21 Pros and Cons Topics to Help You Write a Better Essay

You’re not too thrilled about writing another essay, but when you check your next assignment, it reads: PRO-CON ESSAY.

“Whoa! Pro-Con,” you wonder out loud, “Is that anything like Comic-Con? If Comic-Con is all things comics and culture, maybe Pro-Con is all things pro, like all things pro football or all things pro basketball.”

No, sorry. A pro-con essay is nothing like Comic-Con (though you could probably write a pro-con essay about Comic-Con). A pro-con essay isn’t all about pro sports, either.

A pro-con essay is decidedly less flashy than a comic book superhero. It simply examines both the pros (positive aspects) and the cons (negative aspects) of an issue. But hey, you can make your pro-con essay sorta flashy, right? Finding the perfect topic is the first step.

Feeling a mental block, and don’t have a clue about what to write about for this type of paper?

Let me engage my superhero powers (you didn’t know I had any, did you?) to generate 21 pros and cons topics to help you write a better essay.

pros and cons topics

Choosing a Pros and Cons Topic

Topics are funny creatures. Choose the right one, and you’re on your way to an awesome paper. Choose the wrong one, and you’re headed for disaster.

Here’s what I mean. How do you think your paper would turn out if you decided to write about the pros and cons of brushing your teeth? Um yeah, there are lots of reasons you should brush your teeth and no reasons you shouldn’t.

So how exactly do you decide what to write about? Pick something controversial and something that you can examine from multiple angles.

You want a topic that you can present equal evidence for both the pros and the cons of the topic. This will enable you to analyze both the positives and negatives while presenting a clear discussion for your readers.

With that in mind, check out these pros and cons topics that will help you write a better essay.

21 Pros and Cons Topics

Your grades will thank you.
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This list includes not only 21 pros and cons topics but also a few pros and cons for each topic to get you started. I’ve even linked to some sample essays for added inspiration.

1. Attending Comic-Con

Pros: You can meet people and make friends who share your love of comics. You might even meet (or at least get to listen to) comic-book writers, such as Jason Aaron or Brian Selznick.

Cons:  If you don’t live in the area, you might go broke attending. Purchasing tickets can be confusing and difficult, so if you’re not persistent and detail-oriented, you might find yourself without a ticket or with tickets to the wrong events.

2. Unions

Pros: Unions can help negotiate better wages and bridge communication between management and workers.

Cons: Joining unions can be expensive, and not all workers may share benefits equally. Unions can add unnecessary bureaucracy that makes it more difficult to complete a job.

pros and cons topics
“Graduation Cake Guy” by David Goehring, Flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

3. Earning a college degree

Pros: Earning a college degree means you are trained for a specific career and will likely be able to land a higher-paying job. If you live on campus, you’ll also get to have “the college experience,” enjoy the social aspects of college, and meet people from all walks of life.

Cons: Earning a college degree can be expensive and time-consuming. Worse yet, earning a degree doesn’t even guarantee a job. Many also argue college isn’t necessary as you can gain experience on the job or go to trade school, graduate within a year, and start earning money. Cha-ching!

4. Social media

Pros: Social media is an excellent way to stay connected with family and friends. It also allows people to participate in new and varied social groups. It’s also a quick and efficient way to distribute information.

Cons: Social media is notorious for instigating bullying, especially among teens. Those who spend a great deal of time on social media can fall into depression as people can feel that their lives aren’t as fun, exciting, and fulfilling as the lives of others.

5. Tattoos

Pros: Tattoos can be thought of as personal expression and are also a very old art form that more and more people now appreciate. If you’re a die-hard Superman fan, you can even pay homage to him for a lifetime by tattooing a giant Superman logo on your body (or a Super Susan one if you’re so inclined, heh).

Cons: If you make a mistake and tattoo your now ex-boyfriend’s or ex-girlfriend’s name on your arm, you might regret it (and the difficult, painful, and expensive removal process). You also risk infection each time you get tattooed. In addition, there are still employers who frown upon people with tattoos, so you might struggle to find a job with tattoo sleeves or that Superman or Super Susan logo tattooed on your face.

6. Skipping class

Pros: An obvious pro of skipping an early morning class is that you get to sleep in. Skipping class also means you don’t have to face that horrible history prof that you cannot stand listening to.

Cons: If you skip class, you might get docked for attendance or you might miss a pop quiz. Either of these can result in a lower grade. This, of course, might not outweigh the positive aspects of sleeping in.

7. Animal experimentation

Pros: Animal experimentation has helped humans by allowing for the discovery of life-saving medicines and treatments for diseases.

Cons:  In some cases, experimentation can be inhumane, and animals might feel pain or perhaps die as a result of experiments.

8. Teacher tenure

Pros: Tenure can protect teachers from being fired for unnecessary reasons and can also encourage careful selection of teachers.

Cons: Some argue teacher tenure creates complacency. Others argue that tenure relies too heavily on seniority, forcing newer teachers to teach less desirable classes.

9. Online shopping

Pros: Shopping online means you can shop at any time and at almost any place you’d like. It also means you can skip the long Black Friday lines and still get a killer deal on a new flat screen.

Cons: It can be challenging to find a good deal online as shipping costs can suddenly mean that you’re paying more for something you’d buy in a store. Identity theft can also be a huge negative of online shopping as thieves can hack into your computer or account.

10. Being labeled as a gifted or talented child

Pros: Being labeled as gifted means that a child often excels academically, which can lead to scholarships, dual enrollment, or early college opportunities. These options can save time and money, allowing kids to graduate early and save on tuition costs.

Cons: Being labeled as gifted can also be a struggle for kids as they might be teased by their classmates, and they might be lonely if they struggle to make friends. Furthermore, gifted and talented kids are often bored in school as they don’t feel challenged.

11. Antidepressants

Pros: The most obvious pro of antidepressants is that they can be life-saving and help treat depression.

Cons: Antidepressants aren’t appropriate for everyone. This type of medication often produces side effects, including sleepiness or increased risk of suicidal thoughts.

pros and cons topics

12. Legalized gambling

Pros: Casinos contribute financially to communities, including through donations to roads, fire departments, and schools. Casinos also offer jobs opportunities to local citizens.

Cons: Some believe casinos bring mob connections and other illegal activities to the area. Casinos are also thought to prey on the poor, enticing people to gamble away money they cannot afford to lose.

13. Fracking

Pros: Fracking can bring benefits to an economy and increase job opportunities.

Cons: Fracking has been suspected of creating environmental damage, including groundwater pollution and earthquakes.

14. Binge watching your favorite series

Pros: Watching an entire season of your favorite drama in one day enables you to catch up on shows and finally watch that show everyone was talking about two years ago. And if the show was originally on commercial TV, you can save yourself lots of time by skipping every commercial.

Cons: If you binge watch an older show, you’re still out of the loop socially as everyone has moved on to talking about a new show when you haven’t even caught up on the old one. Hanging out watching TV all day might also mean that you overeat, forget to take out the dog, or forget to call your mom. (Call her. She misses you.)

15. Raising the federal minimum wage

Pros: A higher minimum wage can help eliminate the wage gap and bring people out of poverty.

Cons: Increasing minimum wage might hurt small businesses as they cannot afford the higher costs, may cut employee hours, or could hire fewer employees.

16. Legalizing prostitution

Pros: Prostitution is often thought of as a victimless crime, and some argue that legalizing it would help protect workers from violence and abuse.

Cons: Others argue that people are forced into prostitution, and thus, it is not a victimless crime. Legalizing prostitution may simply encourage further expansion of the sex-trafficking trade.

pros and cons topics
“Elephant” by Alex Krasavtsev, Flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

17. Using trained animals in the circus

Pros: Trained animal acts are entertaining and can educate people about different species.

Cons: In some cases, animals are abused or mistreated and travel in cramped and filthy conditions.

18. Arctic drilling

Pros: Arctic drilling has the potential for increased oil production, and this may help the economy and create lower prices for consumers.

Cons: Drilling has the potential to cause extreme environmental damage should an oil leak or other accident occur.

19. Home-schooling

Pros: Parents who home-school their children feel they are providing a better education for their kids. Home-schooling kids also means students can avoid the violence and bullying often associated with schools.

Cons: Home-schooled kids can become isolated, have few friends, and have limited social opportunities.

20. Using tablets instead of textbooks

Pros: Using tablets means that course content can be updated more quickly. Digital content can also be more engaging to many students.

Cons: Some students prefer hard copies of texts that they can carry and highlight as needed. Tablets and software updates can also be too expensive for many school districts.

21. Online dating

Pros: Looking for a date or a mate online means you can meet lots of people that you wouldn’t otherwise meet and even select specific criteria (like a love of comic books) that you’re looking for in your date.

Cons: Joining online dating sites can be expensive. Online dating can also be dangerous as you don’t really know who you’re talking to online.

So You Have a Topic … Now What?

pros and cons topics

My superhero powers can only go so far, so now that you have 21 pros and cons topics to help you write a better paper, the rest is up to you.

Where do you go from here?

Start by making a simple list of pros and cons. I’ve given you a few to start with, but you’ll likely need a few more ideas to fully develop your paper.

If you’re not sure how to take those ideas and put them into a paper, read these posts:

Finally, after you’ve drafted your paper, send it our way for a review.

Good luck!

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