How To Edit Your Essay
We've all been there — struggling to finish writing the perfect college admissions essay or assignment. You will pour your heart and effort into crafting a thoughtful thesis and essay, hoping to make a good first impression. But often, most of us fail to realize this dream. So why? What is it that you are doing wrong? When writing your college essay assignment or admission essay, most students neglect one critical step that can make or break your essay: editing.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the core elements of a college essay checklist, the importance of editing, and the best tips for how to edit your essay like a pro. We’ll cover:
- Why is it important to edit your writing
- The key elements of a college essay checklist
- How to edit your essay
I understand that writing a quality essay can feel daunting. But it is also my belief that with thorough editing, you are closer to your goal than you realize. The goal of this post is that after reading this, you'll feel empowered to take the necessary steps to improve your editing skills to take your essay to the next level.
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Why Is It Important To Edit Your Writing?
First, let's get a good understanding of what we mean by writing an essay. An essay is a common practice or written assignment that students in college and high school should expect to face frequently. At its core, essays are used by students to discuss or present their arguments when exploring a specific topic. At the same time, educators use essays to gauge a student's understanding of the class material and level of knowledge.
Essays come in different forms and are created to serve many purposes — but all essays have some key elements that are common among all of them. On more than one occasion, I have worked with students who thought they were done with their essay assignment after finishing their first draft. When asked: are you done, have you done any editing? Most answer: yes, I have worked hard on the first draft to submit it the way it is. Why would I need to edit it? I'm happy with what I wrote.
This is wrong and will cost you a lot in the long run. This mentality is more common than you may think. Most students emphasize investing significant effort and resources to craft an initial draft. So understandably, they are more likely to feel reluctant to make any major changes during editing. However, you should understand that every single essay – no matter how strong the first draft is – always benefits immensely from a thoughtful edit.
Here are three key reasons why editing your essay is important:
1. Essay Editing Helps Refine And Strengthen Your Core Message Or Argument
If you spend hours and hours on end researching, citing, and writing your essay, you are more likely to wonder why is it important to edit your writing. Human is to error! That’s about the simplest reason why editing is important, especially at college-level education. Writing a flawless essay on the first is practically an impossible task. Whether you’re the brightest student or not, we all make mistakes, and even professional and top-selling writers need to edit.
When writing your first draft, you are likely still figuring out the core of your essay as you write. This generally means that your central narrative may feel disjointed or unfocused. That’s where editing comes in. When editing your essay, you will have the opportunity to take a step back on your work as a more objective reader. Now, you can easily evaluate how effectively your essay conveys your argument or essay.
2. Editing Improves Overall Clarity And Flow
Sometimes when you’re deep in thought crafting the first draft, your writing will more likely sound clear in your own head even if the language used is complicated. The way you logically connect your point of view, arguments, or ideas during the drafting process may not actually make much sense to an outside reader. By editing your essay, you are clarifying and tightening the language. Objective editing will give you enough space to evaluate issues with jumpy logical flow and fuzzy phrasing.
3. Editing Lets You Catch Pesky Writing Issues
Writing your essays, and carefully editing your work before submitting it is an essential process. first and foremost, editing is key to fixing grammar or spelling errors that inevitably creep into your first draft. It's only natural for your first rough draft to have awkward phrasing, grammatical glitches, and typos. Rigorous editing is important to prune away the excess paragraphs or wordings that add no immediate value to your essay. Even the most meticulous writers are prone to make mistakes.
How To Edit Your Essay: 9 Actionable Strategies
First, remember, editing takes practice! Learning how to effectively self-edit your essay is a skill that develops over time. However, with Assignment Pro, you can cut the time to practically half. Now, let's take a look at the recommended actionable strategies for editing your essay.
1. Ensure To Cover Every Element In A College Essay Checklist
Following a structured college essay checklist is greatly overlooked by almost every learner not knowing its significance. A college essay checklist is an invaluable tool that allows you to hit all the major elements or facts that educators look for in an essay.
At a minimum, your essay should have these elements to be classified as quality work:
- An engaging introduction
- Strong thesis
- Smooth flow of body paragraphs
- Memorable conclusion
2. Check Your Spelling And Grammar
It is always advisable to avoid immediately editing your essay after completing an initial draft. Let your essay marinate for a few hours and allow your mind to take a short break. This is important to allow you to revisit your work with fresh eyes. This small, yet crucial, breathing room helps you see areas in your essay that need improvement that you might have missed in back-to-back writing and editing sessions.
You can take your essay from a fairly good one to a great one by carefully proofreading for grammar and spelling errors. The process is not that technical. First, run a spellcheck on your word processor, such as Microsoft Word, to catch potential typos. However, don’t rely on this technology alone. There are numerous free college essay editors online though they do not always guarantee accuracy. Make sure you go through your essay reading slowly line-by-line to spot the potential errors the software might have overlooked.
3. Double Check Your Citations And Sources
In an essay, every argument provided after the introduction section should be structured to support the main thesis statement. The main arguments of the essay will make up the rest of the body paragraphs. Therefore, always properly cite any distinct ideas, key facts, or quotes incorporated from an outside source. This essentially means that any piece of information or argument that might not be considered common knowledge to made sure it is given proper in-text citations every time it is referenced.
An effective and well-developed essay with strong arguments supported by relevant sources and citations is always more important than your attempts to reach the expected word count or page number. Though learning and using citation formats such as MLA or APA may seem tedious, properly crediting ideas is non-negotiable in academia.
4. Avoid Using An Overly Complicated Language
Be wary of using complex vocabulary in your essay. You may be inclined to try and make your essay seem impressive, but using complicated language is not the way to go since it will only make deciphering your content much more difficult. The language and tone used when writing is different depending on your level of education or course. Regardless, you don’t need to use language that will force your audience to use dictionaries to understand your essay.
Therefore, depending on these factors, you should ensure to avoid using complicated language that might be tough and challenging for some people to understand. Refer to your college essay checklist for this. Evaluate if the technical terms or discipline-specific jargon can be replaced with simpler synonyms that readers are more likely to associate with and understand. Strip down the dense and complicated sentences to just the key ideas or arguments they aim to convey.
5. Watch For Repetition Of Arguments
Repetition leads to mastery! This is a very popular quote used to encourage learners not to give up. Nonetheless, it's easy for a student to repeat themselves without even realizing it when writing their essay. This is normal, after all, we’re all human. That’s why the editing process is there for us.
Redundancy, or simply repetition of ideas, is usually a bad sign. It suggests you are struggling to come up with sufficient and compelling information to support your point of view. As you go through your essay before submitting it, keep a look out for important ideas that have been repeated throughout the essay and delete whichever repetitions add no value to your essay. Also, look for instances where you go on and on about a particular point for too long. Repetitive arguments put your essay at risk by undermining the strength of your ideas.
6. Don’t Always Rely On Spellcheckers To Spot Typos
Don’t always rely on free college essay editors and spellcheckers, this is advice we are constantly reminded of, but it is worth repeating because it’s a very important tip for students. It is not uncommon to see spellcheckers fail to highlight some misspellings and typos. In such situations, you'll have inadvertently used the wrong words altogether. When going through your essay look for typical issues such as errors in words that sound similar, like “lose” and “loose.” A word processor spellcheck might also miss dropped words like the accidental deletion of simple words like “is” or “the.”
7. Remove Unnecessary Words
Most educators identify a good or quality essay as one that has maximum impact on its readers with the fewest words possible without compromising ideas. If you ask any expert, concise essay writing is often the best way to get good grades. So, as you edit your initial draft, identify and eliminate instances where you have used excessive language. Scrutinize bloated sentences or paragraphs containing adjectives, adverbs, or prepositions that fail to enhance the quality of the essay.
Let’s take a simple instance of bloated phrases:
Delete casual languages like “in order to” and simply replace it with “to.” This is an example of a redundancy that can be shortened to create a more effective and professional essay. Wordiness dilutes an essay's strength and power.
8. Watch For Commas
Inexperienced students with essay writing tend to put excess commas into a sentence, or a few. Too few commas and your reader will probably have to read your argument several times for them to understand; too many commas in an essay will make your arguments sound odd or broken. Free college essay editors are also not effective in determining where to put commas. The secret to managing commas is to put them where you would naturally pause when speaking. The number of commas in your essay will determine whether you end up creating a quality essay or a jumbled mess.
9. Practice Consistent Formatting
Though most students fail to recognize this, the appearance and structure of your essay matter a lot too. Therefore, should not make a habit of neglecting your formatting when you're in essay editing mode. This mostly means you need to make sure the fonts and styles you use remain consistent throughout your paper.
What essay editing tips work well for you? If you are still struggling with essay writing or want additional feedback, don’t hesitate to ask a teacher, mentor, or other trusted Annual Report Writing Services.
To Sum Up
Does looking at that blank page always leave you paralyzed? Disorganization, perfectionism, and intimidation are three psychological risks that can lead to writer’s block. Do not allow these factors to prevent you from realizing your career goals. Writing essays plays a huge role in determining your overall performance and growth. Therefore, exploit the guidelines provided by the article to master how to edit your essay.
With enough experience, you are bound to learn and understand this — the more essays you write and refine, the more attuned you’ll become at identifying and determining areas for improvement in your editing skills. For the time being, the best you can do is to expose yourself to the various industry standard essay editing tips and tricks, which have been covered in this post.
By using strategies such as avoiding complicated language, double-checking your citations and sources, and watching for repetition of arguments, you will slowly learn to craft compelling thesis statements, correct grammar issues, and strengthen the logical flow of your essay.
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