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Intro to Form and Style Review: Tips on Hiring an Outside Editor


We understand that looking to an outside editor to polish work, format the document, and ensure APA compliance is often a benefit to Walden capstone writers. Although many students have had excellent relationships with independently hired editors, Walden University does not guarantee the quality or availability of editors for hire.

To learn more about an outside editor’s services, consider contacting the editor via phone or e-mail.

We suggest students mention that they are a Walden University student, indicate that they are interested in hiring an editor for the capstone study (or elements of the capstone study), and request information on the editor’s experience in editing capstones, particularly for Walden students (e.g., how many Walden students has this editor worked with and for how many years, what is this editor’s experience with APA, etc.).

Editors will often want to know how many pages of editing are being requested, how many pages of references, whether the manuscript is a proposal or final study, or whether the committee has approved it. We recommend that Walden students have this information at the ready and include it, up front, in the initial communication with the potential outside editor. That will provide the editor with enough information to begin negotiations.

Finally, we also recommend that Walden students who are considering hiring an outside editor are also clear on the areas of focus and types of edits they are comfortable with the editor making. We recommend that students emphasize with the editor (a) the importance of the originality of their work, (b) maintaining their own voice, and (c) the preferences of the committee, when working with the outside editor.

We also suggest that students review the guidance provided in the Student Handbook, regarding the code of conduct directives on student use of external guidance and consultants in capstone projects.

More Tips on Working With an Outside Editor

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

  • Some editors know APA; some do not. Be sure to ask.
  • Some freelance editors offer a sliding scale, depending on the needs of writers.
  • Some can help you clarify your ideas, though none will replace the content expertise of your faculty committee.
  • In deciding whether to hire an editor, explain your needs; negotiate an approach (e.g., how often will you communicate? How long will the project last?); and ask for references and an estimate of the cost (editors usually charge an hourly rather than per page rate).

Search Tips for Finding an Outside Editor

  • Call a local college English Department or check the bulletin boards at a local university, if one is located in your area.
  • Search the Professional Editors Network or the Editorial Freelancers Association. These sites include links to cost estimates and editors with various specialties. Students in life sciences programs may wish to visit the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences website, where they can find certified editors in the life sciences.
  • Check out estimates of editorial rates (i.e., costs) in the chart on the Editorial Freelancers Association website.
  • Search the web for "dissertation editing services." You will likely find links to many editors and editing companies. Some provide details about cost and the type of work they do.
  • Ask other Walden students or faculty for recommendations.
  • Be sure to review the information in the Student Handbook on the use of external consultants, including editors, for capstone projects.