Once you've self-edited and had others read and give feedback on your essay, you're pretty much on the home stretch. If your essay has made it this far, then you're approximately 95% done and only one thing remains to be done before you can close the book on writing it and get ready to submit it along with your applications: proofing.
In a sense, proofing and editing are much the same--you're looking for typos, bloopers, and erroneous use of language.
However, proofing is not as intense as editing, because you're no longer looking for plot holes, reading for cohesiveness, or checking your story for clarity. Now, you're simply double-checking the technical aspects of your writing: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Chances are pretty good that any errors in these categories have been caught by either you or your readers by now, but giving your essay a final once-over is never a bad thing.
To briefly recap, here's what you need to look for in the spelling, grammar, and punctuation categories (for a full account, check out the post in this series about editing):
Carefully read each of your sentences looking for any spelling errors. Remember, don't rely solely on the spellchecker in your word processing software--it will catch errors like "recieve" and "alot," but it won't catch errors like typing "four" instead of "for." If you are unsure if a word's spelling or usage is correct, don't be afraid to double-check using an outside source like Dictionary.com.
Make sure all your sentences have a subject and verb, and that the relationship between them is clear. Ensure your pronouns have clear antecedents. Double-check your use of apostrophes and pluralizations of words.
...and you're done!
Once you've thoroughly proofed your essay one final time--voilá! You're done. You can rest easy and close the chapter on this particular part of your application. Now, all you have to do is get the rest of your materials ready, submit your applications, and wait for those fat envelopes or congratulatory emails to start showing up! Kudos on a job well done!
The ten parts of this series are:
- Part 1: Take Your Time
- Part 2: Plan It Out
- Part 3: Get Personal
- Part 4: Get Specific
- Part 5: Embrace Variety
- Part 6: Step Away
- Part 7: Edit
- Part 8: Involve Others
- Part 9: Proof (this post)
- Part 10: Don't Be Afraid
Next time, in the final post of the series, we'll discuss the importance of embracing what you love and writing from the heart.
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