Sample Persuasive Essay Topics

How to Write a Persuasive Essay?

Persuasive essays try to prove a claim, or argue for a point of view. As a college writing instructor for 20 years, and a public educator for 10 years previous to that, I've read many excellent persuasive essay samples. The following list of argumentative essay topics are ones developed by students in my classes.

Argument Essay Ideas

  1. What is the cause of continued improvement in sports record breaking? Is it better training? Better nutrition? Drug use?
  2. Do those who go to college and make a better salary have an obligation to give back? If so, what do they owe to those who are less privileged?
  3. Will China overtake the U.S. as the top world power?
  4. What will be the top three problems for your generation to solve?
  5. What is the best method of helping poor children do well in school?
  6. Should prisoners be rehabilitated? How?
  7. How can we prevent sex trafficking of young girls and women?
  8. Why don't people do things they know are good for them? (like eat the right foods, exercise, not procrastinate etc.)
  9. Why is getting a tattoo an increasingly popular trend?
  10. Why do people like to root for the underdog?
  11. What are the best steps to take to break a bad habit?
  12. Choose a favorite movie or book and argue why it should be required reading in your high school.
  13. What should be the laws about cell phone use while driving?
  14. If parents speak a language other than English, should they have their child speak both languages while growing up, or only English?
  15. What sorts of chores should teenagers be required to do around the house?

How Important are Sports in Education?


Topics About Relationships

  1. Does social networking make relationships (friendships or family relationships) better or worse?
  2. Why do relationships (friendships or romantic relationships fail?
  3. Is there ever a time when cheating is all right in school?
  4. Are arranged marriages better?
  5. Do kids recover from a divorce? How does divorce affect kids?
  6. Should young couples consider adoption as part of the way they build a family?
  7. Should more men be stay at home dads?
  8. Should families care for their elderly loved ones at home?
  9. Should children get a say in their parent's decision to get a divorce?
  10. How can bullying be prevented?
  11. Who is more often responsible for relationships breaking up: men or women?
  12. Should people get married while they are still in college? How about right after high school?
  13. Why are people more self-sacrificing during a crisis?
  14. Should unmarried pregnant teens keep their babies or give them up for adoption?
  15. Most romantic songs dream of living "happily ever after." What can a couple getting married do to make that dream come true?

Can Your Persuade Me?


Social Issues Topics

  1. How effective are anti-drug campaigns in preventing drug use in teenagers?
  2. Where should we draw the line at genetic engineering of animals, plants or people?
  3. Should illegal immigrants be allowed to get worker's visas?
  4. Should gun control laws be less restrictive?
  5. What should be done about child obesity? Whose fault is it?
  6. Should advertising aimed at children be limited? Who should limit it? Government? Self-regulation?
  7. Why don't people recycle more? Persuade your audience that recycling is worth the effort.
  8. Persuade someone to be sure to vote. Why is voting important?
  9. Persuade a friend with an eating disorder to seek help.
  10. Why don't people do things they know are good for them? (like eat the right foods, exercise, not procrastinate etc.)
  11. What can be done about Internet pornography? Should the government be involved in limiting it?
  12. Should we be concerned about overpopulation? What should be done?
  13. What can be done to prevent teen suicide?
  14. How can someone escape domestic violence? How can you persuade a friend to get help?
  15. What causes someone to become addicted to alcohol or drugs?
  16. How should the U.S. (or your hometown) handle the problem of homelessness? What is the cause of homelessness?
  17. How can the problem of hunger be solved in America?
  18. How can we persuade people to drive more safely? Or show more courtesy when driving?
  19. How do we prevent teen pregnancies?
  20. Should restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, be required to do things like display calorie counts, provide healthy options, and limit portion sizes?


Topics about Education

  1. How effective are anti-drug campaigns in preventing drug use in teenagers?
  2. Is it important for high schools and colleges to use services like Turnitin to prevent plagiarism?
  3. What should be done to prevent high school students dropping out of school?
  4. Is the expense of a 4-year private college education worth it?
  5. How can bullying be prevented?
  6. Does tutoring or teaching someone else a subject help you learn the material better? to doing well in college?
  7. Why do college students drop out?
  8. How much sleep do college student's need? How does lack of sleep affect them and how can they get enough sleep?
  9. Should college students work? Should they limit their work hours?
  10. Is living in a college dorm beneficial or harmful?
  11. Is homeschooling good for children?
  12. Should all college students be required to do volunteer work as part of their graduation requirement?
  13. Should Creationism be taught in schools?
  14. Should college be free? Or argue for a better way to pay college costs for students.
  15. Do those who go to college and make a better salary have an obligation to give back? If so, what do they owe to those who are less privileged?

Should more American students study Mandarin?
Should more American students study Mandarin? | Source

Types of Claims

In order for something to be a good persuasive essay topic, it has to be an arguable issue. If it can be proven, or is a fact everyone agrees on, it is not a good topic. So look for issues that people can debate. Most persuasive essay ideas fall into one of five categories

Definition: What is the real meaning of something. (example: What is the true meaning of Beauty, Truth, or Success)

Fact: What really happened? Or what is the truth? (example: Computers change the way people think)

Cause/Effect: what caused this to happen? or what effect did that have? ( example: Texting and cell phone use has caused young people to be less able to concentrate. Or you could argue that it has caused them to be able to handle multi-tasking more effectively and efficiently).

Policy: What should we do? (example: Schools should replace textbooks with ebooks and iPad apps).

Value: What is important? (example: Texting and email is not as good as talking face to face).

Middle School and High School Topics

  1. Should schools have dress codes or uniforms? If so, what should the requirements be?
  2. Do students learn better in all-girls or all-boys environments?
  3. How should teacher's handle cell phone use in class? Should there be a ban on cell phones in your school? If not, where should the school draw the line?
  4. Is playing on an organized team sport beneficial to High School or Middle School students? Argue why or why not. You might want to consider whether there should be a requirement that all students join a team sport.
  5. How much homework should High School or Middle School students have each night? Should there be a requirement for teachers to co-ordinate homework?
  6. How important is it for teenagers to follow trends in fashion, music and other media? Argue for or against the idea that following a trend helps teenagers in their life in and out of school.
  7. What is the value of High School and Middle School Students doing volunteer work? Write a persuasive paper towards students your age, urging them to volunteer to: help gather food for the poor, tutor younger students, visit the elderly, contribute to Operation Christmas Child or help in some other cause you are interested in.
  8. How are teenagers better at seeing the world than adults? Write an argumentative essay towards an adult audience, persuading them that they should pay attention to the views of people your age about an issue like: divorce, the environment, recycling, bullies or some other topic.
  9. How can students your age eat a more healthy diet? Persuade students to make better choices and explain how they can eat healthy foods at school and during their busy after school schedule.
  10. What is the best way to keep a friendship? Write a persuasive essay encouraging others to follow your ideas for being a good friend.
  11. What sort of rules should parents have for Middle School Students? For High School students? Write a persuasive paper to parents which suggests how they should balance responsibility with freedom for their teens.
  12. Should schools switch from textbooks to iPad books? Write an argument essay which explains why investing in technology rather than textbooks would be better.
  13. Are pets important? Write a persuasive essay telling why or why not having a pet changes a person's life.
  14. Is it important for teenagers to clean their rooms? Who should set the standard for what a clean room looks like, the teenager or the parents? Either persuade teenagers to keep their rooms clean, or write an argument to parents about what they should do about messy rooms.
  15. Should teachers allow late work? What about punishments for coming late to class? Argue for a policy that you think is fair.
  16. How should parents teach Middle School Students to handle money? Should they get an allowance? Should they have to do chores to earn money? How much should they get? What should they spend it on?
  17. What is the best music to listen to? Argue to a friend and convince them that your favorite band or type of music is the best.
  18. Argue for or against limits on the time teenagers spend watching T.V., playing computer games or using other media. Your audience could be either parents or other middle school students.
  19. Should schools test students before passing them on to the next grade? Argue for or against school testing, or explain what changes should be made to the testing in your school or state.
  20. In your opinion, what is the best sport for students your age to play? Argue for your choice and persuade someone who hasn't played that sport before to try it.

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joanwz profile image

joanwz 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

Superb ideas here.

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    VirginiaLynne profile image

    VirginiaLynne1,250 Followers
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    VirginiaLynne has been a University English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes at helping people write essays faster and easier.

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