Expert Tips on Editing and Proofreading College Essays

First, take a deep breath. The hardest part is over! Now it’s time for the next step: editing and proofreading your paper. We’ll go over what you should and shouldn’t do during this process, and the benefits of having someone else look over your work. Be sure to consult our essay editing checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything or made easily avoidable errors that could result in lost marks.

The Importance of Peer Editing

Don’t just run your paper through your word processor’s spell check function and call it a day. Spell check will show you the grammatical and spelling errors, which are very important, but it’s not going to check your paper for flow, argument strength, and overall effectiveness. Editing means a lot more than simply checking your paper for grammar and spelling errors. It means going through and making sure that your paper does exactly what it’s supposed to be doing – gets your point across and leaves a message with your reader.

A fresh set of eyes on your paper can make a big difference when it comes to editing. Sure, your essay sounds good to you, but you’re the one who wrote it. Of course it sounds good to you!

Losing marks for editing is one of the most avoidable situations for your assignment. A big portion of the rubric will always show a space for editing and proofreading. If you skip the peer editing step, or any editing steps in general, you could get a lower mark than you feel you deserve, all because of something that could have been fixed if you took the time to get someone else to read over your paper.

Give your paper to a friend, classmate, or even your roommate. They don’t have to be in the same class as you, and in fact, it’s better if they aren’t. Without classroom knowledge, your friend can step in and take on the role of your reader with an open mind, and they’ll be able to tell you if they understood everything you’re trying to say. It’s all about getting a completely new perspective on your paper to see how it flows, if it’s easy to read, and if everything makes sense to someone who isn’t that familiar with your topic.

Using a Professional Editing Service

When a paper is worth a big portion of your final grade, and the stakes are really high, it can be a big advantage to break out the big guns and work with a professional essay editing service. Having a friend or peer look over your paper is a major help, but sometimes it takes a professional to look for small errors or tiny details that could be tweaked to make your paper better overall.

A company that provides professional editing services has a team of highly experienced academic writers who are going to look over your paper for you. These writers have gone through years of schooling and education and have likely written hundreds of papers in their lifetime. They’re also well versed in a variety of different subjects – so they really know their stuff. As a result, they are very familiar with all of the most common errors people make, what professors are looking for, and which areas have room for improvement.

If your paper is worth a major portion of your mark, it’s worth it to enlist professional help. Consider this for your big assignments, thesis projects, and even your cover letters or resumes.

Essay Editing Checklist

Here is a detailed checklist of all of the more superficial things you should be looking for as you go through and read over your essay during the proofreading and editing process.

  • Grammar
    • Punctuation:
      • Commas in correct places
      • Apostrophes used properly
    • Sentence Structure
      • Run-on sentences are eliminated
      • Proper use of words (such as the correct use of their)
    • Quotations
      • Direct quotations have quotation marks in the right spot
      • Periods are outside of brackets
      • Periods are inside quotation marks
  • Spelling
    • Proper spelling, capital letters, and titles for all proper nouns
    • Paper is free from spelling errors overall (spell-check has been run)
  • Structure
    • Each paragraph is indented
    • Filler words are avoided or used sparingly
    • The paragraphs are written in an order that makes sense and helps direct the reader through the paper
    • The title makes sense and communicates the topic
    • The thesis statement is easily identified and the body paragraphs follow this order
  • Tone
    • The tone is professional, formal, and academic
    • Contractions are avoided unless necessary