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How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Comprehensive Guide with Examples

components essay topics

What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition

Have you ever been tasked with explaining a complex topic to someone without prior knowledge? It can be challenging to break down complex ideas into simple terms that are easy to understand. That's where explanatory writing comes in! An explanatory essay, also known as an expository essay, is a type of academic writing that aims to explain a particular topic or concept clearly and concisely. These essays are often used in academic settings but can also be found in newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

For example, if you were asked to explain how a car engine works, you would need to provide a step-by-step explanation of the different parts of the engine and how they work together to make the car move. Or, if you were asked to explain the process of photosynthesis, you would need to explain how plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy.

When wondering - 'what is an explanatory essay?', remember that the goal of an explanatory paper is to provide the reader with a better understanding of the topic at hand. Unlike an opinion essay , this type of paper does not argue for or against a particular viewpoint but rather presents information neutrally and objectively. By the end of the essay, the reader should clearly understand the topic and be able to explain it to others in their own words.

Also, there is no set number of paragraphs in an explanatory essay, as it can vary depending on the length and complexity of the topic. However, when wondering - 'how many paragraphs in an explanatory essay?', know that a typical example of explanatory writing will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

However, some essays may have more or fewer body paragraphs, depending on the topic and the writer's preference. Ultimately, an explanatory essay format aims to provide a clear and thorough explanation of the topic, using as many paragraphs as necessary.

Explanatory Essay Topics

30 Interesting Explanatory Essay Topics 

Now that we have defined what is explanatory essay, the next step is choosing a good explanatory topic. A well-chosen topic is interesting and relevant to your audience while also being something you are knowledgeable about and can provide valuable insights on. By selecting a topic that is too broad or too narrow, you run the risk of either overwhelming your audience with too much information or failing to provide enough substance to fully explain the topic. Additionally, choosing a topic that is too controversial or biased can lead to difficulty in presenting information objectively and neutrally. By choosing a good explanatory topic, you can ensure that your essay is well-informed, engaging, and effective in communicating your ideas to your audience.

Here are 30 creative explanatory essay topics by our admission essay service to consider:

  • The Impact of Social Media on Modern Communication
  • Exploring the Rise of Renewable Energy Sources Worldwide
  • The Role of Genetics in Personalizing Medicine
  • How Blockchain Technology is Transforming Finance
  • The Influence of Globalization on Local Cultures
  • The Science Behind the Human Body’s Circadian Rhythms
  • Understanding the Causes and Effects of Global Warming
  • The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence and Its Future
  • The Psychological Effects of Social Isolation
  • The Mechanisms of Dreaming: What Happens While We Sleep?
  • The History and Cultural Significance of Coffee
  • How Does the Stock Market Work? An Introductory Guide
  • The Importance of Bees in Ecosystem Maintenance
  • Exploring the Various Forms of Government Around the World
  • The Process of DNA Replication and Its Importance
  • How Personal Finance Trends Are Shaping the Future of Banking
  • The Effects of Music on Human Emotion and Brain Function
  • Understanding Climate Change: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
  • The Role of Antioxidants in Human Health
  • The History of the Internet and Its Impact on Communication
  • How 3D Printing is Revolutionizing Manufacturing
  • The Significance of Water Conservation in the 21st Century
  • The Psychological Impact of Advertising on Consumer Behavior
  • The Importance of Vaccinations in Public Health
  • How Autonomous Vehicles Will Change the Future of Transportation
  • Exploring the Concept of Minimalism and Its Benefits
  • The Role of Robotics in Healthcare
  • The Economic Impact of Tourism in Developing Countries
  • How Urban Farming is Helping to Solve Food Security Issues
  • The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Workplace Dynamics

How to Start an Explanatory Essay: Important Steps

Starting an explanatory essay can be challenging, especially if you are unsure where to begin. However, by following a few simple steps, you can effectively kick-start your writing process and produce a clear and concise essay. Here are some tips and examples from our term paper writing services on how to start an explanatory essay:

How to Start an Explanatory Essay

  • Choose an engaging topic : Your topic should be interesting, relevant, and meaningful to your audience. For example, if you're writing about climate change, you might focus on a specific aspect of the issue, such as the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities.
  • Conduct research : Gather as much information as possible on your topic. This may involve reading scholarly articles, conducting interviews, or analyzing data. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you might research the psychological and physical benefits of the practice.
  • Develop an outline : Creating an outline will help you logically organize your explanatory essay structure. For example, you might organize your essay on the benefits of mindfulness meditation by discussing its effects on mental health, physical health, and productivity.
  • Provide clear explanations: When writing an explanatory article, it's important to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you might use diagrams and visual aids to help illustrate your points.
  • Use evidence to support your claims : Use evidence from reputable sources to support your claims and arguments. This will help to build credibility and persuade your readers. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of exercise, you might cite studies that demonstrate its positive effects on mental health and cognitive function.

By following these tips and examples, you can effectively start your expository essays and produce a well-structured, informative, and engaging piece of writing.

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Explanatory Essay Outline

As mentioned above, it's important to create an explanatory essay outline to effectively organize your ideas and ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas logically and systematically, ensuring that you cover all the key points related to your topic. It also helps you identify gaps in your research or argument and allows you to easily revise and edit your essay. In this way, an outline can greatly improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Here are some tips from our ' do my homework ' service to create a good explanatory essay introduction that effectively engages your readers and sets the stage for the entire essay:

  • Start with a hook: Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement or question that draws your readers in. For example, you might start your essay on the benefits of exercise with a statistic on how many Americans suffer from obesity.
  • Provide context: Give your readers some background information on the topic you'll be discussing. This helps to set the stage and ensures that your readers understand the importance of the topic. For example, you might explain the rise of obesity rates in the United States over the past few decades.
  • State your thesis: A good explanatory thesis example should be clear, concise, and focused. It should state the main argument or point of your essay. For example, you might state, ' Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.'
  • Preview your main points: Give your readers an idea of what to expect in the body of your essay by previewing your main points. For example, you might explain that you'll be discussing the benefits of exercise for mental health, physical health, and longevity.
  • Keep it concise: Your introduction should be brief and to the point. Avoid getting bogged down in too much detail or providing too much background information. A good rule of thumb is to keep your introduction to one or two paragraphs.

The Body Paragraphs

By following the following tips, you can create well-organized, evidence-based explanation essay body paragraphs that effectively support your thesis statement.

  • Use credible sources: When providing evidence to support your arguments, use credible sources such as peer-reviewed academic journals or reputable news outlets. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you might cite a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Organize your paragraphs logically: Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or argument related to your topic. Organize your paragraphs logically so that each one builds on the previous one. For example, if you're writing about the causes of climate change, you might organize your paragraphs to focus on human activity, natural causes, and the effects of climate change.
  • Use transitional phrases: Use transitional phrases to help your readers follow the flow of your ideas. For example, you might use phrases such as 'in addition,' 'furthermore,' or 'on the other hand' to indicate a shift in your argument.
  • Provide analysis: Don't just present evidence; provide analysis and interpretation of the evidence. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of early childhood education, you might analyze the long-term effects on academic achievement and future earnings.
  • Summarize your main points: End each body paragraph with a sentence that summarizes the main point or argument you've made. This helps to reinforce your thesis statement and keep your essay organized. For example, you might end a paragraph on the benefits of exercise by stating, 'Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental and physical health, making it a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle.'

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

Here are some unique tips on how to write an explanatory essay conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay steps

  • Offer a solution or recommendation: Instead of summarizing your main points, offer suggestions based on the information you've presented. This can help to make your essay more impactful and leave a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the effects of pollution on the environment, you might recommend using more eco-friendly products or investing in renewable energy sources.
  • Emphasize the importance of your topic: Use your concluding statement to emphasize the importance of your topic and why it's relevant to your readers. This can help to inspire action or change. For example, suppose you're writing about the benefits of volunteering. In that case, you might emphasize how volunteering helps others and has personal benefits such as improved mental health and a sense of purpose.
  • End with a powerful quote or statement: End your explanatory essay conclusion with a powerful quote or statement that reinforces your main point or leaves a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the importance of education, you might end your essay with a quote from Nelson Mandela, such as, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.'

Explanatory Essay Example

Here is an example of an explanatory essay:

Explanatory Essay Example:

Importance of Basketball

Final Thoughts

Now you understand whats an explanatory essay. However, if you're still feeling overwhelmed or unsure about writing an explanatory essay, don't worry. Our team of experienced writers is here to provide you with top-notch academic assistance tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need to explain what is an appendix in your definition essay or rewrite essay in five paragraphs, we've got you covered! With our professional help, you can ensure that your essay is well-researched, well-written, and meets all the academic requirements.

And if you'd rather have a professional craft flawless explanatory essay examples, know that our friendly team is dedicated to helping you succeed in your academic pursuits. So why not take the stress out of writing and let us help you achieve the academic success you deserve? Contact us today with your ' write paper for me ' request, and we will support you every step of the way.

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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

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50 Persuasive Essay Topics to Help You Ace Your Next Assignment

50 Persuasive Essay Topics to Help You Ace Your Next Assignment

  • 5-minute read
  • 19th January 2023

Welcome to your ultimate guide to persuasive essay topics! 

In this post, we’ll provide a list of 50 persuasive essay topics to help you get started on your next assignment. 

We’ll also include some tips for writing a persuasive essay to help you craft a strong and effective argument. Whether you’re a student or a professional writer, these persuasive essay topics are sure to inspire and challenge you.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

Persuasive essays are a type of argumentative essay that encourage the reader to accept a particular point of view or take a specific action.

They typically open with a question, followed by a series of arguments intended to persuade the reader to take the same side as the author.

In a persuasive essay, the author will usually appeal to the readers’ emotions in order to prove that their opinion is the correct one. But this doesn’t mean that persuasive essays ignore evidence , facts, and figures; an effective persuasive essay makes use of a combination of logical argument and emotive language to sway the audience.

A persuasive essay can cover just about anything from pop culture to politics. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of 50 persuasive essay topics to inspire your next assignment!

Top 50 Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Should the government censor the internet?
  • Should the government regulate the sale of violent video games?
  • Should self-driving cars be banned?
  • Is facial recognition software unethical?
  • Should mental health apps collect users’ personal data?
  • Should children under 13 have cell phones?
  • Should internet access be treated as a human right?
  • Should all paperwork be digitized?

Science and the Environment

  • Should the use of plastic bags be banned?
  • Should genetically modified organisms be labeled?
  • Should we clone human beings?
  • Should animal testing be allowed?
  • Should the government fund space exploration?
  • Should the government regulate the use of pesticides in farming?
  • Should the government regulate the use of antibiotics in livestock?
  • Should the government fine people who drive gas-powered vehicles?
  • Should climate change be declared a national emergency?

Crime and Politics

  • Should the death penalty be abolished?
  • Should all American citizens have to serve a year of community service?
  • Should the US voting age be lowered to 16?
  • Should the government adopt a tougher immigration policy?
  • Should the government cut its military spending?
  • Should the government introduce a national living wage?
  • Should politicians be banned from social media?
  • Should the electoral college be abolished?

Health and Fitness

  • Should the government provide universal healthcare?
  • Should the government ban the use of certain chemicals in cosmetics?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose the gender of their unborn child?
  • Should physical exercise be mandatory at work?
  • Should employees have to disclose health conditions to their employers?
  • Should fast food commercials be banned?
  • Should herbal medicines be better regulated?
  • Should regular mental health checkups be mandatory?
  • Should schools offer fast food options like McDonald’s or Taco Bell?
  • Should students be required to wear uniforms?
  • Should the government provide free college education?
  • Should schools offer comprehensive sex education?
  • Are high school students given too much homework?
  • Should humanities and arts subjects receive more funding?
  • Should military recruiters be allowed on school grounds?
  • Is the school day too long?
  • Should every US citizen be required to learn another language?

Lifestyle and Culture

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  • Should the drinking age be lowered or raised?
  • Should the use of tobacco be banned?
  • Should marijuana be legalized?
  • Should all museums and art galleries be free?
  • Should kids be encouraged to read more?
  • Should public spaces provide unisex bathrooms?
  • Is pet ownership a human right?
  • Should extreme sports be banned?

Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay

Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to start writing your persuasive essay. Here are our tips:

Choose a Side

When you’ve picked the question you’re going to address in your essay, you also need to choose one side – or answer – that you’re going to write in favor of.

It helps if you’re passionate about the topic, as this will enable you to write from an emotional perspective.

Do Your Research

In order to write persuasively , you need to understand the topic you’re writing about. 

Make sure you know the details of your subject matter, and can provide facts and figures to back up your appeal to your readers’ emotions.

You should also read up about different points of view on the topic, so that you can bring them up in the form of counterarguments and rebuttals .

Keep Your Audience in Mind

When you’re writing your essay, think about who it is you’re trying to persuade. The way you speak to a student, for example, will be different to how you address a parent.

Consider what your potential audience will value, and how you can reach them on an emotional level. 

Outline Your Essay

Now you’ve got all the information you need, it’s time to plan and write your essay.

You should break it down into the follow sections:

  • An introduction, which sets up the question you’re going to answer and what side of the argument you are aiming to persuade the reader of.
  • The body of the essay, with a paragraph for each of the points you want to make.
  • A conclusion, where you summarize your points and main arguments.

Get It Proofread

As with any essay, your finished persuasive essay will need proofreading to make sure it’s the best it can be.

Our academic proofreading team here at Proofed can help with that. You can even get your first 500 words proofread for free !

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the complete ib extended essay guide: examples, topics, and ideas.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

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IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.

If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .

IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:

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If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.

What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.

Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.

The IB Extended Essay must include the following:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography

Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.

As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.

According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.

The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.

Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice
  • Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
  • Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process

Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.

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What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.

It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.

Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:

  • Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
  • Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
  • English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
  • Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
  • Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
  • Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?

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How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips

Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!

#1: Write About Something You Enjoy

You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)

I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.

But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.

Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.

One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).

#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow

There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.

You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.

I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!

When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.

If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...

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Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic

If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.

I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.

Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).

The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.

There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.

Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.

#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.

Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.

Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.

If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.

#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.

Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.

Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
  • Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me—this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
  • November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.

Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)

I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!

body-bird-worm-cc0-pixabay

The early bird DOES get the worm!

How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?

Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .

  • Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
  • Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
  • Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)

How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.

Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .

Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.

Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.

To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .

This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.

body-theory-of-knowledge

Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .

Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.

Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)

40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.

  • Business Management 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Chemistry 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • Chemistry 6
  • Chemistry 7
  • Computer Science 1
  • Economics 1
  • Design Technology 1
  • Design Technology 2
  • Environmental Systems and Societies 1
  • Geography 1
  • Geography 2
  • Geography 3
  • Geography 4
  • Geography 5
  • Geography 6
  • Literature and Performance 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mathematics 3
  • Mathematics 4
  • Mathematics 5
  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Philosophy 5
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3
  • Psychology 4
  • Psychology 5
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 2
  • Visual Arts 3
  • Visual Arts 4
  • Visual Arts 5
  • World Religion 1
  • World Religion 2
  • World Religion 3

body-whats-next-stars

What's Next?

Trying to figure out what extracurriculars you should do? Learn more about participating in the Science Olympiad , starting a club , doing volunteer work , and joining Student Government .

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Not sure where you want to go to college? Read our guide to finding your target school . Also, determine your target SAT score or target ACT score .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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67 Causal Essay Topics to Consider

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  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

A causal essay is much like a cause-and-effect essay , but there may be a subtle difference in the minds of some instructors who use the term "causal essay" for complex topics and "cause-and-effect essay" for smaller or more straightforward papers.

However, both terms describe essentially the same type of essay and the goal of each is the same: to come up with a list of events or factors (causes) that bring about a certain outcome (effect). The key question in such an essay is, "How or why did something happen?" It is important to make a clear connection between each cause and the ultimate effect.

Potential Causes

The most common problem students face in writing the causal essay is running out of "causes" to talk about. It is helpful to sketch out an outline before you begin writing the first draft of your outline. Your essay should include a strong introduction , good transition statements , and a well-crafted conclusion.

Topics to Consider

You can use a topic from this list, or use the list as inspiration for your own idea.

  • What conditions and events led to the Great Depression ?
  • What prompts a change in fashion trends?
  • Why do some people fear the dark?
  • How did some dinosaurs leave footprints?
  • What causes criminal behavior?
  • What causes people to rebel against authority?
  • What conditions lead to powerful hurricanes?
  • What developments led to regional accents in the United States?
  • Why do good students become truant?
  • What causes war?
  • What factors can lead to birth defects?
  • How are car insurance rates determined?
  • What factors can lead to obesity?
  • What can cause evolution to occur?
  • Why does unemployment rise?
  • Why do some people develop multiple personalities?
  • How does the structure of the Earth change over time?
  • What factors can cause bulimia nervosa?
  • What makes a marriage fail?
  • What developments and conditions led to the Declaration of Independence ?
  • What led to the decline of the automobile industry?
  • What factors led to the decline of the Roman Empire?
  • How did the Grand Canyon form?
  • Why did enslavement replace indentured servitude in the American colonies ?
  • How has popular music been affected by technology?
  • How has racial tolerance changed over time?
  • What led to the dot-com bubble burst?
  • What causes the stock market to fall?
  • How does scarring occur?
  • How does soap work?
  • What causes a surge in nationalism?
  • Why do some bridges collapse?
  • Why was Abraham Lincoln assassinated ?
  • How did we get the various versions of the Bible?
  • What factors led to unionization?
  • How does a tsunami form?
  • What events and factors led to women's suffrage?
  • Why did electric cars fail initially?
  • How do animals become extinct?
  • Why are some tornadoes more destructive than others?
  • What factors led to the end of feudalism?
  • What led to the " Martian Panic " in the 1930s?
  • How did medicine change in the 19th century?
  • How does gene therapy work?
  • What factors can lead to famine?
  • What factors led to the rise of democratic governments in the 18th century?
  • How did baseball become a national pastime in the United States?
  • What was the impact of Jim Crow laws on Black citizens in the United States?
  • What factors led to the growth of imperialism?
  • Why did the Salem witch trials take place?
  • How did Adolf Hitler come to power?
  • What can cause damage to your credit?
  • How did the conservationism start?
  • How did World War I start?
  • How do germs spread and cause illness?
  • How do people lose weight?
  • How does road salt prevent accidents?
  • What makes some tires grip better than others?
  • What makes a computer run slowly?
  • How does a car work?
  • How has the news industry changed over time?
  • What created Beatlemania ?
  • How did organized crime develop?
  • What caused the obesity epidemic?
  • How did grammar rules develop in the English language?
  • Where do political parties come from?
  • How did the Civil Rights movement begin?
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  • Cause and Effect in Composition

127 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

13 December, 2020

13 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

Crafting a compare and contrast essay is typically much more interesting and fun than working on a dissertation. With this piece of writing, a student gets his chance to be creative. Besides, one doesn’t have to re-invent the bicycle: these essays already have a purpose and a topic. All you have to do is find similarities or differences between specific notions. And yes, there is one more problem to it.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Half of the success of a compare and contrast essay lies in a properly-chosen topic. Now, this can be tricky.

Just think about it: would want to read a piece on a beaten topic like “Books vs. Television”? Or would you rather give a read to an unusual compare and contrast Korean and Vietnam war essay? While you know everything about the first one, the second topic actually sounds interesting.

Choosing compare and contrast essay topics can be time-consuming and daunting. However, with the guide our  essay writer prepared, you will find a great title with no problem.

By the way, if you need a reminder of what such writing looks like and what components it consists of, don’t hesitate to read our guide on  how to write a compare and contrast essay . It will help you structure and organize your knowledge in this regard.

And here is a short introduction to what this type of academic writing should really look like.

How to write a compare and contrast essay

Depending on the task you received from your tutor, in this particular academic paper you are either to compare several things or notions or contrast them.

how to write a compare and contrast essay outline

Here is what a structure of this type of writing looks like:

  • An engaging opening with a “hook.”
  • A thesis statement that explains what is the focus of your writing and whether you’ll be comparing or contrasting the notions.
  • If you don’t know  how to write a thesis statement , here is a guide that will explain you all the details step by step.
  • An argument #1 that supports the thesis statement.
  • Evidence proving the author’s position.
  • A short conclusion.
  • A short reminder of a problem described in the essay.
  • A brief overview of the similarities or differences (aka supporting arguments).
  • A call to action or a interesting question to the audience.

Any A-grade essay would follow this structure. Thus, if you aim to receive better grades, consider taking this structure into account.

Meanwhile, as a student you get tons of other writing assignments. If you’re currently struggling with choosing good  argumentative essay topics , don’t hesitate to take a look at our recent guide!

Finally, let’s dive into the search. After all, this is a key to crafting an excellent piece.

What makes good compare and contrast essay topics

Several factors make some topics your best option compared to the rest.

No matter how great the topic of your choice is, the target audience can sense when you genuinely care about what you are writing, and when you’re simply following the structure with no personal interest in the subject. If you write yawning and find it hard to find any evidence to support your position, chances are you’ve chosen a wrong topic. A compare and contrast dog and cat essay might be a good topic for a person deeply loving these furry little creatures. But someone not that much into domestic animals won’t be able to write a single line of an essay comparing dogs and cats. So, choose your topic wisely.

Availability of trusted sources.

In some cases, you have to use trusted sources to prove your point. Otherwise, your position might seem biased and subjective. That is why we strongly recommend you to check whether the compare and contrast essay titles you opted can be supported by evidence found at the trusted sources.

Recommendation of a tutor.

Last but not least, ask for recommendations. With years of experience under his belt, your tutor might have an eye for great topics. So, why not using his experience for your own good? Besides, apart from good topics suggestions, he can also provide you with great sources to explore. So, don’t lose an opportunity to make your life easier with his assistance!

Proper formatting style.

Proper formatting is hard to overestimate when it comes to A-grade essay writing. A great deal of your grade depends on it. That is why we recommend you to check out our  essay format guide to figure out what your piece should look like.

These are the criteria that help you pick a good theme for your paper. But where should you look for theme to choose from in the first place? We know the answer.

If you aren’t sure you have the time and energy to craft a piece yourself, we’re here to help.  Handmade Writing is a reliable place to order your academic papers from.

Sources of interesting topics

Basically, there are six sources students can go to these days:

  • Social media.
  • Scientific journals.

Each one of them is filled with personalities, facts, events, and locations to contrast and compare. Therefore, don’t hesitate to explore these right sources.

By the way, if you are looking for ideas or inspiration on  how to write a scholarship essay , we’ve got something for you. We’ve gathered a guide that will walk you step by step through the process of composing a good essay that’ll get you college scholarship!

compare contrast essay topics

Easy compare and contrast essay topics for college students

  • High school vs college.
  • McDonalds and Burger King: Explain how these two fast food chains similar or different from each other.
  • Public schools and homeschooling: Which do you prefer?
  • Basketball and football: Popularity, speed of play, dependency on athleticism, personal preference, etc.
  • Lamborgini vs. Bugatti.
  • Virtual vs. Augmented reality: Which technology is the future?
  • Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Which is better?
  • Communism vs. Socialism: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • American English vs British English.
  • Conventional or E-learning: What would you choose?
  • Computer and video games: Which is more fun?
  • Inner beauty and outer beauty.
  • Snapchat and Instagram: What makes them similar (different)?
  • Stalin or Hitler: Which is a bigger evil? Or what in their management style was similar?
  • Living in the big city or living in the country: What would you choose?
  • Italian vs. Spanish cuisines.
  • Active vacation in the mountains vs. passive rest by the sea.
  • Facebook vs. Twitter.
  • Windows vs. Linux.
  • Android or iOS: Which is the future?

Funny compare and contrast essay topics

  • Chandler, Joey and Ross: Which one of them is cooler?
  • Pizza or pasta: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, which of these would you choose?
  • Batman vs. SuperMan;  Avengers vs. Justice League.
  • Soccer vs football: How are they different apart from their name?
  • Iron Man or Hulk: Which one is the best superhero of his time?
  • Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Presley.
  • George and Lennie.
  • Harry Potter vs. Ronald Weasley: One is way cooler than the other.
  • Simpsons or the South Park?
  • Eternal summer or eternal winter: Which is the least of all evil?

Historical topics

  • WW1 and WW2: Reasons, participants, number of dead and wounded, etc.
  • Renaissance and Barocco.
  • Roman and Greek mythology.
  • Crusaders vs. Saracens.
  • The European economics before and after WW2.
  • Abolition of slavery in the USA and Europe.
  • Japanese and European feudalism essay.
  • Gender roles in the Roman Empire vs Ottoman Empire.
  • British colonization and Spanish colonization.
  • Lincoln and Kennedy.
  • Reconstruction in America against the Industrial Age.
  • Mongolian Empire and Persian Empire.
  • Monaco vs Luxembourg: Countries’ history comparison.
  • Worker unions history in the USA vs. Great Britain.
  • Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.

Compare and contrast essay between two jobs

  • Marketer vs. Digital Marketer.
  • Anthropologist vs. Philosopher vs. Psychologist
  • Software Engineer vs. Software Architect.
  • Film producer and a Film Director.
  • Working from home and working at an office.
  • Linguist and a Grammarian.
  • Developer or a Coder?
  • QA Specialist or a Test Engineer.
  • Dean or a Principal.
  • Accountant vs. Economist.
  • Journalist vs. Reporter.
  • Recruiter vs. HR Generalist.
  • Copywriter vs. Content Marketer.

Compare and contrast essay between two cultures

  • Egypt and Mesopotamia compare and contrast essay
  • Modern European and American culture.
  • Urbanism and ruralism.
  • Vegetarianism vs. pescetarianism.
  • Compare and contrast Mexico and United States essay.
  • Emo culture and gothic.
  • Compare and contrast Sparta and Athens essay.
  • Bookworms vs. Film Buffs.
  • Culture and ethnicity.
  • Christianity, Islam and Judaism essay.

Interesting topics about literature

  • Bible vs. Quran.
  • 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451.
  • Chronicles of Narnia: Film or the book series?
  • The Great Gatsby vs. The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Fiction against non-fiction.
  • Divine Comedy vs. Paradise Lost.
  • Lord of the Rings: The book against the latest film production?
  • Expository and Persuasive writing.
  • Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings.
  • Anne Frank’s Diary vs. I am Malala.
  • Classic poetry against the modern one.
  • Paper books against the e-books: The never-ending battle.
  • Anne of Green Gables vs. Pollyanna.
  • Pride and Prejudice vs. Bridget Jones’ Diary.
  • Bronte sisters vs. Jane Austen.
  • Drama and Comedy.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird or The Help.
  • Little Women vs. Little Men.
  • Poetry and prose: What makes them different?

Topics related to movies and cinematography

  • Wolf of Wall Street vs. Great Gatsby.
  • Main differences between European and American films.
  • Horror films and thrillers.
  • House M.D. against Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The old series or the new episodes?
  • Polyanna: Which is better – a film or the book?
  • Japanese horror films vs. American.
  • Home Alone 1 vs. Home Alone 4.
  • The Wizard of Oz against Gone With the Wind.
  • The Sound of Music vs. Mary Poppins.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 or Melrose Place.
  • Friends vs. The Office.
  • Charlie Chaplin and Mr. Bean.
  • The Pianist or Schindler’s List.
  • Romeo and Juliet: 1968, 1996, and 2013 productions.
  • Forrest Gump or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
  • 300 or Gladiator.
  • Lord of the Rings: extended edition vs. director’s cut.
  • Ben-Hur (1959) vs. Ben-Hur (2016).
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) and Prince of Egypt.
  • Dunkirk vs. Saving Private Ryan.
  • The Green Mile vs. The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Les Miserables (2012) vs. The Greatest Showman.

Music and arts-related topics

  • Beyonce vs. Rihanna.
  • Whitney Houston against Adele.
  • Britney Spears against Madonna.
  • Mona Lisa vs. Girl with a Pearl Earring.
  • Van Gogh against Picasso.
  • Impressionism against Expressionism.
  • Opera and ballet.
  • Spotify or Deezer.
  • Records or Live concerts.
  • Jazz or classical music.
  • Musical theatre vs. Play with music.
  • Renaissance and Enlightenment epochs in arts.
  • African vs. Asian art.
  • Rock music of the XX century vs. today.
  • Religious hymns and secular songs about Christmas.
  • Music people listened to in their twenties in the XX century and now.
  • Protagonist of the modern pop music culture and that of the 1960s.

We guarantee that you can easily find a good title among the ones we suggested. If you find it hard to compose a good compare and contrast essay even after choosing one of our topics, don’t hesitate to us a line asking for help.

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

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Use Active Listening to Help a Colleague Make a Hard Decision

  • Cheryl Strauss Einhorn

components essay topics

Don’t jump straight to problem-solving.

Imagine a colleague is faced with a high-stakes decision. They’re likely stressed, conflicted, and overwhelmed. In these situations, many of us default to the role of problem-solver. We try to support our colleague by providing our opinion or offering a solution. But to effectively support decision makers in your organization, you need to step back from your own ego and just listen . This article outlines practical strategies for exercising four types of active listening: emotional, informational, analytical, and reflective. Active listening can be hard to do, but it’s a great skill to practice. It allows you to strengthen key relationships while giving decision makers the space to make decisions for themselves.

Arnaldo was the chief operating officer at a successful investment firm. Recently, the firm’s results had been underperforming expectations. This poor performance was due to one large investment that the chief investment officer, Russ, was committed to holding. Arnaldo had fielded several calls from investors who wanted Russ to sell the money-losing investment. So, when Russ asked for a meeting to discuss the fund’s performance, Arnaldo’s instinct was to make a pitch to sell — to solve the problem.

  • Cheryl Strauss Einhorn is the founder and CEO of Decisive, a decision sciences company using her AREA Method decision-making system for individuals, companies, and nonprofits looking to solve complex problems. Decisive offers digital tools and in-person training, workshops, coaching and consulting. Cheryl is a long-time educator teaching at Columbia Business School and Cornell and has won several journalism awards for her investigative news stories. She’s authored two books on complex problem solving, Problem Solved for personal and professional decisions, and Investing In Financial Research about business, financial, and investment decisions. Her new book, Problem Solver, is about the psychology of personal decision-making and Problem Solver Profiles. For more information please watch Cheryl’s TED talk and visit areamethod.com .

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Fall 2025 UGA Essay Questions

  david graves        may 22nd, 2024 in blog.

For First Year students applying to UGA for Fall 2025, we will keep the same longer personal essay (250-650 words) as before, using the essay prompts from the Common App . The shorter UGA specific essay (200-300 words suggested) topic will also remain the same as last year, with the following essay prompt:

“ The transition from middle to high school is a key time for students as they reach new levels of both academic and personal discovery. Please share a book (novel, non-fiction, etc.) that had a serious impact on you during this time. Please focus more on why this book made an impact on you and less on the plot/theme of the book itself (we are not looking for a book report).”

  • FYI – We are not restricting you to the exact years of 8th-9th grades, but rather the general timeframe of the middle to high school transition, which can extend somewhat further than one year on each end. Feel free to use your discretion in your choice of the timeline focused on the shift to your high school years.

As always, we also share an essay from an enrolling First-Year student that we believe shows great writing skills:

As a middle-schooler on the brink of entering high school, I was like lost cattle entering a vast social and academic wilderness. In the center, a winding, sun-soaked desert path stretched far into the horizon, beckoning my gaze with its promise of adventure and discovery. Enter The Alchemist and its magnificent idea of the “Personal Legend”– a life goal so lofty that it made locating my locker on the first day of high school appear easy. Forget about the difficulty of making new hobbies or friends; the content from this novel sure played an essential role in determining my ideology related to pursuing my future.

The protagonist enthusiastically praised the significance of believing in one’s dreams, which led my younger self down the correct path. Generating profits after extensive hours of work through my business, navigating changes in learning after COVID-19, and confronting adversity due to my darker skin color all presented difficult periods where persistence and faith were important in progress. Although self-belief was a crucial aspect of pushing through difficult times, it also motivated me to be more confident. Taking risks, from soloing in my 8th-grade jazz band to giving my crush a cringeworthy love letter, changed my belief in embracing adversity.

Furthermore, the book’s emphasis on interacting with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems mirrors my journey into the real world. Whether developing a dancing board at a Purdue summer camp or a calculus Halloween graph, collaboration enforces the ability to work with others who may share different ideas. Diverse backgrounds boosted my understanding, tolerance, and empathy while increasing my engineering career readiness. Not only was The Alchemist a great book, but it enforced critical systems that I use until this day to succeed in life. The Alchemist played an essential role in instilling new concepts I needed as an adolescent. “And when you want something, all the universe conspires you to achieve it.” Thank you, Paulo Coelho.  – Josh W, Collins Hill HS.

  • This essay gives us insight into the student’s feelings and thoughts, and he shares his ideas through descriptive word choice. This is an excellent essay, but please know that we are not expecting this level of writing from the applicant pool overall. This essay example is meant to show our applicant pool how to express themselves through examples, personal growth and emotion. When we are reviewing essays, we are looking more at the student’s voice coming through and less on technical writing skills.

Tags: admissions , essays , file reading , freshman admission

ScienceDaily

Conservation of nature's strongholds needed to halt biodiversity loss

Researchers argue for scaling-up area-based conservation to maintain ecological integrity.

To achieve global biodiversity targets, conservationists and governments must prioritize the establishment and effective management of large, interconnected protected areas with high ecological integrity, John G. Robinson from the Wildlife Conservation Society, US, and colleagues argue in an essay publishing May 21 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology .

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), signed at the 2022 Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, recognized the importance of protecting large areas of natural habitat to maintain the resilience and integrity of ecosystems. To halt biodiversity loss, these protected and conserved areas need to be in the right places, connected to one another, and well managed. One of the GBF targets is to protect at least 30% of the global land and ocean by 2030, known as the 30x30 target.

To achieve GBF targets, the authors propose prioritizing large, interconnected protected areas with high ecological integrity, that are effectively managed and equitably governed. They emphasize the importance of conserving landscapes at scales large enough to encompass functioning ecosystems and the biodiversity they contain. In many cases, this will require interconnected groups of protected areas that are managed together. Effective governance means that the diversity of stakeholders and rights holders are recognized and that the costs and benefits are shared equitably between them. The authors argue that protected and conservation areas that meet all four criteria -- which they name "Nature's Strongholds" -- will be disproportionately important for biodiversity conservation. They identify examples of Nature's Strongholds in the high-biodiversity tropical forest regions of Central Africa and the Amazon.

By applying the four criteria presented in this essay to identify Nature's Strongholds around the world, governments and conservationists can coordinate their efforts to best address threats to biodiversity, the authors say.

The authors add, "'Nature's Strongholds' -- large, interconnected, ecologically intact areas that are well managed and equitably governed -- are identified in Amazonia and Central Africa. The approach offers an effective way to conserve biodiversity at a global scale."

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Story Source:

Materials provided by PLOS . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference :

  • John G. Robinson, Danielle LaBruna, Tim O’Brien, Peter J. Clyne, Nigel Dudley, Sandy J. Andelman, Elizabeth L. Bennett, Avecita Chicchon, Carlos Durigan, Hedley Grantham, Margaret Kinnaird, Sue Lieberman, Fiona Maisels, Adriana Moreira, Madhu Rao, Emma Stokes, Joe Walston, James EM Watson. Scaling up area-based conservation to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework’s 30x30 target: The role of Nature’s Strongholds . PLOS Biology , 2024; 22 (5): e3002613 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3002613

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About Four Steps to Food Safety

At a glance.

  • Following four simple steps at home can help protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning.
  • Prevent food poisoning - Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

Four steps to food safety are listed with a person washing their hands above the text

Prevention steps and strategies

Clean: wash your hands and surfaces often..

  • Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and spread around your kitchen.
  • Always wash hands after handling uncooked meat, chicken and other poultry, seafood, flour, or eggs.
  • Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water.

Separate: don’t cross-contaminate.

  • Raw meat, chicken and other poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat food unless you keep them separate.
  • When grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from other foods.
  • Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood in sealed containers or wrap them securely so the juices don't leak onto other foods.
  • Use one cutting board or plate for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and a separate cutting board or plate for produce, bread, and other foods that won't be cooked.
  • If you choose to wash chicken, do so as safely as possible ( see steps ).

Cook to the right temperature.

  • The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can't tell if food is safely cooked by checking its color and texture (except for seafood).
  • Whole cuts of beef, veal, lamb, and pork, including fresh ham: 145°F (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
  • Fish with fins: 145°F or cook until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork
  • Ground meats, such as beef and pork: 160°F
  • All poultry, including ground chicken and turkey: 165°F
  • Leftovers and casseroles: 165°F
  • Check this chart for a detailed list of temperatures and foods , including shellfish and precooked ham.
  • Know your microwave's wattage . Check inside the door, owner's manual, or manufacturer's website. If your microwave is high wattage (800 watts or more), use the minimum cooking time recommended. If it is low wattage (300–500 watts), use the maximum cooking time recommended.
  • When reheating, use a food thermometer to make sure that microwaved food reaches 165°F.

Chill: refrigerate promptly.

  • Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the "Danger Zone" between 40°F and 140°F. Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if exposed to temperatures above 90°F).
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer at 0°F or below, and know when to throw food out before it spoils . If your refrigerator doesn't have a built-in thermometer, keep an appliance thermometer inside it to check the temperature.
  • Package warm or hot food into several clean, shallow containers and then refrigerate. It is okay to put small portions of hot food in the refrigerator since they will chill faster.
  • Refrigerate perishable food (meat, seafood, dairy, cut fruit, some vegetables, and cooked leftovers) within 2 hours. If the food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F, like a hot car or picnic, refrigerate it within 1 hour.
  • Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water , or in the microwave. Never thaw food on the counter because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.

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Get information from CDC on preventing food poisoning, food poisoning symptoms, foodborne disease outbreaks, and recalled food.

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If any body is a beach body, any book is a beach read. Try on these books this summer.

Just like any body can be a beach body, any book can be a beach read. 

When you’re packing a travel bag this summer and mulling over the Beach Reads ! display at your local independent bookstore , stop and ask yourself: What do I really want to read? What do I enjoy reading?

The category “beach read,” as best as anyone can tell, came into fashion in the 1990s, according to The Guardian. It’s a marketing trick, not a mandate. 

As a marketing term, it’s successful because it’s aspirational. We see ourselves on a beach, relaxed and lazily reading that fun book with the bright cover, one that looks nothing like spreadsheets or reports, a book that entertains but doesn’t ask too much. 

But not everyone relaxes the same way.

Check out: USA TODAY's weekly Best-selling Booklist

Maybe you really do want to spend time with the light contemporary fiction, steamy romance, or compulsive thriller that generally gets labeled “beach read.” Totally fine. We’ve got some suggestions for you.

On the other hand, lazy days and long flights mean vacation can be a perfect time to tackle the books you’ve always meant to read. Classics, essays, literary fiction — if you’re a reader who considers heavy reading light work, we’ve got some less conventional recommendations, too. 

Is it a body on the beach? Yes: Beach body. Is it a book on a beach? Yes: Beach read. 

Find your next read USA TODAY's Best-selling booklist

Smart romance

"The Other Side of Disappearing," Kate Clayborn (Kensington, pp 432.. Out now)

What does “smart romance” mean? This book gave me a definition: a romance in which a happy-ever-after ending happens but doesn’t feel required because the characters all had emotional growth. Here, Clayborn sends a true crime podcast producer and a tough-as-nails older sister on a road trip that will change their lives. 

More like this: "Summer Romance," Annabel Monaghan; "When I Think of You," Myah Ariel; "Funny Story," Emily Henry

Literary Larks

"Martyr!," Kaveh Akbar (Penguin Random House, pp.352, out now)

Akbar is a poet, and you can see that in the lyrical writing of his debut novel. The story dips in and out of time and memory and points of view, always twisting around the idea of love. Fun and touching and a little weird, this book is made for hot summer nights. 

More like this: "Help Wanted," Adelle Waldman ; "Come and Get It," Kiley Reid; "Family Meal," Bryan Washington

Literary Adventures

"James," Percival Everett (Doubleday, pp 320, out now)

Consider this retelling of "Huck Finn" your summer reading assignment. Told from the perspective of clever and compassionate Jim, the dangerous Mississippi River raft trip includes familiar stops and characters (no need to read the original), but is sharper and comes with higher stakes as our hero tries to reunite his family. 

More like this: "The Vaster Wilds ," Lauren Groff; "Lies & Weddings", Kevin Kwan; "Lone Women," Victor Lavalle

"While We Were Burning," Sara Koffi (Penguin, pp. 304, out now)

Unreliable narrators and blurry relationship boundaries make this story, examining race and class in Memphis, especially twisty. 

More like this : "First Lie Wins," Ashley Elston; "A Line in The Sand," Kevin Powers; "Bright Young Women," Jessica Knoll 

"The Count of Monte Cristo," Alexander Dumas (Penguin, pp. 1,276, out now)

Don’t be intimidated by size. Many classics, including this one, were written in installments, which means short chapters and built-in cliffhangers. And no matter the time period, people are the same, loving and scheming and struggling. Think of this classic revenge story like your latest binge watch. 

More like this : "Their Eyes Were Watching God," Zora Neale Hurston; "Anna Karenina," Leo Tolstoy; "Jane Eyre," Charlotte Bronte 

"Bite by Bite ," Aimee Nezhukumatathil (HarperCollins, pp. 224, out now)

Essay collections are excellent vacation reads, able to be picked up and put down without interrupting a narrative. Each of these short essays is a perfect little bite, exploring the ways food sparks memory and meaning in our lives. 

More like this: "Divine Might," Natalie Haynes; "The Comfort of Crows," Margaret Renkl; "A Praise Song for Kitchen Ghosts," Crystal Wilkinson

"There’s Always This Year," Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House, pp. 352 out now)

If you want nonfiction that requires you to go a little deeper, Abdurraqib delivers. This is a book about basketball. It’s also about belonging and grief, ambition and America. And all of it is delivered in a structure that perfectly, brilliantly mimics a basketball game. Everything comes down to the final two minutes. 

More like this: "A Map of Future Ruins," Lauren Markham; "Grief Is for People," Sloane Crosley; "This Is What It Sounds Like," Susan Rogers & Ogi Ogas

Hillary Copsey is the book advisor at The Mercantile Library in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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    Here is a step-by-step guide to help you craft an expository essay: Choose a Topic. Select a topic that interests you and aligns with the purpose of an expository essay - to inform, explain, or analyze a subject. Conduct Research. Gather relevant and credible information to support your chosen topic.

  7. 100 Persuasive Essay Topics

    Beginner Topics. Kids should get paid for good grades. Students should have less homework. Snow days are great for family time. Penmanship is important. Short hair is better than long hair. We should all grow our own vegetables. We need more holidays. Aliens probably exist.

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    Here are some tips from our admission essay writing service to help you write a successful five paragraph essay example: Start with a strong thesis statement: Among the 5 parts of essay, the thesis statement can be the most important. It presents the major topic you will debate throughout your essay while being explicit and simple.

  9. 113 Perfect Persuasive Essay Topics for Any Assignment

    List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics. Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you'll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, "should fracking be legal?" you'd decide whether you believe fracking should ...

  10. 50 Great Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignment

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    Parts of an essay. An impactful, well-structured essay comes down to three important parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. 1. The introduction sets the stage for your essay and is typically a paragraph long. It should grab the reader's attention and give them a clear idea of what your essay will be about.

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    For example, you might explain the rise of obesity rates in the United States over the past few decades. State your thesis: A good explanatory thesis example should be clear, concise, and focused. It should state the main argument or point of your essay. For example, you might state, ' Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight ...

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    50 Argumentative Essay Topics. Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo. An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and argue for or against it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas ...

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    127 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics. Crafting a compare and contrast essay is typically much more interesting and fun than working on a dissertation. With this piece of writing, a student gets his chance to be creative. Besides, one doesn't have to re-invent the bicycle: these essays already have a purpose and a topic.

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  22. Fall 2025 UGA Essay Questions

    David Graves May 22nd, 2024 in Blog. For First Year students applying to UGA for Fall 2025, we will keep the same longer personal essay (250-650 words) as before, using the essay prompts from the Common App. The shorter UGA specific essay (200-300 words suggested) topic will also remain the same as last year, with the following essay prompt:

  23. Conservation of nature's strongholds needed to halt biodiversity loss

    To halt biodiversity loss, these protected and conserved areas need to be in the right places, connected to one another, and well managed. One of the GBF targets is to protect at least 30% of the ...

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    Clean: wash your hands and surfaces often. Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and spread around your kitchen. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm or cold water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating. Always wash hands after handling uncooked meat, chicken and other poultry ...

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    Kaveh Akbar (Penguin Random House, pp.352, out now) Akbar is a poet, and you can see that in the lyrical writing of his debut novel. The story dips in and out of time and memory and points of view ...

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