You have spent the last couple of years in a committed relationship—with writing. Love them or hate them, essays have been by you through thick and thin.
So when you walk into class and your professor says you’re going to do something new today, your heart starts beating faster, and it feels like there are butterflies in your stomach.
Then, your instructor pops the question—”Will you write a proposal essay?”
You might not think you’re ready to take the plunge into proposal essays just yet, but don’t get cold feet! This type of essay can be super easy (and also pretty fun) to write.
All you need is the right topic.
The right topic involves planning, research, and passion. Below, I’ll show you how to choose the right topic and give you some example proposal essay topics that you can either use as-is or use as inspiration to come up with your own topic.
But First, What Is a Proposal Essay?
Before you try to find that perfect topic from the sea of potential proposal essay topics (and certainly before you try to write one), it’s important to understand exactly what a proposal essay is.
Simply put, a proposal essay identifies a problem and suggests a solution to that problem. It’s a type of argumentative essay, but with a slightly different format and more research.
Proposal essays are common in business and science classes and professions, but are also useful for a number of different disciplines.
Typically, these types of essays are not a timed, in-class writing assignment where you’re trying to beat the clock. Instead, they require more time and research in order to formulate arguments and find supporting evidence.
Ultimately, your goal is to persuade the reader that your proposal is not only viable, but one worth pursuing. For a more in-depth overview, check out this awesome SlideShare.
What to Consider When Selecting Proposal Essay Topics
The number of different proposal essay topics out there is pretty vast, so naturally, the essays themselves will differ. However, here are a few common components (and some dos and don’ts!) to consider when you’re narrowing down proposal essay topics to find the perfect match.
Choose something that interests you
For many types of essays, you can fake it till you make it. But for proposal essays, it will be a huge advantage for you to select a topic you actually care about. You’re most likely going to be spending a significant portion of time researching and writing this essay.
It’ll be much more enjoyable if you have some passion for the subject matter. Your reader will be able to tell too. Passion comes through in writing—picking a proposal essay topic that’s interesting to you makes your essay more interesting to the reader.
DON’T: Write about how to get your hair untangled or an effective way to clean a litter box. These topics are boring—and much too simple.
DO: Write about something that could influence you or someone you know. If you have siblings in grade school, write about education. For example, how can children get a good physical education in elementary school?
Choose a proposal essay topic that has support
As I said before, you’re going to be doing a lot of research in order to write your essay properly, so it helps if the topic already has existing literature.
Choosing a proposal essay topic that has both supporting and dissenting research is usually best. Then you can choose which side of the argument you want to tackle.
DON’T: Write about something that’s purely opinion with no facts to back it up. For example, how to make the most out of your Saturday afternoon is not a good topic (although we all know it’s sleeping in and watching cartoons).
DO: Choose a topic with some big, juicy facts you can sink your teeth into. For example, how to fund more educational television like Sesame Street, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and the Magic School Bus is a topic where you can still talk about television, but in a structured, fact-based way.
Bonus Tip: When you’re researching, make sure to take good notes. Include the bibliographic information and the page number you found the information on. This will make citations much easier, especially if you’re referencing books and articles from the library.
Pick something that’s actually an argument
Because proposal essays are a type of argumentative essay, you want to be sure the essay is worthy of an argument. Choosing a topic that is too one-sided is, frankly, really boring and doesn’t serve your purpose well.
When writing your essay, you’ll want to address opposing viewpoints. That way you can present a well-rounded proposal. This lets your reader know you have considered all sides of a given topic and have constructed the best proposal given all the variables at work.
You’ll be able to tell if an argument has one side because you won’t actually be able to write a proposal essay about it. It would turn into either a process essay or an argumentative essay (and not a very good one, at that).
DON’T: Choose something like how to make a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Sure, everyone has a slightly different way of doing it, but it turns into a process essay, not a proposal. Plus, I don’t think choosing between different grilled cheese methods really counts as a problem that needs a proposed solution.
DO: Pick something like the ways that farmers and corporations improve the lives of dairy cows. That’s a problem that needs a solution—and it’s a much better topic for your proposal essay.
Consider your audience
Remember, proposal essays serve a purpose outside of academia. So even if you’re writing this for a class and only your teacher will see it, pretend like there’s a more realistic reader who will be deciding whether your proposal is worth investing time and resources into.
Understanding your audience not only makes the writing process easier, but also helps you choose the right topic from the many possible proposal essay topics.
DON’T: Choose a topic with an audience you’re not comfortable with. For example, if your audience is a group of academics but you’re terrible at academic writing, it might be best to choose a different topic.
DO: Pick a topic that has an audience you can relate to. For instance, if you’re passionate about and good at writing about social issues, and your audience is a group of volunteer workers, choosing a proposal essay topic about society might be in your best interest.
24 Proposal Essay Topics That Are Easy and Fun to Write
Now that you have an idea about what a proposal essay is and how to choose the right topic to write your own essay, here are some examples of proposal essay topics.
You can write about these topics as-is, modify them, or simply use them to get you in the right mindset to come up with your own topic.
1. What can be done to create a more well-rounded curriculum for middle and high school students.
2. How can teachers improve sex education courses?
3. In what ways can foreign language courses be improved?
4. How should students be graded?
5. How can the government better handle illegal immigration?
6. What should be done to lower the national debt?
7. What could be done to make the electoral system more effective?
8. How can the government make programs such as welfare, Medicaid, and Social Security more effective?
9. How can parents raise their children to have a sense of humility as opposed to entitlement?
10. What is the most effective way to discipline a child?
11. How can parents encourage their children to be more active in extracurriculars?
12. What is the most effective way for parents to teach their children about money?
13. What can the average person do to combat global climate change? What can the government do?
14. What should be done to increase the funding for cancer research?
15. How can parents, teachers, and society at large encourage more children to pursue an education in science?
16. How can educational television shows about science receive more funding and airtime?
17, In what ways can we reduce childhood obesity?
18. How can the government or society as a whole reduce homelessness in the United States?
19. What would be an effective program to curb illegal drug use?
20. How can we promote more tolerant behavior within US society?
21. How can people reduce their reliance on technology?
22. How can parents and teachers effectively help eliminate cyberbullying?
23. How should children be taught about responsible Internet use?
24. In what ways can companies and consumers keep sensitive information more secure online?
Hopefully, one of these proposal essay topics catches your eye. If not, feel free to make up your own topic based off something you care about solving.
Did you notice that most of the topics listed above start with “How can … ” and “In what way … ”? Let these words guide your own topic selection if you don’t choose one of the above examples. These phrases will lead you to a great proposal essay.
If you choose a topic, write about it, and are left wondering if it’s any good, send it to one of the Kibin editors. We will review your essay and give you suggestions on how to strengthen your argument.
Good luck with your proposal!
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In 1912, Pablo Picasso, an avid painter of nature and still life, tore part of a makeshift tablecloth and glued it to his painting, Still Life with Chair Caning, and thus, by adding different items to aid his painting, he began the art of collage making. (Pablo Picasso – Still Life with Chair Canning). A collage is simply a group of objects arranged together to create a complete image of an idea, theme, or memory. For example, David Modler created a collage called “Big Bug” to represent the irony that is the importance of insects to our natural world in comparison to their size. The bug in the image is the smallest feature of the collage yet it is to be viewed as the most important aspect (Modler, David). All these parts of a collage collaborate together to create a unifying theme or message and can be used as a helpful tool in education.
Statement of Purpose
I propose that each student make an artistic collage to be presented to the class that will symbolize the context, audience, setting, structure or any key ideas found in one of the readings this semester. Students who make a collage will be able to drop the lowest quiz grade.
Plan of Action
The students will have one week from the announcement of the project to complete the collage and prepare a presentation for it. Each student must choose one reading that we have done so far or will read in the future, and no two students may choose the same work. Conflict with students wanting to present the same work will be resolved by a first come first serve basis. The students will be given a rubric with the exact requirements of the project and what the purpose of the project is.
I will make the rubric myself and submit it for approval, or we can use the rubric that I have attached.
Benefits of Collage Proposal
- Making a collage would allow the students to think and inspect the readings and ideas visually (Rodrigo, “Collage”), thus giving them another perspective, or possibly clearing up any misconceptions and confusions they had about a work when we were just discussing it in class verbally.
- A collage provides the opportunity for revision of a certain work and would certainly help to clear up any topics in the readings that might come up on the final exam or a future test, via a visual and more creative method.
- If a student received a bad grade on a quiz because they did not understand the reading, the collage would give the student an opportunity to go back to the reading and understand it, or to read ahead and grasp concepts that might be useful to present to the class before the class does the reading. A collage would allow the student to become familiar with the work in a visual way and give them an opportunity to understand the main themes, topics, and ideas of a work, even one we might not have read yet.
Viability of Collage Proposal
Since a collage would be like giving the student an opportunity to go back and review a subject and at the same time would resemble preparation for a presentation, the time and effort required to go back and re-read a work as well as prepare the collage creatively would be sufficient to justify replacing the lowest quiz grade.
Our course mentor said that this project would be a nice addition to the class because, just like any play is better seen than read, the collage will allow students to get the visual aspect behind a work and help them to grasp the ideas better.
Past visuals that we have used in class to describe scenes from our readings such as The Tempest and The Odyssey have greatly helped me to understand some of the ideas of the stories. For example, I always pictured the cyclops as a nasty, vile creature, but after some of the “fuzzy” drawings on the board done by some of my peers, I imagined and understood that he could in fact be a gentle creature that was just angered by Ulysses trespassing and blinding him. I could not have seen that perspective of the story had it not been for some of the more innocent visuals on the board.
Finally, I have discussed with the students in our class about the idea of a collage replacing the lowest quiz grade and the overwhelming majority approved of the idea. Since a collage will substitute for a quiz grade, the assignment will be optional. Just as a quiz is almost always optional based on class initiation of discussion, the collage will also be optional based on similar student effort parameters. The students who do not want to do a collage can choose “door number 2” and take a quiz that would be created by the teachers and/or myself. This quiz can be used to make the total number of assignments for each student in the class even, and may or may not be graded based on the professor's discretion.
The first goal of my collage proposal is to give students a chance to be creative and step outside the boundaries of classroom discussion. They can use their imaginations to find a way to creatively put together a collage that will help the class as well as themselves to better understand the course reading.
A second goal of my proposal is that the time and effort put into making the collage and presenting it in front of the class will equal the worth of dropping the lowest quiz grade. Because this collage requires the creator to examine the context, audience, setting, structure of any one of the readings, it is essentially like a quiz itself, which includes questions on similar topics.
The literary work that a student chooses to create a collage on will determine how much time is necessary to fully complete the project. One week to create a collage should give each student—no matter what reading they choose to do—ample time to create a presentable and educational collage for the class.
In terms of tangible resources, this project is not very demanding. A simple poster or a series of photographs or drawings assembled neatly together by the student will be about as resourcefully demanding as this project gets.
In addition, a few hours of class time will need to be allocated in order to present the collages. If each student takes at least five minutes to present the total time needed for the presentations will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. The presentation day(s) and time(s) can be decided by the class as a whole.
The rest of the resources needed are already available:
- The readings are all published online if a student needs to refer back to them
- Craft supplies are readily available
Skills for Successful Completion
- As a good planner and organizer I made a rubric that is specific enough to give the students a good idea of what they should be doing for the collage. The rubric can be made available upon your request.
- In addition I can also come up with a quiz if there are students who want to opt out of the collage project.
- I can talk to the class and come up with a good presentation time and date for everybody.
- I would volunteer myself to hold an early presentation session a few days before the due date so the others can get an idea of what their collage could look like and why they can benefit from the project.
- I will make myself available to the class if they have any questions about the proposed project.
A collage will allow students to understand visually a reading or topic in a reading that they may have been confused about. The project is a fun and creative way to get students to think about a reading more in depth as well as review for future exams. As a result of the effort and time put into the collages, the students should be allowed to drop their lowest quiz grade in the semester.
Modler, David. Big Bug. Photograph.Kronos Art Gallery. Web. 12 Oct. 2011
"Pablo Picasso - Still Life with Chair Caning (1912)." Lenin Imports. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.
Rodrigo. "Collages." Web 2.0 Toolkit. 11 Mar. 2009. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.