Five Criteria for a Great Topic

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

I make a lot of soup and I always strain my beans through a colander. Otherwise I might end up with a stone in my soup. Likewise, in thinking about the ideas you have for your essay, it is important to “strain” your ideas through criteria so that only your best ideas remain.



5. Would you want to read about this if someone else wrote it?

4. Do you care, really care about this topic?

3. Do you have lots to say about this?

2. Are you one of the only students at your school who would write about this?

1. Does it show something about who you are on the inside--your character, heart, mind?




If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you’ve got yourself a great idea!


If your idea didn’t make it through, don’t worry! As trailblazing writer Flannery O’Connor famously said, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” Check out this post on coming up with ideas, then take them through the criteria again!


Want some individual guidance? Book a session with an expert writing coach and we’ll walk you through it all.



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