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Janice holds a PhD in German studies from Duke University. She also earned an MA in Library Science and a BA in German and Linguistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As a former professor, she has helped many students refine their application essays for competitive degree programs and study-abroad programs.

Today, she helps students improve their writing skills at Scribbr. In her spare time, when she’s not writing or editing, she enjoys working on the small family farm that she owns and operates.

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Originally from Maryland, Amy headed west to attend Scripps College in California, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music and gender studies.

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Today, she finds inspiration in learning about students’ interests and helping them craft a story that draws people in. She is a musical theater librettist, an avid baker, and a world traveler.

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As a teacher, editor, and writing coach, she has spent nearly a decade helping students find their voice and express their ideas. She especially enjoys helping English language learners: she wrote her thesis in a foreign country and knows first-hand how challenging it can be to formulate complex ideas in another language.

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Yes! Our essay coaches can help you reduce your word count by up to 25%. You can choose to receive this feedback through direct edits or suggestions in comments – just select your choice when you upload your essay.

When you submit your essay to our College Essay Editing & Coaching service, you’ll be asked to indicate what type of content feedback you would like to receive. You can choose from three options:

Dig deep and challenge me

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Whichever option you choose, you’ll receive in-depth content feedback from your essay coach. However, the type of feedback your essay coach provides may differ, and the option you should choose depends on what outcome you want from the review. You can always elaborate on what type of feedback you want in your note to your essay coach.

Learn more about the three options below.

Choose from three options

If you choose this option, we’ll challenge you to write the best possible essay – no content suggestions are off-limits, including reorienting your topic or reframing your story. Students who choose this option aren’t afraid to go back to the drawing board if it’ll increase their chances of getting accepted. You may have to roll up your sleeves and do some more work on your essay, but your essay will be much stronger because of it.

Select this option if your priority is to have the best possible essay, even if it requires some extra work on your side.

We’ll strike a balance between “dig deep and challenge me” and “tread lightly.” We may suggest changes to your structure and narrative, including removing weak content, elaborating on certain sections, and adding content to strengthen your arguments. You may have to rework sentences and paragraphs, but we won’t suggest major content changes.

With this option, we’ll focus on improving your essay in a way that requires little additional work from you. We’ll provide you with targeted suggestions for how to refine your essay’s structure and narrative, but we will work within your current structure and topic. While you may have to make a few tweaks here and there, we’ll aim to return you a polished draft that’s ready to be submitted to your chosen colleges.

Select this option if you are fairly satisfied with your essay and don’t want to make major changes or if you have limited time to revise.

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peer edit my essay

Improve your college essays through feedback

CollegeVine’s fast and secure essay peer review system lets you:

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Differentiating yourself is more important than ever.

With more schools going test optional, college essays can help you stand out from the rest, and they can often make the difference between a rejection and acceptance.

Essays are 25% of your application

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Stop guessing what admissions officers will take away from your college essay. Our community of peer reviewers will let you know and provide feedback. You’ll build confidence and improve your own writing by reviewing peer essays, which help you learn to read essays just like an admissions officer.

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Peer Editing: How to Do It The Right Way

Your professor just assigned you another student’s essay to peer review, but maybe you don’t know where to start.

That’s okay! Let’s start by taking some of the mystery out of the equation.

A peer review, also referred to as peer editing or a peer workshop, is when you read another student’s essay draft and make comments on what’s both working well in the paper and what may need improvement. There are different methods by which each college professor might conduct a peer review, but they all adhere to similar guidelines.

This type of assignment may be new to you, and it may seem challenging. But try to see it as an opportunity to…

What’s great about peer reviews is that they allow you to be more objective—sometimes it’s easier for us to find things to fix in others’ work.

Practicing with your peers’ papers will help you develop skills that can be used to revise your own writing , which will in turn help you write stronger papers throughout your college career.

So without further ado, let’s break down the top six items you’ll want to focus on in order to write a stellar peer review.

peer editing

1. Understanding the Essay Assignment

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s super important not to read your peer’s essay draft without fully understanding the assignment yourself .

In fact, by the time you’re ready to write a peer review, you should have already started on the same essay project and have a pretty solid understanding of what your teacher is looking for in a successful paper.

This includes understanding the goals of your essay assignment. What kind of essay is it, and what is the purpose? What should the writer try to accomplish in this essay, or what is the writer trying to make the reader understand?

Below are some examples of common college essay formats, and you can find examples of them all in the Kibin essay example database :

The second part of understanding the assignment includes any guidelines your teacher has specifically defined for the essay. Note whether your classmate is meeting all of these requirements as you read the paper you’re reviewing.

2. Following Instructions

Peer reviews can occur in different formats, and your teacher may have different expectations than someone else’s. So make sure you know what your teacher expects from you before diving into this assignment.

Sometimes you’ll be given a checklist or assignment sheet that you’re expected to follow, or you may find this information in your course textbook or workbook. If not, it’s a good idea to ask for clarification if any part of the expectations are confusing.

You may also be expected to take a copy of your classmate’s essay home for in-depth review, in which case you should plan to spend a quality amount of time on it on your own.

Or you may have a peer workshop in which you’ll be expected to read the essay, take notes, and come to class prepared to give your input aloud to your classmate while the teacher oversees the review session.

In many cases, peer review will require both of the above, so be prepared to spend time reviewing that essay either way!

If you don’t have a strict set of guidelines but want to follow a proven method for peer reviewing, try this handy worksheet that uses the CARES method.

3. Getting Started: Read It All

peer editing

You might be tempted to get out your red pen and start making comments and suggestions right away, but let’s slow down a bit.

First things first: you need to read your classmate’s essay in its entirety.

It’s important to fully read the essay draft because providing feedback right away can make you less objective and thus a less effective reviewer.

But when you read the entire essay, you familiarize yourself with your classmate’s writing style and get an idea of the points your classmate’s trying to make in the paper.

During this full reading, focus on what your classmate is trying to say, whether the writing is clear and easy to understand, and whether it follows the overall guidelines of the assignment.

For instance, here are the questions you should think about for three types of essays:

You’ll also want to think about whether the essay follows a coherent structure from beginning to end.

4. Doing a Rough Review

Just like you would write a rough draft of any college-level essay, you should also do a “rough” version of your peer review that focuses on clarity and whether the writer is meeting the assignment goals.

This step includes rereading the essay and—as you go along—highlighting or underlining sections that are unclear or underdeveloped. Add notes in the margins for each mark you make so that you’ll have a handy guide for when you type up your feedback.

This is also a good time to practice your grammar skills . If you see any grammatical mistakes or spelling errors as you read through the paper, be sure to circle these.

Are there any awkward phrases, sentence fragments, punctuation errors , run-ons, or incomplete ideas? Circle these as well, and jot down the reason you’re marking these sections.

But there’s more to it than grammar. Make sure you also focus on these areas:

5. Crafting a Formal Response

peer editing

As part of the peer editing and review process, your professor may expect you to fill out a worksheet or type up a formal response to turn in for a grade or to give to your classmate.

Either way, you’ll want to make sure that your feedback is clear and easy to understand so that your classmate gets the most out of your peer review.

Below are some tips for providing great feedback.

Be detailed

The least helpful thing you can say is “Good job!” or “This paper was good but needs work.” Instead, what you want to do is tell the writer specifically what is unclear or not working for you.

Here are some key phrases you can use to be more specific in your review:

The examples use the word “because,” but this doesn’t mean you have to write your own comments like this. “Because” is there just to remind you that, for each comment you make, you need to tell the writer why you feel the way you do about a specific part of the essay.

As a rule, any time you make a comment on a classmate’s paper—even positive ones—be sure to reinforce that comment with supporting reasoning.

A side benefit to doing this is that it also gives you practice for when you have to write your own college papers that require support and evidence to back up your idea.

See things differently

peer editing

Personal bias can get in the way of a good review process, so do your best to set aside your own opinions about the writer’s topic before making your comments.

Try to see things from the writer’s point of view, and consider whether the writer makes a strong case for the ideas, even if you ultimately disagree with them.

Especially in the case of an argument paper , you can disagree with someone’s viewpoint while still acknowledging that the essay makes good points and provides solid evidence that supports the main ideas.

If you’re reviewing this type of essay, focus on whether the support is strong. Then raise questions you might have about the argument that the writer may not have considered. By provoking further thought, you can help the writer revise for a stronger argument.

Edit your work (always)

Part of making sure that the writer understands your comments includes writing clearly yourself. Your responses to the writer’s work should be well-organized and follow the normal paragraph structure of 3-5 sentences.

Start with a topic sentence , and follow it with supporting sentences in the paragraph body that stay on-topic.

Avoid rambling, and correct any run-ons, fragments, and other grammar/style errors. It’s okay for your rough draft to have mistakes, but what you turn in to the writer/professor needs to be proofread thoroughly—their understanding (and your grade) depend on it.

You can edit by yourself, but two heads are better than one. Ask a friend for help, visit your campus writing lab, or have the experts at Kibin edit your work .

6. Staying Positive and Giving Constructive Criticism

A lot of peer editing and review involves looking for ways the writer can improve the essay you’re reviewing. But you don’t want to overload the writer with just critical feedback. A little encouragement goes a long way, so it’s a good idea to balance the negative with the positive.

Peer reviewing is usually pretty new to everyone taking a college-level writing course for the first time . So most students are pretty nervous—on both sides—about how to both give and receive criticism .

The writer is probably worried about negative feedback, and the reviewers are probably worried about giving criticism for fear that the writer will roast them when it comes time for their own peer review.

But not to worry!

If you approach this assignment with the idea that it is meant to help the writer, then you’re already well on your way to writing a fair and positive review. So how do you provide the balance and stay constructive?

peer editing

Start positive

Find one good thing to say about the beginning paragraph so that you begin by encouraging the writer. Maybe the thesis is strong and clear. Perhaps the sentences are detail-oriented and easy to follow.

Either way, finding one thing that works in the beginning will help the writer feel encouraged when you have to give more critical feedback.

Make suggestions, not demands

Remember that this is the writer’s work, not your own. You don’t want to tell the writer how to rewrite the paper—that’s not your job as a peer reviewer.

If there are any areas that could be improved, suggest changes that you think would work well, but don’t tell the writer, “You have to make these changes.”

It’s much easier for writers to accept (and benefit from) criticism if it isn’t being forced on them.

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Try the sandwich method

This review style is based on encouragement and gets results . The sandwich method has three stages:

For more on the sandwich method and other useful criticism tips, check out this LinkedIn post .

Peer Editing: The Takeaway

peer editing

Let’s do a quick recap of what you need to do to write a successful peer review:

You have the CARES example from above, and there’s a good chance your teacher or course workbook has provided a checklist. But if you need another peer review checklist that covers all the bases, try this one —it’s super-helpful and has everything covered in this post.

The checklist is best reserved for the end of your peer editing and review process. It will help you cover anything you may have missed, but it’s best not to rely on it when you’re first diving in.

Instead, take in the whole essay first, and think about it before looking at ways to pick it apart. You’ll have a much stronger review if you put in that initial legwork.

Now you have the necessary tools to get started on your first peer review. Just like any college assignment, this one can be challenging. But if you put in the time and effort and ask questions when you’re confused or get stuck, you should do just fine.

Kibin’s awesome team of editors always has your back too! We’ll be there for you whenever you need help with your writing.

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .

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About the Author

Ryan G. has an MFA in Fiction Writing from a literature-based program. He teaches English composition courses, tutors a diverse student body in a writing center, and designs online learning modules for comp and business writing. He is also a Kibin editor .

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How to Peer Edit an Essay: Free Peer Editing Checklist

If you want to peer edit an essay and are looking for some top tips, check out our free peer editing checklist.

How to peer edit an essay

The idea of editing and proofreading your own essays, let alone asking someone else to help, may be beyond comprehension. In fact, you may think your essay is pretty fantastic already.

If so, you’re deceiving yourself.

Don’t just settle for good . You should be looking for great.

But how do you achieve this?

The majority of students settle for good. That’s enough. It will get them through school.

But good isn’t enough for the top students. They aspire to be great. They aspire to be awesome.

How do YOU become awesome?

Get a friend to help.

To take an essay beyond the draft stage through a polished version, you need a peer editor. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional essay editor (although that will deliver the best results); it needs to be someone who will call you out and tell you how it really is.

When you’re looking for someone to peer edit your essay, try and choose someone who you know well and who you can trust to be honest and methodical. You’re not looking for someone who’ll tell you how great your essay is; you’re looking for someone who will provide you with an objective criticism of your paper.

The purpose of the exercise isn’t to tear you down; it’s to make you better.

So, once you’ve found the ideal peer editor, how can you get the most out of the exercise?

Hand them our handy tips and the great peer editing checklist.

If you wish to edit your essay before engaging the help of a peer editor, take a look at our guide to essay editing .

How to Peer Edit an Essay: Top Tips for Success

Peer editors should review an essay with the primary intention of offering advice on how it can be improved. Here are some great tips to make sure you do the task justice.

Ideally, read through the paper at least twice

During the first pass, you’ll familiarize yourself with the content of the essay and the primary arguments that are put forth. During the second pass, you’ll have a chance to readily understand what is being said. If you don’t understand the content after two readings; there’s a problem the writer needs to know about.

Position yourself as the target reader

While you’re in the process of peer editing the essay, take the role of the envisioned reader; i.e., the person who is reading the essay to learn from someone as opposed to being on the hunt for pesky grammatical errors. During the peer editing process, you should be concerned with content, organization, and style. If you focus purely on punctuation and spelling errors, you may not add a significant amount of value. Your role is to help the writer ensure the essay is clear and compelling.

Resist the temptation to fix the issues

Your job as a peer editor is not to take over and correct any issues that you identify; it’s to provide the writer with constructive feedback on how the paper can be improved.

Tell the truth… constructively

If you’re peer editing a friend’s essay, you may not want to hurt his or her feelings by pointing out areas where there is a lack of clarity. However, if you fail to do so, there’s no point in engaging in the process. Resist the urge to say everything is fine and instead focus on how you can help the writer learn someone from the process. Provide constructive feedback that highlights the positive areas of the essay while also pointing out some areas for improvement.

Provide specific details

Don’t provide sweeping statements such as, “I don’t understand your point.” Instead, provide very precise feedback on what exactly you don’t understand and what information may help you understand it better: “Perhaps you could make your point clearer by explaining why…” Take every opportunity to explain why you found something effective or ineffective.

Check the style guide

Universities and colleges typically follow one of six major style guides in academic writing: APA, Harvard, MHRA, MLA , OSCOLA and Oxford. When you write in a consistent manner following a recognised style guide, it is simpler for readers to understand what to anticipate and where to find further information. Effective application of a style in formal writing will distinguish your work visually and ensure you meet the university’s requirements. If you’re using APA, take a look at our guide to APA formatting .

The Three Pillars of Excellent Peer Essay Editing

Free peer editing checklist.

First page of the peer editing checklist

Download a free PDF version of our peer editing checklist by clicking on the image above. Here’s the full lowdown on what’s included.

Essay Introduction

See our guide to how to write an essay introduction for more help.

Essay Flow and Coherence

Essay Style and Mechanics

So that’s our guide to how to peer edit an essay. Got anything to add? Please leave a comment.

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  1. College Essay Editing & Coaching | 4.9 Review Score - Scribbr

    College Essay Editing & Coaching Get quality feedback 1. Upload your college essay Upload your college essay, and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll match you with a certified college essay coach. 2. Sit back and relax Your coach will edit your essay and share in-depth advice to help you strengthen your structure, content, and narrative. 3.

  2. Free online proofreading and essay editor - Typely

    Free online proofreading and essay editor A reliable proofreading tool and essay editor for any writer or student Start editing A proofreading tool that does not bark at every tree Typely is precise. Existing tools for proofreading raise so many false alarms that their advice cannot be trusted.

  3. Essay Editing Service | Peer Editing | College Application ...

    Our Essay Editors GradeSaver is staffed entirely by Harvard-educated essay editors who will help you reach your academic and professional goals. Our editing service provides a complete grammatical, technical, and stylistic revision of your essay or document with a focus on academic writing.

  4. College Essay Help | CollegeVine

    CollegeVine’s fast and secure essay peer review system lets you: Learn where your essay is strong and where it can improve Improve your writing by reviewing other students’ essays It’s free — learn how Get started (it's free!) What current seniors are saying This is the greatest college essay editing tool I have ever come across.

  5. Peer Editing: How to Do It The Right Way - Kibin Blog

    A peer review, also referred to as peer editing or a peer workshop, is when you read another student’s essay draft and make comments on what’s both working well in the paper and what may need improvement. There are different methods by which each college professor might conduct a peer review, but they all adhere to similar guidelines.

  6. How to Peer Edit an Essay | Free Peer Editing ... - Vappingo

    Peer editors should review an essay with the primary intention of offering advice on how it can be improved. Here are some great tips to make sure you do the task justice. Ideally, read through the paper at least twice During the first pass, you’ll familiarize yourself with the content of the essay and the primary arguments that are put forth.