For the same reason you go to a doctor for medical problems, a lawyer for legal help, an accountant for tax prep, a contractor for home improvement. When something matters to you—when, for one reason or another, you can’t afford to screw up—you ask a professional in the appropriate field for guidance. That’s why they’re professionals: they’re very good at what they do.
The short answer is that good editing makes writing better. When you’ve got a lot on the line, an editor can help you to improve the writing projects that matter to you.
That’s a good question with many possible answers. Among them:
I honestly believe North Star offers the best editing service that money can buy. Here are just a few of the many reasons why:
Consider these figures from 2017:
Competition for Ivy League spots is so fierce that Harvard, Yale, and Stanford could each rescind their offers of admission to every student they have already accepted, choose another freshman class of the same size, and suffer no statistical drop-off. In fact, they could probably do that several times over. Even outside of the Ivy League, high-school valedictorians with perfect SAT scores, glowing letters of recommendation, and lists of extracurricular activities a mile long cannot count on guaranteed admission.
Applicants to graduate and professional school sometimes face even longer odds. Consider these figures, also from 2017:
Perhaps most dauntingly, because of funding constraints, many Ph.D. programs accept only a handful of students each year.
With ever-higher competition in higher education, how can you stand out?
The answer is your essay. In an increasingly impersonal process, your essay may well be your best, last, and only chance to distinguish yourself from the crowd. In short, your essay can make or break your entire application. And that’s a lot of pressure.
That’s why so many applicants turn to editors for help.
Many applicants put off writing their essays until the last possible minute simply because they don’t know what to write. They spend hours agonizing over a blank screen, a blinking cursor, but they don’t even know how to get started. Others have too many ideas but don’t know how to choose between them. Both types of applicants need not just editing, but guidance.
At North Star, I’ve read thousands of personal statements and statements of purpose. I’ve helped clients applying to two- and four-year colleges, master’s and doctoral programs, medical school and dental school and vet school and business school and law school, clerkships and internships and medical residencies and fellowships, and any other type of school or training program you can think of. I’ve seen it all. And so I can offer you the benefit of that experience: yes, you should say this. No, you shouldn’t say that. Everyone says this. No one says that. This will make you stand out for the right reasons. That will make you stand out for the wrong ones.
Just as explorers have for centuries looked to the North Star for direction, so too do I offer stellar guidance.
No. But I’ll help you find the words you didn’t know you had in you—and your essays will be better for it.
You see, the very best application essays stand out because they give a sense of the person behind the paper. They’re candid. They’re honest. They’re true. And in a process marked by trumped-up claims of excellence, that’s refreshing.
North Star will help you every step of the way, but I don’t, can’t, won’t write a personal statement for you. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. The best I could offer would be a very well-written impersonal statement—and that won’t do you any good at all. It won’t resonate with your activities and your recommendations in a way that makes your application come alive. For all its rhetorical fireworks, its sound and its fury, it will signify nothing and still fall flat.
By working with you instead of for you, I will help you to produce a polished essay that is truly personal, a piece that is distinctly yours. And after working with me, you'll take away more than just a well-edited essay. You'll also take away newfound insight into the writing process because you'll have participated in it every step of the way. Your essay—and you—will be the better for it.
Editors are like photographers. Why pay more for one cameraman over another? Because a good photographer can make a plain face look like a supermodel and a bad one can make a supermodel look plain.
My job is to put you in the best light and find your most flattering angles. That’s how you look your best for the admissions committee when they start sorting applications.
Among professional editors, what separates the best from the rest is the ability to help you find your own voice so that you can speak for yourself. Good editors should seek, as much as possible, to fade into the background so that you can take center stage.
In contrast, bad editors—even those with the best of intentions—often end up doing something like this. Don’t let a meme happen to you.
Sloppy, careless mistakes can torpedo an otherwise promising candidate. Submitting an application with even a single typo is like showing up for an interview with a stain on your shirt. That may sound petty, but careful attention to grammar shows not only that you’ve mastered the mechanics of the English registers necessary to succeed in college, graduate school, or professional school, but also that you cared enough about your application to proofread closely.
Or maybe even to enlist a bit of help in doing so.
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