Most interesting topics for college essays

When a topic is not assigned for a college paper, it seems like the choices are limitless. The thought of having to choose a specific and interesting topic from a sea of ideas can seem overwhelming to say the least. It helps if you have a direction to follow in this somewhat complicated process.

Sometimes your professor solves the problem of topic selection for you, or at least gives you a general scope in which to build your essay topic. Most of the time, a student will have to choose and narrow down the topic themselves.

You can use this opportunity to explore and expound on a subject you really care about or have really passionate feelings about. A great idea may not immediately spring into your mind; if it doesn’t, don’t worry. You can use prompts or suggestions to get the brain juices flowing.

For a descriptive essay, look for ideas in these places:

  • A description of people who have won a place in history or are prominent in the news, a place that intrigues you, or a thing you find fascinating
  • Pay close attention to the details of the senses. What does the place look like? What does the thing smell or feel like? What do the people act like?

For a narrative essay, you will be like a storyteller.

  • You may be explaining, illustrating or arguing a point.
  • You can choose to weave a story around someone else’s life or use something from your own.

Compare and contrast essays revolve a lot around the similarities and differences between two people, events or pieces of writing.

  • Thing of two places you have been. How did they compare in hospitality? How did they contrast in weather?
  • Choose two professional athletes. How are they similar? What makes them different? Explore their personal or professional lives. What details can you draw out?
  • What are two different ways to break bad habits? It could be interesting to see how they compare in effectiveness, how they contrast in difficulty.

Cause and effect essays: this involves delving into what causes a reaction and then describing what reaction took place.

  • What causes students to cram for exams? What are the effects or repercussions of cramming? How does it affect the student’s ability to retain information on a long-term basis?
  • What causes people to exercise? Where do they get their motivation? Why are some people easily attuned to regular exercise and some not? What are the effects of regular exercise compared to the effects of avoiding exercise?

Essay guides & manuals

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