Choosing a Persuasive Essay Topic: Dos and Don’ts

Picture of a frustrated guy, finding it difficult to choose a persuasive essay topic.Choosing the right persuasive essay topic one is the first step towards getting the grade that you want. It’s impossible to emphasize how important the right topic is in writing a persuasive essay. It’s often the difference between an average paper that is nevertheless difficult to write, and an outstanding paper that gives you no real trouble. A persuasive essay — also called an argumentative essay — should be passionate and convincing. Therefore, it’s vital to choose an essay topic that you can be passionate and convincing about. Writing about something that doesn’t engage you is unlikely to result in a paper that will engage and interest your audience.

Professors grade a lot of papers. They are not only looking for essays that fulfill the terms of the assignment — they’re looking for work that exceeds those expectations and stands out from the rest. A great way to distinguish your persuasive essay from the very first sentence is to choose a persuasive essay topic that your professor has never read about before. Learning about an absorbing new topic is one of the most enjoyable things a reader can experience. If you can achieve this, you’ll immediately have an advantage over other essays that have chosen topics your professor has seen dozens of times before. For a moment, put yourself in your professor’s position. How many times has your professor read a persuasive essay about instituting an NCAA Football playoff system? Your professor has read so many dull, unfocused papers about global warming that they’re all beginning to look alike. (Here’s another thing they had in common: none of them scored especially highly.)

A common mistake college students make when tasked with writing a persuasive essay is writing about a topic that is too large for a typical college essay’s scope. Writing about a topic that is so wide-ranging and complicated that you can’t possibly cover it within your given page limit will just make your assignment more difficult than it has to be. Worse, it will result in writing that is generalized and dull. When it comes to persuasive essay topics, the more specific, the better. Rather than writing an essay about civil liberties, write about a specific event involving civil liberties. For example, an account of a First Amendment case involving a student-run newspaper could easily become a lively paper about what freedoms of expression you believe students should have. An essay about the existence of aliens is possibly one your professor has read before, but what about one dealing with the ethics of scientists broadcasting messages into space without the rest of humanity’s approval? Specificity will not only make your arguments stronger, it will also differentiate your essay from the rest of the persuasive essays your professor will read when it’s time to assign grades.

The best papers call attention to themselves. Don’t be afraid to call attention to the paper you’re about to write — choose a topic that your paper can’t help but live up to.

If you need help perfecting your essays, check out our academic editing services.

If you have yet to get started and are seeking some inspiration on what to write your persuasive essay about, check out our guide to choosing a persuasive essay topic.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I have been procrastinating on this mostly because I’m at a point in life where I don’t want to push my views on anyone else, I don’t really care if anyone sees things the way I do, so the idea of writing a persuasive paper has been the antonym of my current pursuit in life.  

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