2. Writing a persuasive speech
  3. persuasive speech topics for college

 310 persuasive speech topics for college

 60 education topics, 50 mental health...

By: Susan Dugdale 

Can you engage, inform, and persuade? Can you do all three at once?

That’s what a good persuasive speech does. It challenges an audience’s thinking or position on a topic or an issue, asks them to pause, and consider changing their minds.

There are 310 great persuasive speech topics for college students and/or their teachers here. 

Plus, how to prepare a speech for a set time allowance and more about choosing a good topic and writing a great persuasive speech.

Label: 310 persuasive speech topics for college

Each of them could make an excellent speech. Whether any of them do, or not, depends on a number of factors. The two main ones are you, and your audience.

What makes a persuasive speech topic good or interesting? (A very quick overview)

 A subject is right for you if:

  1. it is about something you are genuinely interested in or passionate about, and
  2. it is something you know your audience will relate to and it would be interesting, or beneficial, for them to know about.   

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 50 mental health persuasive speech topics

Label: 50 mental health persuasive speech topics
  1. that academic pressure causes anxiety and depression in college students
  2. that increased use of social media heightens anxiety about physical appearance
  3. that poverty and homelessness are often root causes of poor mental health
  4. that addictive behaviors are not a sign of poor character
  5. that binge drinking can mask depression
  6. that typical adolescent angst and teenage depression are not the same
  7. that self-harming is a cry for help
  8. that living in green cities improves mental health
  9. that seeking out positive news stories makes a difference
  10. that limiting the consumption of unfiltered social media helps mental well being
  11. that learning to objectively scale experiences helps keep them in perspective
  12. that understanding family patterns of behaviour is useful for understanding ourselves
  13. that being mentally unwell is not proof of incurable insanity
  14. that building resilience will guard against becoming mentally unwell
  15. that depression and anxiety, like flu, can be contagious
  16. that mental health is improved by some form of consistent exercise
  17. that everybody needs people who love and understand them
  18. that doing kind things for other people improves mental health
  19. that monitoring and changing how we habitually talk to ourselves can improve personal mental health
  20. that forgiving ourselves, in the same way we would a friend, for minor transgressions is healthy
  21. that loneliness contributes to mental health issues
  22. that genetic inheritance influences our mental health
  23. that eating healthily improves mental health
  24. that chronic bullying is a sign of poor mental health
  25. that the desire to fit in, to be the same as everyone else, is a sign of insecurity
  26. that mental strength is built by being eager to learn new things
  27. that mental strength is built by accepting responsibility for our thoughts and actions
  28. that mental strength is built by being willing to make mistakes and to be OK about that
  29. that mental strength is built by learning not to measure self-worth by comparing ourselves to others and by being OK about who we are
  30. that mental strength is built through being genuinely pleased for the success of others
  31. that we protect our mental health by knowing when and how to withdraw from situations and people that are not good for us
  32. that good mental health is supported by managing our own expectations of ourselves realistically
  33. that good mental health is something that has to be worked on everyday
  34. that good mental health requires us knowing our own strengths and weaknesses
  35. that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model for good mental health because we are individuals
  36. that we have more mental health issues today, because we are more willing to openly discuss them than previous generations
  37. that asking for help when you know you need it is a sign of good mental health
  38. that learning to be happily alone is good for mental health
  39. that learning to set challenging realistic goals and working towards achieving them helps to build and sustain good mental health
  40. that being genuinely grateful for the good in our lives helps sustain robust mental health
  41. that re-framing problems as challenges or opportunities helps develop mental resilience
  42. that keeping a journal promotes good mental health
  43. that children need appropriate guidance and discipline to develop good mental health
  44. that the foundation for good mental health in adults is built in childhood
  45. that our primary influencers (parents, family, teachers, friends...) shape our mental health
  46. that mental and physical health are inseparable
  47. that mental health issues in children are not necessarily their parents fault
  48. that mental health in many sectors of our communities has been severely tested by the pandemic
  49. that mental health issues highlighted by the pandemic have forced us to think more creatively about how we meet them
  50. that we are often stronger mentally than we think we are     

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 60 education persuasive speech topics

Label: 60 education persuasive speech topics
  1. that education should be free and freely available to whomever wants it
  2. that education systems should be free of bias
  3. that all children should have equal educational opportunities
  4. that any form of educational segregation (gender, racial, economic, religious...) should be unlawful
  5. that education is power
  6. that the control of a country’s education system should not be in the hands of politicians or a political party
  7. that a vocational education is more useful
  8. that the principal role of education is to teach individuals to be stable, strong members of society
  9. that a good education is one that teaches a person to take responsibility for themselves financially
  10. that there is no time in our lives when we are finished being educated
  11. that schools squash creativity and initiative
  12. that going to school and being educated are two different things
  13. that we learn more outside of a classroom than inside it
  14. that lack of formal education is the cause of societal unrest
  15. that our current school systems only really work for children from stable backgrounds
  16. that one good caring teacher can make all the difference
  17. that a teacher has the potential to influence their students’ lives enormously
  18. that being a teacher is a privileged position
  19. that teachers should be acknowledged and highly valued
  20. that the criteria for entering teacher training should be more discriminating
  21. that teacher training should be longer and more rigorous
  22. that teachers should be tested every five years in order to renew their license to teach
  23. that practical education is better than theoretical
  24. that the school leaving age should not be raised
  25. that the most important lessons at school happen in the playground
  26. that enrolling a child in any form of educational institution should be optional
  27. that parents should have the right to decide what classes their child attends
  28. that homeschooling does not hinder a child in any way
  29. that homeschooling is better for a child’s mental health
  30. that homeschooling is an option only economically advantaged parents can offer their children
  31. that parents who decide to homeschool their children need to feel OK about spending large chunks of time with them
  32. that psychological screening should be used to decide what school a student goes to
  33. that our grading systems fail to motivate students who struggle
  34. that separating a grade given for a piece of schoolwork from one’s self-esteem, or person, is difficult
  35. that grading is a frequently misunderstood, misapplied, inexact science
  36. that face to face real time learning is more effective than online learning
  37. that streaming (grouping students in classes according to their intellectual ability) should be banned
  38. that the principal function of education is to teach people to think rationally and creatively
  39. that failing at school is never the fault of the student
  40. that accelerate classes are elitist
  41. that the drive to get more students into higher education is misplaced
  42. that school uniforms should be compulsory
  43. that all children should have access to extra tuition as it is needed
  44. that an education system based on grades and examinations only benefits a small percentage of the children it is supposed to serve
  45. that online learning centers like the Kahn Academy  democratize education
  46. that teachers should receive financial rewards based on the success of their students
  47. that financial literacy should be given similar teaching time as reading and writing
  48. that socio-economic factors indicate the likelihood of future educational success
  49. that intellectual ability develops best in a safe secure stress-free environment
  50. that girls perform better academically in all girl schools
  51. that single-sex schooling slows the growth of appropriate social skills
  52. that children less than 10 years old should not given graded tests and ranked according to their scores
  53. that active community service should be part a school’s curriculum
  54. that meditation techniques should be taught in all schools
  55. that homework teaches time management and self discipline
  56. that developing imagination and creativity is equally important as developing stable work habits and good numeracy and literacy skills
  57. that smaller class sizes make it more likely a student will thrive
  58. that entrepreneurial skills should be encouraged and taught in schools
  59. that all high school students should be assigned or have access to a mentor
  60. that weapons of any sort should be banned from school campuses  

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50 family themed persuasive speech topics

Label: 50 family persuasive speech topics
  1. that what makes a person a valued family member is not necessarily a blood tie
  2. that being one of many children in a family is an advantage
  3. that being part of a close multi-generational family has advantages for everyone
  4. that only children have more expected of them than children who have siblings
  5. that the eldest child in a family carries more responsibility than their siblings
  6. that the youngest child in the family is the most spoilt
  7. that the middle child in a family has the least favoured position
  8. that the order of the birth of siblings has a major impact on their psychological development
  9. that older parents are better equipped financially and emotionally to parent well
  10. that consciously choosing to have a child makes a positive difference to how a child is parented
  11. that it is better to be a loved child in a poor family than an unloved child in a wealthy one
  12. that parents should not compare their children
  13. that children should obey their parents
  14. that a child should not have everything they ask for
  15. that children should have regular age-appropriate household tasks to do
  16. that children have a right to privacy
  17. that children need to know they are loved and supported no matter what happens
  18. that parents should not bicker or fight in front of children
  19. that a child should never be disciplined by hitting
  20. that a parent needs to behave like a parent, not a friend, or a child
  21. that parental favouritism damages children
  22. that boys and girls should be treated equally
  23. that parents should attend classes on parenting before being permitted to have a child
  24. that babies and small children are better off at home with their mothers
  25. that designer children should be illegal
  26. that a woman should have the right to terminate a pregnancy
  27. that being a dad is not the same as being a father
  28. that parents divorcing causes significant issues for their children
  29. that home should always be a safe place
  30. that parents are responsible for how their children behave
  31. that a child will follow the pattern set by the adults around them
  32. that a teenage mother should be fully supported to look after her child and develop herself
  33. that taking a child into custody should be the very last resort
  34. that divorced parents should always talk respectfully about each other in front of their children
  35. that combining families when parents remarry should be handled with great care
  36. that children should never witness their parents fighting over them
  37. that children should never be played off against each other
  38. that parents set behavioral boundaries to keep their children safe
  39. that publicly shaming a child is cruel
  40. that parents do not always know best
  41. that a child has the right to expect that their parents take good care of them
  42. that children are never better than each other only different
  43. that the demands of family life and work need to be better balanced
  44. that children should not be made to kiss or hug people they do not want to
  45. that parents should make time to talk with and listened to their children
  46. that becoming an adopted relative: grandparent, aunt or uncle is a great way to enrich a child’s life
  47. that solo parents need non-judgmental practical support to help raise their children
  48. that baby sitters need to be old enough to be responsible as well as known to children before they are left with them
  49. that there is no such thing as a bad child
  50. that a bullied child needs compassionate support and understanding

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50 persuasive speech topic ideas about friends

Label: 50 friends persuasive speech topics
  1. that we all need a little help from our friends
  2. that everybody needs at least one best friend
  3. that a person’s life is influenced by childhood friends
  4. that we are defined by those who we are friends with
  5. that “liking” media posts is a form of friendship
  6. that a true friend is someone who knows your fears, vulnerabilities and weaknesses and loves you just the same
  7. that a friend is someone you know you can depend on
  8. that the most important relationship a person will ever have is an enduring friendship
  9. that true friendship transcends boundaries and overcomes obstacles
  10. that we need to be taught how to sustain healthy friendships
  11. that a friend helps a person keep themselves in check
  12. that a friend is someone we will accept the truth from
  13. that a real friend is not possessive about you
  14. that in a real friendship the amount of giving and taking are balanced
  15. that a real friend encourages the best in you, not the worst
  16. that mutual trust is the foundation of a good friendship
  17. that a friend is someone who has your best interests at heart
  18. that a friend does not gossip cruelly behind your back
  19. that a friend is someone you enjoy being with
  20. that a friend is someone who doesn’t make you feel anxious about saying or doing the wrong thing
  21. that boys are better at being friends than girls are
  22. that making new friends as we get older is harder
  23. that being a loyal friend does not mean agreeing with everything a friend says or does
  24. that getting help to break away from toxic friendships is a healthy thing to do
  25. that listening is vitally important in a friendship
  26. that a true friend will prioritize and rearrange their schedule in order to be with you
  27. that we need a variety of different types of people as good friends
  28. that to be a good friend we need to respect boundaries and beliefs
  29. that we can disagree with a friend and remain friends
  30. that being a friend does not mean accepting poor behavior towards yourself or others you care about
  31. that we achieve and become our best selves through the support and love of friends
  32. that learning to be a good friend is an essential life skill
  33. that friendships can come and go and that’s OK
  34. that a good friend will never publicly humiliate you
  35. that behaving in certain ways in order to attract or impress friends will not really work
  36. that a friend is someone who likes you for who you are, not for what you have, look like or do
  37. that apologizing sincerely for your part in a misunderstanding or falling out between friends is essential for the friendship to survive
  38. that learning to leave a friendship with grace when it no longer works is a valuable skill to have
  39. that men often have mates but few friends
  40. that our mental health improves when we have loving caring friends
  41. that a real friend is someone you can be away from for years and then resume a deep connection very quickly
  42. that there are degrees, and different types, of friendship and all of them are valuable
  43. that there can be no such thing as a platonic friendship between a man and a woman
  44. that having an imaginary friend as a small child is normal
  45. that a true friendship between an older person and a child is something to be encouraged
  46. that building genuine friendships with open hearts and minds breaks down prejudice
  47. that parents should intervene in their children’s friendships if they see them making poor choices or compromising themselves
  48. that there is a fine line between discussing a friend’s problems because you are concerned about them and discussing them because you find them amusing or good for shock value
  49. that comparison and competition between friends is inevitable
  50. that friendship is one of life’s essentials  

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50 society themed persuasive speech ideas

Label: 50 society persuasive speech topics
  1. that to fit into the society you live in you must conform
  2. that society does not tolerate difference
  3. that society reflects the attitudes of the people who live in it
  4. that we can not live outside society
  5. that the influence of society is totally pervasive
  6. that change is the enemy of society
  7. that in a capitalist society there will always be winners and losers
  8. that there is no such thing as an ideal society
  9. that social and economic inequality will force change in society
  10. that ruling a society through fear and/or force will never create stability
  11. that a society that maintains a rigid class structure is bound to fail
  12. that those in charge of society should act in the interests of all its members
  13. that the problems a society faces are of its own making
  14. that the controls a society puts in place are for the benefit of its members
  15. that there will always be some people who have, and some people who do not
  16. that the most damaging rules of a society are its unwritten ones
  17. that virtual society is replacing older forms of society
  18. that the knowledge society is breaking down barriers
  19. that western society is losing its influence
  20. that high society sustains itself by living off the efforts of those below it
  21. that modern society is neither better or worse, just different
  22. that an equal society is a worthy aspiration
  23. that a progressive society absorbs change for the good of its members
  24. that crime is a threat to society
  25. that how a society treats its most vulnerable members is a measure of how much it cares
  26. that a wealthy society is built on much more than money
  27. that a self-made man or woman will always be a hero in a capitalist society
  28. that if corporations paid their fair share of taxes, our societies would benefit hugely
  29. that compulsory citizenship classes would make us better members of society
  30. that a healthy society values the contributions of its members equally
  31. that a civilized society is a fiction
  32. that the role of education is to enable people to take their places productively in society
  33. that the rules of a society are made by the most powerful to keep the weak in their place
  34. that, in theory, a socialist society is classless
  35. that communism and socialism are not the same thing
  36. that a democratic society is protected by every adult who is eligible to vote doing so
  37. that what makes a member of society good depends on the society you belong to
  38. that a society that can not tolerate criticism is inherently weak
  39. that the members of a society often use social sanctions to keep in each other in line
  40. than an authoritarian society rules through fear
  41. that constant oppression will eventually cause an uprising of people looking to change the society they live in
  42. that those who lead societies need to be fully aware of the enormous responsibilities they carry on behalf of the people they serve
  43. that modern media escalates the problems we have in society
  44. that changes in what society considers to be moral, and normal, sexual behavior is inevitable
  45. that we do not immediately go straight to hell if we challenge society’s traditionally held views on abortion
  46. that a society that has to imprison or kill its dissenting members in order to keep control is immoral
  47. that society provides form and meaning in our lives
  48. that living in society’s rat race is inescapable
  49. that changes in any society only come about through the willingness of some its members to speak out and act
  50. that true heroes are people who know the potential risks of challenging those in power in the societies in which they live and do it anyway   

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50 persuasive speech topics about animals

Label: 50 animal persuasive speech topics
  1. that pet euthanasia is humane
  2. that feeding naturally carnivorous animals a vegetarian diet is wrong
  3. that giving a pet to a child to care for teaches responsibility
  4. that dogs resemble their owners
  5. that battery farming should be banned for health reasons
  6. that battery farming should be banned for ethical reasons
  7. that keeping dangerous animals as pets should be banned
  8. that zoos should be regularly audited to ensure they are meeting the needs of the animals they house
  9. that hunting animals for sport is wrong
  10. that anthropomorphizing animals is foolhardy
  11. that taking an animal or bird from its natural habitat is cruel
  12. that animal or bird breeding programs set up for monetary gain are wrong
  13. that keeping a large four-legged pet in an apartment is wrong
  14. that people need to prove they can look after a pet before they get one
  15. that people with pets have better mental health
  16. that understanding a pet is easier than understanding a person
  17. that training an animal to do tricks to entertain is inhumane
  18. that blood sports (cock fighting, dog fights, bear baiting, bull fights, fox hunting...) involving animals should be banned
  19. that pets should be neutered or spayed
  20. that all animals should be protected
  21. that protecting endangered animals is sentimental hogwash
  22. that the money spent on saving endangered habitats would be better spent on hospitals and schools
  23. that animals are intelligent
  24. that animals should not be eaten
  25. that animals have rights
  26. that keeping endangered animals in zoos ensures their survival
  27. that animals can be farmed sustainably
  28. that animal breeding programs based on what’s currently fashionable should be banned
  29. that there are no ‘bad’ animals, only animals that have become bad as a result of how they have been treated by humans
  30. that animals that become pests have a right to be treated humanely
  31. that the practice branding animals with a branding iron should be stopped
  32. that any form of testing of any substance on any animal should be banned
  33. that inter-breeding species to create a hybrid animal is against the laws of nature and should be banned
  34. that the companion animals in hospitals, schools and other institutions give meaning to people’s lives
  35. that the companion animal programme should be fully supported by state or government funds
  36. that the best service animal is a dog
  37. that animals have individual personalities and habits, just like people.
  38. that wearing clothing made from the skin, bone or any other part of an animal, requiring their death before it can be made, is unethical
  39. that owning a dog and taking it for regular walks makes it easier to talk to strangers
  40. that all dogs should be on a leash in public places
  41. that some breeds of dogs do not make safe family pets
  42. that the use of drugs to artificially boost an animal’s growth for meat, or milk production should be banned
  43. that a person can only hunt in the wild if they have a license
  44. that adopting an animal from a pet shelter is the best way to get a pet
  45. that volunteering in an animal shelter is an antidote to depression
  46. that pet owners who dress and adorn their animals to display their personal wealth or to create an impression are abusing their animals
  47. that we should make a switch from farming cows for milk to goats because they are more environmentally friendly
  48. that recycling plastic packaging would protect marine environments
  49. that the process of natural selection guarantees the strongest and best adapted species
  50. that vivisection (experimentation on live animals) for scientific purposes of any sort should be outlawed

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How to prepare a speech for a set time allowance

Here's a three minute speech example to illustrate.

If you speak at an average rate (between 130 to 150 words per minute, a 3 minute speech has approximately 360 – 450 words.

To be effective, you’ll want to allocate your time (and word count) three ways: approximately 70% for the middle or body of your speech and 15% each for the opening and conclusion. The largest portion goes to the body as this is where you lay out your reasoning and evidence to support your topic.

Speaking to time takes practice: lots of it. The only way to accurately know how long your speech will take to deliver is to go through it out loud as if you were actually giving it and time it. This is critical if you're speaking in a competition or if you're being formally assessed. Going over time can result in penalties.

For the approximate number of words-per-minute (wpm) for speeches ranging from 1 minute to 10 minutes long please see: how many words per minute in a speech.

For more about speech rate

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More about choosing a good persuasive speech topic and preparing a great speech

For a more in-depth discussion about choosing a good persuasive topic, and crafting a persuasive speech please see:

  • persuasive speech ideas and read all the notes under the heading “What make a speech topic good?"
  • writing a persuasive speech. You’ll find notes covering:
  • setting a speech goal,
  • audience analysis,
  • evidence and empathy (the need for proof or evidence to back what you’re saying as well as showing you understand, or empathize with, the positions of those for and against your proposal),
  • balance and obstacles (to address points against your proposal, the obstacles, in a fair and balanced way),
  • varying structural patterns (ways to organize you material) and more

And click the link for hundreds more persuasive speech topic suggestions ☺

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