Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Dr. Bruce Neimeyer
CEO/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

A second pair of eyes

It is always a good idea to have someone else proofread your work. All of us as we write tend to see what we intended to be written on paper and our brains fill in the missing words or thoughts. As a result, words are missing, misplaced or the thought has not accurately been completed. A novice reader to your work brings a free pair of eyes and someone who is reading your work trying to follow your argument/statement. If it isn't clear then they will not get it. Even if you re-read your work and think..."How could they not understand this...?" It doesn't matter that you think it is clear. The point is that you can run the risk with the admissions officer not getting your point either so making a more simple or clearer argument would be highly recommended. It can be challenging and tedious work but I guarantee you that you will be much happier with the end result and it will only bring your closer to your goal of successful admission to that institution!

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Yes, and it is expected, just as it is expected that the student will seek guidance when in college (this is what college Writing Centers are for). The proofreader can offer suggestions, but should not be writing/rewriting the essay. It always needs to be the students work and voice.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Proofreading Is OK, but the Essay Needs to be the Applicant’s

Having someone else proofread an applicant’s essay is fine. There is not a writer in the world who cannot benefit from another set of eyes searching for the kinds of typos and basic grammar mistakes that are often blurred and missed in the course of countless rereading, rewriting, and editing efforts. However, outside reviewers—even parents—whose efforts go beyond that can produce an essay that is less the work of the applicant than the reviewer’s. This only serves to undermine the process and raise questions about the legitimacy and integrity of the whole application. Yes, the stakes can seem high, but it is ultimately the applicant’s record and work that is being evaluated and it should be theirs that is submitted as well.

Zulema Wascher
Counselor Rio Rico High School

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Always have someone proofread you essay before you turn it in. I have heard many admission representatives tell families this. It is extremely important to have someone proofread your essay before submitting it. Ask your English teacher, or your librarian, or your counselor. Words of advice, always give the person at least two weeks to proofread your work, as their time is valuable as well.

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

A second set of eyes

It never hurts to have your writing proofread. But, whoever is doing the proofreading, should not be changing the content. They should be looking for misspellings, syntax, and grammatical errors. We know when a parent or counselor wrote the essay. Don't do that.

Cheryl Millington

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Yes, it is okay to have someone else proofread your essays. In fact, it’s encouraged to ensure that your essays will be typo free and grammatically correct. However, the key is to proofread, not have someone write them for you. You do want the essays to sound like you; it should be your voice. There should be some consistency between the essays and interviews.

Margaret Tung
Strategist Yale University

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Absolutely! In fact, I would say it's better to get two people to read it--someone who is really close to you and someone who doesn't know you as well, but is a trusted and competent master of the English language. Just make sure that whatever happens, it still sounds like YOU, that it's in YOUR voice. That's what's most important.

meredith bracco
Director Educational Opportunities Consulting, LLC

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

It's more than ok--it's a must! If you type "your" instead of "you're", spell check won't catch that. It's a good idea to get someone who hasn't seen your essay to be the one who proofreads it. A typo like the one I mentioned above is the kind of thing your eye might glaze over because you've read your own essay so many times. One bad typo sends the message that you didn't put the necessary effort in your work, even if that's not true. This is the time to be meticulous!

Tana Taylor-Juko
English Instructor

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

It is VERY important to have someone proofread your essays. In addition to proofreading your work yourself (and I always recommend proofreading out loud), it is important to have a new set of eyes that can proofread your work for errors which pertain to grammar, structure, and/or ideas. When you have someone else proofread your work, they can tell you where you have made a mistake or where something is unclear. This will give you an opportunity, as the writer, to make corrections to your essay before it is reviewed by a committee or your instructor. Proofreading can help you avoid being overlooked by college admissions or help you avoid receiving a poor grade on an assignment, so make sure to allot time for proofreading. ALWAYS have someone (a peer, roommate, parent, sibling, teacher, mentor, or tutoring instructor) proofread your essays prior to submission.

Patricia Krahnke
President/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

Is it ok to have someone proofread your essay?

Short Answer: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have someone read anything important that you are submitting anywhere. Spell check is not nuanced enough in finding errors of usage, structure, or spelling. And the more you read it over, the more chance you have in missing an error. You need a set of eyes that are unfamiliar with the essay. Detailed Answer: Just don't let Mom and Dad write the essay. And don't buy it off the Internet. Admissions counselors can always tell when you didn't write it yourself, especially if it doesn't even address the topic the college has requested you write about.