Undergraduate Students :: Graduate Students :: Instructors

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In addition to the services offered by the Writing Center, graduate students may also make use of the Graduate Editing Center (GEC), which provides free editing and proofreading services. Our editors work with a range of texts, from dissertations and master's theses to articles, conference presentations, and grant proposals. The GEC is staffed by writing instructors and advanced students in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, the Writing Program's doctoral program. GEC procedures and policies can be found by clicking the other tabs on this page.

WC or GEC?

What kind of help do you need? Because the difference between services offered at the Writing Center and GEC are not always intuitive, the following matrix is intended to help you decide which service is most appropriate for your projects.


For help:

  • Developing ideas
  • Organizing paragraphs or sections and developing transitions between them
  • Making decisions about how structuring arguments
  • Mapping a project
  • Finding and using appropriate sources
  • Learning documentation standards

For help with editing and proof-reading of:

  • Papers complete or nearly complete in the final stages of drafting before submission or publication
  • Papers that have already been seen and responded to by advisors, instructors and/or peers

For international students to:

  • Improve their written and spoken English
  • Develop basic knowledge of the language
  • Locate patterns of error
  • Adjust to conventions of Standard American academic English

For work specifically on:

  • Grammatical correctness
  • Standard American academic English
  • Mechanics of punctuation and word arrangement
For shorter papers (10 pages or less) For longer papers (more than 10 pages) that are already well-developed, organized and focused written by those who have faculty approval to work with an editor.*

*If your project is for a degree requirement, you must contact your professor for approval. Many professors and advisors appreciate reading work that has been edited, but some require that your work be yours alone. Without faculty approval, GEC editors will not edit your work.

Make a Writing Center Appointment.

The following describes the typical lifecycle of a GEC consultation. While the unique details of your situation might lead to variations in these procedures, they will give you a good idea of what to expect. For more specifics, please see our policies.
You will:

  • Submit a request form
  • Receive an initial response from an editor by email in a day or two
  • Correspond with an editor by email or phone (or in some circumstances, in person) to discuss your goals and concerns and agree upon a completion date.
  • Email your document to your editor  [Note: If the document is degree bearing, you must also email your advisor/instructor informing him or her that you’ve contacted us. We will not edit until we see this email.]
  • Receive your paper on the agreed upon return date. Use Track Changes in MS Word to view edits.
  • Revise your document, and submit it to your professor/committee/publisher

Suggestions for a successful editing relationship

  • Share your goals, and concerns with your editors so that they can tailor the editing to your specific situation.
  • Be clear about time constraints and when you need your document back in order to make final revisions. Your editor, in turn, will tell you realistically whether or not your request can be met.
  • Remember that the changes your editor makes to your paper are suggestions. While your editor is highly knowledgeable about standard English usage, you are the expert on your subject-matter and your purpose for writing; whether or not to make each suggested change is up to you (for more information, please see GEC Policies).
  • Ask your editor for assistance if you have any questions about any of their comments or suggestions.
  • It might not be possible for you to work with the same editor every time you file a request with the GEC, but we will aim to honor such requests.
  • Familiarize yourself with MS Word’s Track Changes feature. All editing occurs electronically using this function. If you need help understanding how this works please let your editor know.

Due to the limited nature of the GEC staff, and to the typical length and advanced level of graduate student writing, the policies listed below have been put in place so that GEC editors can work with as many students as possible, complete editing jobs in a timely manner, and maintain the highest standards of work. These policies are subject to change.

Who can use the GEC

  • All SU and ESF graduate students may use the GEC.
  • Unfortunately, the GEC is not open to undergraduates, faculty, or staff.

Eligible requests (All requests are on a first-come, first-served basis)

  • Editors’ priority is to edit theses, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters (one chapter at a time).
  • Short documents related to professional academic life, even if they are under 10 pages, such as conference proposals, conference papers, job or PhD program application cover letters, teaching statements, etc. (For help with CVs, please visit Career Services in the Schine Center)

Turn-around time

  • Your paper should be submission-ready when you complete a request form (or very soon after). We will no longer reserve editing time for students who do not have drafts ready at the time of contact.
  • Editing takes time. Four days is the minimum turn-around time for any paper of any length, including the initial communication necessary to get started. This is particularly true for first-time clients.
  • A 10-page document will take at least 4 business days to be returned to you and at least an additional day for each 10 pages thereafter. (For a 20-page paper, allot 5 days; for a 50-page paper, allot 8).
  • The above calculations are for the amount of time an editor needs to work with a document that is submission-ready. If there are excessive errors, or organizational issues within the paper, it will take additional editing time, in which case your editor will let you know and adjust the return date accordingly.
  • If there is not enough time between the receipt of your request and your due date, GEC editors will let you know.

Other limitations

  • Faculty approval: If your document is degree bearing, you must email your advisor/instructor informing him or her that you’ve contacted us. We will not edit until we see this email.
  • Multiple submissions: We will only accept one request from you at a time.
  • Dissertations and theses: In order to serve as many students as possible, the GEC no longer accepts complete dissertations or theses in one request. Editors will accept chapters or sections one at a time; when the first chapter is returned, you may send a request for the next. We will make every attempt to keep you working with the same editor throughout the process, but we cannot guarantee this.
  • Availability: Based on workload and available hours, editors may limit the amount of work they accept for editing, or they may have to distribute that work over a period of time. For example, during busy times, especially near the middle or ends of semesters, editors may only be able to accept a portion of the requests that come in.
  • Type of assistance needed: The GEC primarily provides graduate students with editing/proofreading services. Students who are in need of assistance during the early planning or drafting stages of their work, or who are interested learning more about such aspects of writing as grammar and usage, should set up an appointment with the Writing Center.
  • Disciplinary variation: GEC staff members are skilled editors, however, specific disciplinary conventions, such as formatting preferences, varying citation conventions, and field-specific terminology may be beyond an editor's knowledge. In these cases, students will be referred back to their professors/academic advisors for further counsel.

Academic integrity

  • The GEC aims to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. To this end, while the editors will make recommendations to improve the readability, fluency, and grammatical and mechanical clarity of your writing, both the content and the language of your work are understood to be your own. Editors will make every effort to retain the meaning of your sentences through any suggestions that they make; whether or not these suggestions are accepted is the decision—and responsibility—of each writer.
  • Any suspected academic dishonestly, including plagiarism or poor or incomplete citation practices that could lead to a charge of plagiarism, will be brought to a student's attention immediately. In most cases, these issues will be resolved between the editor and the student, though in some cases more consequential steps, such as referral to the University Judicial Board or to an academic advisor, may be taken.

Please complete this form to submit an editing request. All new clients must meet with a GEC editor before their work is accepted for editing; some projects may also require approval from supervising instructors/advisors. All appointments are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Larger projects may require several days for editing; therefore, it is recommended that you make an appointment well in advance of your anticipated deadline. For more information, including our new eligibility requirements, please see our policies and procedures. Incomplete forms will not be accepted.








Lindsey Banister
Degrees: B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from Pepperdine University; M.A. Rhetoric and Writing Studies from San Diego State University; PhD in Composition & Cultural Rhetoric at Syracuse University (in progress) Academic Interests: Visual, cultural, and feminist rhetorics; composition pedagogy research; rhetoric methods & methodologies ; bodies, sport, and Feminist rhetorics; performance pedagogy research; and visual and cultural rhetoric.
Courses taught: WRT 105, 205, 303, 307, and 670



Tessa Brown
Tessa is a PhD candidate in the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric program. Before coming to Syracuse, she worked as a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Michigan for two years. She also holds an MFA in Creative Writing - Fiction from Michigan. She originally hails from Chicago and loves novels, yoga, and rap music











The Syracuse University Writing Center
Last modified: January 26, 2017
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