by Ivy Rutledge

Oftentimes, we find that students seek the assistance of an academic editor merely days before deadline. Typically, they’re finishing papers at the last minute, not leaving any time for a professional review, and handing those papers to their professors in less than stellar condition.


Here are some signs to consider that you will need a professional editor’s help. Then plan to have your paper to an editor three weeks before deadline, so they have ample time to review and you have enough time to make any final changes.

1. You are struggling to meet your deadline.

Sometimes, despite our best estimates, we simply run out of time. A good academic editor can help you regain control of your project by completing the final stage of manuscript preparation for you.

Proofreading a long manuscript like a thesis or dissertation can take dozens of hours, and trying to squeeze that kind of time out of your schedule at the end of the semester can be a challenge. After years of investing in your graduate education, this is not a process that you want to rush. An experienced academic editor will have the time set aside to proofread your paper, allowing you to take care of the other tasks on your agenda. Relax, hand off your paper, and trust that it’s in good hands.

2. Your last English class was way back when.

Whether English 101 was seven years ago or twenty-seven, if you are out of practice you could miss some grammatical errors. Learning all of the picky ins and outs of grammar takes years of study and experience — take advantage of the expertise that an academic editor has developed. Don’t know when to use a semicolon or how to create parallel structure? That’s okay. This is what editors do.

Your academic editor has style covered too and can format those pages, citations, and tables correctly. Whether you are working with MLA, APA, Turabian, or ACS, they’ve got current style guides handy.  Your academic editor can whip your paper into shape to meet the style and formatting requirements of your program.

 [pullquote]A good academic editor can help you regain control of your project by completing the final stage of manuscript preparation for you.[/pullquote]

3. Your peers or advisors have commented on your writing rather than the substance of your paper.

Have you gotten feedback that focuses more on your writing than your thoughts and ideas? That’s a sure sign that you can use some help from an academic editor. Academic papers are the main expression of your research, and grammatical errors and typos will get in the way of what you are trying to say. Readers who stumble through sentences can get distracted, and some programs will require you to resubmit the paper if there are too many errors. Don’t take any chances with such an important document.

Academic editors will read each sentence, checking for spelling, grammar, mechanics, and overall flow. They will format your paper properly, making sure that the entire paper reads smoothly. Your editor can dig deeper than proofreading and help with more substantial edits, too, if that type of help is needed.

4. You need to focus on teaching and research responsibilities.

We know that in addition to your own research, you may be teaching (sometimes at more than one school) or assisting with other projects in your department. Shifting your attention in and out of your writing isn’t ideal, yet finding long chunks of time for proofreading can be next to impossible. The juggling act can reach a crescendo toward the end of the semester, and hiring an academic editor will give you the relief you need.  Sometimes turning the job over to a writing professional is the smartest thing you can do, allowing you to stay focused on what you do best.

 [pullquote]Sometimes turning the job over to a writing professional is the smartest thing you can do, allowing you to stay focused on what you do best.[/pullquote]

5.  You’ve finished writing and polishing, but you feel like it needs an extra review by a fresh pair of eyes.


Few people will be able to catch every single error. If you’ve put everything you’ve got into your dissertation or thesis paper, and you still feel like you’ve missed something, then let an academic editor take a look. Your editor will read through the paper multiple times, correcting errors and noting areas that need more attention. A good academic editor will find and correct errors that you may not even know to look for!

Regardless of your situation, investment in an academic editor is a wise decision. You can relax and know that you’ll be filing the best work possible.


About Ivy Rutledge

Originally from Rhode Island, Ivy Rutledge lives and writes
Ivy Rutledge Headshotin the Piedmont of North Carolina. She has an MA in English and a special interest in environmental issues. Her work has appeared in print in The Sun and Home Education,and online in the Mom Egg Review, Tilt-a-Whirl, The Copperfield Review, and Ruminate.

I’d enjoy hearing from you. I’m easy to find:
Twitter: @IvyRutledge

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