Is paying someone to proofread and copy-edit an essay allowed?

So, you have written a university essay, perhaps even a dissertation, and you are ready to hand in, but you just want one last check over and you’re wondering if you can hire a professional to look over it. The answer to this question is that there is no single answer.

Most universities will allow you to hire a proofreader, provided that your proofreader is only checking spelling and grammar and a couple of typos here and there. If you would like a copy-edit of an essay, that is a different story.

In the UK, a lot of universities don’t allow the use of a copy editor. In order to find out if a copy-edit of your essay is allowed, you will need to refer to the university’s policy. If you can’t find the university policy, you can ask a lecturer for written confirmation that you are allowed to have your essay copy-edited.

If your essay or dissertation has already been submitted and has been graded, this is when copy-editing can be used without question to prepare your essay for publication in a journal, if that is what you choose to do. In these circumstances, your writing can be proofread and copy-edited like any other piece of writing waiting to be published.

We do offer another service if you need more advice on writing essays. You can find it on our essay coaching page. In essay coaching we will teach you how to write essays in a more general sense so that you can apply the skills you learn to different essays and projects you work on throughout your studies and in your life. Frequently, when we do proofread and copy-edit essays, the areas for most improvement are actually to do with the structure of the essay itself and how it answers the question rather than the language.

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