How to Find an Editor for Your College Essay
Editors are crucial in the college application process – particularly for essays. A nightmare scenario is turning everything in, proudly looking over your work – and finding a glaring error or realizing that you had not discussed a certain illuminating point in an essay. Regret in that form is avoidable and easily prevented.
Even if you read, rewrite, reread, and continue that process ad nauseum, a second set of eyes and a new brain and perspective will help your writing immensely, and prevent sloppy errors on all parts of your application. An editor can help you look for mistakes, see potential for improvement, and be a solid second opinion. Finding the right one (or ones) can be tricky. To find a good editor for your college essay and admissions application, look for these five qualities.
1. Find a person who knows you well in and out of school
An efficient editor will verify that your college essay and application truly represent you, and represent you well. Preferably, your editor will know you in and out of the classroom so that they know all your unique qualities are presented to admissions counselors. If you ask a tutor or someone who might not know you as well to edit your work, consider talking with them about accomplishments in and out of school, college goals, and your expectations in a school. Then they’ll have a better grasp of you and how well your writing reflects you.
2. Your editor must have a solid grasp of grammer, spelling, and essay construction
Spell check can be erroneous, missing mistakes in the confusion of homophones. And Microsoft Word won’t understand if you break a rule to make a point or keep an essay’s rhythm. A good editor will not only have a strong spelling and grammar base to catch any mechanical errors, an editor will also understand how writing can flow.
3. Work with someone who is comfortable critiquing your work – and whose criticism you can take
College essays can be quite personal. A parent or sibling is likely not the best choice for an editor, unless you are very comfortable giving and receving criticism from each other. Find an editor who can see the essay objectively, and with college admissions in mind. Make sure your editor is someone with whom you are comfortable communicating, too. If someone gives you feedback that demoralizes instead of encouraging you, this person might not be the ideal editor for you.
4. Ask a veteran or expert of the admissions process
If you have friends who have recently completed the admissions process and done well (and if you’re comfortable with their criticism), these are great resources to help you edit your college essays. College counselors can be great assets, too, but only if they have enough time to help you well. Consider education experts as well – tutors, mentors, and admission coaches. They will definitely have the time, and will be enthusiastic to help eager students.
5. Combine forces – use a few editors
If you know a few different people with these different qualities, it’s beneficial to have a few people read essays. Don’t be afraid to ask – if someone can help you with grammatical technicality, but another person will be better at seeing how well your essays convey your strenths and personality, use both people! If they are willing and able, more eyes will help you. After your essays make the rounds, you’ll have the final say anyway. Take advantage of extra help.
This post is titled “How to Find an Editor for Your College Essays.” It was written by Marta Casey, a writer on Top Test Prep’s team.
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