Amazing Narrative Essay Topics (Updated for 2019)

narrative essay topics
  • Published Date: October 31, 2018


If your teacher hands you an assignment for one of many narrative essay topics, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Narrative essay topics are some of the easiest essays to write about, even if your teacher gives you the cheesiest prompt to complete (like, if you were a tree, what tree would you be and why). Other times, narrative essay topics can be exciting and can force you to dig deep into your past and determine which events have influenced you the most and how. The joy of this type of essay is multi-fold: you don’t have to do any research, you don’t have convince the reader of an argument, and you don’t have to worry if you have enough or reputable-enough sources (as you often don’t need any). This essay wants you to examine the life you’ve lived and mine it for gold, and even the least self-aware person can do that. The key to a successful narrative essay is finding the best topic. Selecting the best topic is a highly individualistic endeavor and so much of it depends on your personality and lived experience thus far. So when it comes to choosing a topic, definitely go with your instinct. By the time you’re done reading this article, you will be better prepared to select the best topic for your unique life experience thus far.

Narrative Essay Topics

Locating the best narrative essay topic means you need to find one that sparks your inherent desire to tell a story. You’ll know when you’ve found the right topic when you feel a sense of –yes, I want to tell this story. Most of the people reading this article are young, and you haven’t had as much life experience as people like your parents or teachers. However, you have still lived and have still gathered lessons about the world as a result of your experiences in it. You’ll notice that with many of the topics below, there is a push for you to not only discuss or describe the event you experienced, but to write about what you learned from it. This is a truly monumental aspect of the narrative essay. Narrative essays often ask the writer to talk about what insight or knowledge they learned about the world, about other people, about the human condition or about themselves. This is often the difference between a winning narrative essay and one which just gets a mediocre grade.

Thus, the best narrative essay topic is often one that provokes you to reflect, examine an experience and to think about how it changed or affected you or shifted your perspective on the world. Some students don’t want to dig this deep into their lives, and that’s understandable, as it can be uncomfortable. However, it’s totally worth it. This is because the narrative essay is the one essay variety where you really can gain more self awareness and insight. Hence, you’ll notice that many of the narrative essay topics available here focus on difficult experiences from your life thus far. This is because the challenging experiences often offer more richer lessons and more valuable insights. The expectation from topics like these is that you will be prepared to talk with clarity about these learning experiences and shifts in perspective.

College Essay Topics

  • The college interview I’ll never forget.
  • What my first day of college taught me.
  • What I learned from my college roommate.
  • The best professor I ever had.
  • The worst professor I ever had.
  • What college taught me about time management.
  • The most poignant memory from college.
  • What socializing at college taught you about life.
  • Do you think college is a necessity for a productive adult life?
  • What would you change about the college application process?
  • What would you change about the Ivy league school system?
  • Are there still biases when applying to college?
  • Discuss your experiences and thoughts on student debt.
  • Discuss the workload you received at college and how appropriate it was/was not.
  • Has college prepared you for the job market? Discuss.
  • What are the most important aspects of a graduation ceremony?
  • Should the SAT or ACT still be a part of the college application process?
  • How has college helped you learn about yourself?
  • What has college revealed to you about the outside world?
  • The most influential person I met at college.
  • The most boring moment at college that gave me the greatest insight.
  • How being away from my family helped me find myself.
  • Something I discovered about myself while being away at college.


High School Essay Topics

  • My most influential high school teacher.
  • The novel I read in high school that stayed with me forever.
  • One of the hardest parts of high school that I will never miss.
  • One of the hardest parts of high school that influenced me the most.
  • One thing that I would change about the high school experience.
  • Advice I would give someone about to start high school.
  • Something I wish I had known about high school before I started.
  • One of the most embarrassing moments I ever lived through in high school.
  • One of the hardest days I ever had as a high school student.
  • An unexpected act of kindness I received in high school.
  • Discuss the workload you’ve received in high school and whether it has helped or hurt.
  • If you had to do high school again, would you go to a private or public one?
  • Discuss what the social scene in your high school has shown you about the human condition.
  • Explain the one fatal flaw that every high school has.
  • Describe bullying in high school and to what extent you witnessed or experienced it.
  • Discuss the most popular teacher in your high school.
  • Discuss the most hated teacher in your high school.
  • Describe how important or unimportant one’s clothing/appearance is in your high school.
  • How much/little has peer pressure influenced your life?
  • Describe a time when you did something you were ashamed of in high school and discuss why you regret it.

Elementary School Essay Topics

  • The meanest elementary school teacher I ever had.
  • The children’s book that helped shape my personality.
  • Describe a place you used to play in elementary school and discuss why it is special.
  • Discuss a game or activity you used to engage in as a child and discuss why you liked it.
  • Talk about your best friend in elementary school and what that friendship taught you.
  • Pick a beloved toy that you had (or wanted but never received) and discuss.
  • Name a fictional character from childhood that you loved and discuss its influence.
  • What memory from elementary school is the most painful? Discuss.
  • What memory from elementary school fills you with the most warmth? Discuss.
  • My earliest memory of school.
  • The first time I was yelled at by a school teacher.
  • The first school play or performance I participated in.
  • My favorite subject as an elementary school student.
  • What object encapsulates your childhood the most?
  • Describe a day from your childhood you would most want to relive.
  • Discuss a nickname that you loved/hated from childhood.

Good Essay Topics

  • Discovering the flaws of my parents.
  • The decade or century of the past I wish I had been born in.
  • An incident in history I wish I could change.
  • A time I was forced to face one of my fears.
  • An accomplishment that gives me the most pride.
  • An act of kindness I received from a stranger.
  • What using social media has taught me.
  • The book that has inspired me the most.
  • The film that most deeply impacted my life.
  • What was the most surprising thing that was ever mailed to you.
  • What are some of the most important lessons your family has taught you?
  • Pick an event that has had the most profound impact on your and your family.
  • Pick a possession or heirloom that is invaluable according to you and your family.
  • What was the greatest lesson that your mother or father ever taught you?
  • Describe a time you were unfair to your parents and discuss.
  • What have your siblings taught you?
  • Discuss your relationship with your parents and how that has shaped you.
  • Pick one superpower that you could have and discuss how you would use it to help humanity.
  • They say that kids today just want to be famous. Is that true or untrue and why?

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

  • What losing friends has taught me.
  • What failure has taught me.
  • My biggest disappointment.
  • The first time I had my heart broken.
  • My most memorable embarrassment.
  • My first funeral.
  • One of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make.
  • The friend that influenced you the most.
  • Do you enjoy being alone? Discuss.
  • The best/worst parts about being young.
  • The best/worst decision I ever made.
  • Discuss risk-taking as it manifests in your life.
  • A time when I did something heroic.
  • A time when I did something cowardly and beneath me.
  • What my personal flaws and weaknesses have taught me.
  • Wisdom I received from a stranger.
  • My favorite word in the English language.
  • A word I use constantly in the English language.
  • Describe someone you know who uses comedy and being funny as a tool.
  • Pick a character in a book or movie who best reflects who you are.
  • Pick a character in a book or movie who you aspire to be someday.
  • Name an author or book who has had the greatest impact on your perception of reality or the human condition.
  • Name a piece of art that had a profound impact on your and discuss.
  • Name a commercial that you felt was excellent and discuss.
  • Do you enjoy horror films? Why or why not?

Current Events Essay Topics

  • Discuss the current divisiveness of the nation and how you see it reflected in your immediate life.
  • Name one policy created by the Trump administration and discuss how it has had a direct impact on you or your family.
  • In your opinion, is racism still alive and well in America? Answer using personal experience.
  • How has the #metoo movement impacted you? What do your parents and grandparents think of it?
  • To what extent do you think our society is misogynistic? Explain using examples from your own life.
  • What are your personal opinions of America’s immigration policy, how does it impact your life and do you think changes are due?
  • America has a gun problem or a violence problem: pick one side and discuss.
  • What is the main cause of mass shootings in America and describe how you have observed this cause manifest.
  • If you could help our society in one distinct way, what would it be and why?
  • Is there an issue or cause that you would risk your life for? Discuss and explain.
  • In your opinion, how great a threat is terrorism and how should it be handled?
  • Is there a particular issue or news story that you follow closely? What is it and why?
  • Discuss a change that has occurred within society in the last ten years and explain why it is so poignant.
  • Pick a conspiracy theory connected to 9/11 and discuss your opinion of it.
  • What are your main concerns about artificial intelligence?
  • Discuss one way that this nation can experience more unity.
  • President Trump is blamed for all acts of violence that occur in society, particularly those connected to intolerance. Is that fair or unfair?


Finding the best subject out of a range of narrative essay topics is the first step in creating a strong narrative essay. Narrative essays ask you the writer to be bold: you have to be prepared to go into great detail about an event of your life. This can be a prickly endeavor for many, as it requires that you share personal details of your life. This can sometimes include mistakes you’ve made, poor decisions-making, or ways that you’ve hurt people. Don’t be embarrassed to share the truth in your essay. Nearly everyone on the planet has stories like these because everyone has made mistakes. The key to a winning narrative essay is not just your ability to speak honestly about these mistakes, but to show that they have not been in vain. It is your duty to demonstrate that you have learned from these uncomfortable, difficult or pleasant moments, and that you have become wiser.

As always, our writers are always available to offer guidance or feedback on what you’ve written. Sometimes it can be tricky to find that delicate balance between sharing enough information about an experience and over-sharing about a life event. Our writers are well-versed in helping to strike that balance. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want feedback or other valuable help with a narrative essay topic.

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