Prompt vs Topic
All essay assignments start with a prompt. Which leads to a topic to write about. It is important to understand the difference between these terms.
Prompt (writing Prompt)
Prompt means to trigger, encourage, stimulate, provoke, start off, bring about....... In this instance the prompt is to get you thinking of something to write about for an essay.

A topic is a subject, theme, issue, area, subject matter of what you will write about based on the prompt.
It could be a person, a place, a thing, an idea, an issue, an argument, an occurrence, almost anything can be a topic.

Here are examples of prompts and possible topics that might result.

Writing Prompt Possible Topics
Write about a memorable experience from  your
early life.
1. going fishing with my father
2. grammar school graduation
3. a fatal car crash while in the Bahamas.
Write about  a place that makes\made  you feel uncomfortable 1. my dentist's office
2. the courtroom in the municipal building in the center of town
3. My grandmother's funeral
Write about a current issue that is hotly debated 1. illegal immigration
2. the War in Afghanistan
3. Unemployment insurance being paid for extended
Analyze the issue of professional entertainers or public figures behavior that may influence young people. 1. Madonna's dress and behaves in public
2. Michael Jackson's parenting and dangerous public displays
3. Barack Obama's rise to power