30 Good Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students

30 Good Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students

While students face many assignments in college for the first time, most of them start working on a descriptive essay in high school. Of course, enrollment in a higher academic institution suggests improving writing skills since a wide range of requirements may accompany even such a 'simple' assignment. Thus, it is worth working on your vocabulary beforehand because you should develop your ability to find the right words to prove your point of view, describe something or convince your readers. Today, we'll focus on descriptive essay topics for college students, so when you face this type of essay, you know how to reach out to your target audience. 

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

It seems reasonable to start with the definition since there is always a chance that someone has no idea what we are talking about, even though the very name of the paper provides a clue. Thus, a descriptive essay is meant to describe something the author has experienced before or is good at. The main goal of such a paper is to trigger emotions in readers and allow them to imagine the situation described. You can resort to two traditional approaches to compliance with the paperwork. 

Personal Essay

This type of essay is almost a twin brother of a narrative essay aimed at sharing experience from the perspective of one's own feelings, emotions, and responses. It has a range of advantages and drawbacks since, on the one hand, it is a great way to share deep emotions and reach out to empathetic readers. However, on the other hand, such a style of providing information can be nebulous and poorly organized. If you want to write a well-crafted personal essay, you should stay focused on key aspects and use evocative language. For instance, you can write about your first long hike in the national park. 

Formal Description

If you choose this approach, then your essay will somehow resemble an argumentative one. You inform your reader about key moments, providing a detailed description. It is crucial to follow a clear structure. Unlike a personal essay, you don't focus on your feelings but rather report the facts to help your target audience see the whole picture. This type of essay can be suitable if a reader is more interested in the essay's subject than the writer's reaction to it. Nonetheless, if you overdo it with formality, your paperwork may seem contrived and boring. 

How to Choose a Good Descriptive Essay Topic

When it comes to selecting topics for a descriptive essay, you should decide on the reason you write this essay. It is not about your teacher's assignment but your desire to share information with your readers. You can search for descriptive essay writing examples for college students on the web to understand better what your paperwork should look like. What theme do you want to spend your time on? The following tricks may help you meet this challenge:

  • define the reason for writing this paper. Maybe you have got a fascinating experience you want to share with people, or you faced a situation that triggered a wide range of emotions;
  • divide people, events, experiences, locations into various categories;
  • create a rough draft of your essay, putting together your ideas. Make sure there is a logical connection between things, and nothing stands out like a black sheep;
  • narrow down interesting ideas for descriptive essays and choose one that resonates with you most of all. You should be passionate about the topic to write an A-grade-worthy paper.

Descriptive Essay Topics About College Life

Many professors like to give their students an assignment to write a descriptive essay. Some of them provide some requirements, while others give carte blanche in choosing a suitable topic. If you have no ideas what to write about, you can look around and select a topic related to your college life:

  1. Describe how it feels to enroll in college and meet your group mates for the first time.
  2. Describe a book that has impressed you most of all and influenced your life perception.
  3. How do you imagine a perfect dorm?
  4. Describe your daily routine before and after classes on campus.
  5. What things can make a perfect weekend?
  6. Describe a situation that has turned your life upside down.
  7. How do you imagine a perfect work and study balance?
  8. What expectations turned out to be false when you went to college?
  9. Describe your hobby and the emotions it brings.
  10. Describe your perfect job right after graduation.

Descriptive Essay Prompts About Memories and Associations

You might have heard the expression, "Collect memories, not things." Indeed, while happiness from a new thing will last for about five minutes, a portion of positive impressions will warm up your heart for years. Memories are a universal tool that helps you gain experience and get back into the past for a while. So, why not devote your descriptive essay to them? Here are a few potential examples of descriptive essay topics:

  1. Describe the very first flashback you remember.
  2. Describe a situation that impressed you in childhood most of all.
  3. What is your most favorite and memorable journey?
  4. Describe the happiest holiday you had with your family.
  5. Describe the worst moment in your life. What did you feel?
  6. Describe a moment you felt happiness without an obvious reason.
  7. What emotions do you experience when you think about Christmas?
  8. Describe the most awkward situation you found yourself in.
  9. Describe the worst nightmare you have ever had.
  10. Describe your first public speaking experience. How did you feel?

Descriptive Speech Ideas About Daily Life

You may believe that daily routine is the most boring thing to talk about, so it is not worth attention. However, if you wrap your story in the right words, you can get a fascinating paper. Your routine may involve more wonderful moments than you are used to noticing. Such a topic will help you treat your life from a new perspective. Look at the following possible topics you can write about:

  1. Describe your morning rituals. What things do you always devote time to?
  2. Describe your eating schedule. What food do you consume most often?
  3. What do you think about on your way to campus?
  4. Are you engaged in any sport? What do you like about it?
  5. How often do you hang out with friends? What do you usually do?
  6. What book genres do you like the most? What are you reading right now?
  7. What is your favorite TV show on Netflix? Why do you like it?
  8. Do you like your dorm mates? Do you spend time together outside the dorm room?
  9. Describe a place you like to visit most of all. What feelings does it trigger?
  10. What are you busy with when you have free time?

How to Put Descriptive Writing Ideas into Words

If you haven't got a specific topic, it is up to you to decide what to write about. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that comes to your mind for about five minutes. Don't analyze your thoughts. When you are done with it, read your list and decide what event or emotions you want to share with your target audience. If all the things are unsuitable, you can refer to the essay topic ideas mentioned above. After choosing the theme, you should create a draft. Write down the facts and think about each case. What emotions can you add to it to help your readers see the whole picture? Describe the sound, taste, object, texture of things you mention. 


This part of your essay is responsible for providing the background info of the subject. Make your opening sentence catchy and interesting, so people want to keep reading your essay. Your paper cannot do without a good thesis statement. It should involve the fundamental idea of your paper. Make it terse and convincing enough, so your readers will not doubt it. 

Body Paragraphs

You should develop the idea mentioned in the introduction to make your paper informative and easy to get. Make sure all thoughts flow logically, so don't forget about transition sentences. You should write about three paragraphs to reveal the essence of your theme. 


Sum up all the ideas provided above. Mention a paraphrased thesis statement and key arguments. Don't make it too long since you have already provided all the required info.