If you’re in college and are reading this–I’m surprised. Normally, editing is not a thought for college students. I’ll admit, with some shame, that same could be said of me at times. After writing an entire paper, all we want to do is submit it and forget about it. We don’t want to spend our precious time looking over the work that we just did. But, learning how to edit a college paper can help you get better grades and refine your writing skills. So, here are some easy tips to get you started on editing your papers.
1) Look at the title
Is your title creative, or is it dreadfully boring? I’ll probably vote that it’s the latter. The title is important because it sets readers up for your paper. Besides, someone (including your professor), can be more enthusiastic about reading your work if your title really intrigues and captivates them.
2) Is the introduction interesting?
Make sure that your paper’s introduction is not filled with generalities–make it specific and engaging. The sole purpose of the introduction is to “tell them what you’re going to tell them,” and to do so in a fun and creative way. If your introduction fails to excite the reader, they probably won’t enjoy reading the rest of your paper (if they even get past the introduction!).
3) Identify common mistakes
If you know that you typically make mistakes regarding spelling, then start by proofreading your paper for any spelling mistakes. Although Microsoft Word has spell-check, it can still make mistakes and even confuse words. If you’re mistakes are with something else, then make sure you re-read your paper looking specifically for those mistakes.
4) Be objective
It’s hard to be objective over our own work, but we must do our best. Ask yourself if everything is coherent, engaging, and if any support that you have is relevant to your paper’s topic. We have to make sure that everything makes sense in our papers, and without editing a lot of this can easily be missed.
5) Have someone else read it
Does your paper make sense to them? Did they find any mistakes or suggestion to make the paper better? If so, then I suggest you listen carefully to what they have to say! They have just offered you a pair of fresh eyes, so use them accordingly!