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Proofreading Tips From the Pros

Posted By Donna Murphy | August 15, 2016

Throughout the college application process, you'll no doubt hear a lot of reminders to make sure you proof your materials carefully. That's because admissions counselors want to see that you put your best work forward—and you don't want to lose sleep over a silly typo. For some unique tips on proofreading, we talked with professionals across industries whose jobs involve a lot of dotting the i's and crossing the t's.
Proofreading tips from the pros"I find that having a document read back to me using text-to-speech software or apps works effectively. I'd recommend Natural Reader; it can read back PDFs, webpages and other forms of digital text. Incorrect grammar and wrong or misspelled words all stand out when you listen instead of read."  - Bill Corbett, Jr., President, Corbett Public Relations

"To overcome a reliance on spellcheck, I like to increase font size and triple-space the lines. Then, I read from right to left to check for errors that spellcheck might not catch, such as misuse of it's/its, their/they're/there or were/we're." - Brendan McGrail, Director of Communications, The Hermitage Club

"Printing out your document and marking it up can make catching errors easier than on screen. It also helps to track your document using your finger to avoid skipping words or to catch duplicates." - Eric Brantner, Founder of Scribblrs.com

"You won't catch 'em all the first time. Just like legendary characters will elude you many times playing Pokemon Go, grammar errors and typos are sneaky. You may miss some the first time no matter how hard you try, and maybe the second or third. The more important the assignment, the more times you should go over it. Try reading each word in reverse order at least once, too." - Maggie Thill, Director of Marketing Communications, Fonality

"Put a piece of writing away and return with fresh eyes. If you can't spare 24 hours, even one hour will help. Do something else (preferably away from the screen) and come back to it." - Brenna Lemieux, Content Director, Insureon

"Read out loud. It may sound silly, but reading your work as if you were giving a speech will help shine light on mistakes, since you are approaching each word individually." - Beth Adan, Senior Publicist, Three Girls Media, Inc.

"If you make a last-minute change to a few words, check the entire sentence or even the paragraph over again. Many errors are the result of changes made without adjusting related words." - Eve Lederman, Owner & Trainer, Proof Right

Ready to put these pros' advice into action? Start your application to Siena now.

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TOPICS: Admissions Info & Advice

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