How to Come Up with an Eye-Catching Essay Title

How to Come Up with an Eye-Catching Essay Title
Athina Hansen

Athina Hansen

Content Writer at Gradehacker

Think back to the last time you had to write an essay for college. Did you struggle more with titling the essay than writing the essay itself? Was it hard for you to summarize your whole essay into one phrase, even after having finished it?

You may beat yourself up for finding a seemingly simple step so hard, but you are not alone in finding this process difficult! Here at Gradehacker, our work consists of helping college students with tasks such as essays. In our years of experience helping students, we have seen how common it is for students to struggle with finding a title for their essay.

Many of our clients have voiced that they find coming up with an essay title harder than writing the actual essay. When it comes time to brainstorm your essay, many students feel clueless on where to even start.

In theory, writing an essay title seems like a piece of cake. But when it comes time to actually write one, it is easy for your mind to go completely blank!

In this article, we will teach you how to come up with a successful essay title. That way, you can make this process enjoyable and finally look forward to titling your essay instead of dreading it.

Why is a Good Essay Title Important?

You might be asking yourself, is an essay title really that important? Surely if my actual essay knocks my professor’s socks off, then the title won’t be of any importance, right?

Wrong! Your title is the first step in knocking your professor’s socks off. An essay title is the first thing your professor will read, and therefore it will either set up your essay for success or failure.

A reader will make their first impression of your essay by reading the title. This means that if you have a poor title, the reader will prejudge your essay and perceive the rest of it negatively.

Your essay title should aim to be enticing and lure your reader to continue reading.

Think of your essay title as a book cover! As much as they say don’t judge a book by its cover, the reality is we are all guilty of doing so. If the cover of a book is not attractive and it’s boring, you will not want to read the book.

So, don’t turn a blind eye to your title. Write a title that will spark a reader’s interest and one that will set the rest of your essay up for greatness!

Components of an Essay Title

All essay titles are made up of the same key components. It is important to be able to recognize what these components are in order to nail each one and create an outstanding title. All essay titles are made up of:

  • A hook: A creative way to begin your title. A catchy hook is the secret sauce to get your reader to want to continue reading your essay.
  • Topic keywords: Words that describe what your essay is about. These keywords should inform your reader of what topics the essay will be discussing.
  • Focus Keywords: Words that give the reader information on the place and time that your essay will focus on.

What do These Title Components Look Like?

In case you don’t have a clear picture of how to identify these components, let’s examine the following title:

A Screen Away: Maintaining Relationships During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The hook: A Screen Away

Topic keywords: Maintaining Relationships

Focus keywords: During the Coronavirus Pandemic 

You can also take a look at this example to see good essay titles in action. 

How Can I Create a Good Essay Title?

Now that you are aware of an essay title’s components and why essay titles are so important, let’s focus on how you can create a title that your professor won’t forget.

Leave Your Essay Title for Last!

When writing an essay, coming up with your essay title might seem like a logical first step. This is because we write essays in a logical order, beginning with the introduction and ending with the conclusion. However, even though the title will appear first in the essay, you should leave it for last!

All people should know that when you finish writing an essay, it can end up being different from the one you envisioned before writing. This is why writing an essay title first is setting yourself up for failure!

Even if you know which direction your essay will take, the chances are the final product may be different from your expectations.

By leaving titling an essay as the last step, you will ensure that the title is in line with what you wrote.

Also, by titling your essay last, you can refer to your essay for title inspiration. This will end up reducing the time you spend brainstorming on a title. 

Use Your Thesis Statement for Inspiration

Are you struggling with summarizing your whole essay into a couple of words? Luckily for you, your thesis statement lays out the argument you make in the essay. This means that basing your title on your thesis statement is a great idea!

For example, let’s say your thesis statement was:

The government should allocate more funds to public transportation, as it is more environmentally friendly, offers low-cost transport, and is quick.

If we use this thesis statement for inspiration, a title we could come up with is:

Fostering the Use of Public Transport: Do the Environment and Yourself a Favor

Use Popular Phrases and Cliches to Hook Your Reader

Do you struggle with hooking your reader in? If you tend to have difficulties coming up with a catchy hook, you can utilize popular phrases and cliches.

Using these at the start of your title is a guaranteed way to entice your reader!

Let’s take the same thesis statement example, we could use the cliche “no brainer” as a hook:

A No-Brainer: Why We Should Embrace Public Transport

Make Sure Your Title Matches the Essay’s Tone

You cannot lose sight of the tone of your essay when brainstorming your title! If your essay takes on a serious approach, using a humorous or witty title will be inappropriate and not capture your essay’s intent.

Evaluate the tone of your essay, and make sure that your essay is aligned with the tone. The tone and title of your essay should work together and not against each other.  

You can also have a little checklist or bullet points like these ones where you list all the things your essay title must have.

Stick to a Simple Title and Not a Complex One

You may think writing a complex or long title will make you look like a smarty pants. However, doing so can actually work against you. This is because using a complicated or long title may result in confusion or make it hard for the reader to understand.

Keep it simple! Stay safe and don’t risk the success of your title by choosing a complicated one.

Stay Away from Jargon and Abbreviations

When you include jargon in your title, it may be difficult for others to understand your title. Meanwhile, using abbreviations can also cause confusion or even appear too casual.

So, avoid both jargon and abbreviations, and always focus on clarity and conciseness!

Summarize Your Essay

An excellent strategy to get those brain juices flowing for your title is summarizing your whole essay into 3 words.

Ask yourself, if I had to describe my essay to someone in 3 words, which words would I use? Once you have these 3 words, incorporate them into your title!

Stick to Active Voice

Make sure that the verbs you include in your title are active and not in a passive voice.

Employing an active voice will make your title more straightforward and clear!

Creating a Successful Essay Title

An essay title is not a minor part of your essay. It is the cherry on top, and it’s what will make or break your essay!

Being able to write a successful essay title is an important skill in essay writing. You cannot be lazy with your title, because it is the first taste your reader will get of your essay.

A successful essay title makes a successful essay. Aim for a catchy title that will persuade your reader that your essay is worth reading!

We understand that writing an essay title is not as easy as it seems. Hopefully, these tips will change your experience in writing essay titles and will allow you to create a successful essay title that will amaze your professor.

Do you want to learn more about common mistakes students make in their essays? Check out our article on 5 Common Essay Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

Now that you have the essay title down, make sure you are correctly formatting your essay, so your grade doesn’t suffer for small formatting errors. Learn How to Format Your APA Paper in Just 5 Minutes.

Athina Hansen

Athina Hansen

Athina has worked with Gradehacker both as a content writer and a study consultant, where she assisted college students with nursing courses. Athina has a background of educating others and producing content, having tutored college students and produced articles for her school magazine. She brings her experience to her current role, where she writes content to empower and assist the non-traditional college student who is often overlooked. You can find her on LinkedIn

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