Topics for Advice Essays

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Advice essays are common assignments in school as well as for college applications. This lesson offers some topics that will help students get going with their advice essays.

What is an Advice Essay?

Put simply; advice essays tell the story of being given or offering advice. This can be an important theme because how a student takes, understands, or gives advice tells you something about their character and their capacity for reflection. All of us receive advice frequently, but an advice essay offers the opportunity to really articulate what advice is and how it influences our lives and thinking.

Your students will be asked to write advice essays frequently; this is a common assignment in various application processes, so it can be helpful to have some practice with the genre. The topics in this lesson will help students gain facility with writing advice essays.

Good Advice

Often, advice essays ask students to reflect on helpful advice they have received. In this section, you will find prompts that encourage your students to think deeply about the more positive ways advice has influenced their lives.

  • What is the best advice you have ever received from a family member? Write about the context in which you received this advice, how it was helpful, how you took it, and what exactly it meant to you.
  • Describe a time that a teacher gave you meaningful advice. Explain what the topic was and why the advice seemed meaningful, being specific about how you applied it and what the outcome was.
  • Write an essay about a time you received advice from a friend. Think about how this was different from getting advice from an older person, and describe what was especially helpful or meaningful about this piece of advice.
  • What was a time that you had a big problem and someone else's advice genuinely helped you change your approach and solve the problem? Be as specific as you can in describing this story.
  • Write about a time that it was hard to follow someone's advice, but you did it anyway, and it helped. Describe why it felt hard as well as how it eventually helped you.
  • Have you ever received good advice from a surprising person? Write an essay describing what was surprising and what came out of this person's advice?

Bad Advice

Of course, advice is not always that positive! Here, you will find topics that help students articulate some of the less helpful advice they have received and how it has affected them.

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