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39 Journal Topics for High School (Wish I’d Had these as a Teen!)

Journal topics for high school teens to process through feelings, express themselves, and get closer to their true selves.

You’re reading an article about journal topics for high school teens from someone who has literally been journaling since the second grade.

Here’s the proof:

second grade diary with very young-looking writing in pen and lots of stickers

When I didn’t know how to spell something, I put the starting letter and wrote in a line to fill it out later. Sometimes, I expressed myself in stickers.

teen boy writing journal prompt in classroom, text overlay "fun and revealing journal topics for teenagers"

This is a lifelong habit and practice that has served me well.

It’s helped me:

  • To express myself
  • To look back over periods of my life and make more sense of them
  • To work out my dreams for the future
  • To work out how to fix problems I’m currently facing
  • …and so much more

And I’d like to think that today’s article on journal topics for high school teens is me doing my part to pass along this awesome, lifelong practice.

These are exciting and thought-provoking questions that will help inspire teens to express themselves – to get what’s out of their head and start to make some sense of it, and to dream out their future.

Journal Topics for High School

This list of journal topics for high school teens is categorized by the big topic, and then broken down into the actual questions.

Here are the journal topic categories:

  • Friends & Relationships
  • Money
  • Education & Career
  • Life
  • Bonus: Fun journal topis for high school

Teen Journal Topic: Friends & Relationships

1. List out 1-3 of your friends. What do you like about each of them? What makes them a good friend for you?

2. If you could take a friend with you on a Spring Break trip, who would you choose and where would you go? Write out a fun list of things to do when you get there.

3. When’s a time you didn’t feel included in your normal circle of friends? What made you feel this way?

4. Describe a time when you felt like an adult didn’t understand what you were trying to say. How did that make you feel?

5. What’s a conversation you wish had gone differently?

6. Name a friend or relationship that you definitely want to take with you past high school. Where do you see this relationship going?

7. Name something your parents say that you agree with. Then, name something your parents say that you don’t agree with. Explain your point of view on each.

8. What’s one thing your parents did with you when you were younger that will remain a favorite memory of yours forever?

9. What’s one thing you learned from a teacher that has nothing to do with math, social studies, or anything that can be found in a textbook?

Teen Journal Topic: Money

1. An unexpected check comes in the mail from a great aunt who passed away…she left you $50,000. What do you do with this unexpected money?

2. Name 3 things you are grateful for. Which cost money, and which did not?

3. What is one thing you don’t like about money? Why?

4. What is one thing you love about money? Why?

5. When was a time that you had too little money? How much was it, and why was it too little?

6. You learn that someone will pay you $60 to cut off all of your hair and donate it. Do you do it? What would you do with the money?

7. Describe a scene in a movie where money plays an important role. Why was money an important part of it?

8. What is the one habit right now that’s costing you the most money? Is it worth it to keep?

9. Your family is hosting a yard sale this weekend. You hope to personally raise $100. Which belongings do you choose to sell?

10. What’s the last money decision you made, and how did your decision work out for you?

11. What’s a purchase you made that you regret, and why do you regret it?

Teen Journal Topic: Education & Career

1. If you could have one job for a month – just to try it on, with no commitment –what would it be? What would make you want to keep that job for longer than a month?  

2. Do you think actors and actresses should make more money than the President of the United States? Why or why not?

3. If you were forced to choose a college major right this minute, which would you choose and why?

4. Your dream job right out of college doesn’t work out. What’s your plan B (your backup plan)?

5. List one of the skills you have. What do you think is the next step for you to get even better at this skill?

6. What’s something that scares you about college? What’s something that excites you about college?

7. What’s something you wish your school offered a class in? How can you still learn more about this topic on your own?

Teen Journal Topic: Life

1. Take one random thought you’ve had in the last 24 hours. Now, create a chart tracing it back to the “origin thought”. In other words, connect the dots from this random thought back to the thought before it, then to the thought before that, then to the thought before that…until you find the thing that happened to cause you to have that first thought.

2. What’s one thing you love about yourself? How can you build on this even more?

3. Name one thing that scares you. Think back to the first time you encountered a situation where this fear came up – can you remember what about it made you scared?

4.  What’s something you have in common with your parents? What’s something that makes you different from your parents?

5. Write about a time you learned something “the hard way” – someone had warned you against doing, but you did it anyway and had to pay the consequences?

6. What are the privileges you’ve been given as a teen that you didn’t have as a child? What responsibilities did they come with?

7. When you get stressed or worried, what’s something you do that helps you through those emotions? Why do you think this helps you?

Bonus: Fun Journal Prompts for High School

Sometimes, you just want to give your teen students something fun to think and write about. Plus, it can help so much with keeping their interest.

That’s what this section is all about!

1. You can be a contestant on any game show of your choice. Which one do you choose, and why?

2. Detail a perfect Saturday. When do you wake up? What do you eat? Who do you hang out with? What do you do or don’t do? Where do you go?  

3. The year is 2042. How old are you? What have you done with your life so far? What does life right now look like for you?

4. Pretend you can run any company that you choose, for a day. Which company do you choose? What changes would you like to make while there?

5. You get to go back in history for one historical event, and “be a fly on the wall” – meaning, see it while it’s happening. Which event do you choose, and what questions do you hope to get answered?

I'd love to hear how you end up using these journal topics for high school teens! Go ahead and leave a comment below.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.

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