The Writing Center Essay Editing
UW-Madison Writer's Handbook
In this section, you will find many instructional materials we've developed for our Writing Center teaching.
However, there are limitations to these materials. Assignments vary, and different instructors want different things from student writers. Therefore, the advice here may or may not apply to your writing situation.
Finally, handouts can give only a fraction of the customized guidance that an individual conference with a Writing Center instructor can provide. If you have questions about the information in our handouts, please make an appointment to see a Writing Center instructor.
Academic and Professional Writing
Job Materials and Application Essays
Proposals and Dissertations
Writing for the Web
Writing Process and Structure
Creating an Argument
Working with Sources
Drafting Your Paper
Revising Your Paper
Finishing Your Paper
Improving Your Writing Style
Grammar and Punctuation
Cite References in Your Paper
Get Help Writing an Essay
Do you need help writing an essay? If you answered “yes” then you’re not alone. One of the biggest struggles that international students often face is writing an essay. For students whose first language is not English, writing an entire college essay in English can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are a number of honest essay writing resources to help you write a great essay.
When looking for help writing an essay it is important to stay honest and avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism refers to using someone else’s words or ideas without proper credit or citation and passing them off as your own. Colleges and universities all have their own policies for dealing with plagiarism, and the consequences are usually quite strict. You might find yourself failing the course, put on academic probation, or even asked to leave the school.
When most people think of plagiarism, they think of copying and pasting full paragraphs from Wikipedia into their essay. While this is indeed a form of plagiarism, it is by no means the only way to plagiarize, or even the most common. Plagiarism can also mean not putting quotation marks around a quote, buying essays that someone else has written, copying a sentence and its structure but changing just a few words, or using so many ideas or words from a source that it makes up the majority of your work. Most instances of plagiarism can be avoided by properly citing your sources, so it’s important to include a comprehensive list of works cited for your writing. If you’re unsure how to cite something, talk to your instructor about their preferred citation method. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
There are still resources when it comes to help writing an essay without resorting to dishonest means. These essay writing help resources include:
EssayDog® is a software that helps walk students like you through the process of writing college essays. EssayDog® can help you identify the elements of a great story which you can then use to create a great essay. Students who use EssayDog® watch short videos that guide them through the process of brainstorming and building an essay, then complete a short writing exercise after each video. These exercises will help you pinpoint your story in four sentences, find the overarching message and theme of your story, and link your story to the essay prompt. Once you’re done with each of these steps, the EssayDog® software uses these exercises to combine all of your work and create the first draft of your essay which will be ready for editing and proofreading. EssayDog® is a great resource for students who struggle with essay structure.
2. Writing Center on Campus
Most colleges and universities have an on-campus writing center free for students’ use. These writing centers are staffed by faculty and graduate students who can help students who are struggling to write essays for their classes. Students can seek help with specific assignments, or they can go to the writing center for help with more general essay-writing skills. The staff at the writing center can help you with structure, coming up with a strong thesis, and crafting supporting arguments. While you can go to the writing center with a finished paper to receive feedback and advice, you don’t need to have a finished paper to visit the writing center. You can come with ideas, notes, or a draft, and the staff there can help you write a strong paper. Some writing centers even offer English language and grammar tutoring, which can be helpful for international students.
When you work one-on-one with an instructor, you’ll have more opportunities to discuss ideas, ask questions, and learn to organize, revise, edit, or proofread. After a few sessions, you’ll likely notice a difference in your writing process; you may find yourself paying much more attention to your writing, writing more effectively and efficiently, and feeling more confident in your writing skills.
3. Take a Writing Class or Workshop
If you’re struggling with writing essays and want to improve your skills, taking a class or workshop can be extremely helpful. Check with your college or university to see if they offer any kind of writing seminar, which will teach essay writing structure, thesis writing, and general writing tips. These classes allow you to get personalized attention from writing instructors whose sole goal for the semester is to help you become a better writer. Often, these classes utilize peer editing exercises. Editing another student’s work and giving feedback is a great way to get better at editing your own work.
If your school doesn’t offer a writing class, you may find a workshop offered on campus or even a class you can take online, if you’re willing to pay. You can find online writing workshops that cover every aspect of writing, for every skill level.
4. Do Your Own Research
If you can’t find a class through your school, and you can’t afford to pay for a course, you can research this topic on your own. The internet is full of essay writing tips, and you can also study sample essays to get an idea of how a good essay is structured, how to craft a supporting argument, and what a strong thesis looks like. If you do this, it’s important to make sure your own writing remains distinct and different from the essays that you use to study; if your writing is too similar it can get you in serious trouble. Additionally, if you turn to the internet for writing tips, be prepared to spend a large chunk of time sifting through information to find a reputable source.
5. Find a Tutor
Whether through your school or simply another student on campus, finding a tutor is fairly easy. Check in areas around campus where students often advertise services, such as student lounges or the International Student Center. Tutoring is a great option because it allows you one-on-one time with your instructor, so they can give you all their attention and become familiar with your writing. A tutor who had a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer will be best prepared to help you improve in areas that you need. Although a great solution for one-on-one time, it can also be an expensive option.
6. Work with a Friend or Group
Writing an essay is difficult, so you probably know someone else who is also trying to become better at essay writing. It may be helpful to get together to encourage each other to write. You can also help edit each other’s writing and give feedback. Often, it’s easier to notice mistakes in someone else’s writing than in your own. When you work with a friend or a group of friends, it’s easier to stay focused and encouraged to write. If one of you becomes stuck, the other can give feedback and advice. Remember that writing doesn’t have to be a lonely activity; if you have an essay coming up, consider suggesting to friends in your course that you all get together to bounce ideas off each other and write.
7. Talk to your TA
In larger classes, your professor will likely be assisted by a TA, or teaching assistant. This is likely a graduate student whose job is to grade assignments and provide students with help. They may even lead a class or two throughout the semester. If you’re struggling with an aspect of the class, such as writing essays, it’s always a good idea to stop by your TA’s office during their office hours and talk to them about your options. Your TA will be able to point you towards helpful resources on campus, and depending on their availability, they may offer to read over your essay drafts and give you advice and feedback. Your TA is there to help students who ask for it, and it’s never a bad idea to go to them for advice.
If you are an international student worrying about your writing skills, there are many helpful resources that are available to you. Some of these may be a better fit for you than others, so it’s best to have an idea of how you want to improve as a writer and which option will best fit into your budget.
Essay Writing Center