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How to Edit an Essay: Useful Guidelines for College Students

Editing involves a lot more than simply spellchecking your essay. The overall improvement of your essay depends on how much time you are willing to spend on it. If you are aiming for an B, then doing the basics will get you by. However, if you’re aiming for an A, then you’ll have to really dig in and make your essay a work of excellence.

Try to see your writing as secondary and your editing as the main process of writing that distinguishes your essay from those that are mediocre. Better yet, look at editing as the actual writing process.

A great idea for easy editing

The first imperative that’s worth mentioning is the importance of writing a draft first. The draft should actually take only 30% of your essay writing time because it’s a simple process of putting your data on paper. Once you’ve written your draft, the real writing—or editing—can begin.

How to gauge external opinion for your essay

When your draft is finished, go through your normal procedure of editing. Correct the spelling, sort out the grammar, and refine the punctuation as best you know how. Once this is done, hand your essay over to a classmate, teacher, or family member. Give them the freedom to note any changes they want to suggest. When you have an opinion, take every note into account and make changes where necessary. Then, hand your new product to another person and repeat the process. Do this as many times as you think is necessary.

An often neglected editing task

Now that you have a final product that others approve of, look at your essay honestly and ruthlessly remove any words or ideas that are irrelevant to your topic. If you fall below your word count, see this as a good thing and replace the cut away info with relevant data that will win you points.

Make a point of switching up your words

The final part of your editing will involve the finding of words that are over used and coming up with synonyms for them. Reading the same word over and over will seem very redundant to your reader, so make a point of adding a decent variety of words wherever possible.

The quality of your essay will be visibly elevated after you’ve performed these steps. Add them to your usual editing process and monitor the difference in your score.