You’ve completed your paper review appointment and successfully downloaded your writing instructor’s feedback. Now it is time to start the revision process. The following suggestions are designed to help you successfully apply that feedback and make the most of your revisions. Read through and find what strategies work for you!
It is important that you take the time to reflect on, not just read, your writing instructor’s feedback. It can be easy to dive straight into your draft and start making edits, especially when you are low on time. However, when you do so, you often miss the chance to internalize feedback and discover opportunities for growth as a writer. We recommend reading through your instructor’s feedback in its entirety before starting revisions. This way, you have the opportunity to see what patterns emerge, what skills need development, and what future writing goals may be beneficial to set.
Revisions take time. After your paper review, your writing instructor may ask you to reflect on reoccurring patterns in your writing, like the proper use of commas and semicolons. Other times, your instructor may challenge you to complete revisions that require additional thought and preparation, such as creating more concise paragraphs or providing additional analysis. To help streamline this process and avoid feeling overwhelmed, we recommend making a revision plan that includes the following: what steps you will take, what resources you will review, what time you have available for revisions, and whether any comments require you to follow up with your course instructor. You don’t have to tackle your revisions all at once, but making a revision plan can help you advance your writing skills over time and have a thoughtful approach to revising.
As writing instructors, we only have a short time for each paper review and are not able to comment on every instance where changes are required. As a result, we focus feedback on reoccurring patterns in your writing—meaning that we highlight a few places where similar revisions are required before turning the revision process back over to you to apply our suggestions to the remainder of your project. This way, we can avoid sounding repetitious in our comments, and you are able to take ownership over the revision process. We recommend checking to see if your instructor's feedback can be applied to your project as a whole. You may find that your instructor has demonstrated a few revisions but has encouraged you to apply those suggestions throughout the rest of your paper. Our hope is that this pattern-focused approach will bolster your self-efficacy as a writer and contribute to achieving your writing goals.
We understand that sometimes you need further explanation of your writing instructor’s feedback in order to grasp what the writing pattern or concern is and what revisions are needed. We encourage you to reach out anytime with your questions. We want you to feel empowered to share your learning process with us. Please let us know if there are additional examples or resources we can offer to help answer your questions. Send your questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help!
We strongly encourage you to make the most of our paper review service—that includes making follow-up appointments as you work on a project or toward a writing goal. Students who made three or more writing appointments per term showed statistically significant gains in grades, persistence, and retention (Irvin, 2014) and even increases in intrinsic motivation (Robinson, as cited in Irvin, 2014). Although three appointments are not a magic number that will transform your writing overnight, they may be the foundation you need to launch your growth and development as a writer. You can make two appointments per week and can schedule appointments up to two weeks in advance. So, if you have time before your project is due, plan ahead and schedule a follow-up appointment today.
We, as writing instructors, enjoy hearing about your revisions. In fact, it helps us to avoid repetitious comments and assist you in creating next steps to achieve your writing goals. Therefore, once you have reviewed your writing instructor’s feedback and made revisions, be sure to jot down notes about your revision progress, including changes you made, resources you reviewed, and type of comments (e.g., visual, modeling, etc.) that were helpful to you. We encourage you to share those notes with us in your next paper review appointment through the appointment form. To keep your notes organized, check out our resource on writing feedback journals.
It is important to check in with your writing goals throughout the revision process. If you set a specific writing goal for your paper review appointment, you may start by determining if your writing instructor offered any recommendations that impact your goal progress. Likewise, once you start the revision process, you may find that you have made significant strides toward your goal or established a goal that needs to be broken down into more manageable steps. In either case, you may want to establish new writing goals that support your continued growth and writing success. Check out our resources on setting and achieving your writing goals.
Irwin, L.L. (2014). What a difference three tutoring sessions make: Early reports of efficacy from a young writing center. The Writing Lab Newsletter, 39(1–2), 1–5. https://wlnjournal.org/archives/v39/39.1-2.pdf