What Essay Editing & Proofreading Services Include

What Does an Essay Editing Service Cover?

Essay editing services are a crucial resource that you should use right from the start of your academic journey. Whether you're about to submit a college admissions essay or you're putting the final touches on your coursework assignments, professional editing and proofreading services are critical to success and getting the best grades.


In this post, we’ll talk about what an essay editing service covers, the types of essay editing available, and dive deeper into how essay editing works. By the time you’re done reading, we’re sure you’ll agree that sourcing an essay editor can do wonders for the quality of your college assignments.


Why You Need an Essay Editing Service

For college admissions essays, proofreading and editing services are particularly important. While your GPA and test scores are also key to your academic success, so too is the quality of your writing when trying to get into college, and admissions officers can and do score applicants down for making mistakes. Proofreading and editing services could mean the difference between getting into your preferred college and being rejected.


Even if you’re successful and enrolled in a program, you should still consider having ongoing support from professional editors. To achieve the best grades and maintain a high GPA, you’ll need to consistently submit high-quality coursework that’s free from structural, grammatical, and spelling errors. Depending on your writing ability, there are several types of essay editing that could benefit you.


Types of Essay Editing

When an editor reviews your work, there are four key types of editing that they may need to employ. Depending on the strength of your writing, your editor may need to apply one or more approaches to your assignment or admissions essay to turn it into a well-polished document.


  • Developmental Editing: This type of editing looks holistically at the entire document, considering how the content flows from beginning to end and improving your essay’s structure.
  • Substantive Editing: Substantive editing is a more in-depth process that looks at the essay's overall structure and the writing style, use of grammar, and correct spelling.
  • Copy Editing: As the name suggests, copy editing covers several functions that tighten up the copy and eliminate mistakes. Here, your editor is looking for incorrect use of words, poor grammatical structures, missing punctuation, and spelling errors. While the copy may be changed, the editor will strive to retain your original voice and message.
  • Proofreading: Proofreading is a final pass over your finished document, which looks for any final, minor issues that still exist within the copy. This often includes simple spelling mistakes or missed punctuation marks that weren't picked up in the previous phases of editing.


Overview of the Essay Editing Process

So, now you know the types of editing offered by essay editing services. Below, you'll find an overview of the essay editing process, including what a reputable essay editor will cover when reviewing your college essay or other academic paper.


If you were to liken editing to the process of constructing a new building, structural editing involves ensuring that the building’s foundations are solid and will not impede the rest of the construction process. Structurally, your essay should tell a story from start to finish, so your editor will consider the main theme of the content and how well the essay addresses this theme or question.


So, when editing for structure as part of the developmental editing stage, your editor will consider the following questions:

  • Does the essay define a clear hypothesis or purpose in its introduction?
  • Does each sentence flow smoothly and coherently into the next?
  • Does each sentence use a consistent tone and style?
  • Are your sentences easily understood and free from clutter?
  • Does each paragraph transition logically into the next?

Content and Analysis

Reviewing your essay’s content and analyzing its effectiveness typically falls under the substantive editing phase. When substantive editing, your editor addresses issues that affect the essay's readability, clarity, and flow. At this stage, it may be necessary to restructure content or even rewrite sections of the text. The goal here is to ensure that grammatical errors do not impede the reader and that your arguments and ideas are presented in a logical sequence that answers the thesis statement or essay question.


Here, your editor will consider each paragraph in sequence and how well your arguments flow from one paragraph to the next. Each argument within the text should, in simple terms, have a beginning, middle, and end. For example, beginner writers may make strong arguments, but they may be presented poorly or unsubstantiated. Or, they may raise an argument but fail to conclude it before progressing on to the next.


Every academic essay is assigned for a purpose, which is the main theme or question that you’ll explore in the paper. Thus, your essay needs to outline the problem and define goals at the beginning, progress through your main arguments in a coherent manner, and draw conclusions toward the end. Anybody who reads your paper should also be able to follow your topic and its purpose easily.


Defining a strong purpose is particularly important when writing a thesis, as a thesis statement highlights the scope, direction, and purpose of this critical academic assignment. It sets up the rest of the thesis and tells a reader exactly what they can expect from the assignment.


Academic essay editing services will ensure that your purpose is not only well-defined but also worth exploring. It will also ensure that your thesis statement is specific enough that it can be proven and evidenced within the bounds of the assignment.

Language and Formatting

The best essay editing services will also look at your use of language and formatting, as we have alluded to in the copy editing and proofreading phases outlined above. However, this isn’t just about catching any grammatical and spelling errors; when you’re writing college essays, you should be using an appropriate range of language to convey your ideas.


The purpose of academic writing is to put forward arguments before supporting those arguments with evidence and well-structured explanations that persuade readers. While academic language is persuasive, it is also concise and objective.


Essay editing services consider the language you’ve used to construct your essay, ensuring that you avoid subjective opinions and support all of your arguments with facts, statistics, or other evidence.


Editing for language and formatting also includes greater scrutiny of processes such as referencing, ensuring, for example, that style guide requirements and APA referencing guidelines have been followed to the letter.


Is it Illegal to Edit College Essays?

While using a college essay editing service isn’t considered illegal, it can be seen as cheating and heavily frowned upon by colleges and universities. Breaking these rules won’t lead to legal ramifications, but it could lead to failing a course or even being suspended or excluded from your college program.


The best essay editing services respect the rules around plagiarism and cheating that colleges and universities set. If you use a reputable essay editing service, you’ll receive guidance in how to properly structure your essay, how to put forward and substantiate arguments, and the avoidance of grammatical and spelling errors. However, using an essay editing or proofreading service that does any of the following may be considered cheating by your higher education institution:

  • Completes research on your behalf
  • Changes the main purpose or idea of the text
  • Significantly changes the meaning of one or more paragraphs or the entire text
  • Supplements the text with additional citations or references to support arguments


When you’ve spent hours working on an essay, it’s easy to overlook small errors within the text. What’s more, depending on the strength of your writing ability, you may need an expert editor to point out problems with your essay’s structure and flow that you’ve simply missed.


So, whether you’re applying for admission to an institution or fine-tuning your college essays, an essay editing service is key to success. For more information on professional essay editing, check out our resources page.