Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Proofreading: What’s the Big Deal?

Whatever your degree subject, third-party proofreading can be a tantalising short-cut. Advertised on campus, these services vary from ad-hoc individual offers to promotions from international online companies. Is the use of these services really legitimate? And, more importantly, do they break university policy? Our team at Roar has done some digging.

A major promoter on campus, London Proofreaders, boasts free online quotes and ‘100% confidentiality’. Charging £10 per 1,000 words for native English speakers (and more for those who are not), it claims to have ‘worked with hundreds of KCL students over the years’, and that it is our ‘leading choice’. It reminds its customers that ‘you would definitely want to ensure that you are producing cutting-edge research papers to meet the university’s standards’.

A second major promoter, ProofreadMyEssay, boasts a team of one hundred ‘professional editors’, a twenty-four-hour turnaround and even has a team of student ‘Brand Ambassadors’ on King’s campus. It reminds students that they ‘always adhere to university guidelines’, that its service does not condone cheating or plagiarism, and that they will not ‘write your essay for you’. During our investigation, Roar uploaded two previously-submitted, student-written essays to ProofreadMyEssay’s service. These essays varied in length, subject and style. Returned quickly, one was described as ‘well written and very interesting’, having undergone all ‘necessary’ changes to grammar, punctuation, word forms and sentence structure. The other underwent heavier changes to phraseology, word choice, tense, citation and capitalisation. These essays were returned to their authors and were, as Roar believes, proofread legitimately.

Digging further, Roar submitted a Freedom of Information request to King’s, asking if it had a policy on its students’ use of external proofreading services. In November 2017, the university responded via their Information Compliance Officer. The response maintained that King’s ‘does not have a university wide specific policy on the use of proofreading services by students. However, if a third party writes or suggests changes to the wording then it moves the submission away from being in the students own words as required by the College Academic Honesty and Integrity Policy’.

Whilst this might seem straightforward enough, King’s lack of official policy is very much an exception. In fact, our research can reveal that the University of Essex offers a ‘Policy and Guidance on Proofreading’ to its students, maintaining that they are keen to facilitate ‘a shared understanding of what proofreading work should entail and the acceptable boundaries to any intervention on a student text.’ The University of Manchester also offers its students ‘Guidance on Proofreading Your Thesis’, discussing time constraints, rates of different services, how to find a proofreader and what to do if something goes wrong. The University of Leeds provides an agreed definition of proofreading, including explanations of ‘inappropriate use’ and consequences. The University of Warwick details acceptable practices and exceptions, conceding that ‘in the course of producing a high-quality piece of work for assessment, students may wish to receive input from a third party prior to submission.’

Interestingly, Roar can also reveal that KCLSU has recently disputed with one of the major promoting companies over King’s lack of policy. In November 2017, the company’s day-long promotional stall that had been booked via KCLSU was unexpectedly cancelled. The cancellation was implemented by KCLSU Event Coordination after they were approached by the Union’s Advice Team. It was explained to the company that they ‘don’t actually allow proofreading services to advertise to students’, because ‘if an essay that has been proofread by an external company is submitted, and the reformatting / references breach protocols the student can be accused of plagiarism, or similar.’ Despite the company founder requesting evidence of official policy guidelines, nothing specific was identified.

Our investigation can clearly reveal that whilst other universities have established uniform policies about the use of these third-party services, King’s is lagging severely behind. Proofreading services are becoming increasingly legitimate and appealing to students on campus, and due to this, there is now a need for Kings to establish a policy that is implemented through all official channels.



Staff writer Sophia Chan examines the lack of innovation from US Big Pharma firms and proposes her solutions for how the Biden administration could...

NATO DSG at the headquarters in Brussels NATO DSG at the headquarters in Brussels


Staff Writer Patrick Schnecker interviews NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. If the YouTube link does not load, click...


President of King’s College London (KCL) Israel Society Aurele Tobelem dissects the demands of the student-led coalition protesting at the pro-Palestine encampments. Editor’s note:...


The last day people can register to vote for the upcoming UK general election will be 18 June – don’t miss out. On 4...

A photo of a street in Delhi A photo of a street in Delhi


Staff Writers Aryan Pandla and Abhinav Poludasu reflect on the results from the recent election in India, considering its impact on Narendra Modi’s power...


A new report by the UPP Foundation shows that almost half of students are disenchanted with academic life, with financial struggles adding to their...


Editor-in-Chief Fintan Hogan profiles a charity which supports aspiring students who would be otherwise unable to attend top universities. Project Access (PA) was founded...


Strike action which would have halted Tube services across London this week has been cancelled, the RMT Union announced today. The action had been...


Students taking exams early next week can expect temperatures of 5°C (41°F), icy roads, intermittent sleet and an unreliable transport network. According to the...

Fatal error: Uncaught wfWAFStorageFileException: Unable to save temporary file for atomic writing. in /home/roarnews/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordfence/vendor/wordfence/wf-waf/src/lib/storage/file.php:34 Stack trace: #0 /home/roarnews/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordfence/vendor/wordfence/wf-waf/src/lib/storage/file.php(658): wfWAFStorageFile::atomicFilePutContents() #1 [internal function]: wfWAFStorageFile->saveConfig() #2 {main} thrown in /home/roarnews/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordfence/vendor/wordfence/wf-waf/src/lib/storage/file.php on line 34