Selection of Essay Topics

Topics for Upper-Level Essays

Argumentative Essays

  1. You Have to Be Lucky.
    Do you really? Argue why or why this statement is true by using a certain experience or situation to illustrate your point.
  2. Myself on the Internet
    On social media, we depict ourselves as we wish to see ourselves and as we wish others to see us. Why do most people only post edited photos? Are natural pictures no longer enough? Do we wish to show ourselves differently from the way we are?
  3. Should We Always Tell the Truth?
    Are there situations in which it is okay or even necessary to lie? Have you ever experienced such a situation?
  4. A Dream Job
    Many young people dream of making lots of money for little work. Is hard physical labour still worthwhile? Or is working all day from Monday to Friday too demanding?
  5. Misunderstandings
    How do misunderstandings arise? What are their consequences? Describe your experience with this topic.
  6. A Person I Admire
    Write about a person YOU admire. It can be someone you know or even someone you've never met. Why do you admire this person? What can you learn from him or her?
  7. Arguing is Healthy.
    Is it really? Elaborate to what extent you agree with this statement by using examples from your own experience, and point out any reservations you may have.
  8. Today's youth is spoiled.
    What do you think about this often-heard assertion? Why might people think that today’s youth is spoiled? What could you say to counter this claim?
  9. This I am sure of! (A difficult topic – very broad with many possibilities)
    Write about an issue that is particularly important to you, and describe how you could defend your belief against those who think differently.

Feelings and Thoughts

  1. Faces on the Train
    Write about people you have observed on public transit. What fascinated you about these people? What may these people have thought and felt, and what could be their story? How did you feel while you were watching these people?
  2. I would not want to do this job.
    Certain professions are very particular and demanding. This can have different reasons. Is there a job that you could never do? Why is that? What do you think about the people who practice this profession?
  3. Identifying with a Foreign Country
    School, books, television and possibly travel have taught you more about a foreign country and its people. Explain why you identify with this country and its inhabitants.
  4. I Feel Comfortable (or Uncomfortable) in This Group.
    Sometimes we feel like we are welcomed and accepted by a group right from the beginning. But other times, we may also feel excluded or disregarded. Describe a situation in which you felt comfortable/uncomfortable. What was going through your mind, and how did you feel?
  5. Feeling at Home / Feeling Alienated
    When do you feel at home? What helps you feel this way? Under what circumstances do you feel alienated?
  6. I Felt Really Ashamed.
    Describe a situation in which you felt ashamed. How did it come about? How did you feel? What did you do in order to overcome the unpleasant feelings?
  7. I Don't Understand the World Anymore.
    What situations or circumstances make you shake your head? Are there things in the world that you simply can’t understand? What happens to you when you experience such situations, and what goes through your mind?

Descriptive Essays – Experiences

  1. Change of Roles
    Describe a situation in which someone changes his or her previous role (for example, as a leader, follower, fifth wheel, etc.) for a different one.
  2. I just want what's best for you!
    Write about the context in which you heard this sentence. How did this comment make you feel?
  3. First Day in a Foreign City
    You are in a foreign city for the first time – whether on holiday or for other reasons (school, visit, etc.). What did you experience on that day? What experiences or things about the foreign city do you remember particularly well? Why?
  4. My Home
    Describe how your room is set up and what some the objects and pictures in your room mean to you. Would you rearrange your room? Why? What would you change?
  5. Unpleasant Visits
    Describe situations that were unpleasant either as a visitor or as a host. Why did you feel uncomfortable in the respective situations?
  6. An Argument with an Adult
    Write about how it came to the argument and what was said. Then evaluate the result of the argument.
  7. The Worst/Best Day of My Life
    Describe the worst or best day of your life. Why was this day particularly bad/good? What happened on this day?
  8. A Person I Admire
    Tell about someone you admire. I can be someone you know personally or someone you've never met. Why do you admire this person? What can you learn from them?

Fantasy Essays

Caution: Fantasy essays are especially hard to write. Unlike a descriptive essay about a certain experience, fantasy essays do not have a clear structure to follow. In addition, these essays usually fall on one extreme of the marking spectrum rather than in the middle (a 4 to 4.75). Fictional essays are usually given either very good or very bad (clearly inadequate) marks. For this reason,only "essay experts", i.e. those students who usually receive excellent marks on their essays, should take on fantasy topics.

  1. A Day in the Life of a Handkerchief (difficult subject, avoid on the exam)
    You're the handkerchief! What do you experience throughout the day?
  2. Invisibility Cap
    This is a very special cap: It gives the person who wears it the power of invisibility. You are in possession of such a cap and write about the adventures you have while wearing it.
  3. The Super Nose
    You recover from an illness and realize that you can now perceive scents much more intensely than ever before. What now? Describe your life with the super nose.
  4. If I could control the weather...
    Imagine if you had the power to control the weather on Earth. Tell your story: Who are you? How do you live? How do you use your abilities? What are the consequences your actions?
  5. Imagine if you were a ... (a difficult topic that demands a lot of creativity)
    Imagine if you were an animal, a plant or an object in your environment (family, school, or leisure) and describe what you experience and observe from your new perspective.
  6. A World Without Paper
    How do you imagine a world without paper? Describe this world! Think about the way human relationships and activities would be in this world and what everyday situations would be like – for example, at school, during leisure time, at home, at work, etc.
  7. The beginning of a story runs as follows:"Everyone is still asking me how everything happened and why I did what I did. They all say that it wasn't the first time I was alone in the apartment for a few hours..."
    Continue the story!
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