The Ultimate Guide on How to Choose Narrative Essay Topics


Education tests and exams in most high schools and colleges include the task to write a narrative essay. It is one of the most expressive and important tests that tutors use in order to evaluate not only the level of knowledge of their students but also their overall potential, mindset, and set of skills.

Type of a Narrative Essay

At the same time, to produce a high-quality narrative essay, one needs to have an excellent vocabulary. Topics for a college narrative essay are numerous, and the choice is an integral part of the assignment. We’ll check some basic tips on how to select a proper topic for your narrative essay and go through the most popular topics to ease the process of choosing one.

Choose the Type of a Narrative Essay

According to a study at Princeton University, when you listen to some well-told and fascinating story, the parts of your brain that respond are the ones that would if you were right inside the story. So, once the storyteller mentions taking a pencil and drawing, your motor cortex lights up (this part of your brain is associated with the movement of hands). Moreover, the same happens to the person telling that story! Thus, the parts of the brains of both the target audience and the storyteller light up as if they synchronize.

What it all comes down to is that before you actually start picking the topics or writing the essay, make sure you know what kind of paper you’re dealing with.

Are you telling a story?

If you’re required to tell a story, you’re going to dedicate your essay to a certain experience, event in your life, some unbelievable failure or dazzling success. As a rule, this is a story from the author’s past, which had an enormous influence on the student’s personality, future, relations with pals and family members, and so on. A stunning example of a narrative essay that includes a captivating story is the “Notes of a Native Son,” written by James Baldwin. It’s an ambitious discussion of the passing of his father during a time of great racial turmoil, which honestly everyone should just read.

Are you required to produce a description?

A description or a descriptive essay includes a story written about a person, an item, a place, emotion, or even experience in a certain situation or period of time. Mind that the description is not only about the looks, but also about how you, as the author, feel about the issue. In other words, the description serves as both – the picture and the attitude. As for example, “The Death of a Moth” by Virginia Woolf could be an option. To cut a long story, the author notices a moth caught in the window and describes how the creature dies.

Are you required to conduct an investigation?

When dealing with this type of a narrative essay, it’s best to take one statement and present it to your teacher or any other reader, showing that you’ve done in-depth research of comparison, evidence, analysis, and definitions. As a rule, the narrative essay of an investigation type serves as an answer to the question “Why does…?”, “Is it a good idea to….?”, and “What is…?” Read the essay called “The Braindead Megaphone” by George Saunders to get inspired for the project. The author takes the current media and political climate in the US and investigates the issues in a way that will make you shake your head.

Are you going to persuade?

Narrative essay that includes persuasion is similar to the one described above. However, you’re not supposed to answer a question in it. Instead, your task here is to make a statement and present all the important details in order to make the reader agree and accept it. Find more inspiration for a narrative essay of a persuasive nature in “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin.

Typically, the type of narrative essay that you’re required to produce is stated in the assignment and can be seen in the topics for narrative essay you have to work with.

Next Move: Choose from the List of Narrative Essay Topics

List of Narrative Essay Topics

Wise choice of narrative argument essay topics guarantees a good final result. The reality is that college and high school students write best about things they know, understand, and comprehend. Selecting the main idea for an English narrative essay is followed by creating a story that illustrates the idea. Without a doubt, personal topics work best for students. When you think of and write about something familiar, you can easily communicate what is really important, show your experience and direct attitude that will reveal your personality eventually. Besides, in addition to showing your vocabulary skills and knowledge of the subject, you display your beliefs, character, values, providing your readers with a chance to evaluate you as a personality.

As it’s been already mentioned, topics for writing a narrative essay vary, and we’ve collected some of the issues to help you get started with your paper ASAP. Hope these interesting and up-to-date ideas will help you remember a person, a day, an event, or even a dream you feel you’d like to produce a reflective essay about.

Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

Are you ready for some personal narrative essay topics? We’ve divided our list into four basic categories, which are the following: childhood, experience, morality, and imagine it.


Childhood is the time of first experiences and life-long impressions. Kids are sincere and naïve, and they always get into the funniest situations. Turn back to your sweet childhood memories that will serve as a solid foundation for your narrative essay sample. The narrative writing topics we’ve picked for you are below:

  1. My First Childhood Experience that Helped Me Grow Up
  2. The First Time I Got Hurt on the Playground: You’ll Never Believe Why
  3. Whom I Dreamed to Be When I Was a Child
  4. The Most Memorable Birthday Party
  5. The Friend That I Lost and Miss Till Now
  6. My Favorite Childhood Crafts
  7. My Favorite Childhood Fairytale Character
  8. The Biggest Mistake that I Made as a Child
  9. One Day Spent at My Dad’s Work
  10. Our First Europe Trip with Parents
  11. My Biggest Childhood Lie
  12. Growing Up in London (New York/Melbourne/Ontario or any other city that had a great impact on you as a child)


Once you write every other page of a narrative essay, the process helps you improve your writing literacy, as well as share your unique life experiences in a literary manner. Don’t be afraid to include both – positive and negative experiences. Try to describe each as honestly as possible and in as many details as you can to gain the reader’s trust and attention.

  1. My First Time Away from Home
  2. The Turning Point When You Took Responsibility for Your Life
  3. The Most Embarrassing Moment of Your Life
  4. The Moment When You Realized Your Real Life Values
  5. The Experience That Helped You Appreciate Life More
  6. The Most Memorable Day with Family
  7. When I Fell in Love for the First Time
  8. My Volunteering Experience in India
  9. The Most Frightening Experience I Have Ever Had
  10. The Worst Natural Disaster I’ve Experienced
  11. The Biggest Misunderstanding between Myself and My Best Friend


All over the world, people tend to obey laws. However, there are some laws that impact people’s lives in a more global way. These are the so-called laws of morality. Typical essay morality topics are always a successful choice since it’s easy to evoke a lot of interest and curiosity in the reader once you use any of them.

If at any stage of your academic course, you’re required to deal with the narrative essay on morality, view some of the topic examples:

  1. My Attitude toward Euthanasia
  2. The Most Rebellious Act in My Life
  3. The Way I Treat Strangers
  4. The Key Morality Problems that Bother Me
  5. The Most Difficult Decision I Had to Make Once
  6. The Biggest Lie I’ve Told in My Life
  7. My Personal Morality Challenge
  8. How I Overcome Kid Bullying at School
  9. My Experience in Fighting Animal Cruelty and Neglect
  10. My Viewpoint on Whether Politics and Church Should Be Separate
  11. Racial Discrimination: Why All Humans Are Equal

Narrative Essay Topics for High School Students

Every next school grade is one more step that students take towards adulthood. Just like college or university students, high schoolers face the assignments that require them to accomplish narrative essays free of errors but with a solid argument, i.e., the spice of the text. That is why when you’re ready to write a narrative essay for high school, take the topic selection process with full responsibility.

View some narrative essay topics for high schoolers:

Narrative essay ideas for high school students don’t really differ from those for college or university students. However, there are some issues that you can dedicate your piece to:

  1. The Most Catastrophic Event That Happened in Class
  2. My Favorite Subject in School That I Used to Hate Before
  3. How I and My Teacher Became Friends
  4. A Childhood Teacher that Is Still an Integral Part of My Life
  5. Problems I Faced Because Everyone Knew My Middle at School
  6. How My Best Friend in Primary School Influenced My Whole Life
  7. The Teacher Who Is My Role Model
  8. The First School Event I Took Part in
  9. How I Became a Class Superhero
  10. How I Learned to Manage My Time at School
  11. The Movie that Changed My Life

How to Pick a Narrative Essay Topic?

Why is it important to choose a hooking narrative essay title? Usually, when working on this type of academic assignment, students pick between two traditional options: they come up with their own topic or write on the one assigned by the tutor. A successful choice determines the success of the project itself. If you choose personal narrative topics that are too broad or too narrow, you will most likely lose your reader. If you can’t do it yourself, you can find narrative essay topics in the works of the most famous writers like Joan Didion or David Foster Wallace. More important is to select the topic that you’re interested in and passionate about to guarantee the best outcome.

The freedom of topic choice can turn into a real challenge for students. When it’s up to you to decide which way to go, you find yourself stuck on the crossroads. Some college and high school students use the very first idea that pops up in their mind, but the result leaves a lot to be desired. Rule number one is that the narrative essay topic must be appealing to your target audience and interesting to you. Choose the topic wisely since it’s better to change one several times than to realize you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere when the deadline is too close!

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Author: Patricia Jenkins

Patricia Jenkins is the senior writing advisor at FastEssay blog for international students that seek quick paper assistance. In her blog, Patricia shares useful tips on productivity, writing, research, references. Sometimes Patricia goes off topic by sharing her personal experience peppered with lively humor and healthy irony.