Lesson Six: Editing and Revising

Lesson six in the EssayEdge.com essay writing course.

If one thing could be perfect, it should be the essay.” – Admissions Officer

Writing is not a one-time act. Writing is a process. Memorable writing comes more from rewriting than it does from the first draft. By rewriting you will improve your essay — guaranteed. If you skimp on the rewriting process, you significantly reduce the chances that your essay will be as good as it could be.

Once you have taken a break from your essay, come back and read it through one time with a fresh perspective. Analyze it as objectively as possible based on the following three components: substance, structure, and interest. Do not worry yet about surface errors and spelling mistakes; focus instead on the larger issues. Consider reordering your supporting details, delete irrelevant sections, and make clear the broader implications of your experiences. Allow your more important arguments to come to the foreground. Take points that might only be implicit and make them explicit.

In order to figure out where revisions are necessary, you are going to need as many different sets of eyes to read your essay as possible. Whether it is you or one of your friends, family members or teachers, these questions will help guide your revision process.

Select One:

For inspiration, check out a collection of EssayEdge’s sample edits.

EssayEdge Extra: To Title or Not to Title?
Some essayists decide to add a title to their essay, although most do not. Titles are definitely not required, and if you are wondering whether or not to add one to yours, remember the old adage: when in doubt, leave it out.

From Essays That Will Get You Into College, by Amy Burnham, Daniel Kaufman, and Chris Dowhan. Copyright 1998 by Dan Kaufman. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
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