Advanced ESL Writing Topics

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Advanced ESL students get easily bored if they have to write on topics that do not match the language skills they have acquired. In this lesson, you can find some challenging topics so that your ESL students can put to work what they know.

Purpose of Advanced Writing

Very often, our advanced ESL students need to practice writing skills because they are getting ready to take an advanced proficiency test. Whether this is the case or not for your advanced ESL students, it is always best to keep in mind that advanced classes need two incentives. First, they need to feel challenged in order to improve. Second, they need to be able to use the language skills they have acquired through hard work. Here you have a few topics that take into account the advanced level ESL students eventually reach.

Appropriate Topics for Advanced Language Level

Once your ESL students are at an advanced level, they have enough vocabulary and grammar to be able to discuss opinions, tell about important or fairly complicated life events, etc. Let's look at some key topics.

Opinion Topics

For these writing assignments, your advanced ESL students should be encouraged to support their answers with reasonable arguments.

You would give your students the basic prompt of 'Give your opinion on…', which can be explored with any of these topics:

  • Processed food
  • Medical marijuana
  • Gender equality
  • Use of cell phones
  • Recycling
  • Governmental corruption
  • School policies on plagiarism
  • Violence in video games
  • Appropriate age to drink and/or smoke
  • Oil dependence
  • Casinos

Advantages and Disadvantages

Our advanced ESL students are perfectly capable of using the vocabulary they know to think of advantages and disadvantages that these topics imply:

  • Voluntary voting system
  • E-books
  • Cell phones
  • Online shopping
  • Social media
  • Standardized exams
  • Studying abroad
  • Homeschooling
  • Being a student
  • Being famous
  • Plastic surgery
  • Fast food
  • Genetic engineering
  • Having a pet
  • Immigration
  • Freedom of expression
  • Owning a business


These writing assignments require your advanced ESL students to use lots of description and expressions to properly tell about a personal memory. The topics include:

  • Memorable holidays
  • Life in country of origin (how it was compared to now)
  • Childhood best friend
  • Great time spent with grandparents
  • Games from childhood
  • Best toys during childhood
  • Best vacation time
  • Event that changed life (a family member's death, moving to a new country, etc.)

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