A good editor should review your essays for both content and grammar – both for what you say and for how effectively you say it. We prefer to look at content first, and proofread for grammar at the end of the process. Focusing on grammar too early can distract you from the task of putting your ideas into words. Besides, grammar will change as you revise your text. Why proofread each revision for grammar when you can do a comprehensive, careful proofreading of the final draft?
Admission Essays Content Editing
There are six questions to ask about the content of your essays:
1. Does each essay answer to the question that was asked? Delete anything that is not relevant to the question at hand.
2. Do your essays show original analysis and introspection? ‘Original’ does not mean that you have to say something that has never been said before. It does mean that anyone reading the essay should believe that these are your ideas, based on your thinking, experience, and values.
3. Will your admission essays help the admissions committee picture you as an individual? Will it help a reader distinguish you from other applicants with similar grades and test scores?
4. Does your writing use the proper tone? Is it too stiff, or too informal? Does it sound boastful, or self-deprecating?
5. Is there anything extraneous in your essays? Delete any passages that do not address or support the application question being asked.
6. Could anyone on the admissions committee read your essay and understand it the way you mean them to? Do you need to add information, or explain any unusual words or references? Would it be helpful if you changed the order in which you present information, or used more precise wording to explain an idea?
Admission Essays Grammar Editing
The best way to make sure that your essays are grammatically correct is to have someone with a good eye for grammar proofread them. Even professional writers have a hard time proofing their own writing. When you write something, you spend so much time thinking about what you are trying to say that it becomes embedded in your mind – and what you ‘read’ when you review your text is what you have memorized instead of what you actually have put on paper. This makes it easy to miss seeing grammatical and spelling mistakes.
Keep in mind that, even if you do not care that much about grammar, chances are that someone on the admissions staff or committee does. They may overlook or excuse one small mistake, but a pattern of grammatical errors and misspellings in your admission essays will make even an outstanding applicant look like a dud.