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How much to charge for college essay editing

Academic Editing Fees Explained

Good academic editing should represent value for money, but not be ‘cheap’. Those who offer academic editing at discounted rates are often (but not always) doing a second-rate job. Some cut-price companies use editors from non-English speaking countries, which will not give you the result you want!

How much should editors charge?

Based on their unique skills and level of academic training (many have a PhD, for example) good editors should be charging more than $100 per hour, which is still significantly less than an accountant or lawyer of a similar level of training. $100 per hour works out at around $50-$60 per 1,000 words for editing of an average standard document. However, most editors charge much less than that this even though they are not constantly employed like accountants and lawyers, and often have a lot of ‘down-time’ between jobs, especially during the quiet times of the academic year.

Editex editors offer a wide range of pricing depending on their level of academic achievement, years of experience, and skill as an editor – as well as their personal preference and circumstances. This enables you to find the best fit for your editing needs and budget.

Is editing worth it?

Professional editing takes the stress out of academic writing! A good editor will ensure that your work achieves compelling content plus sound grammar, spelling and clarity.

When you consider the academic authoring process the value of expert editing and proofreading is easy to see. You are busy hatching ideas, gathering research and putting together arguments. So it is tough to get enough distance from your essay, thesis or journal article to carry out thorough proofreading and review. Some may even say it’s impossible. Here is where an Editex editor champions your hard work. We give top academic advantage to ESL students and native speakers alike with word perfect manuscripts presenting clear and convincing ideas.

If you are a student or academic from a non-English speaking background your work will achieve better marks or have greater academic impact if it it presented with perfect English. But anyone who is stressed out dealing with complicated formatting requirements and referencing styles, getting tenses right, and achieving the correct academic tone, will benefit from some quality editing.

How are charges worked out?

The most common methods for charging are:

  • Charge per hour (usually quoted after seeing the document)
  • Charge per page (usually assuming a certain number of words per page)
  • Flat rate charge per word or per 1,000 words
  • By reference to a table of prices for various word count ranges
  • By use of an online fee calculator (which accepts a word count or sometimes number of pages)

Editex uses a website calculator which displays the fee for most editors based on the word count you enter. Many editors also display an hourly rate.

The Editex fees assume standard editing and average writing quality and are provided as a guide. The actual fee that you pay will depend on your exact requirements, and should be negotiated with your chosen editor once they have a full understanding of your editing needs:

  • does your document need heavy or light editing?
  • do you want your in-text references to be edited?
  • do you want your reference list to be edited?
  • do you want document formatting?
  • do you need the job back urgently?

How do you sort through it all and find the right editor?

As you can see there are many ways that fees are calculated. If you are presented with a list of editors by your university there is no way for you to easily:

  • Compare the fees between the different editors
  • Compare the qualifications and editing ability of the editors
  • Find which editors are familiar with your field.

You might have to email or call every editor on the list, and still not find the one you want!

But with Editex it can all be done in a few minutes! Most editors have entered their fees into the fee calculator in our website. You just enter your word count and you can see what each editor will charge for that size document (assuming it is of average standard for editing). You can also search by ‘fields of editing expertise’, see their qualifications and their client satisfaction scores.

Your search for the perfect editor starts here.

Find an Academic Editor

Editex is the world’s leading marketplace for connecting academics & students with high quality academic editors.

Use Editex to find an academic editor who suits your needs and budget.

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How to charge for essay/general editing?
September 22, 2013 8:39 AM Subscribe

I have previous tutoring experience (as well as being an Ontario Certified Teacher). I’d like to get back into some tutoring/editing work on the side, but I’m not sure how to charge for what I’m hoping to do. I don’t really have the time or the flexibility to offer one-on-one tutoring, so I was hoping to offer “editing online” types of services where someone would email me their work and I’d send it back in x amount of time with corrections, editing suggestions, etc. I’ve done this in the past for journalists, law students, etc. and it seemed to work well. Here’s the problem: how do I set up a reasonable and attractive fee structure for this?

– I am very meticulous and it can take several hours to fix something up. Some people are willing to pay per hour, but not many — especially if their writing is awful to start with.

– I have an M.A. in English literature and seven years of high school teaching experience

– the going rate for tutoring around here (Toronto/GTA) for certified teachers is $40-$50/hour, although of course there is a huge range out there

So I see a couple of options, but I hope Ask MeFi can suggest some others:

1. Lower the hourly rate for editing to something like $20/hr, knowing that I will still make a fair amount due to the number of hours it takes to do a comprehensive job

2. Charge for a certain amount of editing. I’ve seen people offer “two major, and three minor suggestions”, for example, at a fixed price.

What about charging by the length of the essay?
posted by mr vino at 8:54 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can charge by the word (or 250-word “standard” page) if you think you can get a decent ballpark average for how many words of text you can edit per hour. You can also set different per-word rates depending on the level of edit or quality of the text. You might offer a range from a “proofreading”–checking grammar/syntax/punctuation but not editing for prose style–paced at 2000-2500 words/hour or 8-10 standard pages all the way up to a heavy edit paced at 1,000 words/hr or less that would include extensive stylistic polishing and suggestions and tips. Figure out the hourly rate you’re willing to work for and then calculate a per-word or per-page rate for each level of service.

The advantage here is that the client knows going in how much the job is going to cost them, and if they only have X budget for editing you can negotiate a service level that will meet their budget. Even if the text really would benefit from a more thorough edit, if someone only has money for a light edit they can get the worst of the egregiousness in the text cleaned up without getting the meticulous white-glove treatment they can’t afford.

It’s not really attractive to the client to offer a low hourly rate to draw in the budget-minded client and then rack up the bill (from their perspective) by billing a ton of hours.
posted by drlith at 11:13 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with drlith. Separate proof-reading from editing, and charge less for proofing.

A professional proofreading rate is usually 8-10 300-word pages per hour; more substantial editing is 4-5 pages per hour. Pay attention to your work rate and if you’re taking substantially longer than those averages, you might be doing too much and/or you may need to realize that what you’re calling “meticulous” is actually just “slow.” I’ve always charged by the hour but I usually work a bit faster than those averages; if you’re working much slower than that, you should charge by the page.

Tutoring is a different field and I wouldn’t be using that as a comparison at all. I haven’t freelanced in a while, but I used to charge US$20/hr for proofing and US$35/hr for editing.
posted by jaguar at 11:48 AM on September 22, 2013

Best answer: This pricelist, from the Editorial Freelancers Association, may be helpful.
posted by quidividi at 12:03 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Write Stuff: 4 College Admissions Essay Editing Services Reviewed

College applicants seeking an edge can turn to online services which, for as little as $14, will spruce up their admissions essays.

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Looking for good news about the college admissions process these days? You won’t find much of it. Not only has the cost of attending college doubled on average since the 1980s, but also it’s gotten considerably harder to get in. The majority of colleges in America have witnessed a plummeting acceptance rate as the number of student applications has exploded. Fifty years ago you had a 20 percent shot at getting into Harvard (all things equal, of course). Now the Crimson’s acceptance rate is about 5 percent. In the last 10 years alone, the acceptance rate at many major universities has been cut in half. It’s almost enough to make a kid consider trying out for the rowing team.

As if applicants didn’t have enough to stress about, colleges have been making it more onerous to apply—requiring additional interviews, recommendations, and SAT Subject Tests. But the most burdensome of them all is an old standby: the application essay.

Essay requirements vary widely from school to school. The 150-plus members of the Coalition for College (which includes Harvard and Vanderbilt) requires a single 500-word essay selected from prompts such as “Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.” Those with eyes on the University of California system must write a whopping four essays, with prompts such as “Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.”

Students can reuse essays with other colleges if the prompts are similar enough—or if the schools happen to be members of the same application partnership—but you’d be surprised how seldom this occurs. My daughter found that out the hard way, when she learned that she’d have to write 12 separate essays to cover just five schools.

What’s a kid to do who doesn’t have parents who both work full-time as writers and editors? Just run their essay through Microsoft grammar check and hope for the best? Good luck. The acceptance rate at the University of Chicago has dropped 81 percent in the last 12 years. It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to know that if you don’t put your best foot forward, you may as well not even bother.

All of this led me to the curious world of online editing services. While you can hire a consultant to help guide your child through this overwhelming maze, these consultants are expensive and much of their work involves managing the complex application process, figuring out which colleges are a good fit, and brainstorming essay topics. If you just need help whipping an already written essay into better shape, an online editor might be a better (and much cheaper) fit.

To be sure, some of these services are exorbitantly expensive. Services like EssayEdge and TopAdmit can run you close to $200 for editing a single essay of fewer than 400 words. I’ve seen prices as high as $379 after various upsells. Word for word, that’s more than what my editor at WIRED makes. (Hi, Mike!)

The good news is there are plenty of more affordable options available. I tested four of them, all reasonably priced and seemingly legitimate. Most of these services charge based on a combination of the word count of the original essay and the turnaround time required. I used the same raw essay from my daughter as a test piece for each of the four services, and requested the slowest turnaround time each of them offered to minimize the cost. I submitted her 383-word raw essay at the same time to each of the services, on a Wednesday afternoon. I gave all the services minimal guidance with my submission, noting only (when prompted) that this was a college application essay. All four of the services allow you to upload a Microsoft Word document and receive a red-lined and comment-filled Word document in return.