30 Good Topic Ideas for a Descriptive Essay— Our list of descriptive essay topics will help your students see that writing can be very enjoyable when they are writing about something that is relatable.
A Few Words About Descriptive Writing Essays
Announcing to your class of high school students that you are assigning an essay as homework is likely to elicit groans and moans from the teenagers who don’t want to spend endless hours researching and writing a paper.
However, when you inform them that their next writing task is going to be a descriptive essay, they may feel less irritated at the idea.
A descriptive essay is a piece of writing that requires a student to describe — in detail and from every aspect — a person, place, object memory, emotion, conflict, situation, favorite hobby, or experience.
High school students, in particular, tend to enjoy this form of writing, largely because they have a lot of freedom and flexibility to express themselves through their writing.
30 Descriptive Essay Topic Ideas
Encourage your writers to choose their personal favorite topic these descriptive topic ideas to help your high school students build upon their existing writing skills and learn to love the writing process.
Descriptive Writing Topics About Places and Experiences
- Write an essay about your favorite home that you have lived in, and what made that home so special.
- Describe your elementary school or middle school.
- Write about your favorite place to be. Why do you like to be there? How do you feel when you are in that space?
- Describe a significant experience that changed your life.
- Describe a favorite vacation destination. Or, write about your hometown if you prefer.
- Describe the most beautiful outdoor attraction that you have seen. Do you visit this area often? Why or why not?
- Where do you feel that you learn best? Write about this special space.
- Describe a time when you felt pure happiness.
- Write about a transformative experience during your childhood. How do you feel that this experience impacted your current course?
- Describe the type of place where you want to live in the future.
Descriptive Writing List of Topics About People and Emotions
- Write an essay about a person who raised you.
- Describe your best friend and the feelings that you have when you spend time together.
- Write about the period in your life when you were transitioning from a kid into a young adult. How did you feel? What happened during this time?
- Describe your pet and the way that your pet makes you feel.
- Describe your role model. Why do you admire this person?
- Write about the person that you feel is the most influential historical figure.
- Write a descriptive essay about a time that you met a complete stranger.
- Write a descriptive essay about yourself.
- Describe the most influential teacher that you have had.
- Write an essay describing how you felt on the first day of school.
Good Descriptive Essay Topics About Objects and Memories
- Write an essay about your favorite toy from your childhood.
- Describe an object that has sentimental value to you.
- Write an essay about your earliest memory. Why do you feel this memory stands out to you?
- Describe a piece of furniture in your home. Why did you choose this piece of furniture?
- Write about the piece of technology that you could not live without.
- Describe an object that you are hoping to purchase. What are you doing to work toward your goals?
- Describe an object that you remember from your grandparents’ house. What memories are tied to this object?
- Write about an object that makes you think about your best friend.
- Describe your favorite book and the impact it had on your life.
- Write about what you might find inside your purse or wallet.
I hope you enjoyed this list of writing ideas and find that it inspires loads of creativity in your writers. You may use them with students of the high school grade levels or other ages as you see fit. Younger children might enjoy writing about some of the following topics:
- favorite movie or concert
- a family member or celebrity
- most memorable birthday
- the best summer vacation or the perfect vacation
- a dream house or ideal bedroom
- favorite classroom
- favorite song
Tips for This Type of Essay
Of course, there is still a format and style to be followed when writing a descriptive essay.
These tips can help your students complete their best possible descriptive essay:
Tip #1 — Encourage your students to brainstorm the topics and ideas that they are passionate about. When they relate to what they are writing about, the words will come more naturally.
Tip #2 — Tell your students to pick a topic and get organized before they start writing. (Indeed, multiple drafts may be needed prior to creating the final version of the essay.) This will help them build out their ideas and fine-tune their descriptions throughout the writing process.
Tip #3 — Remind your students that they should use bold, vivid language with lots of sensory details — but that their sentences should remain clean, crisp, and concise. Choosing one powerful adjective is better than adding several flowery words to every description
In order to get your students on board with this assignment and to help them create a piece of writing that others can relate to, you will want to provide them with several descriptive essay topics and ideas to choose from.
Final Words of Inspiration
Your high school students are starting to prepare for the next stage of their education. Many are looking to become a college student which is why they need to practice their writing skills in order to compose effective and compelling essays for their college applications.
They also need to build upon their existing foundation so that they can thrive in a university environment, where writing will play a pivotal role in almost all of their courses.
Our list of descriptive essay writing topics will help your students see that writing can be very enjoyable when they are writing about something that is relatable. With the right topics and ideas in front of them, they will always want to keep on writing!
Links & Resources
- Descriptive Writing Prompts to Teach Kids about Storytelling
- Take Creative Writing to another Level with these 31 Creative Essay Prompts
- How to Write a Descriptive Essay Outline
Until next time, keep on writing…
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