The Do’s and Don’ts of Essay Editing

Andy Wang
Andy Wang

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When it comes down to the wire, there are a couple key points of college essay editing that students should be wary of when nearing a deadline. Not every single one of these points made in the blog are set in stone, but most are common sense. We aim to provide a couple do’s and don’ts of college essay editing to help you out.

Got that essay draft in front of you? Great. Now let’s go over the nuts and bolts. Feel free to edit alongside as you read!

Essay Editing “Do”s:

Right before one submits an application, read over everything again.

From personal statements to resume, make sure that everything is in order and it represents the best applicant possible. If you need help editing, look into some college admissions counseling services that often also offer essay help.

Talk it out.

When it comes to the personal statement, a common technique utilized is reading the essay out loud. This is very common in the college essay editing realm as it’s very easy that way for an applicant to pick up any awkward phrases that could be swapped out to make the essay sound smoother.

Keep it rolling.

If an applicant is having multiple people looking over his or her essay, don’t wait on the edits of one editor before sending it to the others. Waiting often creates delay in precious time which may be detrimental to an application. It’s much better to work backwards after conducting edits on a new version than waiting on other people who may have busy schedules. That being said, if you’re working with a college admissions counseling service that is offering edits, work out a schedule in advance to get the edits back in time.

Essay Editing “Don’t”s:

Stay true to you.

Related to above, an applicant should limit the amount of people looking over his or her essay. With too many views, the essays run risk of becoming watered down and losing any meaningful content. In the end, college essay editing should end up reflecting what the applicant wants to convey. While others, like those working with college admissions counseling services, may help with that, the primary voice of the essay should be that of the applicant.

Trust your work.

Unless the applicant is extremely confident, there should be no essay scrapping and starting anew barring a complete disaster of an essay. With all the mounting stress, applicants may overreact and deem their essays unworthy. Unless advised by multiple other individuals (for instance, a college admissions counseling service) to do such, the applicant should maintain a level head and keep the original.

Steer clear of templates.

Avoid sounding too cookie cutter with supplemental essays. If an admission officer can insert any school’s name into the blanks and the essay still makes sense, it’s too generic. Make the essays genuine and specifically catered.


As mentioned above, these points are by no means the laws that govern college essay editing. However, they are some pointers that have helped applicants in the past with their essays. With many deadlines such as the Common App coming up, applicant should be finalizing their essays so that they represent their best work and give them best chance of getting into their top schools. For additional essay help, feel free to reach out to Empowerly, a top online college admissions counseling service.

Questions? Let us know!