you. If you also want to talk about people, describe them. Doing this lets you show your readers, not tell them the story. When you need to change the course of the story, you can write in a new paragraph.

Our list will be extremely helpful to start your essay, but we can assist you even more along the whole process if you want to pay for essay online and save your time for something more entertaining.

Personal Narrative Writing Prompts

As students, one of the most important essays you may ever write is a personal narrative one. This is one of the ways to reveal yourself to strangers and friends. It’s a way to knows more about yourself and other people. You can consider these ideas for a personal narrative piece:

  • Identify your most threatening challenges
  • What would you say are your survival strategies?
  • How do you cope when you fail?
  • Would you say that you can’t succeed unless you fail?
  • Discuss what you do to achieve your goals
  • Do you think “leave your comfort zone” is a sham?
  • What do you think about yourself when you’re scared?
  • Would you say you don’t mind loneliness?
  • What does crying mean to you?
  • What are your fears?
  • Do you harbor superstitions, what are they?
  • Do you feel no one is seeing you as they should
  • Write about your rules for life
  • Write about your response to bullies
  • Write about how you give yourself peace
  • How do you relax within the limited time you have to yourself?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • How do you integrate feedback to improve?
  • Would you say becoming an adult is difficult?
  • What is the responsibility that scares you the most and why?
  • When was your saddest day and why was it?
  • How does stress not make anything easy for you?
  • Do you act anyhow when you’re provoked?
  • How do you perform under pressure?
  • Can you discuss what makes you happy?
  • Discuss what criticism means and how you take them in
  • Discuss what your decision-making process is like
  • Explain what motivates you the most
  • Do you think you have self-control
  • Are you presently easy or hard on yourself to reach your goals?
  • Can you work under any circumstances?
  • Do you think you’re a creative person?
  • What are the conditions that helped you maximize your potentials
  • Would you say you’re emotionally intelligent?
  • Would you say you can perform the most when you collaborate
  • Are you ready for the competitive workplace?
  • Would you say you’re a great speaker?
  • Would you say you’re a better listener?
  • Do you think you’re an agreeable person?
  • Discuss what you think about peer pressure.

Personal Narrative Essay Ideas

For your personal essays, how do you discover great essay ideas? You can consider custom personal narrative prompts which are unique to specific events. Some of the topics which are target-oriented are:

  • Discuss a time you took more risks than others
  • What makes you a daredevil?
  • What has made you brave?
  • Would you say you’re impulsive?
  • Discuss your strategies against boredom
  • What are the pranks you’ve ever fallen for
  • How do you apologize when you’re wrong?
  • Do you think you’re a cynical person?
  • Discuss three things that annoy you
  • Would you say you’re materialistic?
  • Do you consider yourself a minimalist?
  • How do you say goodbye?
  • Are you on the right or the left?
  • What do you think people think about you?
  • Why do you think what others think should matter?
  • Write about your role model
  • Would you say you’re weird?
  • Would you say you’re a nonconformist?
  • Do you believe in magic?
  • Why should you be inspired by people?
  • Do you think your role models are heroes?
  • Would you think role models must be famous
  • Outside your family, are you a different person?
  • Within your family, do you want to be someone else?
  • Which live show do you love the most?
  • Discuss how someone has made a difference in your life
  • What are the kinds of music you like?
  • Discuss what you’d put in a thank you note
  • Write what you’d do if you’re to invite your enemies to dinner
  • Recall a time to speak to a large audience of people and write how it felt
  • Do you think family is everything?
  • Do you think you can’t be anything without family?
  • Would you say you want to change your role in the family?
  • What are the programs that keep you closer?
  • If your life would be a movie, which of the autobiographies would it be?
  • Choose a profession of your choice and discuss why
  • What do you think about sacrifice?
  • Discuss a family treasure
  • Would you say you have hobbies someone has adopted
  • Why are you called your name?

Personal Narrative Ideas High School

As high school students, you also need to develop personal narrative essays. These could be essays about your parents, neighbors, or your home. Choose from these personal narrative ideas for high school students:

  • Describe your relationship with your parents?
  • Would you say your parents permit you?
  • Discuss the freedom your parents give you
  • Do you think your curfew hours make it difficult to live?
  • Would you say you enjoy your parents, why?
  • Would you prefer to be a parent too?
  • What do your parents do with your bad report card?
  • Would you say parenting is difficult?
  • Do your parents like online learning?
  • Are your parents hard on you to do things?
  • Do you think parenting could be something to be embarrassed by?
  • How did your parents influence the school you attended?
  • Do your parents let you create things on your own?
  • Do you think you have great teachers and patients?
  • What will your neighbors say about you?
  • Which characters perfectly describe your neighbors and why?
  • What is a common slogan in your environment?
  • What are the TV shows you can’t stop watching?
  • What do you think about supporting community sport?
  • Write about the mayor of your city
  • Where is your favorite place?
  • Write about your favorite joint
  • Write about a park you love
  • Discuss how you spend time with nature
  • Would you say you see bad things every day?
  • Do you love your home?
  • What is your favorite ad slogan and why?
  • What does chatting with the police feel like?
  • Have you ever been assaulted?
  • Do you think you’re easily annoyed?

Personal Narrative Topic Ideas

If you’d love to discuss anything at all, there are tons of custom ideas on narrative writing. Some personal narrative ideas are also based on religion, sexuality, race, and many other issues of the world today. Consider:

  • Would you say you have no religion?
  • Do you think the older generations are too religious?
  • Write about how you know about other religions
  • Write about what you know about other religions
  • Discuss the difference between male and female
  • Do you acknowledge the rights of trans people?
  • Do you think the LGTBQ is complicated?
  • Will you share parental responsibilities?
  • What do you know about sex?
  • What do you know about gender issues?
  • What is your experience of love?
  • How does being a ‘real man’ feel?
  • Do you think you can be biased?
  • Is there a difference in the ways sons and daughters are treated in the home?
  • Should there a more pressure on daughters than men
  • Discuss your racial identity and why it’s important to talk about it
  • Would you say you’re a feminist?
  • Discuss your encounter with sexual harassment
  • Discuss what you think about catcalling
  • What do you think about social hierarchies?
  • Discuss the last time you interacted with someone of another race
  • Do you think you have racial biases too?
  • Would you say you experienced racism before, as black
  • Which one is more important to you: money or love
  • Are you happy with yourself?
  • Would you say money can’t buy happiness too?
  • What do you pay attention to the most in the world?
  • Do you think it’s okay to be addicted to phones
  • How do you teach people about money?
  • What are the most important things in your life?

Personal Narrative Writing Ideas

As an attempt to discuss something that deals with people’s daily affairs, good ideas for personal narrative may be hard to come by. Rather than go through the trouble of finding how to think of ideas for a personal narrative, these are custom ideas for you:

  • What are the things that matter most for you?
  • Narrate what you hope to have in your dream home
  • Narrate your experience as if you’d lived in the woods
  • Narrate your most fun childhood memory
  • Discuss what your passion was as a child
  • Explain what you loved most as a child
  • Write about your favorite childhood shows and books
  • Discuss your favorite childhood picture book
  • Write about your childhood influences
  • Discuss your childhood most loved places
  • Discuss the little things your parents did they made you happy
  • Write about the first time you went out with your parents
  • Narrate your experience of a swing
  • What was your favorite song as a child? Write a response to it
  • Which food do you wish you’d eaten as a child
  • Narrate what made a gift the best you ever had
  • Write about what your most memorable letter
  • Write about the divorce of a family friend or neighbor
  • Discuss the consequence of separation from a state
  • Write about how migrated from a place to another
  • Write about how angry your father or mother could be at themselves
  • Write about your favorite memories of sleepovers
  • How did it feel when you found something you thought you’d lost?
  • What are your most prized lessons of teenage years?
  • Would you do something else differently not as an adult when you were 13?
  • Narrate the achievements that made you proud
  • Discuss the rites you engaged in
  • Write about your message to the older generation
  • Write a message to the younger generation
  • Describe yourself as if you’re a 13-year-old right now
  • Share a story of your ethical dilemma
  • Discuss your sex experience; whether you had it not
  • Write about something you cared about that you shouldn’t have
  • Write about something you didn’t care about but you should have
  • Discuss the last time you collected money from a stranger
  • Write about the last time a stranger kissed you
  • Discuss your memorable lying experience
  • Narrate your experience with drugs
  • Explain your experience with gossiping
  • Have you ever cheated in exams?

Personal Narrative Ideas College

As a college student, you can also develop incredible personal narrative pieces. Through these pieces, you can connect with your colleagues and share your ideas. Consider these personal narrative prompts:

  • Why did you choose the screen time you chose?
  • What would you do without a smartphone?
  • Narrate your gaming experiences and the thrill you feel
  • Write about the apps that do nothing but reduce you
  • Would you say tech takes a huge responsibility for change in your life?
  • Would you say you are interested in technology?
  • What is your experience of religion?
  • What is your experience of God?
  • Narrate if you’ve had an encounter with God or religion before
  • Explain what you’d do if you have control over others
  • Narrate what you would control if you can
  • Narrate what you can do without thinking otherwise
  • What would you say are your best features of YouTube
  • Narrate your experience of a date over the internet
  • Narrate your experience of seeking to advice online
  • Discuss your favorite online sports
  • Write about your online sad story
  • Write about a terrible experience of bullying online
  • Discuss how you fact check what you read online
  • Write about how you express yourself online
  • Would you say you trust Wikipedia?
  • Would you say you enjoy online reviews?
  • What is your comment on porn?
  • Would you give your passwords out?
  • If you have a partner, will you share everything?
  • What would you do if you just made a fraudulent purchase?
  • Do you chat with anonymous people?
  • How do you keep your passwords safe?
  • Are there things your parents won’t believe that is on the internet?
  • Write about why you trust social media
  • What is your favorite Facebook experience?
  • What is your favorite Twitter experience?
  • What is your experience of wrong grammar structure online?
  • Did you ever go through Instagram feeds with envy?
  • Did you ever download a stranger’s picture because you like them?

Personal Narrative Ideas for Middle School

At this stage, you have also had plausible experiences of life. What can you say about your life, or your experiences? You can write from these interesting personal narrative ideas:

  • What do you know about poo divas and who’s your favorite?
  • Write about your first karaoke performance
  • Write about the artists you’d like lined up
  • Narrate your earliest connection with music
  • Narrate your earliest experience of music
  • Write about the most loving but sad thing that ever happened to you
  • Why do you avoid people?
  • Narrate your experience of being stalked
  • Discuss how you think social media has been abused
  • Tell a story about your most favorite songs
  • Tell a story about the music which has inspired you the most
  • Which television show would you bring back?
  • Which of your childhood commercials is your favorite?
  • Why do you prefer cartoons?
  • Discuss how television helped your family stay together
  • Narrate the work nature of your parents
  • Discuss your experience of being cheated
  • Which music star do you love?
  • Which music tells you about life?
  • Which artist tells stories the most?
  • How does the music you listen to Influence you?
  • Narrate what you think are the best period of your life yet
  • Narrate your favorite movies
  • Narrate a public performance experience
  • Discuss the bad things about horror movies
  • Write about your favorite comedians
  • Narrate your experience of gaming
  • Would you play violent games?
  • Do you think zombies are real?
  • Do you feel guilty or excited that you kill zombies?

Good Ideas for a Personal Narrative Essay

If you need to discuss cool events and languages, there are good personal narrative topics for you. Some of these topics are:

  • Narrate your experience at the museum
  • What is your favorite visual artist?
  • Discuss your most fascinating work of art
  • Write about the importance of education
  • Would you say you can’t live without art
  • Which words do you like using?
  • Which words don’t you like using?
  • What are the slangs you used to love?
  • What has changed since you started using some words
  • Would you call someone a shag? Why?
  • Which word do you think people use too much?
  • Narrate what you consider a great conversation
  • Discuss your time with a lover
  • Narrate your experience discussing with your mum
  • Narrate your experience discussing with your dad
  • Narrate your experience teaching your grandparents about something on a smartphone
  • Write about a time you felt you talked too much
  • Write about a time you used satires
  • Write about a time you attacked people but didn’t feel bad
  • What would you say are the most terrible things you’ve done?
  • If you had to learn a language, which would it be?
  • How do you use your body language and why do you use it?
  • If you can influence someone’s memory, what would it be and why would you do it?
  • Write about what stresses you the most about school without using F words or castigating anyone
  • Discuss what you once looked forward to but no longer look forward to
  • Would you rather take private classes, online classes, or physical classes with other students and why would you choose your choice?
  • Discuss your experience with bullying and what you could have done when you were bullied or when someone you know was bullied
  • Write about the kind of school you wish you had attended and the experience you wish you had had
  • Write about the things you hate the most about going to your religious places and the things you wish they had
  • Discuss what it would mean to not be educated at all.

Interesting Personal Narrative Ideas

There are also interesting personal narrative essay ideas across all classes. You can choose these essay ideas for your college, high school, middle school, or university assignments. Options to consider are:

  • What have you had to do which you didn’t like?
  • Discuss how best you once participated in class
  • Write about a memorable experience of school you wish were yours
  • Write about a memorable experience of a relationship you wish you could have
  • Discuss your first encounter with a difficult subject and write when you realize you may fail the course
  • Tell a story about what you thought is fascinating about relationships that are no longer fascinating?
  • Tell a story about what you think about digital skills and why it is important in the future
  • Would you say that programming and computer coding offers more opportunities than any other skills?
  • Narrate a terrible experience of yours after you failed an exam and what your parents did
  • Narrate the saddest day in class for you
  • You were invited to speak to your class about how you spent your weekend or holiday, what were the things that ran through your mind and did you speak?
  • Like your friends, you had many terrible and shameful experiences while studying simply because you’re a shy person, narrate some of the most important and terrible moments of your school life
  • Write a story about a teacher you would like to appreciate detailing the important things the teacher had done to you without isolating the bad things he or she had also done
  • Discuss the textbook you ever felt disgusted with and why you did
  • Do you think your teachers are as vast with technology as they ought to be, and would you feel bad if you had insulted them at one time or the other when you were young?
  • Narrate the most arousing party you went to focusing on the sensory details which made it different from other parties and proms
  • If you will deliver a speech about the horribleness of physical bullying or cyberbullying, focusing on experiences that could make people cry, how would you write the speech and how would you perform it?
  • Would you flog students you considered rebellious in your class if you were a teacher, even if the student is truly stubborn and should have probably been in a juvenile center?
  • What are the mental health issues you wish people had talked about the most when you were in high school?
  • If you could talk to the authorities about the things you think were important for students which weren’t done, what would they be, and how would you do it?

Get Narrative Essay Help

With these exciting topics, you can create a professional personal narrative essay based on your adult or childhood experiences. However, if you need someone to write your essay or assignment, you can hire top-notch writers online.

We are one of the best professional writing services with years of experience writing for college, high school, and university students. We have professors and teachers in our team who create essays to help students score high grades. If you’d like to make the best submission, you can hire these writers.

Like other essays and papers we’ve written, we deliver custom essays at a fast pace at affordable rates. With a token, you’ll get the best essay and get high grades in class.

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How to Write a Personal Essay: Topics, Structure, & Examples

Even though a personal essay seems like something you might need to write only for your college application, people who graduated a while ago are asked to write it. Therefore, if you are a student, you might even want to save this article for later!

A personal essay is a first-person narrative that describes a writer’s life experience and its influence . You may think that writing such an essay is easy-peasy. There is so much freedom regarding the topic, isn’t it? However, soon enough, you realize that it’s more of a curse than a blessing. experts understand it’s super confusing as you don’t know where to start. But this simple yet comprehensive guide on how to write a personal essay is here to help you out!

❔ What Is a Personal Essay?

🚦 how do you start a personal essay.

  • 🙋 Essay Topics
  • 📑 Personal Essay Types

🔗 References

A personal essay is just what you think it is: a piece of writing that presents some experience from your perspective . It doesn’t need to be extraordinary, but it has to show how you changed thanks to the experience you got. Such an essay also creates a feeling of intimacy.

A typical personal essay consists of a 1-paragraph introduction, a 3-paragraph body, and a 1-paragraph conclusion.

Long story short, it is a first-person narrative that describes a writer’s life experience and its influence. This type of essay allows you to use any writing style you want and usually has an informal tone. It helps the reader to gain a connection with you.

There is a wide variety of topic options: you may want your writing to be inspiring or, on the contrary, warning so that others could avoid your mistakes. However, the most important thing is sticking to the general guidelines.

The most popular personal essay outline would consist of three parts:

  • Start with an introduction . It should include only one paragraph
  • Continue with the main body . It should be at least three paragraphs long
  • Write a conclusion . Don’t make it too long, one paragraph is enough

Let’s also note that typically you would write a personal essay as a part of the college application process. However, it’s not rare that this type of writing can help employers understand if the candidate meets the job requirements.

👀 Personal Essay Examples

To give you some inspiration, we included a list of excellent examples ranked as the most successful personal essays by The New York Times , The New Yorker , and America’s top universities.

The first and the most important thing you need to do when you are about to write a personal essay is to determine its purpose . When you know your audience, it becomes easier to find an appropriate topic for your writing. After that, you can draft an outline, which is the foundation of your future essay!

🙋 Personal Essay Topics

By now, you might have understood the idea of the personal statement. Your goal is to show off your personality from the good side. However, there is an endless amount of options on how to do it. The most popular way is to tell the story from the past. It can be either something you achieved or an obstacle you managed to overcome. Either way, it needs to highlight the lesson you learned.

Next, you can make your writing even more inspirational by revealing your future goals, showing that you have potential and determination. But remember to focus on things that the whole community can benefit from because just getting rich is a lame objective!

Last but not least, be yourself and use creativity! Show your potential employers and college administration how much you can contribute to their development. You should convince them that it can be a mutually beneficial experience.

Here, we prepared some of the best personal essay topics for you:

  • How did the most significant loss of your life make you stronger?
  • Who would you like to switch live with, and why?
  • The time when you think you made the wrong choice.
  • How would you spend a million dollars?
  • Is there anything you have never shared with anyone?
  • A special friend that influenced your life.
  • One morning that has changed your life forever.
  • The time when you had to deliver devastating news.
  • A near-death experience and how it felt.
  • Describe the longest minute of your life.
  • Something you can’t resist and keep doing.
  • A meaningful event that is hard to explain.
  • Would you start a charity foundation if you could?
  • The most precious gift you ever received.
  • The wrong choice you never regret making.
  • A secret place that gives you peace of mind.
  • Something you’ve seen and wish you could forget.
  • A hidden talent no one knows you have.
  • A day when you felt like the unluckiest person in the world.
  • The most beautiful thing you’ve seen.
  • A skill you have that robots will never learn to do.
  • What is the one thing you want to change about yourself?
  • Where would you like to live?
  • The most important discovery you made.
  • What if you were a teacher?
  • The most fantastic movie scene that changed the world.
  • What would you like to change in schools?
  • Describe something you love about yourself and why.
  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  • Time with your family that you cherish the most.
  • The achievement you’re proud of.
  • Describe the time when you learned something from a child.
  • The words that made you hopeful again.
  • Write about the time when you were at the bottom.
  • A stranger that had an influence on you.
  • What would you do if you could go back in time?
  • Would you like to redo something in your life, would you?
  • The superpower you wish you had.
  • The person you would be grateful to at the end of your life.
  • The time when you avoided danger.
  • Family celebrations, and what do they mean to you?
  • Write about the time when you saw your mother crying.
  • Did you disappoint anyone?
  • Is there anyone you are not fond of?
  • A place that you try to keep away from.
  • How did you overcome your fear?
  • The most challenging choice you had to make.
  • The time you felt like an outsider.
  • When did you realize you’re not a child anymore?
  • Why does your hobby interest you?

📑 Personal Essay about Yourself: Main Types

Personal essays on hobbies.

Writing an essay on a hobby is not as easy as it seems. Take a look at any hobbies essay sample, and you will be likely to see a widespread thing: these essays can be boring, which is an easy way to get a low grade.

Below are some common problems with hobby essays (and their solutions).

No matter what, make sure the focus is on you. When you are writing about a personal hobby, you should aim to make yourself the star by essentially telling your reader about yourself through an interest of yours.

Life-changing Experience Essays

The purpose of a life-changing experience essay is obvious: simply put, you need to tell the reader about a specific event that changed your life . Note that it also works for a closely related type of essay, the personal narrative essay .

Three essential elements should be clear to readers of any life-changing experience writing:

  • The reader should understand the event — both what happened and how it made you feel at the time.
  • The reader should understand what the event changed about you. It is best to tell the reader about your condition before the event and after it. However, this depends on the essay’s length.
  • The reader should understand how you feel about the event now.

If you need personal experience essay ideas, focus on events that you can write about to meet the three above criteria. If your assignment is very free form, take a look at a list of prompts for personal writing.

Education Essays

As a student, you will be asked to write an education essay eventually. It is important to remember that personal writing is about setting yourself apart. Tell the reader what made your educational experience unique.

How can you make your educational essay stand out? First, go beyond generic stories of overcoming an academic weakness by avoiding essays that take the following form: “I was terrible at subject X, but through hard work, I became quite excellent at subject X!”

Instead, focus on an assignment or subject that captured your attention — the more unusual the situation, the better. Use storytelling to enhance your essay. The best education essays can be essays about life-changing education experiences; for example, many great educational stories focus on the teacher or class that changed the author’s life.


Writing a short biography is easy. All you need to do is to use a very basic biography template. But first: remember that you need to keep the attention of your reader. Tell a good story about yourself ! Learning how to write a biography is about learning how to tell a good story .

A Biography Template

A solid biography is a solid story. For this reason, the biography template is essentially the template of a well-crafted story, which is typically divided into three specific parts:

  • Establish the characters. In this case, these are people that play important roles in your life. For example, if your autobiographical essay includes family members, you need to describe them briefly before anything exciting happens.
  • Build tension. If you write about your family, you can describe a problem that exists there.
  • Describe a resolution. Not that it is not the same thing as a problem being solved. For example, when a loved one dies, there is no solution to that problem. Instead, you grieve and learn to live without that person in your life.

If your biography manages to achieve all three of these elements, you will indeed have one of the class’s strongest essays.

Personal Statements

The last type of personal writing is probably the most important. When faced with their first college application, most students go to the web to find a personal statement format.

If you learn from examples, the best thing to do is check out several strong personal statement examples. As mentioned in the second section, many universities post essays from accepted students. Or perhaps you should read a breakdown of portions of a personal statement. The point is, read what others have done for inspiration.

Sometimes colleges offer personal statement templates. However, they often use freeform personal statements to identify focused, articulate students. Thus, the top tip for these is to write a clear thesis statement . A thesis statement for an essay without a prompt should be so clear that it sounds like it addresses a writing prompt. When there is no prompt, this is the time you should specifically use the standard 5-paragraph essay . Your discipline will impress your readers, which is exactly what you want.

However, an open-ended essay prompt is sometimes just too much to handle in time, but that is alright. It happens to everyone, and our writing experts can help, luckily. You can work with one of their expert writers or editors to create the perfect personal essay.

  • Personal Essays – Georgia Tech Admissions
  • The Personal Statement // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Application Essays – UNC Writing Center
  • How To: Write Your Personal Essay
  • Essays | Penn Admissions
  • Writing the Personal Statement | Berkeley Graduate Division
  • Personal Insight Questions – UCLA Undergraduate Admission
  • Essay Topics | Yale College Undergraduate Admissions
  • Complete Your Application: Indiana University Bloomington
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169 Personal Essay Topics & Ideas

Published by Ellie Cross at June 21st, 2022 , Revised On November 3, 2023

As the name suggests, a personal essay relates to the author’s personal life experiences. A personal essay is perhaps the most unique and common essay assignment at colleges and universities. 

It is a non-fiction style of essay combining multiple genres of writing. This task is invariably challenging, be it for accreditation or to pass certain coursework because you are required to use narrative and descriptive approaches to your essay writing. 

In most cases, you cannot retell a story or depict a person or an incident in a personal essay with 100% accuracy. Instead, you have to frame whatever occurred under a grander context. 

In a personal essay, you must express your experiences and thoughts about the paper’s topic. Here, the key to success is to make an effort to merge narrative and viewpoint. 

For many students, choosing a topic for their personal essay is the first step of the process. So we have provided many free personal essay topics for you to consider. Choose a topic that relates to your real-life experience. 

A personal essay is a truly creative way of speaking your feelings. If you choose an appropriate topic, it is a great exercise for learning to build a narrative.

To give you a head start, we have compiled a list of hundreds of personal essay topics and ideas. 

Personal Essay Topics about Personal Experiences

  • Tell us about your first international journey.
  • The worst thing that has ever occurred to you.
  • How did your first day of school go?
  • What is your favourite recollection of childhood?
  • What is your favourite memory with the family?
  • Have you had a nervous breakdown?
  • When you were a kid, what games did you enjoy playing?
  • The most difficult situation you’ve ever encountered.
  • How did you meet someone special in your life?
  • One of the people you admire the most.
  • What are some of the things that bring you joy?
  • How did you get into eating healthy in the first place?
  • What did you do for the holidays?
  • Did you carry a stray home with you?
  • What method did you use to learn to drive?
  • How did you meet the well-known figure?
  • What did you learn from your adversaries?
  • Describe the collisions you saw.
  • A spot where you’d prefer to spend the rest of your life.
  • When you’ve found the job of your dreams.
  • Your most heartbreaking disappointment.
  • Books that left an indelible mark on you.
  • What irritates you the most?
  • Your family’s customs.
  • Do you have a technological addiction?
  • What songs from today inspire you?
  • What did you do to injure yourself?
  • Describe a trip or vacation that went wrong.
  • You’ve attended some fantastic concerts.
  • Describe the terrifying nightmares you’ve had.
  • Would you be able to survive if you didn’t have any money?
  • Are you a fan of commercials?
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to assist someone.
  • How did you get over your apprehension?
  • When you’re provoked, this is how you react.

Personal-Argument Essay Topics

  • What do you have to spare?
  • What drew you to environmental issues in the first place?
  • What is the minimum amount of money needed to be content?
  • What does it mean to you to be of a certain ethnicity?
  • The significance of personal growth.
  • In your family, there are male and female duties.
  • Explain your perspective about feminism
  • What does it take to be a good human?
  • These are the most priceless moments in your life.
  • Which is more important: money or happiness?
  • Your perspective on the tattoo.
  • Is it necessary to be fashion-obsessed?
  • Your thoughts on cosmetic surgery.
  • What a crucial decision it is to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Your most preferred holiday destinations.

Also Read: Controversial Essay Topics

Personal Cause-effect Essay Topics

  • I don’t watch television for a variety of reasons.
  • The impact of social media on my daily life.
  • What motivates me to enrol in this particular college course?
  • What inspired me to learn to play the guitar?
  • Why do I participate in sports?
  • What effect does frequent travel have on my personality and personal qualities?
  • Why do I have a cat, and why would any other animal be able to take its place?
  • Why is it so tough to solve math problems?
  • What impact did this book (movie) have on my worldview?
  • Why should I look up to my father as a role model?
  • Why do I enjoy watching cartoons so much?
  • What is the impact of being a twin on my brother and me?
  • How did my parents instil in me a dislike for extracurricular activities?
  • How does overscheduling negatively impact a child’s life?
  • What impact did our annual family vacations have on our family relationships?
  • What made me stronger as a result of my illness?
  • What impact did attending church have on my life objectives and preferences?
  • Why aren’t my parents on board with my life plans?
  • How did my parents assist me in my studies?
  • Why did going to college make me more self-reliant?

Also Read: Analytical Essay Topics

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Personal-Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Listening to music might help you finish your homework faster?
  • Is it true that hobbies might help you advance in your career?
  • Is it ethical to purchase things that have been tested on animals?
  • What is the significance of volunteering?
  • Should drugs be made illegal?
  • What are your thoughts on distance learning and online education?
  • Everyone should go to their favourite restaurant.
  • Things to do to assist in the survival of our globe.
  • What can we do to improve the world?
  • Is it possible to be stress-free?
  • Is it necessary to prohibit zoos?
  • How does online buying cause me to overspend?
  • I don’t smoke for a variety of reasons.
  • Things I’d like to be doing when I’m 70 years old.
  • Why do I think students should go abroad for higher education?

Also Read: Criminal Law Essay Topics

Personal Essay Topics for College Students

  • Have you ever had a crush on someone?
  • What is your long-term professional goal?
  • What does it mean to you to be successful?
  • What role does freedom of expression have in your life?
  • How would you leave your comfort zone if it became necessary?
  • People you admire in your life.
  • What do you despise the most?
  • What did you like about your roommates?
  • You intend to take a gap year.
  • What was your first job like?
  • Describe the philosophical problems you’d wish to overcome.
  • What did you take away from your setbacks?
  • You prefer outdoor activities.
  • Describe your responsibilities.
  • What inspires you to choose this specific course?

Also Read: Culture Essay Topics

Personal Essay Topics about Education

  • How can a professor inspire you to improve as a person?
  • What are the most effective strategies for giving a speech?
  • Do you enjoy doing homework or think it is a waste of time?
  • The most important lesson you learned at school or college.
  • Do you find it difficult to study for school exams? 
  • How do you deal with stress during exams?
  • What’s your biggest fear about failing in exams?
  • What was your second language, and how did you learn it?
  • What drives you to work hard in school and pursue your goals?
  • What good and bad decisions have you made regarding your subject choice in college?

Also Read: History Essay Topics

Personal Essay Topics about Relationships and Dreams

  • Give an example of someone who taught you how not to do something by doing it badly.
  • Write about the first person you ever became a friend with. 
  • Do you have your criteria for the selection of your friends?
  • On a fantasy vacation, who would you invite?
  • Consider someone you see frequently but with whom you do not work or live. What lessons can you learn from them?
  • What would you do if you could have any job in the world?
  • In three months, where do you want to be? Is it six months? Is it a year?
  • If money were no object, how would you spend a weekend?
  • Who began as a stranger and evolved into a close friend in your life?
  • Write about a time when you had a houseguest who you didn’t appreciate.
  • Talk about someone you’ve lost in your life. What has changed in your life?
  • Which celebrity would you most like to meet? What kind of advice would you like to get from them?
  • What did you wish for as a child but never got?
  • What kind of pet would you like to have?
  • Who would you choose if you could live the life of any film or literary character?

Also Read: Expository Essay Topics

Easy and Good Personal Essay Topics

  • What qualities do you possess that make you a good coworker or friend?
  • Which location would you like to spend a thunderstorm?
  • Could you go a week without using technology? 
  • Is 2021 a year? What would it resemble?
  • What personality traits would you trade with someone if you could?
  • When you were younger, where did you like to go? What made it unique?
  • Write about an instance when you thought you were correct but were proven to be mistaken.
  • When you were a kid, what was your favorite thing to do?
  • What would you do with a million dollars if you were only allowed to spend half of it on yourself?
  • What do you consider to be the most important object in your home? Why?
  • Write about a time when you learnt something unique from someone.
  • What is the easiest way to learn bike riding?
  • What portion of the 2020-2021 quarantine was the toughest for you?
  • Is your current situation what you had hoped for?
  • What was the first time you heard of a major news story?
  • Write about a dish that transports you to another era.
  • What was the most recent challenging issue you had to cope with?
  • In a TED Talk or podcast, what could you want to learn?

Also Read: Law Essay Topics

Interesting Personal Essay Topics

  • What brought you and your best friend together?
  • The most courageous act you’ve ever done
  • What distinguishes your parents?
  • Overcoming fear is a life-changing experience.
  • You’ve had a failure. You’ve had a disappointment.
  • You encountered a surprising turn of events.
  • Your favourite period
  • A place you aim to avoid at all costs
  • What would you do if you had unlimited power?
  • Which superpower would you like to have?
  • What would you do if you could change someone’s life?
  • Where would you seek refuge?
  • The most devastating loss you’ve ever suffered
  • If you could go back in time, what would you change?
  • Words that irritated me
  • A book that has had a significant impact on your life
  • When you have a strong desire to flee,
  • Your best achievement in life
  • One thing about the world you’d change
  • If you could alter one thing about yourself, what would it be? What kind of teacher would you like to be?
  • If you could live anywhere, which country you would go?
  • Which museum would you prefer to visit if you are ever given a chance?
  • Something a robot would never be capable of.
  • An animal with the potential to rule the world
  • The most important discovery of your life
  • What is your hidden talent?
  • Have you ever proposed to your crush?
  • An event that altered everything in your life
  • If you could create a charity, what would you do?
  • When you needed love.

When writing a personal essay, you can certainly write on whatever topic you desire. The subject is probably not as important as you may imagine. What interests the audience is discovering your perspective, which can be seen as an illustration of your distinct personality. Please make the most of our great essay ideas list to start writing your essay and achieve your desired grade.  Also Read: Nursing Essay Topics

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Essays and Personal Essay Topics

Can i get unique essay topics from your experts.

At EssaysUK, we believe in adding value to the field of education. We put students above monetary gains; therefore, we are providing free essay topics service where you can claim 1 free essay topic and a thesis statement for your essay. Our experts offer unique, interesting, specific, and manageable topics. 

How to structure a personal essay?

The structure of a personal essay, like other essay types , consists of an introduction , the main body and a conclusion. Start your personal essay with a strong opening statement and set up the narrative. End your essay by providing the story’s moral – how the experience (s) will help you improve your response to a particular situation in the future. Learn more about how to write a personal or narrative essay here . 

Do you provide a personal essay writing service?

At Essays.UK , our experts can deliver all types of essays, including personal essays. No matter how quickly you need the essay, just place your order on our website to start the process. We are capable of delivering urgent essays within 4 hours. Yes, you heard that right. More about our essay writing service here . 

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When it comes to picking an essay topic, understanding the essay guidelines is crucial. The same rules apply to cause and effect essay. It is the simplest form of an essay and can be written within a couple of hours if you are well prepared.

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The challenge of writing an argumentative essay is trickier than many students might imagine. Many people around us believe that sarcastic and offensive content are the foundations of good arguments. Well, that’s not entirely true.

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personal essays topics

50 Engaging Narrative Essay Topics for High Schoolers

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What’s Covered:

Narrative essays vs. analytical essays, how to pick the right narrative essay topic, elements of a strong narrative essay, engaging narrative essay topics for high schoolers, where to get your narrative essay edited for free.

Narrative essays are an extensive form of writing that gives readers the opportunity to follow along as a person goes through a journey or sets of experiences. Rather than providing analytic insight, narrative essays simply share a story and offer a first-person account. These essays may seem easy to write at first, but it takes a certain finesse to write a narrative essay that is interesting, cohesive, and well-researched. Whether you’re looking for a unique topic to write about, or just want some new inspiration, CollegeVine is here to help! These 50 narrative essay topics are engaging, unique and will have you writing in no time.

A narrative essay is a great way to express your personal experiences and opinions, but it is important to remember that this type of essay is different from an analytical paper. In a narrative essay, you do not need to provide background information or explain your thoughts and feelings; instead, you simply tell a story. It’s important to avoid too much telling in your writing; instead, use creative details and vivid imagery to make readers feel as if they are actually right there with you.

Where You Will Encounter Narrative Essays

This type of essay is typically encountered in high school, where students may be required to write personal statements to prepare for their Common App essay . Narrative essays are also commonly seen in AP Language and Composition. Therefore, it’s important you are aware of the style because you are bound to have a narrative essay assignment.  

Of course, before you start writing, it is important to pick the right essay topic. There are many factors involved in the process of picking the perfect narrative essay topic for your story.

You should always choose a topic that you are passionate about, since writing on something you care about will make the process much easier. Not only will it be more interesting to create your paper around something that truly interests you, but it will also allow you to fully express yourself in your essay. You also want to be sure that the topic has enough material to work with. If your chosen topic is too short, you will not have enough content to write a complete paper. For example, if you are writing about your experience getting lost at the mall, make sure that you have enough information to work with to craft an engaging narrative. 

The best topic for an engaging narrative essay is one that focuses on showing versus telling, has a clear structure, and provides a dialogue. These elements come together to form an engaging narrative essay. Regardless of what subject you pick, any topic may be turned into a fascinating, A+ worthy narrative using the tips below.

Show, Don’t Tell

To write a good narrative essay, it’s important to show, not tell. Instead of simply informing your audience, show them what you mean. For example, instead of saying “I was nervous,” you could say “My heart began to race and my stomach filled with butterflies.” Also make sure to use sensory details, such as sights, sounds and tastes, and include a personal reflection at the end of your narrative. 

Begin with a Strong Opening Line

A good narrative essay will begin with an attention-grabbing opening line. But make sure to avoid common clichés, such as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Instead, come up with something original and specific to you and your situation. For example: “My pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles. I mean, he even used circular note cards.” Or, “It all started the day my mom brought home a guinea pig.”

Follows a Three-Act Structure

A strong narrative essay follows the same three-act structure as other essays. But in order to make it interesting, you’ll need to come up with a creative way to break things down into sections. For example, using the guinea pig example from above, you could write the following:

  • Act 1 – Introduction: The day my mom brought home a guinea pig.
  • Act 2 – Conflict: The day I had to say goodbye to my beloved pet.
  • Act 3 – Conclusion: Looking back at how much I miss him now that he’s gone.

Conclude with Personal Reflection

To conclude your narrative essay, you’ll want to explain what this specific experience taught you or how you’ve changed. For example, upon realizing that her pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles, the writer of the previous example begins to notice circular shapes everywhere. Another way to conclude your narrative essay is by touching on how this experience impacted you emotionally. For example, after losing his guinea pig, the writer explains how much he missed it.

Use Dialogue

Include a conversation in your essay to make it come alive. For example, instead of simply saying that you met a new friend, talk about how you introduced yourselves or what they were wearing when you met them.

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The following list of 50 narrative essay topics is divided into categories. This will make it easier to find a topic that fits your writing style.

1. What is a childhood song that still sticks with you today?

2. Your first day of Kindergarten

3. Talk about a time when you’re siblings looked up to you

4. Describe the best birthday party you’ve ever had

5. Talk about the best day you ever spent with a childhood friend

6. Explain your first childhood hobby

7. Describe your first halloween costume

8. A family vacation gone wrong

9. Your first family reunion

10. Describe a tradition that is unique to your family

11. Describe your family to a person who’s never met them before

12. What frustrates you most about your family

13. If you could only keep one memory of your family, what would it be and why?

14. Describe a time your family embarrassed you in public

15. The most beautiful place in the world

16. Your favorite season and why

17. If you were a part of nature, what element would you be? Why?

18. When you go outside, which of your senses are you most thankful to have?

19. Describe the first time you witnessed a tornado 

20. Write a poem about your favorite season

21. Describe yourself as one of the four seasons

22. Describe a time in which you felt connected with nature

23. Describe the first time you played an instrument and how you felt

24. What major event would be much worse if music was removed, and why?

25. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

26. What would a life without music look like?

27. If you could master one instrument, what would it be and why?


28. What if you had never met your best friend?

29. Describe a time when you fixed a broken relationship

30. Talk about a movie that defined a relationship for you

31. Describe your first date

32. Describe the first time you made a friend

33. Describe your relationship with your parents

Self Reflection

34. Have you ever fooled someone? If so, describe what happened and how you felt about it

35. What is the worst thing you’ve done to someone else?

36. Write about the difference between how things seem and how they really are. 

37. Have you ever been embarrassed in some way? If so, describe the situation and how it affected you as well as those around you

38. Have you ever witnessed something really beautiful? Describe it

39. Is your glass half empty or half full?

Overcoming Adversity 

40. Have you ever been very afraid of something but tried your hardest to appear fearless? If so, describe that experience

41. When have you ever succeeded when you thought you might fail

42. What are your secret survival strategies?

43. Describe the last time you were stressed and why?

44. Describe a time when you were discriminated against

45. The most memorable class you’ve had and why

46. Your favorite study abroad memory

47. Describe your kindergarten classroom

48. Describe your first teacher

49. The first time you experienced detention

50. Your first field trip

Hopefully these topics will get you thinking about a personal experience that could make for a thoughtful and engaging narrative essay. Remember, a strong narrative essay must contain relatable details and a clear flow that keeps the reader entertained and engaged to read all the way to the end.

If you need some additional guidance on your narrative essay, use CollegeVine’s free peer review essay tool to get feedback for free!

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160 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2024

April 3, 2024

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

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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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava resigns days after Miss USA Noelia Voigt steps down

personal essays topics

Miss Teen USA 2023 is resigning just days after Miss USA Noelia Voigt .

UmaSofia Srivastava , who took home the 2023 title in September, shared a lengthy statement Wednesday announcing her departure because her " personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization."

"After months of grappling with the decision, I have made the choice to resign from the title of Miss Teen USA 2023. I am grateful for all the support from my family, my state directors, my sister queens, and the fans who have cheered me on since I won my state title," Srivastava wrote. "I will always look back on my time as Miss NJ Teen USA fondly, and the experience of representing my state as a first generation, Mexican-Indian American at the national level was fulfilling in itself."

In a statement shared with USA TODAY on Wednesday, Miss USA CEO and President Laylah Rose said, "Our all-encompassing goal at Miss USA is to celebrate and empower women. Our participants make a real difference in this country and around the globe."

Rose's statement continued, "All along, my personal goal as the head of this organization has been to inspire women to always create new dreams, have the courage to explore it all, and continue to preserve integrity along the way. I hold myself to these same high standards and I take these allegations seriously. Please be assured that the well-being of all individuals associated with Miss USA is my top priority."

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

In her resignation statement, Srivastava vowed to continue her philanthropy with The Lotus Pedal Foundation and the Bridge of Books Foundation as she completes her junior year of high school.

"While this was certainly not how I saw my reign coming to a close, I am excited to continue my advocacy for education and acceptance, start applying to colleges, and share some exciting new projects on That’s Fan Behavior with those of you who plan to stick around," she captioned the post, referring to her blog .

Srivastava added: "At the end of the day, I am so lucky to have had the privilege of this experience, but if this is just a chapter, I know that the story of my life will truly be incredible."

"I LOVE YOU! So proud of you my angel," former Miss USA Voigt commented.

Miss USA Noelia Voigt makes 'tough decision' to step down. Read her full statement.

Miss USA Noelia Voigt resigned for her 'mental health,' leading to fan theories

On Monday, Voigt, who was awarded Miss USA in September 2023,  announced her resignation in a statement  on Instagram. The former title holder wrote, "In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health."

Her decision to relinquish her Miss USA crown has sparked a flurry of online speculation after fans noticed a strange detail about her statement.

In the comments of her post and elsewhere on social media, users pieced the first letter in each sentence of her statement to reveal the phrase "I AM SILENCED" — though this discounts the last three sentences, the first letters of which spell "HIP." It was not immediately clear whether the message was intentional.

Miss USA shifts: Did Noelia Voigt's resignation statement contain a hidden message?

Miss USA previously said in a statement to USA TODAY, "We respect and support former Miss USA Noelia Voigt’s decision to step down from her duties. The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time."

The statement added, "The organization is currently reviewing plans for the transition of responsibilities to a successor and an announcement regarding the crowning of the new Miss USA will be coming soon."

Prior to Voigt's announcement, Miss USA social media director Claudia Michelle  shared on Instagram  Friday that she has resigned from her role. In a statement posted to social media, she wrote, "I have had the privilege of getting to work with Noelia closely and have unfortunately seen a decline in her mental health since we (first) met. I feel like her ability to share her story and her platform have been diminished."

"I feel the way current management speaks about their titleholders is unprofessional and inappropriate," she went on to write. "I disavow workplace toxicity and bullying of any kind."

In an Instagram story, Michelle shared Voigt's statement and highlighted the "I AM SILENCED" letters.

Miss USA Organization denies accusations of toxic environment

In response to Michelle's post, the Miss USA Organization said in a statement to USA TODAY, "We are troubled to hear the false accusations made by a former Miss USA employee. Miss USA is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment, and we take these allegations seriously. Indeed, we have and will continue to prioritize the well-being of all individuals involved with Miss USA."

In the caption of her original Instagram post, Voigt acknowledged that her resignation "may come as a large shock to many," but added, "Never compromise your physical and mental well-being."

Contributing: Brendan Morrow and Erin Jensen ,  USA TODAY

Miss Teen USA steps down just days after Miss USA's resignation, citing 'personal values'

Srivastava said her 'personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.'

Miss Teen USA resigned Wednesday, sending further shock waves through the pageant community just days after Miss USA said she would relinquish her crown.

In an Instagram post Wednesday, Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava said her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization."

"After months of grappling with this decision, I have made the choice to resign from the title of Miss Teen USA 2023," wrote Srivastava in a statement on her personal account. The high school teen from New Jersey won the pageant back in September and had expressed her pride at being the first Mexican-Indian American to hold the role.

"I look forward to the rest of the year as I finish 11th grade as part of the National Honor Society and start the college application process, knowing that my academic career has been defined by my hard work, and my hard work alone," she added. She said she would continue her advocacy for education and acceptance alongside work with the Lotus Petal and Bridge of Books foundations.

The pageant responded with an Instagram post, writing that it respected Srivastava's decision, considered the well-being of titleholders "a top priority," and that a successor would be named soon.

Srivastava and the Miss Universe and Miss USA organizations did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment.

Her resignation comes on the heels of another queen relinquishing her title earlier this week.

On Monday, Noelia Voigt stepped down from her Miss USA title, citing her mental health. When she took the crown in November, Voigt, who is Venezuelan American and from Utah, said she would work to connect with diverse communities across the United States.

"Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me, and my hope is that I continue to inspire others to remain steadfast, prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain," she posted on Instagram.

"Never compromise your physical and mental well-being. Our health is our wealth," she wrote.

Her post drew speculation from fans that Voigt was sending a hidden message about a non-disclosure agreement, with the first letter of the first 11 sentences of her statement spelling out "I am silenced."

A spokesperson for the Miss USA Organization told CNN in a statement on Monday that they supported Voigt's decision to step down from her duties and that "the well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time."

The organization added they are reviewing plans for the "transition of responsibilities to a successor" and that they will announce the new Miss USA soon.

The resignations, along with the organization's social media director Claudia Michelle also stepping down last week, have raised questions among fans around the culture of beauty pageants and whether aspects are in need of an overhaul.

Michelle has been more candid about alleged problems at the organization. In an Instagram post she wrote she disavows "workplace toxicity and bullying of any kind."

Miss Universe and Miss USA did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment.

Some of Voigt's fellow Miss USA contestants shared a post claiming that "the majority" of the 2023 class supported her decision to leave and asked the Miss USA Organization to release Voigt from her NDA clause "so that she is free to speak on her experiences."

(The-CNN-Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)

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