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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Application Essays
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Lecture Comments (1)

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Post by Aniket Dhawan on December 17, 2012

Excuse me, but I just wanted to know whether you could check some essays that I've written. this is just as my parents don't check my work and I really want to improve.

By the way thanks for the lesson.

After You've Written

  • Proofread your work for mechanical errors: mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
    • Check your spelling. Yes, it seems stupid and obvious, but many readers will put down a piece of writing the first time they come to a misspelled word.
    • Check your grammar. Make sure that your subjects and verbs agree, that you’re using the right voice and tense, that your pronouns aren’t all over the place, etc. Poor grammar is the mark of an undereducated writer.
    • Check the mechanics of your writing—punctuation, syntax, all that stuff.  It only takes one mistake to ruin your essay.
  • Use human eyes. As the old joke goes, “Don’t relay on spell check!”
  • Proofreading resources include style manuals (like Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style), stylebooks such as the Associated Press stylebook, professionals (there are professional editors out there who will correct your mechanics for a fee), and amateurs (including any grammar Nazis you know).
  • Once you’ve finished your proofreading, do a “stupid check” and make sure you’ve done all the obvious things that people so often forget:
    • Did you correctly follow all the steps involved in writing your essay?
    • Did you follow the directions on the application?
    • Have you added anything you weren’t supposed to add?
    • Have you left anything out that you were supposed to include?
    • Are you putting the right materials (all of them) into the right envelope to go to the right school?
    • Are you including correct postage?
    • Did you put your name on it?
    • Are you meeting your deadlines, or do you need to ask for an extension?
    • Did you remember to click “Send”?
  • When you’ve finished everything, send your essay in as soon as possible so it doesn’t make you crazy.
  • Then relax! You’ve earned it, and waiting for a response is hard enough without stressing yourself out. Waiting for an answer is both a part of the process and arguably the hardest part, so take it easy!
  • When in doubt:
    • Have the toughest English major you know go over your writing for errors.
    • Get a professional to check your work.
    • Consult a style manual.
    • “Don’t relay on spell check.”
    • Do your stupid check.
    • Send it in as soon as possible for the sake of your own sanity.
    • Relax!

After You've Written

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:08
  • Proofreading 0:51
    • Definition
    • Mark Errors
  • Spelling, Grammar, & Mechanics 2:20
    • Check Your Spelling
    • Check Your Grammar
    • Check the Mechanics of Your Writing
  • Use Human Eyes 4:01
  • Proofreading Resources 4:55
    • Style Manuals
    • Stylebooks
    • Professionals
    • Amateurs
  • Sending in Your Essay 6:56
  • The Stupid Check 7:08
    • List of Stupid Things You May Have Done
  • Send It In 9:43
    • Rule
  • Relax! 10:31
    • After You Send It It
    • Waiting for a Response is Part of the Test
  • When in Doubt 11:57