Picking A Topic For Your College Essay: Tried and True Techniques Guaranteed

So you’ve been assigned to write an essay in one of your college classes. Chances are, you’ve already been given a basic idea of what to write about for your paper. But sometimes, you may have been given a fairly open-ended essay assignment. For example, you might have to write a college admissions paper. In this case, the sky’s the limit. But what do you write about?

Take it from us. These tried and true techniques can help you narrow it down and figure out what paper topics will work for you.

Figure out the Essay

First off, make sure you understand exactly what the perimeters of the essay assignment are. Always refer to the rubric of the paper before you sit down and attempt to come up with a topic.


Sit down and try to think about what kinds of topics you’d be interested in writing about. What are you passionate about? If your teacher already gave you a few ideas for what you can write about, keep that in mind. This will help keep you on track.

Write down your ideas. You may find a bubble map or a chart helpful as you come up with ideas.

Think about what’s interesting about some of the subjects you’re learning about. In some cases, you may be able to draw upon personal experience.

Ask Yourself These Questions

As you narrow down your potential topics, ask yourself a few basic questions.

  1. Is this topic relevant to the class and the kind of paper I’m supposed to write?
  2. Do I have enough material to write an essay that will fit the word count I’ve been assigned?
  3. Is it interesting? Will I enjoy writing this?

A topic that’s interesting, relevant, and substantial enough to work as a full paper is the kind of topic you want to be trying to come up with.

It Never Hurts to Ask

If you’re still stuck, it never hurts to ask for some insight. Perhaps consider meeting with your professor after class. He or she may be able to help look over your potential topics and help you determine if they’ll work for your essay. Alternatively, have a fellow classmate or friend look them over. Other people can offer you a new perspective.

Writing the Essay

Once you’ve found the right topic for your paper, you’re ready to go. Plan an outline out for your paper and write the first draft. Just make sure that you’re staying on topic.

Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to picking the perfect topics for your college papers.