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This document showcases a real Comprehensive Editing Order as it was returned to the client. [Bracketed phrases] have been used substituted for the client’s name and other identifying information.
Dear [client],
Thank you again for placing your order with me via www.the-writing-center.com.  I am pleased to have you as a customer and I will do my best work to make sure you can submit this statement with full confidence. 
The format of my edits is quite simple.  I will make some general comments about each of your essays, and after these comments I will reproduce the original draft of your statement and make comments on it in the margins using the Track Changes tool.  These comments will highlight areas of possible confusion and suggest some additions to your statement in addition to explaining some of the changes I make.  At the end will come the revised version.  To date, all of my customers have been very happy with this format, but I will welcome your comments on its strengths and weaknesses.
Essay 1
The essay you have submitted is quite well written, clear, and interesting. I think it aptly answers the prompt and showcases your passion for art. I do, however, have some comments that I think can improve the overall smoothness and effectiveness of this piece.
The first issue is the fact that you actually are writing about three separate accomplishments in this essay, even though the prompt only asks you to evaluate one. In general I am a firm believer in adjusting the prompt to fit your essay (the prompt is not as important as what you have to say), but in this particular case I think you would be better off connecting the three accomplishments under one broader accomplishment I will try to do this in my revised version, but you can modify it as you see fit. I think this will be beneficial firstly because it will connect the essay and make it flow more smoothly. Additionally, you are asked to only evaluate one thing because 500 words is not very many; it is better to keep your essay detailed and focused rather than diffuse and general. For this reason, sticking to one goal will allow you to describe this goal in more detail. Notice that I don’t think the content of the essay should be changed; rather that the overall thesis (your accomplishment) should be modified.
Another issue that I noticed with this essay is the tendency to revert to clichéd phrases and sentiments. I have noted a few of them in the margins of your essay. This type of style won’t improve your writing, and may even detract from the effectiveness of your piece. Instead of using vague and clichéd phrases to describe emotion, expression, etc., you would be much better off using specific details, describing your own feelings, and being direct in your writing. An example of this vagueness is the paragraph about your drawing of your mother’s fingernails. This is a unique accomplishment, and I really like the idea of this paragraph. However, you never really tie the paragraph together by describing why exactly this was such an important accomplishment. Refer to my specific comments for more examples of this. Overall though, I think the piece is interesting, and I am confident that my revised version will help clarify some issues with your writing
Original Version

“You are weird,” my friends would tell me. Unlike others who played computer games or watched TV, I had my own special hobby: visiting art museums. Sometimes blissful, sometimes somber, I felt that each piece was trying to share its feelings with me. I realized that I wanted to do the same: communicate my feelings through art and touch the deepest part of people’s emotions. My three greatest achievements have come through art.

       My earliest accomplishment was my first drawing of my mother’s fingernails. When I was ten years old, my mother would draw frequently. To me, fingernails were the most beautiful objects in the world. I closely observed them as they held the pencil and moved smoothly across white paper. They were long and round, sometimes covered with various beautiful colors. I drew them on my sketchbook, although I couldn’t draw them precisely because I lacked advanced skills. As I became older I developed my skills, but her fingernails changed as well as time passed. When I look at my first drawing, I still feel the warmness and wonder from when I saw her fingernails at age ten.

       My second accomplishment was forming personal relationships with others through art. I came to the U.S. when I was seventeen to attend school, away from my family and friends in Korea. Thousands of miles from home, I often made drawings of their faces and sent them as gifts. They have always been very happy to receive them, and it made me feel good to let them know how important they are to me. Last winter, I delivered lunch boxes to elderly people who lived alone. On the last day, I gave them cards with drawings of their faces. They had tears in their eyes and held my hands, smiling. Their houses were very cold, but their smiles made me feel warm. After a week, I visited one lady’s house and saw that she had hung the card, all wrinkled because she held it so many times, on the wall. She told me my drawing was a gift that made her happy, and I realized how my work could connect people without words.

       My third accomplishment was an opportunity to exhibit my work at a major exhibition center. I had always looked at other people’s works, but now I had a chance to show my own. I wanted to make a piece that many could identify with. Thinking of people bored from the same hectic schedule everyday, I expressed yearnings for freedom by drawing a fish that was leaving an aquarium for the sea. My drawing was one of thirty works selected from over six hundred. I was proud to see my drawing on the wall and many people in front of my work discussing it. I am lucky to have discovered my life-long motivating passion. Now, I am ready to learn more about art and make more connections by sharing my feelings through my work.
Revised Version

Not many kids look forward to rainy afternoons. While other kids settled into the worn seats at the movie theater, I jumped at the opportunity to do one of my favorite things: visit art museums. I felt that each work was conveying to me the feelings of the artist. I realized that I wanted to do the same: communicate my emotions to others through art. I consider my greatest accomplishment to be my personal development as an artist.


       My earliest artistic achievement was a drawing of my mother’s fingernails that I sketched when I was 10. My mother loved to draw, and to me her fingernails were beautiful. They were long and brightly lacquered, and I would watch them as they danced fluidly with a pencil over paper. I was inspired to draw them, although I could not draw them precisely with such little experience. As I grew older I worked on perfecting my early sketches. Still, when I look at my first drawing, I am reminded of my first artistic inspiration: the beauty of an artist’s hands as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.
       Another step in my development as an artist was learning to form relationships through art. When I was 17, I left my family and friends to attend school in the U.S. Thousands of miles from home, I would make drawings of their faces and send them as gifts. They were always delighted to receive them, and I loved being able to express how important they were to me. Last winter, I delivered meals to elderly people. On my last day, I gave them cards with drawings of their faces. Many had tears in their eyes as they held my hands, smiling in thanks. Their emotions made me realize the power of an artist. I later visited one of the women and saw that she had hung the card, wrinkled from handling, on the wall. I, as an artist, had used my abilities to make a connection with others.
       My most recent achievement was having my art shown in a major exhibition. Admiring art was crucial to my development, but now I had the chance to show my own. In my piece I tried to express my own feelings and create something that others could identify with, too. Considering the limitations that I and others face in everyday life, I expressed our yearnings for freedom with a fish trying to escape an aquarium for the open sea. My art achieved its purpose, and was one of 30 works selected from 600 submissions. I found a new type of satisfaction from seeing others discussing my work, instead of the other way around. I have always felt lucky to have discovered my passion in life. Still, while I am proud of my development as an artist, I am ready to learn more about art and continue developing my talents and capacity for expression.
Essay 2
The second essay that you have submitted is also very well written. I think it is particularly appropriate for this prompt, and it really lets the reader see into your experience as a foreign student (and artist) learning to adjust to a new school, country, and style of expression. This is the essay’s strongest point, and I hope to emphasize it in my revised version of your essay. Again, I have some comments that I think can improve the effectiveness and clarity of this piece.
Similar to your other essay, I think that this essay at times also falls victim to vague, dramatic, overblown, or clichéd phrases and ideas. An example of this is in your first paragraph, when you talk about taking in your new surroundings. Not only is this rather basic, but you end up repeating yourself. Try to convey precise sentiments instead of these general ideas. The same goes for your last paragraph, when you talk about seeing the beauty of other cultures. This is a tricky subject, because you do indeed want to convey this sentiment (seeing the beauty of other cultures), but it is more effectively done through example, anecdote, or specific detail. For example, maybe there was a Hispanic student in your class whose ideas about art presented an interesting contrast to your ideas. This, of course, is a hypothetical example, but it illustrates the point that it is better to be specific than to risk sounding uncreative or insincere.
In general, I feel that there are a few things you could clarify in this essay, namely why you chose to attend this school in Tennessee. Was it an art school? Did you go there to study art, or did you decide to study in the United States in order to broaden your opportunities and gain new experiences in general? Perhaps you have already answered these questions in other essays, in which case you wouldn’t have to repeat yourself here. However, I was a little unsure about these things.
Finally, I feel that your last paragraph could use a little work. I have tried to rework it, as you will see shortly. Still, I feel you could make your new attitudes towards art and towards your own work a bit clearer. How did you grow as an artist? How did you grow as a person? You touch on these things briefly in your concluding sentences, but, being the crux of this essay, I feel that this is a bit too brief. You can rework my edits as you see fit. Other than these things, I think the essay is in good shape.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about either essay, don’t hesitate to contact me. Good luck!
All the Best,
Mia Morgenstern
Original Version

Squinting into the glare of the setting sun, I waved good-bye to my sister as she began the drive back to the airport. When the car was no longer in sight, I slowly walked toward my new home at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School. At age seventeen I was on my own, having moved from Korea to Tennessee to finish high school. Though I felt sadness at saying good-bye, I relished the opportunity to take in my new surroundings. Since I was young, I dreamed of seeing other lands and creating art in new countries. Now I was finally abroad, bathed in a whirlwind of strange new sights, sounds and words. An odd feeling told me that I was definitely not in Korea anymore, but I was very excited to take in my new surroundings, ready to open my eyes to the wide world.

       Sewanee, surrounded by forest and hard to see big buildings, was a perfect place to study art. The sky in Sewanee seemed the most beautiful sky in the world. I changed the colors of my clothes every day, and took pictures of me and the sky which displayed these beautiful hues. The scenery became great inspiration for my art. At Sewanee, I also encountered a new approach to art. At my previous school uniformity was emphasized, because Koreans often cherish group solidarity more than individual identity. Everyone wore the same uniform and hair style, and had the same class schedule. During art class, everyone had to finish sketching in 20 minutes and paint in 30 minutes. Realism was considered to be more important than individual vision, thus students had to draw objects as they appeared. I wasn’t satisfied with my art, because it was always in the same style as works by Michelangelo or Gustave Courbet.

Art class in America was very different, with no limitations on the art students. Imagination and creativity were highly valued, so it was hard to adjust myself at first. While others finished their works easily, it took eight hours for me to complete my drawings. However, as time passed, I realized that realistic drawing was not always the best approach. Realism could surprise people, but it did not increase people’s interest in my work, because it did not challenge them to think about the picture’s meaning. I changed my way of drawing and tried to be more creative and abstract, and suddenly I heard “What does this mean?” instead of “Oh, your works looks very real!”  I also encountered many different styles of art through my classmates, who came from different cultures. This opened my eyes to the beauty of many cultures. Encountering diversity, I gained increased appreciation for people I had never even known about. Now, my eyes are open to the wider world than they were before. I am a better artist and a broader person for this experience.


Revised Version

Squinting into the Tennessee sun, I waved to my sister as she drove back to the airport. As the car disappeared from sight, I turned towards my new home at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School. I was 17 and on my own, having moved from Korea to Tennessee to finish high school and continue studying art. Although I was sad to say good-bye, I was happy to be surrounded by something new. On that late-summer day, I was taken up in a whirlwind of new sights, sounds, and words. As an artist I had always dreamed of creating art in a place other than home, and now I had that chance. I was ready to open my eyes to the world, but at that point I had no idea how important my experience at St. Andrew’s would be in my development both as an artist and person.


       Sewanee, cloaked in forest and just outside the reach of urban shadows, was an ideal place to study art. The sky was the most brilliant sky in the world, and I took pictures of it to capture its stunning hues. These images, naturally, became part of my art. Still, at Sewanee, the most important change in my art came from the approach to art that I encountered there. At my old school uniformity was prized, because Koreans often value group solidarity over individuality. Art class there was rigid, with everyone required to finish a piece during each class. The objective was to imitate reality, not express individual vision. In Korea I could never be satisfied with my art, because it was always slightly inferior to the real world around me. Instead, I wanted my art to challenge people, to transcend reality.

In my American school, there were no limitations for art students and creativity was highly valued. At first, it was hard to adjust to these values. While other students finished works easily, I was caught up in details and spent hours completing a single sketch. Eventually I began to understand the flaws in my approach, and learned to express myself beyond the confines of reality. Once I started trying to be more imaginative and abstract, I found the complimentary “your work looks so real!” replaced with the thoughtful “what does this piece mean?”.



At Sewanee I also discovered new styles of art through my classmates, who came from different backgrounds. This helped me understand the wide breadth of artistic beauty that exists in the world and the importance of different artistic concepts. Although I wanted to escape from the artistic style that was imposed upon me in Korea, I now see that even this approach to art has its place. After attending Sewanee, I am more aware of the world and of art than I ever was before. I am a better artist and more insightful person because of this experience.

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