Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

Narrative essays can be a challenging topic for college students as some shy away from sharing their personal experiences. However, the most emotionally-loaded topics can often provide the best material, so the trick is to craft prompts that tap into students' richest experiences.

Narrative Essays

Narrative essays allow students to delve into their personal experiences to write an engaging story to share with an audience. The story they tell could be to bring their audience to tears or make them laugh.

Quality narratives share some common characteristics that make them effective and compelling to readers. Well-written narratives find ways to involve the reader rather than just retelling the events. Narratives tell stories by creating scenes for the reader, drawing in rich details. It uses contrasts to create tensions or other emotions as part of personal storytelling. Finally, a narrative is not just a simple story. It has a purpose, a message, or an idea it is trying to convey.

When coming up with narrative essay topics for your college students, you need to consider how diverse the experiences of your students might be. Some might have had very idealistic, simple lives, while others lives may have been complex and messy. So be sure to create a wide variety of narrative essay topics that allow all students to tap into their life experiences and practice their narrative writing skills.

Narrative essay topics can cover a vast array of topics for students

A Day in the Life Narrative Essay Topics

An easy place to start narrative essays with college students involves their daily life. Though some would not believe it to be true, for most college students, life is incredibly complex. For some, it may be the first time they have been away from family for an extended period. For others, dealing with the financial side of college may be causing significant stress. Some narrative essay topics you might consider are:

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