How to Write a Good Essay Title for College in MLA and APA: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever looked at the title of a piece of writing only to find yourself scrutinizing the content of its pages? Titles carry a significant degree of influence, depending on how well a writer crafts them.

Your essay title goes a long way into enticing your reader into reading the rest of your text.

A good essay title may be one of the essential components of an essay. A good title will predict the content of the rest of your essay. This is because the title somehow functions like a sneak preview that will show the reader what the paper is about in advance.

What Makes a Good Essay Title?

A good title can be useful in catching the reader’s attention. It should be well crafted to bait the reader into wanting to know more.

A valid title should, at the same time, mirror the tone and style used in the body of writing. The whole piece of writing must be expressed in a unified way of writing for coherency. A title that does not reflect the style of its piece may confuse the reader.

Lastly, a well-crafted title should contain the keywords used to build the body of the text.

The defining qualities of a competent essay title are

  • Eye-catching – it should be attention-grabbing to hook the notice and attention of the reader.
  • Authentic – it must be credible. The written piece should provide the necessary evidence to show its genuineness.
  • Easy to read – you should outline your title in its purest form. It should also exclude sophisticated terms not familiar to the audience.
  • Brief – a title is not an introductory paragraph. It should concisely state the direction the essay is going.
  • Accurate – it should explicitly state what your essay is covering with precision.
  • Coherent – it should reflect the tone, content, and context of the essay.
  • Uses active voice – if you include verbs in the title, they should take an active form rather than a passive one.

Elements of a Functional Essay Title

A valid title has some crucial components that work together to make it outstanding. These constituents are; the hook (eye-catcher), the generic keywords (keywords that are comprehensive of the topic of your essay), and the specific keywords (keywords that are specific to the context of your piece).

Write a Good Essay Title for College
Wikihow (Good Titling)

To see these components at work, have a look at some catchy essay title examples below.

If formulating a creative title for your essay still feels like running a marathon in sandals, there is always the option of receiving online help. Our essay title generator will assist you in developing a creative essay title in an instant.

How to Make a Good Title for Your Essay

There are several approaches to formulating a conspicuous title. Find out which one is most convenient or effective for you to use.

1.    Begin with Your Essay and Finish with the Title

Fixating on developing a title first can be a time-wasting strategy. It is easy to experience writer’s block while using such a scheme. It may be more efficient to spend time conducting research, creating an essay outline, and writing your essay before embarking on finding the best title.

You can only develop a compelling title from a proper understanding of the context and content of an essay. You may have a headline that is guiding the way you develop your argument, but, you should formulate your title after the organization of your main points.

As you read and reread your essay, you will come to a good understanding of what your title should be. During your evaluation of the essay text, you may get your epiphany and create a useful title.

2.    Stem Your Title from the Thesis

The thesis statement is the place where most writers outline the best reason for their paper. It is, therefore, a resourceful place to derive your essay title. As you already know, a good title should give the reader a compelling reason to look into your piece.

You could, therefore, attempt to modify your thesis statement, or at least a part of it, to generate an exemplary title.

3.    Summarize Your Essay in a Few Words

Another useful technique is trying to sum up what your essay is about in as few words as possible. Identify at most five words that best describe your paper and use them as a framework to build your title.

4.    Use Broad and Specific Keywords

Keywords are at the most fundamental level of writing your essay. They can are directive building blocks to developing an essay. As such, you could identify the most comprehensive operative words that can broadly describe your essay. Also, point out the explicit keywords that narrow down the focus of your paper.

Use these words to structure your title in the most appropriate way. We demonstrate the above devices in our catchy title examples. Why don’t you take a quick look at one of them?

APA Titling Format

A title in APA titling format is detailed and concise. From the title, your reader should comprehend the focus of your essay.

Titles displayed in APA format should;

  • Use bold title case. This means that you should capitalize crucial words and words of four letters or more.
  • Be in the center of your title page and on the first page of the body of your essay.
  • Use full terms. Avoid using abbreviations.
  • Omit unnecessary words.

Additionally, if you are looking for how to write a book title in an essay, or if you are wondering, “do you italicize movie titles?” this is the section for you.

According to APA’s publication manual, titles of complete works such as the title of; a periodical (journal, magazine, and newspaper), a book, a movie or play, or a musical album, etc. should be italicized.

 However, titles of parts within a complete work like the title of; an article in a periodical, a chapter of a book, scene of a movie or play, or a song, etc. should be placed in quotation marks.


The success of a well-written essay depends on more than the amount of research you do and how you organize your argument. The title also matters.

With the steps and pointers from this piece, you can come up with a persuasive title. This may assist you in avoiding a bad grade, as well as demonstrating to your instructor that you have a good grasp of your essay topic.

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