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Essay Editing Tips 

These are some tips that I have found useful when completing essays: 

Seek Multiple Opinions

You have the final word on anything your write, because you know what information you want to convey to the admissions committee or audience. However, as part of the writing process, it is important to have others read your work. Sometimes others notice grammatical errors, unclear sentences, or failure to answer every part of the essay prompt that you simply cannot catch because you are too immersed in the essay, to close to it. 

An English teacher or counselor is always a good place to start, because they are familiar with academic writing. While these opinions are valuable, you should also try to seek different types of readers--your mother, a friend, a co-worker. Sometimes the best opinions come from people who know you better than they know the conventions of the English language or formal essay writing techniques. In an admissions essay, the most important thing is that you write a compelling essay that showcases your talents and individuality, and those who know you outside of school may offer insights you did not think to include.  

Limit Flowery Language

High school writing is often geared toward practicing the use of adjectives, adverbs, similes, metaphors, etc. In college admissions essays, however, it is much more effective to be concise and precise. When possible, try to eliminate excessive or “flowery” language to create sentences with more impact. Below is an example.

Before: The play was amazingly wonderful and the actor was spectacularly talented.”

After: The play was riveting, driven by the brilliant lead actor.  

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Revise, Revise, Revise

No piece of writing, no matter how brilliant, is ever perfect. Writing is a process, and writers very rarely produce their best material on their first try. Revision literally means “to see again” and is almost as important as writing the essay in the first place, so continue to revise until you feel you have the best version of your essay possible. Some things to consider while revising are:

Are my grammar and spelling correct?

Did I answer the question?

Does my essay say what I want it to say?

Will a reader other than myself understand every sentence and idea of my essay?

Ideally, time permitting, it is best to wait a while before revising your essay (at least a day or two) to give yourself a new perspective when editing. With a little time away from your writing, you many notice things that you did not notice the first time around.