Criterion Essay Topics

College Level I — General

(go to business-focused topics)

Acceptable Teen Behavior (Persuasive)

In an effort to set guidelines for acceptable teenage behavior, parents and other adults in authority often make rules that restrict the freedoms of the individual.

How much freedom and responsibility should teenagers have in making their own decisions? Explain your position by using evidence from your own experience or the experiences of other people.



Writer's Sample Available


Adapting to New Technology (Persuasive)

New technology can solve problems, but it often creates new problems. The invention of the automobile, for example, created the need for speed limits, driver's licenses and traffic lights. Can you think of an invention that created problems when it was introduced? How were these problems solved? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Attendance Policy (Persuasive)

Is it acceptable for professors to base part of students' grades on attendance and class participation, or should grades be based entirely on students' performance on exams and papers? Support your position with evidence from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Bargain Hunting (Persuasive)

Prices on particular products can vary significantly from store to store. When shopping for a particular item, do you always look for the store with the lowest prices? Are there factors other than price that help to determine where you buy particular products? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Being an Adult (Persuasive)

According to the law in many states, you become an "adult" at age 18 or 21, but for most people the sense of being an adult does not depend strictly on chronological age. They would argue that a particular experience or series of experiences made them feel adult.

What does being an "adult" mean to you? Support your views with specific examples from your own experience, observations or reading.



Writer's Sample Available


Breaking Traditions (Persuasive)

Many adults become upset when young people break with traditions of the past. Do you think that these adults are justified in reacting this way? Why or why not? Support your position with evidence from your own experience or the experiences of people you know.



Writer's Sample Available


Career Decisions (Persuasive)

In your opinion, what factors should a person consider when choosing a career? Interests? Salaries? Talents? Write an essay in which you discuss which factors are most important for an individual to consider when choosing a career. Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Choice of Heroes (Persuasive)

What does our choice of heroes and role models — or the lack of heroes and role models — reveal about our society and ourselves? Use reasons and/or examples from your own reading, experience or observations to support your position.



Writer's Sample Available


Computers and Privilege (Persuasive)

Some people say that computer technology gives an unfair advantage to a privileged few.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement above? Support your views with specific examples from your own experience, observations or reading.



Writer's Sample Available


Conformity and Rebellion (Persuasive)

Conformity and rebellion are both a part of growing up, but during teenage and young-adult years we often feel a tension between the two. We may be aware of the need to conform but still have the desire to rebel, or at least to assert our individuality.

In your judgment, which force is stronger during these years — the urge to rebel or the urge to conform? Support your position with evidence from your own experience or your observations of other people.




Defining a Generation (Persuasive)

Every generation has something distinctive about it. One generation may be more politically active, another more self-centered, another more pessimistic.

Identify a significant characteristic of your own generation, and explain why you think that this characteristic is good or bad. Support your point of view with examples from your own experience, reading or observation.



Writer's Sample Available


Division of Labor (Persuasive)

For many people, college provides their first experience of living in a room or house with their peers, rather than family. In order to live together harmoniously, roommates often need to agree on a set of rules that define each roommate's rights and responsibilities. In your view, what kinds of rules are necessary to ensure fairness and harmony among roommates? Support your position with reasons and examples from your experiences and observations.




Fads and Trends (Persuasive)

Briefly describe a fad or trend that you dislike. Explain why it has attracted so many followers and why you dislike it. Develop your point of view by giving reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.



Writer's Sample Available


Games (Persuasive)

"Children waste far too much time playing games when they could be involved in more constructive activities."
—E. Gorkin

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above? Support your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.



Writer's Sample Available


Gap Year (Persuasive)

At least one major United States university officially recommends that high school students take a year off — a so-called gap year — before starting college. The gap year idea is gaining popularity. Supporters say it helps students mature and focus on their goals. Detractors say taking a year off from school will get students off track and that many will never go to college if they don't go right away. Do you think taking a gap year is a good idea? Why or why not?




Heroes Today (Persuasive)

Who, if anyone, do you think are our heroes today? How do they influence our lives for better or worse? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Images of Beauty (Persuasive)

Images of beauty — both male and female — are promoted in magazines, in movies, on billboards, and on television. Explain the extent to which you think these images can be beneficial or harmful.



Writer's Sample Available


Instincts (Persuasive)

People are often advised to follow their own instincts and behave in a way that feels natural.

Do you think this is good advice? Why or why not? Develop your point of view by giving reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.



Writer's Sample Available


Liberal Arts Education (Persuasive)

In the ancient world, the term "liberal arts" referred to the education appropriate for free people (as opposed to slaves). In modern American higher education, the term is used to describe an education that focuses on general, rather than vocational, knowledge. Proponents believe that a liberal arts education is valuable because it prepares students for life by teaching them how to think. Opponents contend that the study of topics unrelated to one's professional path is a waste of time. Is a liberal arts education worthwhile? Develop your position by using evidence from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Male and Female Roles (Persuasive)

Some people believe that major changes have occurred over the past few decades in attitudes toward what male and female roles should be in society. Others, however, believe that although some changes have taken place, traditional attitudes toward male and female roles continue in the family, in the workplace and in personal relationships.

In your view, to what extent have attitudes toward the roles of men and woman changed or remained traditional? Support your positions with examples drawn from your own experiences or from your observations of others.




Mandatory Voting (Persuasive)

Many United States citizens who are eligible to vote choose not to do so. Some people argue that low voter turnout is a threat to democracy because it results in a government that does not represent all of its citizens. Australia and other countries have addressed this problem by passing laws that require all eligible voters to participate in elections. Are mandatory voting laws an acceptable solution to the problem of low voter turnout? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Modern Conveniences (Persuasive)

Modern conveniences such as fast food, automated teller machines, and labor-saving appliances promise to make life easier. Do these products and services actually make our lives more convenient or do they simply create new problems? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Music (Persuasive)

Some have said that music not only entertains people but also influences their thinking and behavior.

To what extent do you think music has the power to influence as well as to entertain people? Support your views with reasons or examples from your reading, observations or experience.



Writer's Sample Available


Parties Over? (Persuasive)

Surveys show that about 38 percent of the American public considers itself politically independent: not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party. There are more independents than either Democrats or Republicans. These independent voters report that they see little difference between the Democrats and Republicans, and they are less likely to vote than members of the dominant parties. Given that so few Americans align themselves with a political party, does it even make sense to preserve the old party distinctions? In your opinion, would America be better off or worse off if political parties were abolished and all candidates ran as independents? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Peer Pressure (Persuasive)

Peer pressure — the influence that friends and classmates have on one another — is almost always described as a negative force that leads to undesirable behavior, but it can also encourage positive behavior. Under what circumstances can peer pressure have positive effects? Write an essay exploring the potentially positive effects of peer pressure. Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Physical Education Requirements (Persuasive)

Most universities require students to take at least one physical education course in order to graduate. Some require as many as four courses. Supporters of the physical education requirements argue that these courses are important to maintain student wellness. Others feel that college students should be responsible for their own physical health and that academics, not exercise, should be the focus of a college degree. Write an essay in which you argue for or against university physical education requirements. Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Product Liability (Persuasive)

"Recently, major tobacco companies agreed to pay a financial settlement to several states, including California, for health problems caused by cigarette smoking and other kinds of tobacco addiction. This is unfair and unreasonable. Should car manufacturers be made to pay big settlements because people drive badly and have accidents? Should the makers of cell phones be held responsible for accidents people have because they are driving or using equipment while talking? No company should be made to pay because people misuse its products."
—Edna Hacker

Explain Hacker's argument and discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with her analysis. Support your position, providing reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Raising Children (Persuasive)

Discuss what you consider an important challenge that parents face in raising children today, and explain how this challenge affects family life. Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Reality Class (Persuasive)

A reality television show about college life has requested permission to film one of your classes throughout the semester. How do you think the presence of a film crew would affect your educational experience? Write an essay making a case for or against granting the reality show permission to film your class. Use reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading to support your position.




Rebellion (Persuasive)

Some people claim that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. What do you think: is it a good thing to rebel a little now and then? Support your position with evidence from your own experience or from the experiences of people you know.



Writer's Sample Available


Senior Year (Persuasive)

"As far as I'm concerned, we can do away with the senior year of high school. The majority of students spend most of their time and effort either avoiding class work or planning their social activities."
—P.N. Tracton

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the argument above? Support your position with evidence from your own experiences or observations.




Single-Sex Education (Persuasive)

Women's colleges, once common in the United States, have been going coeducational in increasing numbers in the past 40 years. Many people argue that women's colleges are unnecessary, now that all of the major United States colleges and universities are open to women. Others, citing studies that show that graduates of women's colleges are more successful than women who graduate from coed colleges, argue that women's colleges still have much to offer. Are single-sex colleges obsolete, or do they still provide an important alternative to coed colleges? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Speaking of Sloth (Persuasive)

"Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy."
—Mahatma Gandhi

According to Gandhi, true happiness comes through work or action rather than through leisure. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Television President (Persuasive)

In 1960, presidential candidates John Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in a televised debate. The debate is now famous because it established the power of television in politics. The handsome, camera-friendly Kennedy won the approval of the viewing audience, while Nixon came off looking sour and uncomfortable. Since then, presidential candidates' personalities and screen presence have made a huge difference in their chances of winning office. Are Americans justified in giving so much weight to candidates' television presence? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




The Age of Cynicism (Persuasive)

Some people believe that 24-hour news coverage of corporate, government and celebrity scandals has led to an increase in cynicism, the belief that people are motivated only by self-interest. What evidence do you see that supports or refutes the idea that we live in an age of cynicism? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




The Five- (or More) Year Plan (Persuasive)

Statistics from the United States Department of Education show that the majority of students who enroll in four-year colleges now take longer than four years to graduate. Why might today's students take longer to graduate than students in past generations? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




The Way Things Are Today (Persuasive)

"We have all heard someone say, 'They just don't make them like they used to.' When I was a kid, my grandmother would stand at her kitchen counter and almost instantly throw together a little flour, some sugar, butter — and something else magical — to produce flaky, rich biscuits. Apparently it's now a lost art. Oh, I can find some doughy things in a foil tube at the grocery store or follow some package directions to 'just add water,' but the results are disappointing; those so-called biscuits just stick to the roof of my mouth, and they're tasteless except for the faint flavor of chalk. I find, though, that I just don't have the time to make biscuits from scratch, and no one in my family quite remembers Grandma's recipe anyway."

Complaints like the one above are common, but are they accurate as criticisms of the way things are today? Discuss whether you think that, in general, older and better ways of doing things are being replaced by newer but less satisfactory ways. Support your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Too Many Questions? (Persuasive)

High school and college students in the United States are encouraged to think independently, to challenge accepted ideas, and to question new ideas and opinions. Although most people agree that it is essential for students to think critically about the ideas they encounter, some worry that too much emphasis on independent thinking may encourage students to reject or ignore other people's ideas. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Virtual Friends (Persuasive)

The use of instant messaging, online social networks, e-mail and other forms of electronic communication has become increasingly common among people of all ages. How do these new technologies affect the way we socialize and build relationships? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Want/Should (Persuasive)

Often in life we experience a conflict in choosing between something we want to do and something we feel we should do.

In your opinion, are there any circumstances in which it is better for people to do what they want to do rather than what they feel they should do? Support your position with evidence from your own experience or your observations of other people.



Writer's Sample Available


Young People and Selfishness (Persuasive)

"Too many young people are motivated by selfish interests; they lack concern for anything beyond themselves."
—E. Boyle

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement above? Support your views with specific examples from your own experience, reading or observations.



Writer's Sample Available


College Level I — Business-Focused

(go to general topics)

Advertising and Obesity (Persuasive)

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatric Obesity reports that, if current trends continue, almost half the children in North and South America and 38 percent of those in the European Union will be obese by 2010. Physicians studying the trend place much of the blame on the advertising and marketing industry, which, they say, pushes junk food on kids relentlessly. Some physicians argue that, given the massive human and financial toll this potential epidemic could take, all advertising of junk food to children should be banned. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




CEO Salaries (Persuasive)

The salaries of chief executive officers (CEOs) reportedly grew by 480 percent between 1980 and 2003. As a result, the gap between CEO salaries and employee salaries has widened every year since the 1980s. Many CEOs of public companies earn 100 times or more what their average employees make. Is it appropriate for CEOs to receive multimillion-dollar compensation packages, or should CEO salaries be brought more in line with employee salaries? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Choosing a Job (Persuasive)

If two different companies offered you similar jobs at similar salaries, how would you decide which offer to accept? What qualities might make one company more or less attractive than the other? Write an essay exploring the information you would use to make your decision. Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Company Loyalty (Persuasive)

It used to be common for workers to spend their entire careers with the same company, but workers today are more likely to work for several different companies during their careers. Do you think that this trend benefits workers or hurts them? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Corporate Criminals (Persuasive)

Charges of fraud, shady accounting practices and other corporate misdeeds have rocked the business world in recent years. Though the perpetrators of such crimes cost employees and investors millions of dollars, they usually receive fines instead of jail sentences. When a jail sentence is given, it is usually only a few months in a minimum-security facility. Should the punishment for corporate leaders who commit white-collar crimes be more severe? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Customer Service (Persuasive)

"Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers."
—Stephen Covey

Do you agree with Covey that good customer service comes from managers modeling proper behavior, or should employees be treated one way and customers another? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Data Mining (Persuasive)

Many businesses now use computer records to collect and track information on their customers' shopping habits — a strategy called data mining. Retailers use this information to make decisions about what products to carry, or even to tailor their advertisements to particular customers who have bought specific products in the past. Businesses say the practice leads to better understanding of, and better service for, their customers, but consumer advocates worry that consumer privacy is at risk. Which argument do you believe is right? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Do Not Call (Persuasive)

Since 2003, United States residents have had the option of registering their telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. Once a number is registered, most telemarketers would be legally barred from calling. In your opinion, is it a good idea for the government to intervene in business practices — like telemarketing — that many people find annoying, though not damaging? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Dress for Success (Persuasive)

Until the 1990s, business suits were standard attire in the corporate world. These days, corporate dress codes vary — some employers still expect employees to wear suits while others welcome much more casual dress. While many people welcome the increased comfort and freedom of casual business attire, others believe that casual dress in the corporate workplace is unprofessional or even harmful. Write an essay exploring the pros and cons of the trend toward casual dress in the workplace. Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Long Hours, More Perks (Persuasive)

The days of 9-to-5 jobs are past. United States office workers are increasingly expected to work nine or more hours a day, with lunches eaten hastily at the desk and extra work done at home on weekends. In order to keep employees functioning and reasonably happy, some companies have begun offering a variety of on-the-job perks: subsidized gourmet lunches in the company cafeteria, a company gym, free on-site massages, on-site daycare, even on-site pet care. In your opinion, are these types of perks effective in keeping employees productive and happy? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Management by Objectives (Persuasive)

A popular management technique is Management by Objectives, wherein managers ask employees to suggest their own goals and timelines for work and hold the employee responsible for meeting those goals. Do you believe this approach would be more or less effective for motivating employees than traditional management-directed assignments? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Maternity Leave (Persuasive)

In Sweden, all working parents are entitled to 16 weeks of paid leave per child. The cost is shared by the government and the employer. In the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires some employers to provide a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave for parents, but the act only applies to about 60 percent of workers. Should the United States enact more generous parental leave laws? Why or why not? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Net Gain (Persuasive)

"I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that, for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well."
—Alan Greenspan

Greenspan argues that one person's success should not come at someone else's expense. To what extent do you agree or disagree with Greenspan's opinion about a successful career? State your opinion, and support your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Retirement Age (Persuasive)

Many consider the current standard retirement age of 65 a relic of a time when health woes often hampered the productivity of older workers. Today, with life expectancy in the United States reaching 80 years, many older workers argue that they are fit and willing to continue working into their 70s and beyond. Medical research, however, seems to indicate that while older Americans are fitter than they used to be, they are nonetheless physically and mentally slower than their younger counterparts. Should older workers still be compelled to retire at age 65? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Shorter Weeks (Persuasive)

In the European Union, a statute dictates that employees may not work more than 48 hours per week, and any work done after the standard 35 hours per week is considered overtime. In many member countries, fixed employment usually comes with four to six weeks of paid leave per year. In the United States, the standard work week is 40 hours, although many people put in much longer hours without overtime compensation, and fixed employment generally comes with two weeks of paid leave. Would it be a good idea for the United States to adopt a more European model by imposing government restrictions on working hours and encouraging business to offer longer paid leaves? Why or why not? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Smoke Out (Persuasive)

In an effort to reduce future health-care costs, a major United States company is considering giving a small pay increase to all of its nonsmoking employees. They hope to encourage employees who do smoke to quit, thus reducing the amount they may have to pay in future health coverage. Do you believe this decision would be an effective way to both reduce health-care costs and encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Surfing at Work (Persuasive)

Most companies monitor Internet and e-mail use by their workers. Employers are concerned about excessive personal Internet use during business hours and threats from spyware and viruses. Employers have the right to set policy about use of computers, but how restrictive should they be? Should all personal use of the Internet and e-mail be banned? Should employers rely on their workers to use their best judgment on Internet use? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




Team Building (Persuasive)

Some managers believe it is important for employees working toward a common goal to feel bonded to each other so they can work well as a team. Many programs and activities exist to foster such relationships. Is the team mentality a crucial factor in a group's success? Are team-building activities good for employees, or are they unnecessary or perhaps even detrimental? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




The Electronic Office (Persuasive)

The Internet, laptop computers, cellular phones and other technology allow many people to stay in touch with colleagues and clients even when they are at home or on the road. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of technology? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




The Four P's (Persuasive)

People who are trying to market a product often speak of the Four P's that need to be considered in any marketing campaign: Product (what is being sold), Price (how much it costs), Place (where it is being distributed), and Promotion (how one communicates with customers). In your opinion, which of the Four P's is least important? Explain your position with reasons and examples from your own experiences, observations or reading.




4th Grade

A Helpful Wish (Cause & Effect)

A genie has just popped out of your bottle of juice! He offers to grant one wish, but only if you use that wish to help someone other than yourself. Before the genie disappears, he tells you to write your wish and leave it in the refrigerator for him. In order for your wish to be granted, you must explain to the genie how the granting of your wish will help somebody else. Be specific!



Writer's Sample Available


A New Season (Cause & Effect)

When winter is over and spring arrives, the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. How do the longer days and warmer weather cause changes in what you do each day? Do you wear different clothes? Do you take part in different activities? Write an essay explaining how your days are different when spring arrives. Provide specific examples in your response.



Writer's Sample Available


Castle (Narrative)

One morning a child looks out the window and discovers that a huge castle has appeared overnight. The child rushes outside to the castle and hears strange sounds coming from it. Someone is living in the castle! The castle door creaks open. The child goes in.

Write a story about who the child meets and what happens inside the castle.



Writer's Sample Available


Choose a Pet (Persuasive)

Many people have a pet such as a dog, bird, or snake. If you could have any pet, what would you choose? Describe the pet you would want and give three reasons for your choice.



Writer's Sample Available


Different Jobs (Compare & Contrast)

What kind of job do you think you’ll have when you grow up? Will you be a teacher? A firefighter? A chef? Write an essay comparing two different jobs that you think might be interesting. What do the two jobs have in common? How are the two jobs different? Use specific details to show the similarities and differences between the two jobs.



Writer's Sample Available


Directions Home (Process)

A school friend is coming over to your house for the first time and needs directions. Your friend can get to your school but does not know the rest of the way. Write an essay that gives step-by-step directions explaining how to get from your school to your home. Be sure to include important details such as how long the walk or drive will take, what landmarks they can expect to see on the way, and how to recognize your house or building.



Writer's Sample Available


Dog Park (Persuasive)

A new park is about to open in the neighborhood. Some of the people want the park to be "dog-friendly." They want a place where owners can take their dogs and let their dogs play without wearing leashes. Other people want the park to require leashes on dogs at all times.

What do you think? Why? Write an essay to convince readers that your position is correct.



Writer's Sample Available


Dream Playground (Descriptive)

Your town is planning to build a new playground, and it is sponsoring a "Dream Playground" contest. Each child in town has been asked to submit a description of the perfect playground. The town will use the entries to plan the playground, and the child with the best "Dream Playground" will get to choose the name for the new playground. Write an essay describing your perfect playground. Include details about what it contains, how it looks, and what children will do there.



Writer's Sample Available


Favorite Object (Informative)

We all have favorite objects that we care about and would not want to give up.

Think of one object that is important or valuable to you. For example, it could be a book, a piece of clothing, a game, or any object you care about.

Write about your favorite object. Be sure to describe the object and explain why it is valuable or important to you.



Writer's Sample Available


Favorite TV Show (Persuasive)

Think about your favorite TV show. Pretend that a friend has never seen it. Write a letter telling your friend why he or she should watch the show. Include three reasons why you like this show. Also give examples from the show to support your reasons.



Writer's Sample Available


Flying Mop (Narrative)

"One day Simon was walking down the street near his house when he saw a beat up old mop lying on the sidewalk. He picked up the mop and soon discovered that it was no ordinary mop. If he got on it he could fly! The mop was so fast that Simon could fly anywhere in the world."

Where do you think this flying mop came from? Where does Simon go on his mop? Use your imagination to write a story about Simon’s adventures with the flying mop.



Writer's Sample Available


Getting Ready (Process)

What do you do to get ready for school? Write out your morning activities, starting with the moment you wake up. Include all the things you do before you arrive at school. Your essay should describe your morning so that the reader knows exactly what you do.



Writer's Sample Available


To celebrate the opening of its new children's section, your local library will invite a famous author of children’s books to speak to area children and read from his or her books. Which author would you most like to meet? Write an essay to persuade the library staff to invite your favorite author to the celebration. Be sure to include reasons and examples to support your choice.




Home and Away (Compare-Contrast)

Think about a fun trip that you would like to take. Describe where you would go. Then explain three ways that this place is similar to where you live and three ways that it is different.



Writer's Sample Available


Household Chore (Cause & Effect)

Think of a household chore done regularly by you or someone in your family. What would happen if you suddenly stopped doing it? Write an essay describing how life in your house would change if nobody did this chore.



Writer's Sample Available


Instructions for Sub (Process)

Your teacher has taken a day off and has forgotten to leave a note for the substitute. Can you help the substitute by explaining how to start class and move through the day? What little details might the sub need to know to get through the day smoothly? Don't leave anything out. The substitute and your teacher are counting on you!



Writer's Sample Available


Interesting Dream (Descriptive)

Think about a happy, funny, or weird dream that you've had. It can be a dream that you just had or from when you were much younger. Describe this dream. Include everything that you saw, heard, and did. Also include how you felt during it.



Writer's Sample Available


Invisible Friend (Persuasive)

Read the letter below. Pretend this letter is from an imaginary friend that you have had since kindergarten. Think about what you could say that would help your friend decide to become visible.

Write a letter to your imaginary friend. Convince your friend to become visible. In your letter, use details and examples.

To My Best Friend,
You are my best and only friend because only you can see or hear me. To everyone else, I am completely invisible.

Last night on my tenth birthday I figured out how to make myself visible. But I'm afraid. I like living in your imagination. I'm not too sure I'd like living in the real world. Who will take care of me? What would I do for fun? Who would be my friend besides you?

Do you think I should become visible? Why do you think I should? Besides being with you, what is so great about being visible?

Sincerely,
Your confused friend



Writer's Sample Available


Let's Play (Process)

Imagine that you would like to teach other kids some of the games you know. Write instructions on how to play a simple game such as "Hide and Seek." Pretend the other kids have never heard of the game before. Include all the facts and directions they will need to play the game.



Writer's Sample Available


Lost Time (Narrative)

"Tyler has a special clock. When he turns the clock off, time stands still. Everyone around him freezes in place until he turns the clock on again. Only Tyler can move around or remember what happens when the clock is off."

When does Tyler use the special clock, and how does he spend his time when the clock is stopped? Use your imagination to write a story about Tyler and his mysterious clock.



Writer's Sample Available


Making Friends (Process)

Pretend that your class publishes a newspaper. Your classmates write to you and ask for help. You then tell them what they should do. You just got this letter:

Dear Secret Helper,

I am 10 years old. I just moved to a new school. I miss my old friends a lot.
I want to make new friends! But I don't know what to do. How can I make lots of new friends?

Yours truly,
Amy

Can you help Amy? Answer her letter. In it, describe what she can do to make friends. Give all of the ways she can develop friendships/friends.



Writer's Sample Available


Imagine your life without technology. It would mean we would not have cars, telephones, computers, or televisions. How would this affect your daily life? Explain how your life would change if we didn’t have technology.



Writer's Sample Available


Non-School Clothes (Descriptive)

Do you have clothes that you wear for different activities? Are they play clothes or special-event clothes? Do the clothes show that you are a member of a group?

Choose one set of clothes. Write an essay describing these clothes. Explain what they look like and how they feel and how you feel wearing them. What activities do you enjoy while wearing these clothes?



Writer's Sample Available


Outside in the Rain (Descriptive)

Think about a time you were outside in the rain. Describe what happened. Include how the rain looked, sounded, felt, and smelled.



Writer's Sample Available


Party Plans (Persuasive)

Your class is planning a party at the end of the school year. How would you decorate the classroom for the celebration? What would you do at the party? Write an essay describing your idea for the party and give at least three reasons why your idea would be fun.



Writer's Sample Available


Pet Dragon (Narrative)

Imagine you just found a baby dragon alone in the park. What does the dragon look like? How did it get to the park? What will you do with it? Write a story about what happens to you and your new pet dragon.



Writer's Sample Available


Pick a Room (Persuasive)

The recreation center in your neighborhood is trying to decide what to do with an unused room. One group has suggested that the room could be used as a game room. Another group wants the room to have computers and tables so that local children can use the room to do homework. Write a letter to the recreation center arguing in favor of either the game room or the homework room. Be sure to offer specific reasons and examples to support your choice.



Writer's Sample Available


Prepare a Meal (Process)

Think of a meal you know how to make. It can be something simple you prepare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Explain how to make this meal.



Writer's Sample Available


School Subjects (Compare-Contrast)

What is your favorite subject in school? What subject is your least favorite? Describe both subjects. Then tell how they are alike and how they are different.



Writer's Sample Available


Strange Water Glass (Narrative)

"Marisa stares at the strange water glass. She knows she shouldn't touch anything in the old MacGregor house. Her mother has warned her. But she is just too curious. She quickly picks up the glass and drinks the bubbling, green drink. Suddenly she finds herself changing!"

What happens to Marisa? Does she ever become herself again? Finish the story. Use your imagination!



Writer's Sample Available


Talking Frog (Narrative)

"One day, Kathy was walking home from school. She noticed a frog was following her. She was surprised. "Why would a frog do that?" she thought. She was even more surprised when it started to speak to her!"

What does the frog say? Why does it want to talk to Kathy? What happens next? Finish the story. Be creative!



Writer's Sample Available


That Smells Great! (Descriptive)

What is your favorite scent? Does it come from a food, a flower, a place, an event, or something else? Write an essay describing your favorite scent. Make your description vivid so that others can understand why the scent is your favorite.



Writer's Sample Available


Ways to Play (Compare and Contrast)

Some people like to play outside on the weekends. Other people prefer to do things indoors. Write an essay comparing ways to play inside and outside. How are they alike? How are they different? Be sure to include at least two ways that they are alike and two ways that they are different.



Writer's Sample Available


0 thoughts on “Criterion Essay Topics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *