Informative Essay Topics for College

Instructor: David Raudenbush
College students need to know who to write to inform an audience. Informative writing allows the students to share their expertise on a topic. Read on to find suggestions for what college students can write informatively about.

Writing to Inform

Here's the trick to good informative writing: Your students should sound like experts on their topics. The good news is college students should be on their way to becoming experts in something. However, that doesn't mean the audience will automatically recognize the writer's expertise. That takes some convincing.

To convince an audience that they know about what they speak, your students need to write in the voice of an expert. It will help if students pick topics with which they already have some background knowledge. Then, they will add some research. Facts, statistics, and quotes from other experts will lend an air of authority to any informative essay.

Most informative essays are written in a formal tone, and students should properly cite their sources in whatever manner you choose, MLA, APA, etc. While in middle or high school this assignment might have been a five-paragraph essay, you should expect more from your college students. However, the structure of the essay remains the same: introduction, thesis, body and closing.

Most importantly, students must remember that the purpose of an informative essay is to educate the audience. An informative essay will not include opinions, nor will it try to persuade. It is 'just the facts!'

These topics potentially lend themselves to expert-sounding writing from college students:

Campus Life

  • College students often have poor sleeping habits, staying up all night and napping between classes during the day. Many students could use more sleep. Explain why sleep is necessary for good health and answer the question, 'How much sleep should college students get at night?'.
  • Does your college have any unique traditions? Find one and explain its history. Describe how the tradition got started and explain how it is observed today.
  • In a few years, you will be finishing college and looking for a career. What will be the most in-demand jobs when you graduate? Find some examples and explain the benefits of each job.
  • History is often made on college campuses. Find an important event in the history of your college and explain the event and its relevance historically.
  • Find a change that has occurred on your college campus recently and explain how that change affected the lives of the students. Remember, this is not an opinion. So, you may have to speak to students, faculty, etc., to understand how students' lives have been affected.
  • Were you or someone you know a victim of the 'freshman 15.' That's a 15-pound weight gain the first year of college. Many college students suffer from unwanted weight gains, and not just during the first year. What are the best tips for taking and keeping weight off, or for not gaining the weight in the first place? This is not your opinion. Research ways that have been proven to help college students stay healthy.
  • Sexual assaults on college campuses have become a major issue. Write an informative essay focusing on the statistics and important facts around this topic. Identify several measures that can be used to reduce the number of assaults on campus.
  • The first few weeks of college can be a difficult transition for many students. They face academic challenges along with the struggles of living away from home possibly for the first time. Write an essay with tips for surviving the transition to college.
  • Bullying is a common problem in high schools. However, college campuses aren't immune to the bullying problems. Research the statistics on college bullying. Describe the problem and explain how colleges are dealing with it.
  • The cost of textbooks can be a financial burden for some students. Write an essay in which you explain several ways students can save on the cost of books each semester.

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