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Hiring an Outside Editor

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In the Writing Center, we offer a variety of tools and services to assist Walden students. Through a 30-minute one-on-one-review with one of our Writing Instructors, for instance, both undergraduate and graduate students can receive personalized feedback on their writing that they can apply in the revision process. By using the Grammarly website, students can check the originality of their work and identify recurrent patterns of error. Our many webinars offer students tips and guidance on specific writing issues, as does our website.

We offer all of these tools and services free of charge to current Walden students to help them as they develop the skills they need to be effective editors of their own work. Some students, however, want more extensive assistance with grammar, clarity, and formatting than we can provide. Such students may choose to hire a paid, private editor not affiliated with Walden UniversityBelow, I will address some common questions about the use of such outside editors.
Image of an edited page
Image (c) Nic McPhee

What services can a private editor provide?

A private academic editor may provide a range of services, from basic proofreading or copyediting (checking grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) to more intensive editing to improve flow and clarity. Editing services may or may not include citation and document formatting (some editors assess an additional charge for these services).

When hiring an editor, it is important to clarify the nature and extent of the service that will be provided so that expectations are established. Will the editor only correct elements of the manuscript that are objectively incorrect (e.g., errors of grammar, punctuation, and spelling), or will the editor also make changes to improve the document in more subjective ways, such as by eliminating redundancy, improving clarity, or adjusting awkward phrasing? Will the editor correct in-text citations and the reference list, and does he or she have a strong command of APA style? Will the editor ensure that the document is consistent with the appropriate Walden formatting template?

An editor should not be expected to address issues related to the content or methodology of a study. Although an editor can help students make significant improvements to grammar, style, and formatting, a document that has been professionally edited is still likely to require some additional work on the student’s part.

What services should a private editor not provide?

A private editor should not be hired to write new content or to develop a student’s research or ideas. Such use of an editor constitutes an academic integrity violation. (For Walden’s policy on the use of outside editors, please see this page from the Center for Research Quality; scroll down to the section titled “Editors.”)

How much do private editing services cost?

Costs are highly variable but generally depend on two factors: (a) the length of the work and (b) the service(s) provided. Many editors charge an hourly rate, while others charge by the page. Make sure that you have established clear expectations regarding cost when hiring an editor.

How do I select a private editor?

Because Walden University does not maintain relationships with third-party editors and cannot guarantee their services, we do not offer specific editor recommendations. Peers in your department are often the best sources of referrals to editors who have performed good work in the past. Students can also use the Walden Writing Center Facebook page or eCampus discussion board to discuss their experiences with editors and seek referrals. For more tips on locating an editor, see this Writing Center handout.


Some editors will edit a short excerpt of your work as a sample. Others may offer sample documents on a website to illustrate the work they perform. Review these materials carefully to ensure that the editor’s approach matches your needs.


If you have any questions about the Writing Center’s free services for students at various stages of the writing process, please contact writingsupport@waldenu.edu for a response within 24 hours.





Carey Little Brown has more than a decade of experience as the lead editor of an academic editorial firm. As a dissertation editor in Walden's Writing Center, she helps students master APA style, avoid common grammatical errors, and use concise language to develop compelling written work. 


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