33 Persuasive Essay Ideas That Make an Impact

How does a day rushing down water slides or floating peacefully down a lazy river sound? What if I told you that you absolutely need to go to a new local waterpark because it really is just that awesome?

Would free passes seal the deal?

If you’re a big fan of waterparks, you’d probably jump at the chance for free passes. Those of you who aren’t fans might not be so easily convinced. I’d have to work much harder to persuade you to spend a day at the park.

While my ability to convince you to visit a waterpark could be a fine topic for a persuasive essay, it’s not one of those topics that creates much of an impact in the grand social consciousness of the planet.

So if you’re assigned to (or just want to) write a persuasive essay about a topic that makes an impact, writing about things like why someone should visit a waterpark isn’t going to have quite the effect you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for ideas that might be a little more socially conscious, try one of the 33 persuasive essay ideas below on for size.

But first…

The Persuasive Essay: A Quick Refresher

Before we talk topics, let’s dip our toes in the water, splash around a bit, and pause for a quick persuasive essay refresher.

three feet in a pool of water

It’s pretty easy to figure out that the goal of a persuasive essay is to persuade someone.

Like with any writing, though, there are tips and tricks that can help you write a fantastic essay, such as using appeals (like ethos, pathos, and logos) and avoiding logical fallacies.

To learn more about the finer points of the persuasive essay, read these posts:

Feeling refreshed? Good. Let’s dive into finding a meaningful topic for your persuasive essay.

33 Persuasive Essay Ideas That Make an Impact

An important component of any essay is the audience. You want to keep your audience in mind as you write and include evidence that will be most convincing to your specific audience.

For instance, if you want to take a day off work, it’s easy to spout off a list of reasons that you deserve a day off. Your friend probably feels the same way about days off, so if you’re trying to persuade her, it won’t take much to make a convincing case.

Convincing your boss (who just happens to be your dad), on the other hand, is an entirely different story. You’ll need to come up with a totally different list of reasons that you need the day off if you want to convince him.

With the importance of audience in mind, I’ve grouped this list of persuasive essay ideas by target audience.

Remember, though: you can easily switch audiences, or you can write about any of the topics for a general audience as well.

For added inspiration, I’ve also linked these persuasive essay ideas to related essays in our essay library.

9 topics to persuade teachers and school administrators

#1: Eliminate gendered dress codes

Many feel that females are dress-coded more frequently than males and are often subjected to stricter dress-code requirements because codes are more apt to mention female attire (such as jewelry, skirts, heels, or low-cut shirts). Persuade school administrators to revise the school dress code to make it equal for everyone.

#2: Improve the school’s recycling program and educate students about recycling

One of the best ways to educate students is to get them involved. Convince school officials that students need to be better informed about the benefits of recycling and need to actively participate in the program.

#3: Offer healthier options for school meals

vegetables in a school meal buffet

While pizza, burgers, and chicken nuggets are popular among students, many argue that schools don’t do enough to promote healthy eating. Persuade administrators to include healthier options—such as salads, whole grains, and vegetarian meals—on the menu.

#4: Allow students to use phones in class

If your school allows smartphones but one teacher insists on no phones in class, persuade him or her that having your phone is necessary for safety and explain how it can assist with coursework.

#5: Start school at a later time

Do a little research, and present the administration with clear, authoritative evidence as to why a later start time will benefit students’ health and grades.

#6: Eliminate the requirement of community service

Many feel that required community service is beneficial for both the community and students. However, you might take the opposite approach. You could argue that requiring community service is actually the wrong approach as students volunteer because they’re forced, rather than because they want to help.

#7: Strengthen or eliminate internet filters in high schools

While some internet filters may be necessary for those in elementary and middle school, you might argue that high school students already have access to the internet on their phones or other devices. Thus, internet filters are wasteful and don’t serve their intended purpose of protecting students.

On the other hand, you may argue that stronger filters need to be in place to keep students safe from cyberbullying and to keep them focused on school.

#8: Allow or prohibit guns on school campuses

If your school is considering arming teachers, convince your administration that only armed security or police should carry guns.

If, on the other hand, you believe that additional guns equal additional protection, persuade officials to train teachers and permit them to carry guns.

#9: Offer increased opportunities for bilingual education

Explain the benefits of bilingual education and how it can improve the community and enhance students’ learning experiences to persuade school administrators to offer additional language-learning opportunities.

7 topics to persuade peers

#1: Don’t start vaping

Persuade your friends that vaping is dangerous and can actually lead to people smoking. You might even want to use the video below as evidence:

#2: Register to vote (and actually vote)

Persuade your friends that one vote really can make a difference. You might even include historical evidence to help explain why voting is their civic duty.

#3: Participate in volunteer activities

Volunteering doesn’t have to feel like required drudgery (like cleaning your room when you were a kid). Convince your friends that helping others can be a rewarding experience.

#4: Suggest a cruelty-free product

If your friend or girlfriend is a makeup diva, explain that animals are used as test subjects for many products and that cruelty-free makeup can be a better alternative.

#5: Enjoy a screen-free day

Persuade your friends that a screen-free day can reduce stress and explain how socializing in person is actually important to our well-being. (Offer examples of what they can do instead of stare at a screen if they’re addicted to their phones.)

#6: Limit social media exposure

Explain how social media can be harmful and can often make people less social to persuade your friends to cut back on their Instagram binges.

#7: Become an organ donor

Though people don’t like to think of the end of their own lives, illustrate how becoming an organ donor can save the lives of eight others.

5 topics to persuade government officials

#1: Argue for a livable wage (increase in minimum wage)

Offer solid evidence to government officials to persuade them that minimum wage must be increased in order for it to be a livable wage.

#2: Offer additional financial aid (and reduce student loan debt)

Explain how loan debt is crushing students and how increased financial aid is necessary to alleviate this burden.

tip jar with note that says 'we've got cats to feed & lots of student debt'

#3: Do more to support renewable energy

Convince local politicians to support proposals to increase funding for renewable energy. (Support your case with articles that illustrate the negative impact of global climate change.)

#4: Regulate prescription drug prices

This would be a good time to bust out your interview skills and present real-life examples of people who are affected by the high cost of prescription drugs.

#5: Improve health care/mental health care for veterans

Here’s another perfect opportunity to conduct interviews to help illustrate the need for improved care for veterans as you can illustrate the problems by sharing veterans’ stories.

7 topics to persuade your community

#1: Develop a community garden

To help convince your audience of the value of a community garden, try comparing and contrasting both the costs and nutritional values of junk food and home-grown vegetables.

#2: Organize community policing

Convince your neighbors that community policing is beneficial for the entire community and can also help improve relations between police and citizens.

#3: Help to deter speeders in your neighborhood

Including solid statistics of how many pedestrians are injured or killed while walking in their own neighborhoods can help people see the dangers of their driving habits.

#4: Start a local clean-up program

four plastic action figures posing with tools and brooms

Take the time to research other local clean-up programs, and then draft a plan for your own community clean-up day or regular clean-up program. This can go a long way in convincing readers of the viability and importance of a program.

#5: Require childhood vaccinations

Appealing to parents’ love for their children can help convince your audience of the importance of childhood vaccinations. Be careful, though, not to rely entirely on emotional appeals. You’ll also need credible sources to support your claims.

#6: Take steps to prevent cyberbullying

Some parents may not be aware of what their children are doing online. By presenting specific examples of websites, social media sites, and apps that can contribute to bullying, parents can become better educated and take action to prevent cyberbullying.

#7: Offer additional health education programs in the community

You may need to do a little legwork here, but by gathering resources of healthcare providers willing to work with communities, you may be able to convince others to join your cause and establish community-wide health programs.

5 topics to persuade corporations or local businesses

#1: Stop using plastic bags

Persuade a local business to stop using plastic bags. Support your argument with information about pollution, and suggest alternatives to plastic bags.

#2: Improve the working environment to improve workers’ health, happiness, and productivity

You might write this essay directly to your boss (or future boss). Consider what specific aspects of your work environment could be improved, such as equipment, safety, vacation time, dress codes, etc.

#3: Use more locally sourced foods in area restaurants

Convince one or more local restaurants of the benefits of including more locally sourced foods on their menus. Include the contact information of local growers (with their permission, of course) to help persuade restaurant owners.

#4: Provide additional family-leave time

This might be another essay that could be addressed directly to your employer. Your discussion might include not only maternal leave but also paternal leave.

#5: Reduce food waste at local restaurants

Convince restaurant owners that reducing food waste not only saves them money but also helps the planet. (You might also consider providing contact information to local charities who accept fresh food.)

From Essay Ideas to Completed Essay

woman with blue hair lounging by pool in sunglasses

Found the perfect persuasive essay idea, and ready to call it a day? While you could simply lounge poolside and hope your paper writes itself, the harsh reality is that you’ll need to write the paper sooner or later.

Once you’re ready to put your ideas into an actual essay, take a look at these helpful posts to get you started:

Worried that your essay isn’t persuasive enough? Thinking that your audience won’t be convinced by your arguments? Get help from a professional editor.

We’re available 24/7 to help you with any step of the writing process.

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