Who can help with your academic English?

March 25, 2015 | Posted by ECA UK | No Comments »

Academic English and Proof Readers.

Academic English and essay writing can be difficult for many British students, so what chance does an international student have of doing well at university? James Galloway looks at the issue, and tells us how using a proofreading service can make all the difference to your grades.




We’ve all been there: it’s late at night, we’re staring at our computer, and we’re trying to work out just what those confusing academic guidelines mean for our essay. Should I indent those quotes? Should I even be quoting that part? Does this sentence make sense? Am I answering the question? All this goes through our minds, and as international students, trying to write essays in a foreign language is challenging enough, without having to think about writing it in academic English. Universities don’t always provide enough support for international students, either, so it’s difficult to find a solution that will help us improve our academic English, and keep our grades high.

There is one solution that is increasingly popular, and that is using a proof reader. A proof reader is someone who checks a document for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and can make sure that it reads smoothly. This can be really useful for international students worried about their academic English, and who are unsure if they are meeting their university’s guidelines. There are many companies out there who will help you with your essays, but if you’re not sure who to trust, or which company sounds reliable, then it’s best if you ask an academic counsellor, a consultant or agent, who knows where to find professional proofreaders and editors. You will pay by the hour, or by the number of words, and it is worth checking before you do agree to use their services, in case you have something like a long dissertation as that could become quite expensive!

Something that is really important for universities in the UK is the idea of ‘academic integrity’, or more simply, being honest about the work you’re submitting. The biggest issue is plagiarism, which in the UK is a form of cheating. Plagiarism is when you copy someone else’s work or ideas, and say they are your own. Quoting from someone is fine, but you always need to cite it, or say where it is from. Proof readers can help you with this, as university guidelines are quite strict about citation, and the format of your essay will usually need to be a certain way. The proof reader shouldn’t help you with the ideas themselves, however, as they need to be your own original ideas. Universities ultimately judge their students on the content of their work, so if you are an international student and you have strong, original ideas, but need some help expressing them in perfect English, then a proof reader is a great way to polish your essays.

A good proofreader will correct mistakes, but should also be able to advise you on your academic style of writing, on how to make your writing more powerful and effective, and highlight where your argument may not be supported well enough by facts or references. They should concentrate on taking your academic knowledge, and showing you how to express it better in academic English, without getting involved in the subject area.

Getting help with writing essays is great, but there are other companies online who will write your essays for you, and buying an essay online is a really bad idea in the UK. This is called academic misconduct, and you could fail a module or even a course if you get caught. Having something proofread is fine, as this will mean that only your mistakes get corrected, or the flow of the essay is changed so it is smoother. So try to remember, when you’re looking for help with your academic English, avoid paying someone to change your ideas, or to write your essays for you. Your course tutor and you agent will be able to give you advice, and will be able to help you improve your academic English in a way that is honest.

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Category: Applications, Postgraduate, Undergraduate