Introduction to Paper Review Services: Teaching Stronger Writers -->

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Introduction to Paper Review Services: Teaching Stronger Writers

While the Instructors of the Walden Writing Center provide students with many writing-focused services, our Paper Review service is the most individualized service offered for students. Paper reviews provide an opportunity for students to work one-on-one with a professional writing instructor in order to hone their academic writing skills.

A laptop computer open, awaiting a Walden University writer to use it for scheduling a Paper Review Appointment

The Goal
Writing Instructors use paper reviews to focus on academic writing conventions such as APA and citation guidelines (see our APA webpages), organization and paragraph structure, grammatical patterns (see our grammar and composition webpages), logical connections, transitions,  clarity, and precision  (see our scholarly writing webpages). The goal of a paper review is to help students not only build and further develop academic writing skills as they intentionally invest in the iterative process of drafting and revising, but also to gain a sense of collaboration in the writing process as they receive another set of eyes on their work.

In other words, our goal is not to fix papers, proofread, edit, or provide grade predictions or justifications, but instead to help students learn how to strengthen their academic writing over time. Paper reviews are meant to be just one step in the overall writing process.

The Appointment Process
In paper reviews, students sign up for an appointment by navigating to our myPASS scheduling system (see information on how to make an appointment on the Paper Reviews webpage). The appointment is slotted for a specific day, but the times given are for organizational purposes only; the appointment is asynchronous. This means students do not need to be on the phone or on the computer for their appointment. Instead, they fill out an appointment form to provide information to their Writing Instructor, and then attach a document by 5am ET the day of their appointment. Writing Instructors then review their work on that day of the appointment or on the day after. Writing Instructors use their allotted time to note patterns in the students’ writing that, when addressed, can improve students’ academic writing skills or clarity in communication.

While Writing Instructors may notice lots of different patterns or areas for revision, they work to focus their comments on only the most relevant ones in order to provide students with clear steps for revision. Instructors may choose to skip over some proofreading (“lower order”) errors they notice in order to focus more attention on areas of “higher order” concerns—writing patterns that impact the clarity of students’ communication. For example, if a student could use instruction in organizing information, creating a strong thesis statement, and how to use commas, the writing instructor may focus the review on organization and the thesis, and not comment much or at all on comma usage. 

Because they are limited to only 30 minutes/student, Writing Instructors work to provide students with the feedback that will most benefit them as students continue to build and hone their academic writing skills.

Once a Writing Instructor has completed a review, he or she will then attach the reviewed paper to the student’s appointment form and the student will receive an e-mail letting them know their review is ready in the myPASS system. Students can then access their reviewed document at any time, and go back to previous appointments as well within the system.

For the Next Review…
The final component of a paper review appointment is that the Writing Instructors encourage the implementation of feedback and revision between appointments. For example, if a Writing Instructor comments on in-text citations in one draft, the expectation is that if the student makes another appointment later in that week or the next week, the student has considered the feedback about in-text citations and done his/her best to apply those guidelines to the next document they submit for a review. 

Writing Instructors request that students use feedback to make revisions between appointments because it helps students in developing their academic writing skills, which is something that takes both time and practice.


Check out some sample paper reviews, take a look through our appointment guidelines, and schedule an appointment to try it out if you’re interested. We look forward to reviewing your work soon!



Rachel Willard
 is the Manager of Writing Instructors in the Walden University Writing Center. She loves hearing others' stories. She enjoys people-watching at airports and shopping places that use the grammatically correct "10 items or fewer" signs for the express checkout lanes.


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