7 Tips for Proofreading & Editing Your College Essay

Every college essay should be impeccable – no grammar or vocabulary mishaps. While it might seem tedious, let us assure you that polishing that final piece will be absolutely worth it. The cleaner the essay, the better impression you will leave. So, put all the laziness aside and start revising that homework.

This is the ultimate step-by-step guide for someone who has never proofread before. Just follow all the tips below, and you will create a top-quality college assignment. Here is how you can make that happen.

1.   Keep Your Eyes Open for Typical Mistakes

It’s easy to get confused with words like "their, they're, there." Many students are unaware of when they are supposed to add the semicolon.

But, for someone who needs to write the perfect essay, it’s crucial to stay sharp. If you don’t think you can handle the edit by yourself, you might want to get essay editing help. Sometimes it’s easier to revise the work from a different approach, and an experienced editor can provide that insight.

Here are some of the most common writing slip-ups you should watch out for:

  • Than/Then – “than” is primarily used for comparing certain components in a sentence. Example: He is older than you are. While “then” is meant to describe a time or a place. Example: I traveled to Dubai then.
  • You’re/Your – “your” describes a possession, but "you're" is the short way of writing "you are." Example: You’re taking too long to buy your purse.
  • Their/There – “their” is an adjective that describes something a person owns. “there” is completely different and is meant to describe a location. Example: The repair shop is over there. They are taking their time to fix the car.

2.   Give Yourself Enough Distance From the Essay

Most college students revise their work just after they finished writing it. This is a bad idea. The content is too familiar. Your brain already knows what you wrote and will skim through the content. This makes it easy to miss out tricky errors, particularly words that have the same pronunciation with a different spelling.

What you need to do instead is put the homework aside at least for a few hours. Then, come back to it. You will be able to read the text with fresh eyes and from a completely different perspective. That way, you are less likely to miss any spelling errors.


3.   Be Thorough – Check the Content & Structure

It takes more than fixing the grammar mistakes to create a flawless essay. The content needs to be consistent, accurate and supported with enough evidence. Before you submit the finished piece, see if you’ve covered the writing goal properly. Double-check the information to know whether it is relevant to the actual college essay.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to focus on the paragraphs. The sentences must flow well. There shouldn’t be any information missing. Remove fluff or content that is irrelevant to the main idea. Remember, the paragraphs are the body of your essay. They must flow and transit perfectly to convey your message.

4.   Review the Clarity

Is there anything unclear in the article? Have you used sentences that could be misunderstood? If that’s the case, it’s crucial to read each sentence carefully. See if you are unconsciously filling in content to make it easier to read. Then, try to add those words. As long as you use them clearly to express your idea, they can make the text much easier to read.

5.   Remove Parts That Stray Away From the Topic

College essays are all about concise info. Anything that is tangent or unrelated must be removed. Otherwise, the professor will consider the work unfinished.

6.   Be Versatile

A solid college essay should include a mix of long and short sentences. By relying on both, the content sounds more reliable and engaging. Adding only short or only long sentences will make the entire piece sound monotonous. So, read some examples online to get the inspiration you need.

7.   Check the Word Limit

Now that you are done with the edits, it’s time to check whether or not you went over the word limit. All college assignments have a limit. So it’s essential to stick to it. If the content appears too long, feel free to remove any of the unnecessary details. Each sentence that remains should contribute to the goal of the essay.


Learning how to polish a college assignment takes some trial and error. But, if you follow all the steps listed here, you can avoid the careless typos and create flawless content. Just take your time and put your back into it. It will be worth it.


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