86 Possible Persuasive Essay Topics
1. Should students be allowed to have cell phones in elementary and high schools?
2. Should students have to wear uniforms?
3. Should college athletes be paid for playing?
4. Should state colleges be free to attend for in-state residents?
5. Should all American citizens have to complete a year of community service?
6. Should students be required to take a foreign language course?
7. Should marijuana be legal for medicinal purposes?
8. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?
9. Should the driving age be raised to twenty-one?
10. Should students be paid for having good grades?
11. Should illegal immigrants be allowed to get drivers licenses?
12. Should students’ textbooks be replaced by notebook computers?
13. Should students have to pass a basic skills test to graduate high school?
14. Should schools raise money by selling candy and sugary soft drinks to students?
15. Should schools serve french-fries and fried potato products to students at lunch?
16. Should students’ grades in gym affect their grade point averages?
17. Should girls be allowed to play on boy’s sports teams?
18. Should teens be able to buy violent video games?
19. Should boys and girls be in separate classes?
20. Should teenage girls be allowed to get birth control without the permission of their parents?
21. Should our country have a universal health care program?
22. Should immigration laws be reformed?
23. Should the federal government recognize civil unions (i.e. gay marriages)?
24. Should people who download music and movies illegally be punished?
25. Should school athletes have to be on the honor roll to play in games?
26. Should music with curse words be allowed at school dances?
27. Should go-go bands be allowed to play at PG County school dances?
28. Should students be able to listen to MP3 players on headphones during class?
29. Should schools offer fast food options like McDonalds or Taco Bell?
30. Should cities offer free public Wi-Fi?
31. Should the government place a tax on junk food and fatty snacks?
32. Should people travelling in airplanes have to undergo intensive security screenings?
33. Should teachers have to pass a basic skills test every ten years to renew their certification?
34. Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals like chimpanzees or tigers?
35. Should people be allowed to keep pit-bull dogs?
36. Should the city offer a bike-sharing program?
37. Should there be an ordinance citing people who fail to recycle $50?
38. Should there be an ordinance citing people who play music too loudly $50?
39. Should celebrities who break the law face stricter penalties?
40. Should larger passengers have to pay for two plane or movie theater tickets?
41. Should people have to get a license to become parents?
42. Should there be tougher federal restrictions for content on the Internet?
43. Should people be allowed to curse on daytime television?
44. Should sexual education be taught in public schools?
45. Should students be able to get free condoms at school?
46. Should students who commit cyberbullying be suspended from school?
47. Should corporations be allowed to advertise in schools?
48. Should students be allowed to eat during class?
49. Should more be done to protect and preserve endangered animals?
50. Is it appropriate for students and teachers to be friends on Facebook?
51. Should students have open campus lunch periods?
52. Should abortions be legal?
53. Should abortions be legal in cases of rape and incest?
54. Should the death penalty be used to punish violent criminals?
55. Should students learn about world religions in public schools?
56. Should schools start later in the morning?
57. Should the USA end overseas military operations?
58. Should politicians be allowed to accept campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists?
59. Should people with terminal illnesses have the right to doctor assisted suicides?
60. Should stem cell researchers be able to use the stem cells from aborted babies to cure diseases?
61. Should school athletes have to take drug tests?
62. Should professional athletes have to take drug tests?
63. Should high school students have to complete community service hours to graduate?
64. Should teens over 13 years be allowed into R rated movies?
65. Should state tests be given in other languages for ESL students?
66. Should scientists be allowed to test products intended for human use on animals?
67. Should unhealthy fast food products be sold with a warning label?
68. Should there be a tariff or tax on products manufactured outside of the country?
69. Should students or teachers receive money for scoring well on standardized tests?
70. Should everyone under the age of 17 have a 9:00 PM curfew?
71. Should schools with low scores on standardized tests be closed?
72. Should minors be allowed to drink alcoholic beverages in their homes with their parents’ consent?
73. Should students be allowed to drop out before they turn 18 years old?
74. Should alcohol manufacturers be allowed to advertise on television?
75. Should students as young as fourteen be allowed to hold jobs?
76. Should people who are caught driving drunk lose their licenses for a year?
77. Should students who fail their classes be retained and have to repeat the grade?
78. Should large businesses and corporations be required to employee a number of minorities proportionate to the population?
79. Should children in temporary living situations with 3.0 GPAs earn free college tuition?
80. Should gambling and sports betting be illegal or should the government regulate it?
81. Should children who commit violent crimes be tried as adults?
82. Should the government be allowed to detain suspected terrorists without trial?
83. Should the government censor internet content deemed inappropriate?
84. Should teachers have to wear uniforms or have a dress code?
85. Should teachers be allowed to have cell phones in the classroom?
86. Should the state execute dogs that have bitten someone?
Possible Persuasive Writing Prompts
1. Elementary and secondary schools around the country are beginning to actively address the problem of bullies. In your opinion, is bullying an issue that should be addressed by schools or left to parents? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
2. Some people are actively involved in promoting and supporting a cause, such as the release of international political prisoners or protecting the environment. Is there a cause you actively support? Write an essay convincing readers to support that cause.
3. Many of us spend hours in front of our computers and communicate more by e-mail or instant-messaging than in person. Some people believe that this is good because it helps shy people communicate more openly with others. Others believe that computer communication prevents us from developing interpersonal skills and limits our ability to have meaningful relationships with others. How do you feel about this issue? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
4. Many people volunteer their time to help others, either through non-profit organizations, churches, or other charitable venues. Write an essay convincing readers to find a charity and volunteer their time.
5. Many people believe that television violence has a negative effect on society because it promotes violence. Do you agree or disagree?
6. Many schools offer students who are native speakers of another language the opportunity to take classes in their native tongue so that they can more easily assimilate and better understand the material. Some educators believe that this is a disservice and that these students should be immersed in the English language. How do you feel about this issue? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
7. Many people complain that American news shows focus too much on sensational items, such as local crimes and celebrity gossip, and spend too little time on important national and international news. In your opinion, should television news devote more time and coverage to international news and global issues? Why or why not?
8. Many junior high and high schools around the country now require students to spend a certain number of hours each term doing volunteer work or community service. Some people believe this is an excellent idea that promotes good citizenship and cultivates compassion. Others feel that forced volunteerism is not volunteerism at all. How do you feel about this issue? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
9. Many 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.
10. All-girl schools have been gaining popularity in recent years because of the belief that girls learn better when they aren’t competing with or intimidated by boys, who statistically get more attention in the classroom. Do you think single-sex schools are a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
11. Research shows that the average American watches as much as six hours of television each day. Do you think this is too much? Write an essay convincing readers to spend less time in front of the TV.
12. Most states allow people to get a driver’s license at the age of 16. Some people feel that 16 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?
13. As part of the “war on drugs” and in reaction to an increase in school violence, many schools across the nation now conduct targeted searches of student lockers and backpacks. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that public school officials have the right to search students’ persons and property when they have reasonable cause to suspect weapons or drugs, many people feel this is a gross violation of students’ right to privacy. Others feel that since school officials are responsible for the well-being of students while they are in the building, they have the right to search for drugs or weapons at any time. How do you feel about this issue? State your position and explain your reasons with specific examples.
14. Write an essay convincing readers to break a specific habit that is harmful to their physical, emotional, or financial health.
15. In many countries, citizens are required to serve in the military for a year or more. Do you believe the United States should institute a similar practice? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
16. According to some health organizations, many foods on our grocery store shelves are made with genetically modified ingredients. Most of these foods, however, do not have a GMO (genetically modified organism) label. Do you think there should be a law requiring manufacturers to label foods containing GMOs? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
17. More and more farmers and food manufacturers are genetically modifying their crops to reduce susceptibility to disease, improve flavor, and reduce costs. Do you think genetically modifying foods is a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
18. Representatives of credit card companies can often be found on college campuses offering special incentives to get students to fill out credit card applications. Many people feel that this takes advantage of students, who are often low on cash during their college years. Others feel that it is an excellent way to help students begin to build credit and learn financial responsibility. How do you feel about this issue? Take a position and use specific reasons and examples to support your argument.
19. Today, there are more and more reality shows on television. Do these shows make good television? Why or why not? Explain your answer using specific reasons and examples.
20. Many cities suffer from serious air and noise pollution—as well as endless traffic jams—because of too many cars. Some people feel that cities with extensive public transportation systems should ban passenger cars and force people to walk, bike, or use public transportation. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?
21. On today’s talk shows, guests and audience members often argue heatedly with each other, and on more than one occasion, guests and audience members have been hurt. Do today’s talk shows go too far? Explain your answer.
22. Have you ever made a change that improved your life or the lives of others? Write an essay that convinces readers to make a change for the better.
23. Carpooling, recycling, and planting trees are all activities that are good for the environment. Write an essay convincing readers to actively participate in one of these activities.
24. Some people think of the United States as a nation of “couch potatoes.” Write an essay persuading readers to be more physically active.
25. Nowadays, the private life of a politician is hardly private. In your opinion, should we be so concerned with the private affairs of a politician or political candidate? State your position and support it with specific reasons and examples.
26. Today’s top professional athletes often have salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Do you think these athletes deserve such high compensation? Why or why not? Explain your position and use specific reasons and examples.
27. Some educators argue that every child in every school should have access to computers. Others believe that the value of computers in the classroom is overrated and that computers may actually interfere with the learning process. In your opinion, how important are computers in the classroom? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
28. Some people believe that students aren’t learning enough in high school. Should school standards be higher? Explain your answer using specific reasons and examples.
29. Although foreign aid spending is typically only a very small portion of our annual budget (currently about .1% of the Gross National Product), the United States still spends billions of dollars a year on foreign aid. Some people feel this is too much and that we should spend nearly all of our money addressing problems here at home. Others feel it is not nearly enough and that we should spend a great deal more helping other nations. How do you feel about this issue? Explain what you think we should do and why.
30. Some people fish to eat what they catch; others fish simply for the “sport,” returning the fish to the water after they’ve caught it. Many animal rights activists argue that sport fishing is cruel and should be abolished. How do you feel about this issue? State your position and support it with specific reasons and examples.
31. Many schools employ security guards and have installed security equipment such as video cameras and metal detectors in the building. In your opinion, how should security in public schools be handled? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
32. In a small minority of schools across the nation, students do not earn grades; rather, they receive regular written and oral evaluations of their work. Some people believe that this is more effective for learning than the grading system, which they believe rewards students unevenly and encourages a competitiveness that is counterproductive to learning. How do you feel about this issue?
33. Some people think that school cafeterias should be required to provide low-fat and/or vegetarian lunch options to accommodate the eating habits of all students. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your position.
34. Argue for or against school uniforms for public school students. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
35. Do you think that the movie and/or TV ratings systems are effective or useful? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
36. In our increasingly global society, many people feel that all students should be required to learn a foreign language before graduating from high school. Do you agree? Why or why not? Explain your position using specific reasons and examples.
37. Today, more and more colleges and universities are offering not only individual courses but entire degree programs online. Some educators worry that online programs do not provide the same quality as an on-campus education and that in an online program, students can get others to do their work. Others believe online courses offer convenience and flexibility enabling students, who might otherwise not be able, to earn a degree and complete their educations. In your opinion, should colleges and universities offer degrees entirely online? Why or why not?
38. Is a good education a right or a privilege? Why do you think so? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
39. What would improve your hometown? Write an essay convincing town officials to make a change that would improve your neighborhood.
40. Most students enjoy the long stretch of summer vacation, but some parents and educators feel that two and a half months is too long a break from school. Some argue that students and families would be better served if the school year were extended through July, with a three or four-week break in August, a longer winter break, and a week off each in the spring and fall. Does this sound like a good idea to you? Why or why not? Explain your answer.
41. Many people feel that the use of surveillance cameras in public places, such as parking lots, is a good idea that can help ensure our safety. Others worry that too many cameras violate our right to privacy and give law enforcement officials too much power. In your opinion, should we install more surveillance cameras in public places? Why or why not? Support your position with specific reasons and examples.
42. Most schools require students to read “old” texts such as ancient Greek tragedies or Shakespearian plays. Many students wonder why they should read these texts instead of more contemporary material. Make a case for or against the reading of classical literature in English classes.
43. Should a parent be a child’s disciplinarian, or a child’s best friend? Take a position and explain your answer using specific reasons and examples.
44. With the current popularity of sport utility vehicles many people believe that it’s more important than ever for Congress to pass legislation requiring automobile manufacturers to use more fuel-efficient engines. Do you agree that such a law should be passed? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your argument.
45. Every year, 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.
46. Students who don’t want to do their homework can find dozens of sites on the Internet that offer essays for sale. Do you think this is a legitimate business, or should these enterprises be shut down? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
47. Do you think the SAT or ACT exam is an accurate measure of a student’s aptitude for college? Support your position with specific examples.
48. Many of us are fond of music that speaks to our particular generation. Write an essay that convinces others not in your generation that your music is worth listening to.
49. For decades, elementary school children across the country had been required to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag every school-day morning. That practice has recently been called into question, and standing and reciting the pledge is now voluntary. In your opinion, should students be required to say the pledge, should it remain voluntary, or should the practice be completely abandoned? State your position and use specific reasons and examples to support it.
50. The writer Thomas Mann said, “War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.” Do you agree with this claim? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
51. Activist Jeannette Rankin once said, “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
52. Many albums and CDs now contain stickers warning parents that the lyrics of some of the songs may not be suitable for children. Some people argue that simply putting a sticker on a label is not enough. What do you think the record industry should do to warn parents about inappropriate lyrics? Explain what you think should be done and why.
53. Many high schools have instituted a study hall in every student’s schedule that they attend several times a week. Write a paper persuading the school system to have all high school schedules include a study hall period several times a week.