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  • 5 Common Types of High School Essays (With Examples)
  • Last modified 2024-04-01
  • Published on 2021-08-28

When it comes to high school essays, descriptive and narrative essays are very similar in the sense that they encourage writers to be creative in expressing their ideas. Expository and argumentative essays focus on providing clear information and making compelling points. Analytical essays require writers to present their arguments and are intended to enhance readers’ understanding of a topic, while persuasive writers try to persuade readers to accept a point of view.

In this article, we will go into detail about each one to help you better define the type and the writing method when you start writing.

1. Descriptive high school essays

A descriptive essay asks writers to describe something vividly —object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc., but more commonly, you will be asked to describe something abstract —emotions, experiences, or something outside of your typical experience.

A descriptive essay allows writers to be creative and have the freedom to express, especially when the topic is personal about them and what they care about, such as their favorite food or culture. Even though this sounds easy, this type of essay tests the writer’s ability to make appropriate word choices and have strong creativity to help readers visualize the overall picture of what they are writing about. A descriptive essay normally starts with introducing the subject or object of description, continuing with giving an overall picture, and then going into details. Additionally, understanding different points of view, as detailed in the Guide to Point of View in Writing , can greatly enhance the descriptive elements of the essay, providing varied perspectives and enriching the reader’s experience

Below is an example of a descriptive essay from Yourdictionary :

I watched a thunderstorm, far out over the sea. It began quietly, and with nothing visible except tall dark clouds and a rolling tide. There was just a soft murmur of thunder as I watched the horizon from my balcony. Over the next few minutes, the clouds closed and reflected lightning set the rippling ocean aglow. The thunderheads had covered up the sun, shadowing the vista. It was peaceful for a long time.

I was looking up when the first clear thunderbolt struck. It blazed against the sky and sea; I could see its shape in perfect reverse colors when I blinked. More followed. The thunder rumbled and stuttered as if it could hardly keep up. There were openings in the cloud now, as if the sky were torn, and spots of brilliant blue shone above the shadowed sea.

I looked down then, watching the waves. Every bolt was answered by a moment of spreading light on the surface. The waves were getting rough, rising high and crashing hard enough that I could hear them.

Then came the rain. It came all at once and in sheets, soaking the sand, filling the sea. It was so dense I could only see the lightning as flashes of light. It came down so hard the thunder was drowned. Everything was rhythmic light and shadow, noise and silence, blending into a single experience of all five senses.

In an instant it stopped. The storm broke. The clouds came apart like curtains. The rain still fell, but softly now. It was as if there had never been a storm at all, except for a single signature. A rainbow, almost violently bright, spread above and across the water. I could see the horizon again.

2. Narrative Essay

A narrative high school essay is similar to a descriptive essay but focuses more on the story description rather than the object description. The story can be about a personal experience that the writer has had, an event, a story, or an incident. Writers can even narrate a fictional experience that they haven’t had. Narrative essays are typically written in the first person. For example, the personal statement high school students must write for college applications.

The purpose of a narrative essay is not only to tell a story, but also to highlight the importance of the experience. Therefore, to write a perfect narrative essay, writers must include the elements of settings, context, plot, ending, and climax.

We have an example from a student’s work, which was published on the blog: People’s Republic of Creativity

Glup, glup.

I sat watching the plunger slowly make its way down the tube and into Miriam’s body. Inside the tube was a clear unknown liquid that would soon be injected into my own body. This was the third time this week, the twelfth time this month, and who knows how many times since we have been trapped in this hell on earth. Each day, we have only been given the bare minimum of food, water, and sleep. I don’t know how much longer we can survive before deemed useless by him.

Miriam fell out of her chair and onto the cold concrete floor, screaming in pain. She scrambles for something she can grasp onto to prop her malnourished body up. Then the piercing sound just suddenly stopped. Her thin arms that look only of bones and skin drop to the ground and she lay still on the floor, as if she were…dead. Please don’t tell me she’s dead! No, she couldn’t be; we promised each other to live until the day of liberation.

She needs to live.

It was my turn. He walked over with a syringe full of what had just been injected into Miriam. I try to focus on the red, black, and white badge on his left arm instead of letting the fear crawl in and take over my brain. But the unsettling tension stirs my thoughts around and around.

“Twin A1387, let’s hope what happened to your sister doesn’t happen to you.” He smirked. The needle pierced through my skin and my body was suddenly aflame. The raging blaze spread through every one of my veins, until I was shrouded in darkness.

When I opened my eyes again, I found myself in an empty confinement. The space next to me, the space for Miriam, was empty too. Where was everyone? Most importantly, where was Miriam?

I got up and set my bare foot onto the dirty, wooden floor. Suddenly, my head started spinning and along with it, the world spun too. I fell to the ground, and when I could finally lift my head, what I saw above me terrified me. It was him, death in human form, and beside him were four of his helpers. They grabbed my arms and forced me to stand up.

“Good morning A1387. I am afraid your dear twin sister couldn’t handle the injections from yesterday. Let’s hope your fragile little limbs can endure those chemicals. I wonder how many more injections it will take for you to meet your pathetic sister,” he said, patting my head. His tone was playful, but deadly.

I froze. What? Miriam…dead? That one word, “twins”, has taken away everything of what feels like my past life, and now my last hope? I felt a surge of anger, hatred, sadness, fear, devastation swirling inside me like boiling lava in a volcano, ready to erupt. I wanted to scream, to shout, to kill him, but I couldn’t. My soft limbs felt as if they would collapse merely by trying to stand up. They would be harmless and defenceless against the Angel of Death. When he saw the hatred on my face, he started laughing hysterically and simply said, “What a shame; she was only 13. I cannot wait to see how long it will take for you to fall apart!”

3. Expository Essay

According to Purdue University , the expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. To accomplish this, writers use the method of comparison and contrast, definition, example, cause and effect, etc.

Writers are not required to argue or make a personal opinion but to present balanced and well-organized facts and figures.

In an expository essay–as the name suggests–you need to expose the particular subject in question by providing enough information. It is an informative piece of writing that provides a balanced analysis of the topic. It does not contain any personal opinion; instead, it is based on real facts and figures. Therefore, this kind of high school essay is commonly assigned in high school or college in order to test students’ familiarity with a topic and ability to convey information.

This is an example from College Board’s SAT Writing Prompt.  

In response to our world’s growing reliance on artificial light, writer Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved in his article “Let There be dark”. He effectively builds his argument by using a personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions.

Bogard starts his article off by recounting a personal story – a summer spent on a Minnesota lake where there was “woods so dark that [his] hands disappeared before [his] eyes.” In telling this brief anecdote, Bogard challenges the audience to remember a time where they could fully amass themselves in natural darkness void of artificial light. By drawing in his readers with a personal encounter about night darkness, the author means to establish the potential for beauty, glamour, and awe-inspiring mystery that genuine darkness can possess. He builds his argument for the preservation of natural darkness by reminiscing for his readers a first-hand encounter that proves the “irreplaceable value of darkness.” This anecdote provides a baseline of sorts for readers to find credence with the author’s claims.

Bogard’s argument is also furthered by his use of allusion to art – Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – and modern history – Paris’ reputation as “The City of Light”. By first referencing “Starry Night”, a painting generally considered to be undoubtedly beautiful, Bogard establishes that the natural magnificence of stars in a dark sky is definite. A world absent of excess artificial light could potentially hold the key to a grand, glorious night sky like Van Gogh’s according to the writer. This urges the readers to weigh the disadvantages of our world consumed by unnatural, vapid lighting. Furthermore, Bogard’s alludes to Paris as “the famed ‘city of light’”. He then goes on to state how Paris has taken steps to exercise more sustainable lighting practices. By doing this, Bogard creates a dichotomy between Paris’ traditionally alluded-to name and the reality of what Paris is becoming – no longer “the city of light”, but moreso “the city of light…before 2 AM”. This furthers his line of argumentation because it shows how steps can be and are being taken to preserve natural darkness. It shows that even a city that is literally famous for being constantly lit can practically address light pollution in a manner that preserves the beauty of both the city itself and the universe as a whole.

Finally, Bogard makes subtle yet efficient use of rhetorical questioning to persuade his audience that natural darkness preservation is essential. He asks the readers to consider “what the vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?” in a way that brutally plays to each of our emotions. By asking this question, Bogard draws out heartfelt ponderance from his readers about the affecting power of an untainted night sky. This rhetorical question tugs at the readers’ heartstrings; while the reader may have seen an unobscured night skyline before, the possibility that their child or grandchild will never get the chance sways them to see as Bogard sees. This strategy is definitively an appeal to pathos, forcing the audience to directly face an emotionally-charged inquiry that will surely spur some kind of response. By doing this, Bogard develops his argument, adding gutthral power to the idea that the issue of maintaining natural darkness is relevant and multifaceted.

Writing as a reaction to his disappointment that artificial light has largely permeated the presence of natural darkness, Paul Bogard argues that we must preserve true, unaffected darkness. He builds this claim by making use of a personal anecdote, allusions, and rhetorical questioning.

4. Argumentative Essay

The argumentative high school essay is similar to the expository essay, because it requires writers to present their evidence-based arguments. Writers have to present a thesis statement, gather and evaluate evidence, and establish a position on the topic. Many people think argumentative and expository essays are the same. They belong to a similar genre, but an argumentative essay requires more research than an expository essay. An expository essay is normally used in the SAT test, because test takers are required to investigate and present points from the prompts given. An argumentative essay is generally used in a final project or a capstone, which requires length and detailed research. The essay is divided into 3 parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction has a topic and thesis statement, the body has evidence and arguments, and the conclusion summarizes the arguments and potential directions for future research.

Below is an example from a GRE writing answer from ETS : 

Prompt : The best ideas arise from a passionate interest in commonplace things

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement above and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how those considerations shape your position.

Passion is clearly necessary for a truly great idea to take hold among a people—passion either

on the part of the original thinker, the audience, or ideally both. The claim that the most lucrative

subject matter for inspiring great ideas is “commonplace things” may seem initially to be counterintuitive. After all, aren’t great ideas usually marked by their extraordinary character? While this is true, their extraordinary character is as often as not directly derived from their insight into things that had theretofore gone unquestioned. While great ideas certainly can arise through seemingly pure innovation… say, for example, Big Bang cosmology, which developed nearly all of its own scientific and philosophical precepts through its own process of formation, it is nevertheless equally true that such groundbreaking thought was, and is, still largely

a reevaluation of previous assumptions to a radical degree… after all, the question of the ultimate nature of the universe, and man’s place in it, has been central to human thought since the dawn of time. Commonplace things are, additionally, necessary as material for the generation of “the best ideas” since certainly the success among an audience must be considered in evaluating the significance and quality of an idea.

The advent of Big Bang cosmology, which occurred in rudimentary form almost immediately upon Edwin Hubble’s first observations at the Hooker telescope in California during the early 20th century, was the most significant advance in mankind’s understanding of the universe in over 400 years. The seemingly simple fact that everything in the universe, on a very large scale, is moving away from everything else in fact betrays nearly all of our scientific knowledge of the origins and mechanics of the universe. This slight, one might even say commonplace, distortion of tint on a handful of photographic plates carried with it the greatest challenge to Man’s general, often religiously reinforced, conception of the nature of the world to an extent not seen since the days of Galileo. Not even Charles Darwin’s theory, though it created more of a stir than Big Bang cosmology, had such shattering implications for our conceptions of the nature of our reality. Yet it is not significant because it introduced the question of the nature of what lies beyond Man’s grasp. A tremendous number of megalithic ruins, including the Pyramids both of Mexico and Egypt, Stonehenge, and others, indicate that this question has been foremost on humankind’s collective mind since time immemorial. Big Bang cosmology is so incredibly significant in this line of reasoning exactly because of the degree to which it changed the direction of this generally held, constantly pondered, and very ancient train of thought.

Additionally, there is a diachronic significance to the advent of Big Bang cosmology, which is that, disregarding limitations such as the quality of optical devices available and the state of theoretical math, it could have happened at any point in time. That is to say, all evidence points to roughly the same raw intellectual capacity for homo sapiens throughout our history, our progress has merely depended upon the degree of it that a person happens to inherit, a pace that has been increasing rapidly since the industrial revolution. Yet this discovery had to happen at a certain point in time or another—it cannot have been happening constantly or have never happened yet still be present—and this point in time does have its own significance. That significance is precisely the fact that the aforementioned advent must have occurred at precisely the point in time at which it truly could have occurred—that is to say, it marks the point in our history when we had progressed sufficiently to begin examining, with remarkable substantiated acuity, the workings of the universe across distances that would take millions of human lifetimes to reach or to traverse. The point for the success of this advent must necessarily have been, additionally, the point at which the audience concerned was capable and prepared to accept such a radical line of reasoning.

Both factors, a radical, passionate interpretation of the commonplace and the preparedness to accept such an interpretation, are necessary for the formulation of a truly great idea. If the passion is absent from an inquiry by the thinker or by the bulk of an audience, the idea will die out if it comes to fruition at all. If the material is not sufficiently commonplace to be considered by an informed audience of sufficient size, the same two hazards exist. Given these two factors, the idea must still be found palatable and interesting by the audience if it is to hope to gain a foothold and eventually establish itself in a significant fashion.

5. Analytical Essay

An analytical essay is a writing genre that provides an in-depth analysis of a topic, ranging from art, music, and literary text to politics, science, and philosophy, etc. Analytical essays can boost a writer’s writing skills and overall comprehension of a topic while helping readers become more educated about the subjects of importance. This type of essay does not aim to persuade readers to a certain point of view but rather to provide a well-rounded and comprehensive analysis for the readers. The analytical essay is normally used in the GRE writing section.

A good analytical essay includes a thesis statement stating your main argument, followed by an analysis of your thesis and supporting evidence. Here are the 7 Steps to Write a Literary Analysis Essay .

We will take an example from a student’s work about CRISPR, a genetic engineering method. The full essay can be accessed here , but below is the preview of the essay:

No matter how much money people are willing to pay for health care, they may still suffer terribly from incurable diseases such as AIDS and cancer because of the underdevelopment of medical technology. However, today, the advancement in human knowledge has led to the introduction of human gene-editing, turning impossibility to possibility. In particular, the recent technology for genome editing called CRISPR has been having a groundbreaking impact on research in genetic science. This is due to its remarkable potential to simply cure genetic diseases in an embryo before they have a serious effect on further developmental progression. Although currently, there have been numerous debates regarding its extension in research for widespread uses, CRISPR is a completely promising technology because of the benefits it brings to people.

CRISPR, or Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, is the newest innovation in genetic engineering. The way CRISPR works is similar to “the scissor-like action of Cas 9 to target… any specific DNA sequence” (Baylis and Rossant). By making cuts in specific locations in DNA, CRISPR can cure diseases and make alterations in an embryo’s DNA, which prevent diseases from being passed down to following generations (Baylis and Rossant). Throughout the history, governments and researchers came up with different approaches politically and scientifically in attempt to control population. They hoped to encourage the “richest, wisest and healthiest to breed like rabbits” and the “sick, stupid, and poor to take one for the empire and remain childless” (Comfort 28). The second attempt happened during the 20th century, when the U.S government passed the law preventing marriage and immigration that would threaten a perceived core American “stock.” Another more extreme example was when Nazi sterilization law further advanced this population control approach. Later in the century, a biotechnological approach was established as a safer and more humane way to manage population health (qtd in Comfort 28). “Gene surgery,” which is similar to CRISPR technology, was established and followed by contentious debates regarding ethical issues between disease treatment and human trait enhancements. Currently, there has been a halt in the use of CRISPR because of the increase in concern from the public about the pros and cons of this technology.

Further reading: 

  • Where to Submit Your Writing Works: 5 Main Platforms
  • 6 Differences between High School and College Writing
  • 20 Tips to Improve Your Writing
  • Guide to Point of View in Writing
  • 10 Mistakes High School Students Make in Creative Writing
  • How to Overcome Writer’s Block in High School Writing Competitions

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This course helps students develop and improve their writing skills to prepare students for higher education courses. The methodology emphasizes the ability to read critically, think critically, and write critically. Students will learn informative, narrative, descriptive, creative, and persuasive essay writing skills. Students will learn how to brainstorm, structure and outline, form an argument, defend it, incorporate academic sources, and develop a clear, articulate writing style. The focus will be on the writing process, intended audience, consistent tenses, point of view, correct grammar uses, building vocabulary, appropriate style, and proper research and citation protocols.

  • Academic Tips

An In-Depth Look at American High School History Curriculum

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How to Write Any High School Essay (With Examples!)

Last Updated: July 16, 2024 Fact Checked

  • Research & Outlining Your Essay
  • Writing the Intro
  • Types of Essays & Sample Topics

Writing Techniques Cheat Sheet

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Hunter Rising . Emily Listmann is a Private Tutor and Life Coach in Santa Cruz, California. In 2018, she founded Mindful & Well, a natural healing and wellness coaching service. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. Emily also received her Wellness Coach Certificate from Cornell University and completed the Mindfulness Training by Mindful Schools. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 565,237 times.

Writing an essay is an important basic skill that you will need to succeed in high school, college, and beyond. While the exact requirements of any essay will vary depending on the teacher and assignment, most high school essays follow the same basic structure. By presenting a well-written five-paragraph essay with a strong thesis statement, you can successfully write an essay for any high school class or topic!

Writing in a High School Essay Format

Decide on and research a topic, then create your essay outline. Write an introduction that states your argument with a thesis statement, then support the thesis statement with evidence in your three main body paragraphs. Finally, restate your thesis and summarize your argument in your concluding paragraph.

Writing a High School Essay: The Preparation Stage

Step 1 Choose an essay style and topic if you haven’t already been assigned one.

  • While most high school essays follow a similar format, different requirements are needed for different types of essays —such as a persuasive, expository, narrative, or descriptive essay. [1] X Research source
  • If you need help coming up with a topic , brainstorm or search for subjects related to your assignment’s focus.

Step 2 Do preliminary research on your essay’s topic.

  • Eventually, the sources you find in your research will be the evidence to back up the main point of your essay.

Step 3 Create an arguable thesis statement for your essay.

  • For example, the statement “Elephants are used to perform in circuses” does not offer an arguable point—this statement just presents a fact.
  • Instead, you may try a thesis statement like “Elephants should not be kept in the circus since they are mistreated.” Since people may reasonably agree or disagree with this statement, you’ll be able to find supporting arguments for and against it to use in your essay.
  • Keep in mind that some types of essay writing may not require an argument, such as a narrative essay. However, the standard high school essay structure typically requires a thesis statement.

Step 4 Make an outline for the paragraphs in your essay.

  • Introduction Paragraph Hook: Thesis Statement:
  • Body Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: Supporting Evidence #1: Supporting Evidence #2: Supporting Evidence #3:
  • Body Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Supporting Evidence #1: Supporting Evidence #2: Supporting Evidence #3:
  • Body Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Supporting Evidence #1: Supporting Evidence #2: Supporting Evidence #3:

Step 5 Find reliable sources that support your argument.

  • Talk to your school’s librarian for direction on specific books or databases you could use to find your information.
  • Many schools offer access to online databases like EBSCO or JSTOR where you can find reliable information. If you need help, consult with your teacher.
  • Wikipedia is a great starting place for your research, but it can be edited by anyone in the world, so it’s not a reliable source. Instead, look at a related Wikipedia article’s references to find the sites where the information really came from.
  • Use Google Scholar if you want to find peer-reviewed scholarly articles for your sources.
  • Make sure to consider the author’s qualifications when determining source credibility . If a source does not include the author’s name, then it might not be a good option.

Writing an Essay Introduction

Step 1 Write a hook that contains a relevant fact, quote, or question.

  • However, make sure that your hook is both accurate and related to the subject of your essay.
  • Example : Gender inequality has been an inescapable fact of life for as long as history can remember.
  • Example: Women have been seen as inferior, and have been treated as such, for centuries. But to respond to such sexist ideas and treatment, the modern feminist movement arose. Feminism has become a prevalent theme in all forms of art, including literature. Feminist criticism examines works of literature in order to analyze their portrayal of the sexes.

Step 3 Introduce your thesis in one sentence.

  • Example: In John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums,” the lens of feminist criticism provides insight into how the issue of gender inequality affects the main protagonist, Elisa Allen.

Step 4 For a longer essay, include an overview of your essay at the end of the intro.

  • Mapping out this structure for the reader helps them know exactly what you’re discussing and what they should expect from the rest of your essay.
  • However, this structural preview in the introductory paragraph is typically only included in longer, more advanced essays. If you’re not sure about including this segment, double-check with your teacher. When in doubt, leave it out and end the intro with your thesis.
  • Example: This paper begins by exploring the limitations placed on Elisa due to her gender, then goes on to discuss the ways in which Steinbeck showcases Elisa’s struggles through symbolism and other literary devices. Finally, this essay will explore the modern-day parallels of Elisa’s story and the continuing ramifications of gender inequality.
  • 5 Example Introductory Paragraphs William Shakespeare’s classic drama Othello centers around the two conflicting characters of scheming, manipulative Iago and the honorable, but oftentimes faithless, Othello. Both Othello and Iago use many of the same literary devices and much of the same figurative language to express not only their opinions of those around them, but also their general conceptions of the workings of the universe on a more spiritual level. Despite the fact that these men are completely opposite in character, Iago commands such persuasive powers that he literally starts to affect Othello’s thinking, altering the figures of speech he uses and his perceptions of those close to him. Gender inequality has been an inescapable fact of life for as long as history can remember. Women have been seen as inferior, and have been treated as such, for centuries. But to respond to such sexist ideas and treatment, the modern feminist movement arose. Feminism has become a prevalent theme in all forms of art, including literature. Feminist criticism examines works of literature in order to analyze their portrayal of the sexes. In John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums,” the lens of feminist criticism provides insight into how the issue of gender inequality affects the main protagonist, Elisa Allen. This paper begins by exploring the limitations placed on Elisa due to her gender, then goes on to discuss the ways in which Steinbeck showcases Elisa’s struggles through symbolism and other literary devices. Finally, this essay will explore the modern-day parallels of Elisa’s story and the continuing ramifications of gender inequality.

Writing Body Paragraphs

  • Check with your teacher if you’re not sure how many paragraphs should be in the body of your essay.

Step 2 Include a topic sentence, supporting evidence, and analysis in each paragraph.

  • Don’t assume your reader will make the connection between your info and the thesis of your paper. Analysis also gives you a chance to include your own thoughts and interpretation of the facts you provide.
  • Unless you’re writing a personal essay, avoid the use of “I” statements since this could make your essay look less professional.
  • When quoting or paraphrasing specific pieces of information or evidence, don’t forget to cite your sources in-text based on the format required for your paper. [10] X Research source Many high school essays are written in MLA or APA style. Ask your teacher what format they want you to follow if it’s not specified.

Step 3 Use transitional phrases between each of your body paragraphs.

  • For example, if your body paragraphs discuss similar points in a different way, you can use phrases like “in the same way,” “similarly,” and “just as” to start other body paragraphs.
  • If you are posing different points, try phrases like “in spite of,” “in contrast,” or “however” to transition.
  • 4 Example Body Paragraphs Act I of Othello closes with Iago giving a soliloquy introducing his plan to make Othello lose faith in his wife. He concludes this speech by saying “Hell and night/Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light,” comparing Othello and Desdemona’s marriage to a “monster birth,” while equating himself and his deceptions to Satan. Iago hates that he must play an innocent underling in his own plot, but at the same time he realizes that the easiest method to achieve his goals is to hide his true intentions under a cloak of innocence. Trip Fontaine is another character negatively affected by the pressures to assimilate to American culture. Trip is a classmate of the Lisbon girls and fulfills the role of golden boy at their high school, after his emergence “from baby fat to the delight of girls and women alike.” Trip is constantly courted by girls and his young life fulfills every stereotype for the definition of the teenage American Dream. However, Trip’s later life is spent in detox and rehab, living off “the last of his ex-wife’s savings.” Trip is the definition of an American teen heartthrob, yet his need to conform to and maintain this image leads him down the path of drugs and alcohol, ending in a life riddled with addiction and disease (48). His eventual fate depicts the price that one must pay for living the idealized young American life.

Writing an Essay Conclusion

Step 1 Restate your thesis and summarize your arguments briefly.

  • For example, if your thesis was, “The cell phone is the most important invention in the past 30 years,” then you may restate the thesis in your conclusion like, “Due to the ability to communicate anywhere in the world and access information easily, the cell phone is a pivotal invention in human history.”
  • If you’re only writing a 1-page paper, restating your main ideas isn’t necessary.

Step 2 Discuss why the subject of your paper is relevant moving forward.

  • For example, if you write an essay discussing the themes of a book, think about how the themes are affecting people’s lives today.

Step 3 End the paragraph with a lasting thought that ties into your introduction.

  • Try to pick the same type of closing sentence as you used as your attention getter.

Step 4 Include a Works Cited page if you need one.

  • Including a Works Cited page shows that the information you provided isn’t all your own and allows the reader to visit the sources to see the raw information for themselves.
  • Avoid using online citation machines since they may be outdated.
  • At the high school level, most teachers dislike common concluding phrases like “To sum up” or “In conclusion,” so avoid using those in your final paragraph.
  • 6 Example Conclusions: While Othello uses much of Iago’s own figurative language by the end of the play, he does so to achieve different results. Iago degrades every other character by comparing them to objects that can easily be manipulated, while Othello, when he dehumanizes people, somehow makes them out to be more than human. Despite their contrasts, Iago and Othello both represent the extremity of the same thing—human emotion. When Iago makes reference to heaven and hell, he always describes how hell comes out on top. Othello, on the other hand, knows that Heaven represents all that is good and right on Earth and so eventually throws himself at the mercy of his God, making him the tragic hero of the play. Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. In Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”, the protagonist Elisa Allen experiences gender inequality. Society’s perception of her as inferior causes her to be unfulfilled and unchallenged with her life. Elisa, as a feminist, strives for equality with her male counterparts, yet she continually fails to achieve it. Through her character, the reader sees the broad issue of gender inequality and the toll it takes on individual members of society.

Revising & Completing Your Essay

Step 1 Reread your essay for flow, clarity, and relevancy.

  • Have a peer or parent read through your essay to see if they understand what point you’re trying to make.
  • If you find any off-topic or contradictory sections, cut them from your essay or find a way to tie it into your main focus. If you do cut parts out of your essay, make sure to reread it again to see if it affects the flow of how it reads.

Step 2 Read through your essay for punctuation or spelling errors.

Writing Different Types of High School Essays

  • Write a clear thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.
  • Provide evidence support for your thesis statement in each body paragraph.
  • Use clear and concise language without any figurative or sensory imagery.
  • Sample Topics: “What makes a good leader?,” “Describe how the internet changed the world,” “What is the theme of [literary work]?”
  • Write a thesis statement in the first paragraph that clearly states your opinion.
  • Use well-researched, factual, and detailed information to support your argument .
  • Include a counterpoint paragraph where you present the opposing argument and point out its flows.
  • Use the conclusion to synthesize the essay and provide insight into further research.
  • Sample Topics: “The best music genre is…,” “Is capitalism the best form of economy?,” “Should schools have dress codes?”
  • Structure your essay like a story with a plot, characters, setting, conflict, and theme.
  • Use the first-person pronoun “I” as needed, since the story is told from your point of view.
  • Write the events in chronological order to aid organization and help readers understand better.
  • Sample Topics: “Describe a performance or sporting event you took part in,” “Describe a time in your life when you’ve been scared,” “Explain a family tradition, how it developed, and its importance today.”
  • Structure your essay with an introduction, body paragraph, and summary conclusion.
  • Use figurative and vivid language to provide a sensory description to the reader. Mention what something looks, feels, smells, sounds, and tastes like.
  • Use transition words to lead the readers into the right stages of emotions and follow the logical flow of the essay.
  • Sample Topics: “What is your happiest memory?,” “Write about your favorite place,” “Describe yourself to someone who has never met you.”

essay for high school

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • If you have writer's block , take a break for a few minutes, stretch, get a snack, and come back to your essay. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Your teacher should have provided you with a rubric, so use that as your final guide to make sure your essay is meeting all of the criteria for this assignment. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

essay for high school

  • Avoid using plagiarism since this could result in academic consequences. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 1

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Plan an Essay Using a Mind Map

  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/types-of-essays/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://facultyweb.ivcc.edu/rrambo/eng1001/outline.htm
  • ↑ https://guides.libs.uga.edu/reliability
  • ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/20-compelling-hook-examples-for-essays.html
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/how-to-write-a-thesis-statement.html
  • ↑ https://guidetogrammar.org/grammar/five_par.htm
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/paragraphs/topicsentences
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
  • ↑ https://libguides.newcastle.edu.au/how-to-write-an-essay/conclusion
  • ↑ https://pitt.libguides.com/citationhelp
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
  • ↑ https://www.csueastbay.edu/scaa/files/docs/student-handouts/expository-essay.pdf
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/historical_perspectives_on_argumentation/toulmin_argument.html
  • ↑ https://gallaudet.edu/student-success/tutorial-center/english-center/writing/resources-for-writing-different-types-of-essays/guide-to-different-kinds-of-essays/

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

Writing good essays is an important skill to have in high school, and you can write a good one by planning it out and organizing it well. Before you start, do some research on your topic so you can come up with a strong, specific thesis statement, which is essentially the main argument of your essay. For instance, your thesis might be something like, “Elephants should not be kept in the circus because they are mistreated.” Once you have your thesis, outline the paragraphs for your essay. You should have an introduction that includes your thesis, at least 3 body paragraphs that explain your main points, and a conclusion paragraph. Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph. As you write your main points, make sure to include evidence and quotes from your research to back it up. To learn how to revise your paper, read more from our Writing co-author! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Examples

High School Essay

High school essay generator.

essay for high school

Navigating the complexities of High School Essay writing can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Our guide, infused with diverse essay examples , is designed to simplify this journey for students. High school essays are a crucial part of academic development, allowing students to express their thoughts, arguments, and creativity. With our examples, students learn to structure their essays effectively, develop strong thesis statements, and convey their ideas with clarity and confidence, paving the way for academic success.

What Is a High School Essay? A high school essay is anything that falls between a literary piece that teachers would ask their students  to write. It could be anything like an expository essay , informative essay , or a descriptive essay . High school essay is just a broad term that is used to describe anything that high school student writes, probably in subjects like English Grammar or Literature.

It is a good way to practice every student’s writing skills in writing which they might find useful when they reach college. Others might even be inspired to continue writing and take courses that are related to it.

High School Essay Bundle

Download High School Essay Bundle

When you are in high school, it is definite that you are expected to do some write-ups and projects which require pen and paper. Yes. You heard that right. Your teachers are going to let you write a lot of things starting from short stories to other things like expository essays. However, do not be intimidated nor fear the things that I have just said. It is but a normal part of being a student to write things. Well, take it from me. As far as I can recall, I may have written about a hundred essays during my entire high school years or maybe more. You may also see what are the parts of an essay?

High School Essay Format

1. introduction.

Hook: Start with an engaging sentence to capture the reader’s interest. This could be a question, a quote, a surprising fact, or a bold statement related to your topic. Background Information: Provide some background information on your topic to help readers understand the context of your essay. Thesis Statement: End the introduction with a clear thesis statement that outlines your main argument or point of view. This statement guides the direction of your entire essay.

2. Body Paragraphs

Topic Sentence: Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph, supporting your thesis statement. Supporting Details: Include evidence, examples, facts, and quotes to support the main idea of each paragraph. Make sure to explain how these details relate to your topic sentence and thesis statement. Analysis: Provide your analysis or interpretation of the evidence and how it supports your argument. Be clear and concise in explaining your reasoning. Transition: Use transition words or phrases to smoothly move from one idea to the next, maintaining the flow of your essay.

3. Conclusion

Summary: Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis in a new way, summarizing the main points of your body paragraphs without introducing new information. Final Thoughts: End your essay with a strong closing statement. This could be a reflection on the significance of your argument, a call to action, or a rhetorical question to leave the reader thinking.

Example of High School Essay

Community service plays a pivotal role in fostering empathy, building character, and enhancing societal well-being. It offers a platform for young individuals to contribute positively to society while gaining valuable life experiences. This essay explores the significance of community service and its impact on both individuals and communities. Introduction Community service, an altruistic activity performed for the betterment of society, is a cornerstone for personal growth and societal improvement. It not only addresses societal needs but also cultivates essential virtues in volunteers. Through community service, high school students can develop a sense of responsibility, a commitment to altruism, and an understanding of their role in the community. Personal Development Firstly, community service significantly contributes to personal development. Volunteering helps students acquire new skills, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. For instance, organizing a local food drive can teach students project management skills and the importance of collaboration. Moreover, community service provides insights into one’s passions and career interests, guiding them towards fulfilling future endeavors. Social Impact Secondly, the social impact of community service cannot be overstated. Activities like tutoring underprivileged children or participating in environmental clean-ups address critical societal issues directly. These actions not only bring about immediate positive changes but also inspire a ripple effect, encouraging a culture of volunteerism within the community. The collective effort of volunteers can transform neighborhoods, making them more supportive and resilient against challenges. Building Empathy and Understanding Furthermore, community service is instrumental in building empathy and understanding. Engaging with diverse groups and working towards a common goal fosters a sense of solidarity and compassion among volunteers. For example, spending time at a senior center can bridge the generational gap, enriching the lives of both the elderly and the volunteers. These experiences teach students the value of empathy, enriching their emotional intelligence and social awareness. In conclusion, community service is a vital component of societal development and personal growth. It offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with their communities, learn valuable life skills, and develop empathy. Schools and parents should encourage students to participate in community service, highlighting its benefits not only to the community but also in shaping responsible, caring, and informed citizens. As we look towards building a better future, the role of community service in education cannot be overlooked; it is an investment in our collective well-being and the development of the next generation.

Essay Topics for High School with Samples to Edit & Download

  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • Sex education in middle school
  • Should homework be abolished?
  • College education costs
  • How does technology affect productivity?
  • Is climate change reversible?
  • Is social media helpful or harmful?
  • Climate change is caused by humans
  • Effects of social media on youth
  • Are men and women treated equally?
  • Are professional athletes overpaid?
  • Changes over the past decade
  • Guns should be more strictly regulated
  • My favorite childhood memory
  • Religion in school
  • Should we stop giving final exams?
  • Video game addiction
  • Violence in media content

High School Essay Examples & Templates

High School Essay

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High School Essay For Students

High School Essay For Students

High School Essay Outline

High School Essay Outline

High School Essay Example

High School Essay

High School Self Introduction Essay Template

High School Self Introduction Essay Template

High School Student Essay

High School Student Essay

englishdaily626.com

Reflective High School

Reflective High School

oregoncis.uoregon.edu

Argumentative Essays for High School

Argumentative Essays for High School

Informative Essays for High School

Informative Essays for High School1

High School Persuasive

High School Persuasive

writecook.com

Narrative Essays

Narrative Essays for High School

Scholarship Essays

Scholarship Essays for High School

High School Application

High School Application

e-education.psu.edu

High School Graduation Essay

High School Graduation Essay

High School Leadership Essay

High School Leadership Essay

web.extension.illinois.edu

How to Write a High School Essay

Some teachers are really not that strict when it comes to writing essay because they too understand the struggles of writing stuff like these. However, you need to know the basics when it comes to writing a high school essay.

1. Understand the Essay Prompt

  • Carefully read the essay prompt or question to understand what’s required. Identify the type of essay (narrative, persuasive, expository, etc.) and the main topic you need to address.

2. Choose a Topic

  • If the topic isn’t provided, pick one that interests you and fits the essay’s requirements. Make sure it’s neither too broad nor too narrow.

3. Conduct Research (if necessary)

  • For expository, argumentative, or research essays, gather information from credible sources to support your arguments. Take notes and organize your findings.

4. Create an Outline

  • Outline your essay to organize your thoughts and structure your arguments effectively. Include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

5. Write the Introduction

  • Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention (a quote, a question, a shocking fact, etc.). Introduce your topic and end the introduction with a thesis statement that presents your main argument or purpose.

6. Develop Body Paragraphs

  • Each body paragraph should focus on a single idea or argument that supports your thesis. Start with a topic sentence, provide evidence or examples, and explain how it relates to your thesis.

7. Write the Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points of your essay and restate your thesis in a new way. Conclude with a strong statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Types of High School Essay

1. narrative essay.

Narrative essays tell a story from the writer’s perspective, often highlighting a personal experience or event. The focus is on storytelling, including characters, a setting, and a plot, to engage readers emotionally. This type allows students to explore creativity and expressiveness in their writing.

2. Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays focus on detailing and describing a person, place, object, or event. The aim is to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind using sensory details. These essays test the writer’s ability to use language creatively to evoke emotions and bring a scene to life.

3. Expository Essay

Expository essays aim to explain or inform the reader about a topic in a clear, concise manner. This type of essay requires thorough research and focuses on factual information. It’s divided into several types, such as compare and contrast, cause and effect, and process essays, each serving a specific purpose.

4. Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays aim to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or argument. The writer must use logic, reasoning, and evidence to support their position while addressing counterarguments. This type tests the writer’s ability to persuade and argue effectively.

5. Analytical Essay

Analytical essays require the writer to break down and analyze an element, such as a piece of literature, a movie, or a historical event. The goal is to interpret and make sense of the subject, discussing its significance and how it achieves its purpose.

6. Reflective Essay

Reflective essays are personal pieces that ask the writer to reflect on their experiences, thoughts, or feelings regarding a specific topic or experience. It encourages introspection and personal growth by examining one’s responses and learning from them.

7. Argumentative Essay

Similar to persuasive essays, argumentative essays require the writer to take a stance on an issue and argue for their position with evidence. However, argumentative essays place a stronger emphasis on evidence and logic rather than emotional persuasion.

8. Research Paper

Though often longer than a typical essay, research papers in high school require students to conduct in-depth study on a specific topic, using various sources to gather information. The focus is on presenting findings and analysis in a structured format.

Tips for High School Essays

Writing a high school essay if you have the tips on how to do essay effectively . This will give you an edge from your classmates.

  • Stay Organized: Keep your notes and sources well-organized to make the writing process smoother.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Avoid overly complex sentences or vocabulary that might confuse the reader.
  • Use Transitions: Ensure that your paragraphs and ideas flow logically by using transition words and phrases.
  • Cite Sources: If you use direct quotes or specific ideas from your research, make sure to cite your sources properly to avoid plagiarism.
  • Practice: Like any skill, essay writing improves with practice. Don’t hesitate to write drafts and experiment with different writing styles.

Importance of High School Essay

Aside from the fact that you will get reprimanded for not doing  your task, there are more substantial reasons why a high school essay is important. First, you get trained at a very young age. Writing is not just for those who are studying nor for your teachers. As you graduate from high school and then enter college (can see college essays ), you will have more things to write like dissertations and theses.

At least, when you get to that stage, you already know how to write. Aside from that, writing high essays give a life lesson. That is, patience and resourcefulness. You need to find the right resources for your essay as well as patience when finding the right inspiration to write.

How long is a high school essay?

A high school essay typically ranges from 500 to 2000 words, depending on the assignment’s requirements and the subject matter.

How do you start a personal essay for high school?

Begin with an engaging hook (an anecdote, quote, or question) that introduces your theme or story, leading naturally to your thesis or main point.

What makes a good high school essay?

A good high school essay features a clear thesis, coherent structure, compelling evidence, and personal insights, all presented in a polished, grammatically correct format.

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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples

An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

  • Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
  • Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
  • Revision:  Check your essay on the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

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Table of contents

Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.

The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .

For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.

1. Preparation 2. Writing 3. Revision
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
  • Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
  • Do your research: Read  primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
  • Come up with a thesis:  The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
  • Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.

The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.

1. Hook your reader

The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.

Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

2. Provide background on your topic

Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.

3. Present the thesis statement

Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:

As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.

4. Map the structure

In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.

The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Write your essay introduction

The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.

Length of the body text

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

Paragraph structure

To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.

That idea is introduced in a  topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.

After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

See the full essay example

The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :

  • Returns to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.

What not to include in a conclusion

To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:

  • Including new arguments or evidence
  • Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
  • Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Write your essay conclusion

Checklist: Essay

My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).

My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.

My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.

I use paragraphs to structure the essay.

I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.

Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.

I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.

I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.

I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.

My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .

My essay has an interesting and informative title.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).

Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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Writing 101: The 8 Common Types of Essays

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jun 7, 2021 • 3 min read

Whether you’re a first-time high school essay writer or a professional writer about to tackle another research paper, you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of essay writing before you put pen to paper and write your first sentence.

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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?

Relationships

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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40 Strong Persuasive Writing Examples (Essays, Speeches, Ads, and More)

Learn from the experts.

The American Crisis historical article, as an instance of persuasive essay examples

The more we read, the better writers we become. Teaching students to write strong persuasive essays should always start with reading some top-notch models. This round-up of persuasive writing examples includes famous speeches, influential ad campaigns, contemporary reviews of famous books, and more. Use them to inspire your students to write their own essays. (Need persuasive essay topics? Check out our list of interesting persuasive essay ideas here! )

  • Persuasive Essays
  • Persuasive Speeches
  • Advertising Campaigns

Persuasive Essay Writing Examples

First paragraph of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis

From the earliest days of print, authors have used persuasive essays to try to sway others to their own point of view. Check out these top persuasive essay writing examples.

Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf

Sample lines: “Outwardly, what is simpler than to write books? Outwardly, what obstacles are there for a woman rather than for a man? Inwardly, I think, the case is very different; she has still many ghosts to fight, many prejudices to overcome. Indeed it will be a long time still, I think, before a woman can sit down to write a book without finding a phantom to be slain, a rock to be dashed against. And if this is so in literature, the freest of all professions for women, how is it in the new professions which you are now for the first time entering?”

The Crisis by Thomas Paine

Sample lines: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

Sample lines: “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”

Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Sample lines: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”

Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Roger Ebert

Sample lines: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.”

The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Sample lines: “Methinks I hear some of you say, must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.”

The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sample lines: “Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.”

Open Letter to the Kansas School Board by Bobby Henderson

Sample lines: “I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. … Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. … We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories.”

Open Letter to the United Nations by Niels Bohr

Sample lines: “Humanity will, therefore, be confronted with dangers of unprecedented character unless, in due time, measures can be taken to forestall a disastrous competition in such formidable armaments and to establish an international control of the manufacture and use of the powerful materials.”

Persuasive Speech Writing Examples

Many persuasive speeches are political in nature, often addressing subjects like human rights. Here are some of history’s most well-known persuasive writing examples in the form of speeches.

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress, 1917

Sample lines: “There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.”

Chief Seattle’s 1854 Oration

Sample lines: “I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sample lines: “What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. … If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

I Am Prepared to Die, Nelson Mandela

Sample lines: “Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on color, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another. … This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.”

The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt

Sample lines: “It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a critical struggle, for their preservation is essential to the great objective of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Among free men the end cannot justify the means. We know the patterns of totalitarianism—the single political party, the control of schools, press, radio, the arts, the sciences, and the church to support autocratic authority; these are the age-old patterns against which men have struggled for 3,000 years. These are the signs of reaction, retreat, and retrogression. The United Nations must hold fast to the heritage of freedom won by the struggle of its people; it must help us to pass it on to generations to come.”

Freedom From Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi

Sample lines: “Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.”

Harvey Milk’s “The Hope” Speech

Sample lines: “Some people are satisfied. And some people are not. You see there is a major difference—and it remains a vital difference—between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It is not enough anymore just to have friends represent us, no matter how good that friend may be.”

The Union and the Strike, Cesar Chavez

Sample lines: “We are showing our unity in our strike. Our strike is stopping the work in the fields; our strike is stopping ships that would carry grapes; our strike is stopping the trucks that would carry the grapes. Our strike will stop every way the grower makes money until we have a union contract that guarantees us a fair share of the money he makes from our work! We are a union and we are strong and we are striking to force the growers to respect our strength!”

Nobel Lecture by Malala Yousafzai

Sample lines: “The world can no longer accept that basic education is enough. Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in algebra, mathematics, science, and physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.”   

Persuasive Writing Examples in Advertising Campaigns

Ads are prime persuasive writing examples. You can flip open any magazine or watch TV for an hour or two to see sample after sample of persuasive language. Here are some of the most popular ad campaigns of all time, with links to articles explaining why they were so successful.

Nike: Just Do It

Nike

The iconic swoosh with the simple tagline has persuaded millions to buy their kicks from Nike and Nike alone. Teamed with pro sports-star endorsements, this campaign is one for the ages. Blinkist offers an opinion on what made it work.

Dove: Real Beauty

Beauty brand Dove changed the game by choosing “real” women to tell their stories instead of models. They used relatable images and language to make connections, and inspired other brands to try the same concept. Learn why Global Brands considers this one a true success story.

Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Today’s kids are too young to remember the cranky old woman demanding to know where the beef was on her fast-food hamburger. But in the 1980s, it was a catchphrase that sold millions of Wendy’s burgers. Learn from Better Marketing how this ad campaign even found its way into the 1984 presidential debate.

De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

Diamond engagement ring on black velvet. Text reads "How do you make two months' salary last forever? The Diamond Engagement Ring."

A diamond engagement ring has become a standard these days, but the tradition isn’t as old as you might think. In fact, it was De Beers jewelry company’s 1948 campaign that created the modern engagement ring trend. The Drum has the whole story of this sparkling campaign.

Volkswagen: Think Small

Americans have always loved big cars. So in the 1960s, when Volkswagen wanted to introduce their small cars to a bigger market, they had a problem. The clever “Think Small” campaign gave buyers clever reasons to consider these models, like “If you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.” Learn how advertisers interested American buyers in little cars at Visual Rhetoric.

American Express: Don’t Leave Home Without It

AmEx was once better known for traveler’s checks than credit cards, and the original slogan was “Don’t leave home without them.” A simple word change convinced travelers that American Express was the credit card they needed when they headed out on adventures. Discover more about this persuasive campaign from Medium.

Skittles: Taste the Rainbow

Bag of Skittles candy against a blue background. Text reads

These candy ads are weird and intriguing and probably not for everyone. But they definitely get you thinking, and that often leads to buying. Learn more about why these wacky ads are successful from The Drum.

Maybelline: Maybe She’s Born With It

Smart wordplay made this ad campaign slogan an instant hit. The ads teased, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (So many literary devices all in one phrase!) Fashionista has more on this beauty campaign.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke

Seeing their own name on a bottle made teens more likely to want to buy a Coke. What can that teach us about persuasive writing in general? It’s an interesting question to consider. Learn more about the “Share a Coke” campaign from Digital Vidya.

Always: #LikeaGirl

Always ad showing a young girl holding a softball. Text reads

Talk about the power of words! This Always campaign turned the derogatory phrase “like a girl” on its head, and the world embraced it. Storytelling is an important part of persuasive writing, and these ads really do it well. Medium has more on this stereotype-bashing campaign.   

Editorial Persuasive Writing Examples

Original newspaper editorial

Newspaper editors or publishers use editorials to share their personal opinions. Noted politicians, experts, or pundits may also offer their opinions on behalf of the editors or publishers. Here are a couple of older well-known editorials, along with a selection from current newspapers.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1897)

Sample lines: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.”

What’s the Matter With Kansas? (1896)

Sample lines: “Oh, this IS a state to be proud of! We are a people who can hold up our heads! What we need is not more money, but less capital, fewer white shirts and brains, fewer men with business judgment, and more of those fellows who boast that they are ‘just ordinary clodhoppers, but they know more in a minute about finance than John Sherman,’ we need more men … who hate prosperity, and who think, because a man believes in national honor, he is a tool of Wall Street.”

America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both. (The New York Times)

Sample lines: “The nation is not powerless to stop a slide toward deadly chaos. If institutions and individuals do more to make it unacceptable in American public life, organized violence in the service of political objectives can still be pushed to the fringes. When a faction of one of the country’s two main political parties embraces extremism, that makes thwarting it both more difficult and more necessary. A well-functioning democracy demands it.”

The Booster Isn’t Perfect, But Still Can Help Against COVID (The Washington Post)

Sample lines: “The booster shots are still free, readily available and work better than the previous boosters even as the virus evolves. Much still needs to be done to build better vaccines that protect longer and against more variants, including those that might emerge in the future. But it is worth grabbing the booster that exists today, the jab being a small price for any measure that can help keep COVID at bay.”

If We Want Wildlife To Thrive in L.A., We Have To Share Our Neighborhoods With Them (Los Angeles Times)

Sample lines: “If there are no corridors for wildlife movement and if excessive excavation of dirt to build bigger, taller houses erodes the slope of a hillside, then we are slowly destroying wildlife habitat. For those people fretting about what this will do to their property values—isn’t open space, trees, and wildlife an amenity in these communities?”   

Persuasive Review Writing Examples

Image of first published New York Times Book Review

Book or movie reviews are more great persuasive writing examples. Look for those written by professionals for the strongest arguments and writing styles. Here are reviews of some popular books and movies by well-known critics to use as samples.

The Great Gatsby (The Chicago Tribune, 1925)

Sample lines: “What ails it, fundamentally, is the plain fact that it is simply a story—that Fitzgerald seems to be far more interested in maintaining its suspense than in getting under the skins of its people. It is not that they are false: It is that they are taken too much for granted. Only Gatsby himself genuinely lives and breathes. The rest are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but nevertheless not quite alive.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (The Washington Post, 1999)

Sample lines: “Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly, packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl postal system, and ends with a scary surprise. Yet it is, essentially, a light-hearted thriller, interrupted by occasional seriousness (the implications of Harry’s miserable childhood, a moral about the power of love).”

Twilight (The Telegraph, 2009)

Sample lines: “No secret, of course, at whom this book is aimed, and no doubt, either, that it has hit its mark. The four Twilight novels are not so much enjoyed, as devoured, by legions of young female fans worldwide. That’s not to say boys can’t enjoy these books; it’s just that the pages of heart-searching dialogue between Edward and Bella may prove too long on chat and too short on action for the average male reader.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (Time, 1960)

Sample lines: “Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers. The novel is an account of an awakening to good and evil, and a faint catechistic flavor may have been inevitable. But it is faint indeed; novelist Lee’s prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life.”

The Diary of Anne Frank (The New York Times, 1952)

Sample lines: “And this quality brings it home to any family in the world today. Just as the Franks lived in momentary fear of the Gestapo’s knock on their hidden door, so every family today lives in fear of the knock of war. Anne’s diary is a great affirmative answer to the life-question of today, for she shows how ordinary people, within this ordeal, consistently hold to the greater human values.”   

What are your favorite persuasive writing examples to use with students? Come share your ideas in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, the big list of essay topics for high school (120+ ideas) ..

Find strong persuasive writing examples to use for inspiration, including essays, speeches, advertisements, reviews, and more.

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101 Argument Essay Prompts for High School

101 Argumentative Essay Topics

Teaching argument writing can be very exciting, especially if you have great argument essay prompts for your students to choose from. It provides students with an opportunity to explore interesting topics. I give my students choices when I am teaching argument writing in my classroom. Students who select their argument essay prompts are more engaged with and connected to their writing.

When assigning a hot topic or controversial issue argumentative essay, I always let students select a topic. That way, they are more passionate about their writing. However, I also make it clear that their topic cannot be discriminatory or hateful in any way and that they must fund valid and credible evidence to back up their claims. When I do this in the classroom, I also like to make sure that only one student per class has the same topic.

If you are planning an argument or controversial issue essay assignment, here is a list of potential topics you can include in your classroom. If you need teaching materials, this argument writing teaching unit will help you walk your students through the process.

Here are 101 Argument Essay Prompts:

Argument essay topics teens love.

  • Should teenagers be allowed to vote in elections?
  • Is social media a positive or negative influence on teenagers’ mental health and well-being?
  • Should schools have a dress code that is gender-neutral?
  • Should teenage drivers be subject to stricter regulations, such as curfews and passenger limits, to reduce accidents and fatalities?
  • Is it ethical for teenagers to participate in protests and other forms of civil disobedience?
  • Should teenagers have access to birth control and sexual health services?
  • Should schools provide more opportunities for creative expression and the arts, or is the focus on STEM subjects more important for future success?
  • Should teenagers have their own credit card to establish credit history?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to work part-time jobs while in school?
  • How important is academic honesty for future success?

Argument Essay  Prompts About Technology

  • Should social media platforms be held accountable for the spread of fake news?
  • Are video games a harmful or beneficial form of entertainment for young people?
  • Should schools replace textbooks with tablets and laptops?
  • Is technology making us more or less productive in the workplace?
  • Should there be stricter regulations on the collection and use of personal data by tech companies?
  • Is artificial intelligence a threat to human jobs and job security?
  • Should there be limitations on using facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies?
  • Has the internet made us more connected or more isolated from each other?
  • Should governments invest more in renewable energy technologies?
  • Is technology creating a more unequal society by widening the gap between the rich and the poor?

Argument Essay  Topics about the Environment

  • Should governments impose stricter regulations on corporations to reduce their carbon footprint?
  • Should government agencies regulate residential thermostats?
  • Should plastic bags be banned to reduce pollution and protect wildlife?
  • Is fracking a viable method of energy production, or does it pose significant risks to the environment and public health?
  • Should individuals be encouraged to adopt a plant-based diet to reduce the carbon emissions caused by the meat industry?
  • Should the use of pesticides be restricted to protect pollinators and other wildlife?
  • Is nuclear energy a viable solution to the world’s energy needs, or does it pose too significant an environmental risk?
  • Should governments invest more in renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power?
  • Should individuals and companies be required to pay a carbon tax to encourage them to reduce their carbon emissions?
  • Is deforestation a significant contributor to climate change?

Argument Essay  Prompts about Entrepreneurship

  • Is entrepreneurship a viable path to economic success for individuals and communities?
  • Should governments provide more support and incentives for small businesses and startups?
  • Is social entrepreneurship a more effective way to address social and environmental challenges than traditional methods?
  • Should entrepreneurs be required to consider the environmental impact of their business operations?
  • Is it better for entrepreneurs to focus on creating a new product or service, or to improve upon an existing one?
  • Should entrepreneurs be required to have a certain level of education or experience before starting a business?
  • Is it ethical for entrepreneurs to use investor funding to support a luxurious lifestyle instead of reinvesting in their business?
  • Should entrepreneurs be held accountable for the social and environmental impacts of their products or services?
  • Should entrepreneurs be allowed to patent ideas and concepts, or should all innovations be open for public use?
  • Is the current system of venture capital funding fair and equitable for all entrepreneurs?

Teaching Argument Essay: Instructional Unit

Argument Essay Teaching Unit

Help your students master the art of argumentative writing with this argument writing teaching unit!

I created this argumentative essay writing teaching unit with secondary ELA students in mind, and it includes step-by-step and engaging writing instructional materials. This argument essay writing unit includes everything you need for a complete argumentative writing instructional unit, including the print & digital materials.

This essay writing instructional unit includes an editable instructional presentation for direct instruction and student resources to help you and your students work through an argument essay.

With a focus on argument writing and informational text, this unit fuses together key ELA standards as it covers the differences between persuasive and argumentative writing. Thus unit also teaches purpose, audience, tone, diction, and the rhetorical triangle.

Argument Essay  Topics about Animals

  • Should animals be used for scientific research, or are there alternative methods that can be used?
  • Should exotic animals be kept as pets?
  • Is hunting a legitimate way to control animal populations and manage ecosystems?
  • Should animal agriculture be banned or significantly reduced to address concerns about animal welfare, environmental impact, and public health?
  • Should circuses and other entertainment venues that feature animal acts be banned to prevent animal abuse and exploitation?
  • Is it ethical to use animals for entertainment purposes such as horse racing, dog shows, or bullfighting?
  • Should animals have legal rights and be granted personhood, or is that concept reserved only for humans?
  • Should zoos and aquariums be banned or improved to better serve the welfare and conservation of the animals they hold?
  • Should invasive species be removed from ecosystems?
  • Is animal testing justified in developing cosmetic and personal care products?

Argument Essay  Prompts about Sports

  • Should college athletes be paid for their participation in sports?
  • Should high school athletes be excused from certain class assignments?
  • Should high school sports be required to prioritize safety over competition, especially in contact sports like football and hockey?
  • Is esports a legitimate form of competition?
  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be legalized in professional sports?
  • Should women’s sports receive the same funding and support as men’s sports?
  • Should athletes be allowed to protest social and political issues during games, or should sports be kept separate from politics?
  • Should athletes be held to higher standards of conduct and behavior, given their public profile and influence on young people?
  • Is it ethical for cities to use taxpayer money to fund sports stadiums and arenas?
  • Should high schools drop athletics and solely focus on academics?

Argument Essay Topics about School

  • Should schools require students to wear uniforms?
  • Is standardized testing an effective way to measure student achievement?
  • Should schools offer more vocational training programs to prepare students for the workforce?
  • Should schools ban cell phones and other electronic devices?
  • Should schools offer more extracurricular activities and sports programs?
  • Is it essential for schools to provide sex education to students?
  • Should schools be required to offer courses on financial literacy and personal finance management?
  • Should schools offer more mental health resources and support to students?
  • Should schools offer more diversity and inclusion training for staff and students?
  • Should private schools receive tax-payer funding?

Argument Essay  Prompts about Teens and Politics

  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16 to allow teenagers to have a say in political decisions?
  • Is it important for teenagers to be politically engaged and active?
  • Should schools offer more civic education and government classes to prepare teenagers for their roles as future voters and leaders?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to run for political office?
  • Should political parties and candidates specifically target and appeal to teenage voters?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to participate in political protests and rallies?
  • Is it essential for teenagers to be knowledgeable about political issues and current events?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to donate to political campaigns?
  • Should schools be required to remain politically neutral and avoid any bias or preference towards certain parties or candidates?
  • Should teenagers be encouraged to pursue careers in politics and public service?

Argument Essay  Topics about Vehicles

  • Should governments promote and subsidize electric cars to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability?
  • Should autonomous cars be allowed on public roads?
  • Should car manufacturers be held responsible for the environmental impact of their products?
  • Should speed limits be increased on highways and freeways?
  • Should car ownership be discouraged in favor of public transportation and ride-sharing services?
  • Should car insurance be mandatory for all drivers?
  • Should older cars be banned from the road due to higher emissions and safety risks?
  • Should governments invest more in developing and promoting alternative fuels and energy sources for cars?
  • Should car manufacturers be required to disclose all safety and performance data about their products?
  • Should car-sharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go be encouraged and subsidized by governments?

Argument Essay  Prompts about Space and Space Exploration

  • Is space exploration worth the cost?
  • Should governments fund space exploration and research?
  • Is it ethical to mine resources and exploit the commercial potential of other planets?
  • Should humans establish permanent settlements on other planets?
  • Should space agencies prioritize manned missions to Mars?
  • Is space exploration a necessary pursuit for scientific advancement and discovery?
  • Should international cooperation be a priority in space exploration?
  • Should space tourism be encouraged and expanded?
  • Should space debris and junk be regulated and monitored more closely?
  • Is space exploration an inherently human endeavor, or should we prioritize the development of AI and robotics to take on the challenges of space exploration and colonization

And lastly, here is my all-time favorite argument essay topic that I use to teach argument writing. I use this topic for all of my instruction, for all of my examples, and for modeling the process to students: who makes the best fast-food cheeseburger?

Need argument essay instructional materials?

My argument writing teaching unit has everything you need to teach your students all about argument writing! You can pair this unit with any of the argument essay prompts on this page, and you will be teaching argument writing in no time!

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  • Teaching>Classroom Ideas>High school
  • April 21, 2024

The Big List of Essay Topics for High School (120+ Ideas!)

High school students generally do a lot of writing, learning to use language clearly, concisely, and persuasively. When it’s time to choose an essay topic, though, it’s easy to come up blank. If that’s the case, check out this huge round-up of essay topics for high school. You’ll find choices for every subject and writing style.

Argumentative Essay Topics for High School

When writing an argumentative essay, remember to do the research and lay out the facts clearly. Your goal is not necessarily to persuade someone to agree with you, but to encourage your reader to accept your point of view as valid. Here are some possible argumentative topics to try. ( Here are 100 more compelling argumentative essay topics. )

  • The most important challenge our country is currently facing is … (e.g., immigration, gun control, economy)
  • The government should provide free internet access for every citizen.
  • All drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed.
  • Vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco.
  • The best country in the world is …
  • Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.
  • Should all students have the ability to attend college for free?
  • Should physical education be part of the standard high school curriculum?

WeAreTeachers

  • Schools should require recommended vaccines for all students, with very limited exceptions.
  • Is it acceptable to use animals for experiments and research?
  • Does social media do more harm than good?
  • Capital punishment does/does not deter crime.
  • What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?
  • Do we really learn anything from history, or does it just repeat itself over and over?
  • Are men and women treated equally?

Cause-and-Effect Essay Topics for High School

A cause-and-effect essay is a type of argumentative essay. Your goal is to show how one specific thing directly influences another specific thing. You’ll likely need to do some research to make your point. Here are some ideas for cause-and-effect essays. ( Get a big list of 100 cause-and-effect essay topics here. )

  • Humans are causing accelerated climate change.
  • Fast-food restaurants have made human health worse over the decades.
  • What caused World War II? (Choose any conflict for this one.)
  • Describe the effects social media has on young adults.
  • How does playing sports affect people?
  • What are the effects of loving to read?
  • Being an only/oldest/youngest/middle child makes you …
  • What effect does violence in movies or video games have on kids?
  • Traveling to new places opens people’s minds to new ideas.
  • Racism is caused by …

Compare-Contrast Essay Topics for High School

As the name indicates, in compare-and-contrast essays, writers show the similarities and differences between two things. They combine descriptive writing with analysis, making connections and showing dissimilarities. The following ideas work well for compare-contrast essays. ( Find 80+ compare-contrast essay topics for all ages here. )

  • Public and private schools
  • Capitalism vs. communism
  • Monarchy or democracy
  • Dogs vs. cats as pets
  • Paper books or e-books
  • Two political candidates in a current race
  • Going to college vs. starting work full-time
  • Working your way through college as you go or taking out student loans
  • iPhone or Android
  • Instagram vs. Twitter (or choose any other two social media platforms)

Descriptive Essay Topics for High School

Bring on the adjectives! Descriptive writing is all about creating a rich picture for the reader. Take readers on a journey to far-off places, help them understand an experience, or introduce them to a new person. Remember: Show, don’t tell. These topics make excellent descriptive essays.

  • Who is the funniest person you know?
  • What is your happiest memory?
  • Tell about the most inspirational person in your life.
  • Write about your favorite place.
  • When you were little, what was your favorite thing to do?
  • Choose a piece of art or music and explain how it makes you feel.
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • What’s the best/worst vacation you’ve ever taken?
  • Describe your favorite pet.
  • What is the most important item in the world to you?
  • Give a tour of your bedroom (or another favorite room in your home).
  • Describe yourself to someone who has never met you.
  • Lay out your perfect day from start to finish.
  • Explain what it’s like to move to a new town or start a new school.
  • Tell what it would be like to live on the moon.

Expository and Informative Essay Topics for High School

Expository essays set out clear explanations of a particular topic. You might be defining a word or phrase or explaining how something works. Expository or informative essays are based on facts, and while you might explore different points of view, you won’t necessarily say which one is “better” or “right.” Remember: Expository essays educate the reader. Here are some expository and informative essay topics to explore. ( See 70+ expository and informative essay topics here. )

  • What makes a good leader?
  • Explain why a given school subject (math, history, science, etc.) is important for students to learn.
  • What is the “glass ceiling” and how does it affect society?
  • Describe how the internet changed the world.
  • What does it mean to be a good teacher?
  • Explain how we could colonize the moon or another planet.
  • Discuss why mental health is just as important as physical health.
  • Describe a healthy lifestyle for a teenager.
  • Choose an American president and explain how their time in office affected the country.
  • What does “financial responsibility” mean?

Humorous Essay Topics for High School

Humorous essays can take on any form, like narrative, persuasive, or expository. You might employ sarcasm or satire, or simply tell a story about a funny person or event. Even though these essay topics are lighthearted, they still take some skill to tackle well. Give these ideas a try.

  • What would happen if cats (or any other animal) ruled the world?
  • What do newborn babies wish their parents knew?
  • Explain the best ways to be annoying on social media.
  • Invent a wacky new sport, explain the rules, and describe a game or match.
  • Imagine a discussion between two historic figures from very different times, like Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Retell a familiar story in tweets or other social media posts.
  • Describe present-day Earth from an alien’s point of view.
  • Choose a fictional character and explain why they should be the next president.
  • Describe a day when kids are in charge of everything, at school and at home.

Literary Essay Topics

Literary essays analyze a piece of writing, like a book or a play. In high school, students usually write literary essays about the works they study in class. These literary essay topic ideas focus on books students often read in high school, but many of them can be tweaked to fit other works as well.

  • Discuss the portrayal of women in Shakespeare’s Othello .
  • Explore the symbolism used in The Scarlet Letter .
  • Explain the importance of dreams in Of Mice and Men .
  • Compare and contrast the romantic relationships in Pride and Prejudice .
  • Dissect the allegory of Animal Farm and its relation to contemporary events.
  • Interpret the author’s take on society and class structure in The Great Gatsby .
  • Explore the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia.
  • Discuss whether Shakespeare’s portrayal of young love in Romeo and Juliet is accurate.
  • Explain the imagery used in Beowulf .

Narrative and Personal Essay Topics for High School

Think of a narrative essay like telling a story. Use some of the same techniques that you would for a descriptive essay, but be sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. A narrative essay doesn’t necessarily need to be personal, but they often are. Take inspiration from these narrative and personal essay topics.

  • Describe a performance or sporting event you took part in.
  • Explain the process of cooking and eating your favorite meal.
  • Write about meeting your best friend for the first time and how your relationship developed.
  • Tell about learning to ride a bike or drive a car.
  • Describe a time in your life when you’ve been scared.
  • Share the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you.
  • Tell about a time when you overcame a big challenge.
  • Tell the story of how you learned an important life lesson.
  • Describe a time when you or someone you know experienced prejudice or oppression.
  • Explain a family tradition, how it developed, and its importance today.
  • What is your favorite holiday? How does your family celebrate it?
  • Retell a familiar story from the point of view of a different character.
  • Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
  • Tell about your proudest moment.

Persuasive Essay Topics for High School

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative , but they rely less on facts and more on emotion to sway the reader. It’s important to know your audience, so you can anticipate any counterarguments they might make and try to overcome them. Try these topics to persuade someone to come around to your point of view. ( Discover 60 more intriguing persuasive essay topics here. )

  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Is capitalism the best form of economy?
  • Students should/should not be able to use their phones during the school day.
  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • If I could change one school rule, it would be …
  • Is year-round school a good idea?

Research Essay Topics

A research essay is a classic high school assignment. These papers require deep research into primary source documents, with lots of supporting facts and evidence that’s properly cited. Research essays can be in any of the styles shown above. Here are some possible topics, across a variety of subjects.

  • Which country’s style of government is best for the people who live there?
  • Choose a country and analyze its development from founding to present day.
  • Describe the causes and effects of a specific war.
  • Formulate an ideal economic plan for our country.
  • What scientific discovery has had the biggest impact on life today?
  • Analyze the way mental health is viewed and treated in this country.
  • Explore the ways systemic racism impacts people in all walks of life.
  • Defend the importance of teaching music and the arts in public schools.
  • Choose one animal from the endangered species list, and propose a realistic plan to protect it.

What are some of your favorite essay topics for high school? Come share your prompts on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out the ultimate guide to student writing contests , dig deeper with our longreads, newsletter sign up to get our best longform features, investigations, and thought-provoking essays, in your inbox every sunday..

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Literacy Ideas

23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students

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Persuasive Writing Topics for High School Students

Writing a persuasive essay can be difficult for teachers and students if you don’t have a great idea to help get those creative juices flowing.  These prompts cover a range of issues and topics that are pertinent to middle school and high school students and can be easily adapted to work with a topic you have been teaching in your own class.

Students really enjoy the opportunity to try and change the world in which they live, and hopefully, these prompts might be a great starting point.

Remember that if you are looking for more excellent free resources and structured guides to teach all aspects of English, especially writing, be sure to visit literacyideas.com and check out our vast collection of prompts here.

Year Long Inference Based Writing Activities

Visual Writing Prompts

Tap into the power of imagery in your classroom to master INFERENCE as AUTHORS and CRITICAL THINKERS .

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This YEAR-LONG 500+ PAGE unit is packed with robust opportunities for your students to develop the critical skill of inference through fun imagery, powerful thinking tools, and graphic organizers.

 TOP PERSUASIVE WRITING TOPICS

  • Some parents give children a weekly or monthly allowance regardless of their behavior because they believe an allowance teaches children to be financially responsible. Other parents only give children an allowance as a reward for completing chores or when they have behaved properly. Explain what you think parents should do and why.
  • Many schools now require teenagers to spend a certain number of hours each term doing volunteer work or community service. Some people believe this is an excellent idea as it promotes good citizenship and cultivates compassion. Others feel that forced volunteerism is not volunteering at all. How do you feel about this issue? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  • Some parts of the world allow people to get a driver’s license at age sixteen. Many feel this age is much too young for the responsibility that comes with driving a car and that teenagers should not be allowed to drive until the age of 18. In your opinion, at what age should people be allowed to drive, and why?
  • What is your all-time favorite book or movie and why? Write an essay persuading readers to watch this film or read this book.
  • Have you ever made a life changing action that has had a positive effect on you or the lives of others? Write an essay that convinces readers to make a change for the better.
  • You have been asked to write a letter that would convince a organizers of a major event to be hosted in your hometown. Write an essay that convinces these delegates that your town would be great host.
  • Top professional athletes often have salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Do you think these athletes deserve this type of income? Why or why not? Explain your position and use specific reasons and examples.
  • Humans have always wondered about the possibility of life on other planets in the universe. Do you believe extraterrestrial life exists? Write an essay persuading others to share your point of view .
  • If someone discovered the ‘Elixir of life’ that would enable us to live forever, would it be a blessing or a curse? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  • If you have you ever traveled to a place that you found very meaningful and rewarding? Write an essay that persuades others to visit this important place.
  • Nearly all private schools require students to wear uniforms. Should public school students wear uniforms too? Argue for or against school uniforms for public school students. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  • You are to select one item from the twenty-first century to place in a time capsule for future generations, what would you choose? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice, explaining both the item’s significance and the reasons why it embodies the culture of the early twenty-first century.
  • What would improve your town or city? Write an essay convincing officials to make a change that would improve your neighborhood.
  • Some studies have shown students often perform better on exams if music is played softly in the background. However, some students may find the music distracting. Should schools play classical music during exams and/or allow students to listen to headphones whilst working? Take a position and explain your answer.
  • Should parents be a child’s disciplinarian, or their best friend?
  • Take a position and explain your answer using specific reasons and examples.
  • Millions of people visit zoos around the world. But some people believe that zoos are inhumane and that animals should not be kept in captivity. Do you agree? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  • In most countries people pay taxes based upon how much they earn: the higher their income, the higher the percentage of that income they must pay in taxes. Many people argue that a flat tax, in which everyone pays the same rate regardless of income, would be a more equitable and desirable tax system. Which of these two tax systems do you think is best, and why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  • Is it wise to devote time and money to building a space station on the moon or Mars? Why or why not? Explain your answer.
  • An ancient Greek proverb states, “All things good to know are difficult to learn.” Do you agree? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
  • Imagine that you know someone who is unfamiliar with computers and has never been on the Internet. Write an essay convincing this relative to get a computer and get online.
  • Imagine that you have made it to the final round of interviews for your dream job. Convince your prospective employers that you are the one who most deserves the position.
  • Is there something that you believe is truly worth fighting for? Write an essay persuading others that this cause is worth a fight.

If you have any other great ideas for persuasive prompts please post them in the comments section below. 

A COMPLETE TEACHING UNIT ON PERSUASIVE WRITING SKILLS

Persuasive Writing Topics, essay, essay writing, prompts | opinion writing unit 1 | 23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to produce writing that  PERSUADES  and  INFLUENCES  thinking with this  HUGE  writing guide bundle covering: ⭐ Persuasive Texts / Essays ⭐ Expository Essays⭐ Argumentative Essays⭐ Discussions.

A complete 140 PAGE unit of work on persuasive texts for teachers and students. No preparation is required.

CommonLit

Help High School Students Grow as Writers with These Argumentative Articles

Dorothy Hodges

Dorothy Hodges

Sparking student interest is sometimes best done with a bit of controversy. That’s why we’ve collected some of our most engaging argumentative articles for high school students. Each of these informational texts from our digital literacy program will not only launch a class debate but also serve as an opportunity for students to have fun grappling with relevant topics and argumentative analysis. They also serve as exemplars of great argumentative writing! Do I hear an opinion essay coming?

“ No, Mobile Phones Should Not Be Banned in UK Schools ” by Stephen Corbett (9th grade)

Students will be excited to read this argumentative article claiming that cell phones should be allowed in schools. Poll the class on this topic before and after reading to see if anyone has changed their mind.

Screenshot of an argumentative article for students  “No, Mobile Phones Should Not be Banned in UK Schools”

This argumentative article for students is a great model of opinion writing. Have students follow the development of the author’s argument through their annotations while reading. This not only supports students reading comprehension, but it will also prepare them for Assessment Question 3, “How does Paragraph 7 develop the idea that mobile devices should be allowed in school?”

“ Life Isn’t Fair - Deal With It ” by Mike Myatt (9th grade)

In this argumentative article, Mike Myatt argues that fairness is actually a subjective idea rather than a natural characteristic of life. Do you agree? Do you think your students will?

Screenshot of an argumentative article for students called “Life Isn’t Fair — Deal With It”

Use this argumentative text and reading comprehension lesson as a launchpad for students to write their own opinion essay responding to Discussion Question 2, “The author believes that ‘fairness’ is not a useful term, and that it makes people feel entitled to good outcomes. Make an argument for the opposite - how would you convince someone that the concept of ‘fairness’ is an important one?”

“ Should We Scoff At The Idea Of Love At First Sight? ” by James Kuzner (10th grade)

This spicy opinion piece focuses on the neuroscience of love. It’s also sure to be a relatable and engaging topic to bring your students into a deep analysis of a writer’s argumentative structure.

This is a great text to use as a baseline for extended argumentative writing practice. Ask students to discuss and draft a written response to Discussion Question 2, “Do you think that love at first sight exists in the real world? Why or why not?” 

“ Why I Despise the Great Gatsby ” by Kathryn Schulz (11th grade)

In this opinion piece, Author Kathryn Schulz argues why The Great Gatsby isn’t actually all that great of a novel.

After completing the reading comprehension assessment questions from this lesson, use the related media video “ Psychology of Strong Opinions and Social Connections ” to expand student thinking regarding opinions and argument. Ask students to evaluate Kathryn Schulz’s opinion. Is Schulz’s opinion strong? Why or why not? Then, ask students to apply that same evaluation to revise their own opinion writing.

“ The Fallacy Of Success ” by G.K. Chesterson (11th grade)

Some students have very specific ideas of success. This 1915 argumentative article challenges widely-held ideas of success and just may push your students to do the same.

Use the reading assessment questions to push students to support their analysis of Chesterson’s argument with text-specific evidence with Assessment Question 3, which asks how a specific quote from paragraph 4 supports the passage’s central idea.

“ What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up In Cyberspace ” by Brent Staples (12th grade)

Today’s students (and many of today’s teachers!) have never lived in a world without the Internet. In this argumentative article , Brent Staples asks readers to consider the ways growing up with such connectivity could impact them as they age.

 Screenshot of an argumentative article for students called “What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up In Cyberspace”

This is a great text to push students to create their own piece of thoughtful argumentative writing. Use Discussion Question 2 as a writing prompt that must be supported with evidence: “What costs does the author identify of growing up online? Do you agree with the author’s views on the Internet? Why or why not? What benefits do you think the Internet provides teenagers?”

“ Will The ‘Right’ College Major Get You A Job? ” by Glenn Altshuler (12th grade)

Top of mind for many 12th graders, this argumentative article explores whether or not college pays off in the ways it’s advertised to students.

Use the paired text “ Is College Worth It? Is This Even the Right Question? ” by Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum to extend student thinking further. Ask students to compare how both texts explore the differences between the experiences of those with college degrees in the job market and those without degrees? Then ask students to write a response to the same question: Is college worth it?

Want even more argumentative articles that will assist students in crafting their own argumentative writing essays? Check out our Target Lessons for high schoolers.

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  • Essay Examples

117 Great Persuasive Essay Topics for High School Level Students

persuasive essay topics

When working on any essay, the first thing you’ll have to figure out is your topic. In high school, you are supposed to pick the kind of topic you will be able to dig into — that is, you have to make sure you can find enough info on the subject. Sure, today it seems that getting your hands on any kind of information is simple and question how long is a thesis isn't on the table yet. Still, you have to remember that apart from being available, the info you discuss should be engaging. So, that’s something to think about.

Argumentative and persuasive essays are most commonly assigned to high school students. So, there are plenty of papers in public domains that are written in one of these styles — and you can take a look at those if you need some inspiration. When working on an argumentative paper, for example, a student is supposed to present two polar different opinions on the subject and present enough evidence to support each point of view. But simply discussing two sides of the argument is not enough — a writer should also come up with a comprehensible conclusion. The same goes for persuasive essays — after all, the student’s primary goal here is to persuade the reader in his/her point of view.

In fact, a lot of argumentative essays are actually persuasive papers. So, if you’ve written at least one of those, you'll know how to write the other one. If you haven’t, here is a tip for you: choose a topic you feel strongly about. This is the certain way to make sure you will have enough ideas for a truly engaging paper; and, since you feel strongly about the subject, it will be way easier to prove your point of view to the reader.

Another word of advice while choosing a persuasive essay topic is to pick something that would be neither too broad, nor too narrow. Remember that most high school papers are no longer than five pages (often, even shorter than that), so it’s best to choose just one question and focus on it in your work. Also, remember that you will have to provide some factual evidence for your opinion (after all, any academic paper should be supported by academically recognized sources), so do not go for subjects that are purely opinionated and do not have any chance of justification.

Now that we’ve highlighted how important choosing a persuasive topic is for a student, let’s give you some great topic ideas to get you started.

50 Simple Essay Topics for High School

  • How can a person overcome fear?
  • Describe a piece of art (book, painting, poem) that changed your life.
  • Should students evaluate their teachers?
  • Do standardized tests really reveal student knowledge?
  • Should there be extra incentives for good grades at school?
  • Should Gym classes be obligatory?
  • Should we make our school calendar longer?
  • Can a class size influence student performance?
  • Should schools punish inappropriate student behavior?
  • Is there a connection between real-life violence and video games?
  • Should illegal immigrants’ children get an education?
  • Is there a way to deal with bullies in schools?
  • How reality TV is enforcing dangerous stereotypes
  • Is pop culture encouraging students not to pursue education?
  • White lies: what are they and should we really believe them to be innocent?
  • Should violent video games be sold to minors?
  • Using cell phones for education: the pros and cons
  • Should we conceal our real identities on the web?
  • Technology: distraction or a bonus?
  • Educational apps: how helpful are they?
  • Should everyone go for a college education?
  • The role of affirmative action in the modern world
  • College admission criteria: is there anything else apart from SAT?
  • The skinny model stereotype and its pressure on average girls
  • Do we really have equal rights for men and women?
  • Why so few girls pursue careers in exact sciences?
  • Stopping sexual abuse against young women
  • Should sports bets be legalized?
  • Can cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Homosexual rights for sportsmen
  • The role of sports in our world
  • Are sports in the US too commercialized?
  • The benefits of local sports franchises
  • Should colleges pay their baseball players?
  • The debate of the naming rights
  • How should we treat juvenile offenders?
  • Pros and cons of death penalty
  • Leadership and the moral obligations that come with it
  • A cure against mass shootings
  • Should we change our gun control policy?
  • Is there too much digital censorship these days?
  • Should rich people pay higher taxes?
  • Government and the confidence we place in it
  • Privacy Vs. Security: which one comes first?
  • Should the US monitor its allies and citizens?
  • Should students be able to pick their teachers?
  • Is it reasonable to lower the voting age?
  • How important is fashion?
  • The appropriate dating age
  • Can older generation learn from the new one?

50 Persuasive topic ideas for high school

  • The pros and cons of allowing cell phones in schools
  • Free state college attendance for the state residents
  • The pros and cons of marijuana treatment
  • Is death penalty justifiable for violent offenders?
  • Should illegal immigrants be granted same rights as citizens?
  • Airport security: do we really need that many screenings?
  • Should we allow birth control for minors?
  • Free condoms at schools: atrocity or necessity?
  • Should schools separate gym grades from the grade list?
  • Free wi-fi in the cities: pros and cons
  • How often should teachers pass qualification tests?
  • Universal wealthy: how reasonable it is in the US realia?
  • Animal product testing: ethical vs. practical
  • Civil unions: should the government recognize them?
  • Is it reasonable to keep suspected terrorists under custody?
  • Should students be allowed to bring their music players to school?
  • Can we charge plus size citizens double ticket fair?
  • Corporate lobbyists and political campaigns: is their support legal?
  • Should school dedicate more attention to world religions?
  • Introducing obligatory community service in schools
  • Is it safe to keep exotic pets?
  • Cellphones in the classroom: should the teachers have them?
  • Violent crimes and minors: should the government treat them as adults?
  • Should we legalize euthanasia?
  • Should federal government control and restrict certain content on the Internet?
  • Sexual education as an obligatory subject in high schools
  • Should ESL students pass state tests in their native languages?
  • Can digital devices replace traditional textbooks?
  • Is it reasonable to test professional sportsmen for drugs?
  • Should corporate advertising be allowed in schools?
  • Can students and over be friends on social media?
  • How ethical it is to use stem cells from aborted children for the research?
  • Should the USA spend more time on internal affairs and less on overseas issues?
  • Drunk driving: should we enforce stricter punishment?
  • Is it ethical for a rape victim to go for an abortion?
  • Driving without a seat-belt: should it be considered a crime?
  • Is it necessary for high school sportsmen to take drug tests?
  • Should schools increase their budgets by selling food and drinks to students?
  • Is it ethical to advertise alcohol on TV?
  • Should foreign goods be taxed higher than internal products?
  • Free bus rides for seniors: do we need them?
  • Should the government ban sports betting?
  • Should the government lower the budget for schools that show weak results on SAT?
  • Would it be reasonable to euthanize dogs that have shown aggressive behavior towards people?
  • Should we introduce government censorship on certain online content?
  • Should we lower the minimal working age to 14 years old?
  • The pros and cons of wearing uniforms in schools
  • Should we allow getting a driving permit starting the age of 21?
  • Should schools introduce fast food in their menus?
  • Should booster seats for children be made obligatory?

12 Controversial Topics for School

  • Are there any moral grounds that can justify torture?
  • Should we consider police cameras an invasion of our privacy?
  • Should we ban tobacco once and for all?
  • Is the access to condoms affecting teenage irresponsible behavior?
  • Is the mankind really responsible for global warming?
  • Is it reasonable to teach creationism in schools?
  • How fair is our election process?
  • Should fathers get a paternity leave just as mothers do?
  • Are parents disrupting their children’s privacy by posting photos online?
  • Is advertising to children ethical?
  • Is average CEO salary justifiable?
  • Should the army promote their programs to high school students?

Best Topics for high school that are interesting and fun to read

  • The positive aspects of rivalry
  • The matter of age in a relationship
  • Is boredom is the surest way to trouble?
  • Should we increase or lower the drinking age?
  • Are the college tuition fees too high?

Those are some of the most interesting, opinionated essay topics for high school level. The biggest perk of the above examples is that most of them are based on a student’s opinion. At the same time, most of these topics presuppose some research — so any idea you’re proving will not be without confirmation. If you want to get more inspiration check out exploratory essay topics as well.

The final word of advice would be to pay your attention not only to the topic you choose but also to the way you present and organize your ideas. Do not forget that any essay should have an intro, main body and conclusion. The main body should be divided into a series of logically connected paragraphs, each presenting a certain point.

Finally, if you are to write and essay but have little knowledge or interest in the subject, do not forget that there are plenty of custom essay writers that will gladly do the job for you. Perhaps, the toughest thing to do when looking for an essay writing service or lab report example is determining which of them are reliable and which are not. But, with a little bit of time and patience (and attention to detail, of course), you will have no problem figuring out which service is worth a shot. A tip: these companies usually have a great number of positive customer reviews, are available through multiple support channels and have no problem sharing useful information for free.

Proposal Essay Topics: How To Choose Them And How To Make Them Work In Your Paper

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essay for high school

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High School Essay Examples

Unique opportunities and challenges during high school.

High school is a pivotal period in the lives of young individuals, marked by both unique opportunities and challenges that shape their personal and academic development. It is a time of self-discovery, academic growth, and the formation of lifelong friendships. This essay explores the distinctive...

My High School Experience: the Influence of a Special Person

My timid freshman-year-self walked into my counselor’s office with tremendous fear. I was too shy to talk to my guidance counselor throughout my first year at the high school, so I had no idea what to expect. As I entered the office, I saw a friendly...

The Value of a High School Diploma

Obtaining a high school diploma is not merely a ceremony marking the end of secondary education; it represents a significant milestone in one's educational journey and holds profound implications for personal growth, access to higher education, and career opportunities. This essay delves deeper into the...

Unforgettable Life-lessons During Highschool

In this paper I am going to share some stories that I had during the high school period and what lessons they have taught me. Throughout my high school experience, my family’s financial situation has been the one to shape me into the person I...

High School Dropout: How I Escaped from This

It is said that every year around 1.2 million students drop out of high school. The United States had some of the highest graduation ranks for developed countries, but it is now placed at 22 out of 27 on the list. Every 26 seconds or...

Personal Reflection About Senior High School Journey

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Lao Tzu I am a student at Camarines Norte Senior High School taking up a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) strand. As a Senior High School student, it was a great privilege and one...

High School Vs College: a Compare and Contrast

High school and college are two distinct phases in a student's academic journey. While both serve as crucial stepping stones towards higher education and future careers, they differ significantly in terms of structure, curriculum, social life, and overall experience. In this essay, we will compare...

When I Graduate from a High School: Reflections on Graduation

To start with, this is one of the "When I graduate from high school essays" as I have just ended my study and there were lots of confused feelings about this experience that I want to share. As I walked across the stage to receive...

Media Surrounding of Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

It was February 14th 2018 valentine’s day, a day of a huge massacre that took place in Parkland, Florida. Students between the ages of 15-18 waking up and getting ready to go to school not knowing what they are about to face that day. Some...

The Effects of the Columbine High School Shooting on America

On April 20, 1999, two armed students entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and fixed their aim on their classmates and faculty. Less than an hour later, those two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, had murdered 12 students and one teacher and wounded...

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About High School

High school is a kind of school, a place where people go to learn skills for use in life. In a three-part system such as in the United States, children go to high school after middle school ("junior high"). In a two-party system such as in the United Kingdom, the change is from primary school to secondary school at 11 years of age. There are public high schools and private high schools in the United States and many other countries.

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