Discuss some topics students would be able to write about effectively.

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Students at all grade levels are writing about many things for nearly every course they take in school, so finding new and interesting topics can be a challenge. I cannot tell your exact grade or college year to use as a guideline, so I will give some ideas which might be adapted or adjusted to most students.

Personal essays do not require much, if any, research, as they are based either on personal experience or beliefs. Some ideas for personal experience essays include the following:

  • An important or significant learning experience
  • A major loss or gain 
  • A significant change in circumstances

A personal belief essays allows students to express their views about subjects with which they have some experience--or at least an opinion. These essays are often best stated as a question and include topics like the following:

  • Should students be required to wear uniforms?
  • Is single-sex education preferable to co-ed education?
  • What, if any, is the advantage of studying the arts? or sciences?
  • Why should young people care about politics?
  • How should cheating be addressed?
  • Should sex education be taught in school?

These essays might require a bit of research to gather some support for a particular position; however, each of these questions could also be addressed only as reasoned personal opinions.

Two other kinds of essay students can write effectively about are problem-solution or argument/persuasion. These could, of course, include a research requirement; however, students can certainly write their own thoughts and ideas on these topics without any outside support. Ideas for both of these kinds of essays might include the following:

  • Saving the environment
  • Eliminating drunk driving
  • Dealing with homelessness
  • Addressing the immigration problems
  • Balancing personal freedom and national security
  • Using performance-enhancing drugs in sports
  • Making healthier choices
  • Reducing violence (in media, in sports, in society, in entertainment...)
  • Making college more affordable
  • Maintaining long-distance relationships
  • Cheating in the classroom
  • Preventing childhood obesity
  • Holding parents accountable for their children
  • Eliminating harmful food additives
  • Upholding or eliminating the death penalty
  • Ensuring jobs for college graduates
  • Legalizing marijuana

This list is virtually limitless, as any issues you and your friends and classmates talk about with any passion could be added to it.

Finally, current events are generally another good source of interesting--though often controversial--writing ideas. As I suggested above, anything you and your friends talk about regularly and with passion are good ideas for essay-writing. Again, I do not know the specific age group to which you belong, however, these are some current events which have been hard to miss lately:

  • The merits and treatment of whistle-blowers (ironically, Edward Snowden has been given asylum in Russia)
  • The Affordable Care Act (familiarly known as Obamacare)
  • California's transgender laws about school bathrooms
  • Colorado's law allowing pot now in effect
  • Russia's recent anti-gay legislation and what that means for the Olympics. (Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko recently said this:

"an athlete of nontraditional sexual orientation isn't banned from coming to Sochi, but if he goes out into the streets and starts to propagandize, then of course he will be held accountable.")

  • Gun control (an ongoing hot topic)

Again, these ideas could be adjusted (and the lists added to) based on your classmates and the specific writing situation.

chrisyhsun | Student

As a student, I have often found that other than writing over topics we have covered in class (required novels, specific parts of history, etc.) the writings that have come easiest to me are the relatable ones. While it is good to write on national or even global topics because that forces students to be aware of different events going on in the news, these pieces are mostly likely going to be colored by what is portrayed in the media and as such may contain less of the student's opinions and voice. Some topics I can think of right now include:

  • School uniforms: As mentioned in a previous answer, this is a good, relatable topic for students because they can easily imagine how school uniforms would impact their lives. One catch with this topic is that because it is becoming pretty common, older students are likely to have already written about it and might be bored.
  • Something they would change: This topic can be put in a variety of settings, such as a particular class, the school, the school district, or the community. This allows students to be creative and think of something new while residing in a realm of topics that is still close to home.
  • The role of friends: I think this would be an interesting topic to write about, especially in terms of the balance between how we choose our friends and how our friends influence us. Again, this topic is very relatable to students, so it would be relatively easy to start writing, but at the same time would require plenty of thought and consideration.
  • Usefulness of libraries: Now that we are well in the digital age, what is the function of traditional libraries (if any)? Let students consider how they personally fit into the prescribed roles they enumerate.
Wiggin42 | Student

Of course it depends on the age. 

For elementary aged students:  they love to write about: themselves, their family, vacations they took, their pet, and things they like. 

Older students can write about heavier / controversial topics such as abortion, the death penalty, suicide, grief and loss, love, etc. 

This is a very broad topic because you can litterally write on anything you want it also depends on the kind of paper you have to write tec.. but just throwing around different topics:

  • Write on what makes you angry and why- really helps relieve stress
  • Write a self introduction
  • Write what your childhood dream was and why you have changed it if you have.
  • Write about your opinion on current events
  • Write about your secrets or things you have done that make you feel guilty 
  • Write about things you have seen through the day that intregue you
  • Write Bout things that make you happy and explain why
  • Write about facts you didnt know 
  • Write a diary entry
  • Write poems 

And thats all I can come up with at the moment but im sure you can find plenty of topics if you look on google. 

taangerine | Student

As a student myself, some topics I find interesting are: 

  1. Role Model. Who do you look up to? Why? What are some qualities in that person that you would like to see in yourself?
  2. Environment. What if your position in global warming? What can you do to change it? 
  3. Uniforms. What is my position on school uniform? Why or why not should we change it? Based on your personal experience, why is it effective or ineffective?
  4. Technology. Should cell phones be banned from school completely? Why or why not? 
  5. Smoking. What is your position on smoking?