35 Essay Prompts to Help High School Students Practice Writing Personal Essays— If they haven’t already, high school students will quickly become accustomed to writing essays—and we say, the more writing, the merrier! Because high-schoolers will ultimately need to write personal essays for everything from college applications to standardized tests, it’s essential to make sure your class is getting in enough practice.
As they answer these 35 new essay prompts for high school students, teens should plan to write personal essays of about 500-1000 words in response.
Covering topics like communication, rites of passage, ethical consumption, and more, students will have the chance to explore issues that they and their peers face each day—all within the safe confines of the page. And most importantly, they’ll be able to reflect, grow, and prepare for the long road ahead all at the same time.
Use these essay prompts for high school students to help teens get better at personal essay writing and more skilled at expressing their deepest thoughts and ideas!
Personal Essay Writing Ideas for High Schoolers
- What inspires you?
- What inanimate object best embodies you?
- What kind of person do you want to be—and what kind of person are you now?
- What makes you proud?
- What do your parents not understand about you?
- Describe a rite of passage you’ve completed and what it meant to you.
- What is the most important quality a person can have?
- Write about a lesson you recently learned—and how it changed your outlook on things.
- How has the place where you’ve grown up impacted who you are?
- Write about the first time you felt different or alone.
- What is the best decision you ever made?
- What is something you could change about yourself that would make a major difference in your life?
- What kind of impact does peer pressure have on your life?
- Are you adventurous? Compare and contrast a time when you took a risk and a time when you played it safe.
- Write about a time when someone told you something about yourself that changed your perspective.
- Write about a challenge you’re facing right now—and what you plan to do about it.
- When do you find it hardest to make good decisions? Why?
- Are you comfortable in your body? How do media and culture affect your perception of how you look?
- Write about the first time when you felt pressured to adhere to a particular gender role.
- Do you identify as a feminist? Why or why not?
- Do you consider yourself to be spiritual or religious at all? Why or why not?
- What does “ethical consumption” mean to you—and does it matter to you?
- What role does social media play in your life? Write about its influence—or lack thereof.
- Write about a piece of media that has influenced or impacted you significantly.
- Why do you think our culture fixates so heavily on celebrity gossip?
- How do you and your friends communicate with each other?
- What period of school (elementary school, middle school, high school, or college) do you feel is most important? Why?
- Do you feel like you and your classmates are honest with each other? Why or why not?
- What issue truly motivates you—and why?
- Do you believe in “best” friends? Why or why not?
- What is the most important thing in the world to you?
- If you were a college admissions officer, what qualities would you look for in prospective students?
- Write about a time when you were tested—and how you handled the tough situation.
- When you look back on high school someday, what part will you remember fondly? Which part will you wish you could forget?
- What is your greatest dream? Do you feel like you’ll ever achieve it?
Until next time, write on…
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