Help Me Brainstorm Great Narrative Essay Topics for College

When writing at a collegiate level, one should attempt to write in a more educated fashion in order to let their reader know that they are or at least seem to be more educated and scholarly, which instills trust and confidence in their writing ability. If someone, such as an English major, is attempting to write a great narrative essay, a few steps must be taken to realize the full potential of how a great essay can be undertaken. Narrative essays serve as a way to tell a story to a reader, involving some sort of plot and storyline. Narratives can be something such as one of the following:

  • New Experience
  • Fantasy
  • Overcoming the Odds
  • A Difficult Life Choice
  • A Life Journey

New Experience

In life, people undertake new experiences quite frequently whether they realize it or not. This can be something as simple as graduating high school and going to college or choosing to study abroad. Some of the best pieces of writing come from an experience someone else had because it helps tie people together through a common bond.


Not all pieces of literature are from real life events, which mean that a narrative essay does not need to be either. If someone can craft a story in their head to include characters and a plot line, then it should be written down. Characters should serve as real people that face real struggles and/or moral dilemma to help provide the reader with a visual of what these characters may look like.

Overcoming the Odds

Almost every person in life enjoys reading about the underdog; a tale of how one man (or woman) was thought to not have the ability to undertake a certain task, but they prospered to great heights. This could be a tale of a foreigner coming to America with nothing but the clothes on their back or how a young child with a crippling disease becomes a world class athlete.

A Difficult Life Choice

Not every narrative essay has to be cheerful and optimistic however. Someone can write about a woman having to deal with the difficult decision to become a teenage mother, about leaving home for the first time and never coming back or anything related to a soldier’s experience in the war. All humans struggle, but understanding how it connects to another’s story creates a moving essay piece.

A Life Journey

People hike the Appalachian Trail, swim the English Channel, take spiritual pilgrimages and travel the world. A story of someone’s journey, their struggle, their weaknesses and their strengths allows for a character development like no other. This is the way someone can create a world far beyond anyone’s imagination.

All of these topics can help develop a character for any story fictional or non-fictional and allow for the readers to feel like they are in that specific place and time.