Whether you are an ESL student in need of proofreading help, you’ve written an important thesis and want a second set of eyes to help spot mistakes in your writing, or you just want the reassurance of knowing another trained individual has helped you create your best work, a skilled proofreader might be just the resource you need. Certainly, you will be able to review and catch several errors on your own but having at least one other person check your writing for mistakes is always strongly recommended. If you’re not sure who to ask for help, or where to find the assistance you need, consider the following possibilities.
- Find People Who Know What They Are Talking About
If writing isn’t your strong suit, you definitely want to find someone skilled in grammar and punctuation to double check your work. Ask an instructor in your school’s English department for recommendations of trusted tutors or proofreading services. You might have luck finding someone on campus, such as a graduate student or other professor. Your school’s writing center may also be able to make some suggestions.
Consider advertising for a proofreader or writing tutor in your school paper or some other online resource. There are even freelance bidding sites, and you could receive responses from around the world. Be specific about the help you require and what you are willing to pay in compensation.
- Look Locally
If checking with your college doesn’t yield the results you’re hoping for, check your local phone book or newspaper. There might be proofreading businesses in your area.
- Some Final Tips
Be aware that cheap proofreading services aren’t necessarily quality proofreading services. Check the credentials of the proofreaders you consider. Some companies offer customized proofreading, utilizing ESL proofreaders and individuals with relevant degrees that qualify them for this type of work. If you find an individual you think could help you, discuss the types of proofreading this individual has done in the past to be certain he/she has the skills required to help you with your writing.
Your College Writing Center
Many colleges and universities offer a writing center to help students learn how to improve their writing abilities. If you find yourself in need of writing advice, your university writing center, along with the help of your instructors, could be a valuable asset to you. Your writing center won’t do your work for you or even fix the mistakes you’ve made. However, you will be able to learn what mistakes you have made and how to repair them yourself.
Writing centers (or “writing labs” as they are sometimes known) are staffed with trained tutors who provide individualized assistance to students who want some help with their writing. Don’t worry that this resource is only for someone who can’t handle the rigors of college work. Even more accomplished writers utilize their writing lab for help with everything from organizing ideas to fixing smaller issues that might be present as they finalize their essays.
Your writing center can often help you at any stage of the writing process. Chances are, the tutor you work with won’t proofread your entire piece for you, but you should still consider taking advantage of an opportunity to have someone point out places where you could improve the mechanics of your writing.
Check with a writing instructor to learn more about your school’s writing center or simply drop in to learn how your writing lab works. Some writing centers require that students make an appointment to schedule time for help while others allow people to just drop in. However, the people working in the writing center may not be able to provide immediate proofreading assistance. There may be other students ahead of you in line. Be responsible and plan ahead. Allow yourself plenty of time to devote to your session at the center, and then, make any revisions based on what you’ve learned. “If you wait till the last minute,” Dickinson College cautioned, “you will not have time to make more than surface changes that may not significantly improve your paper.”