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One Direction Up Close And Personal Review Essays

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Single EditOne-on-one serviceSupplemental Essays

We have helped over 4,500 PA school applicants just like you (see just some of the testimonials and comments below). We are ready to help today. Our current PA school essay review service status: Accepting New Submissions

(Photo: Me circa 1987 just thinking about my future PA School Essay)

  • Are you struggling to write your physician assistant personal statement?
  • Are you out of ideas, or just need a second opinion?
  • Do you want an essay that expresses who you truly are and grabs the readers attention in the required 5,000 character limit?

We are here to help

I have written several times on this blog about the importance of your personal statement in the PA school application process. In fact, the personal statement is the single most important aspect of your entire application.

It is your chance to shine; it is what differentiates you from the pack. This is your time to express yourself, to show your creativity, your skills, background and make a memorable impression in a matter of seconds.

This will be your only chance, so it is imperative that you get it right the first time.

For some time now I have been dreaming about starting a physician assistant personal statement collaborative.

A place where PA school applicants can post brilliant works of imaginative literature and receive honest, constructive feedback... as well as an acceptance letter to the PA school of your choice!

I have been reviewing a ton of essays recently, so many in fact that I can no longer do this on my own.

To solve this problem, I have assembled a team of professional writers that worked to revise and perfect my PA school application essay.

Sue Edmondson is an award-winning freelance writer who has written in Northern Nevada and Northern California since 1999. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as Edible Reno-Tahoe, Reno Magazine, reno.com, Enjoy, Family Pulse and RLife, and the Reno Gazette Journal and Mountain Echo newspapers. She dabbles in fiction, has sold several children’s short stories and was awarded first place for short fiction by the Reno News and Review. Edmondson is the co-author of “How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement,” for which she interviewed Admissions Directors and faculty from top physician assistant programs across the country. Her other career is as an attorney and judicial officer. After spending several years practicing family law, she spent the next 19 years at the District Attorney’s Office before serving as a family court master for eight years.

See what Sue has to say about working with PA applicants
"I am two for two so far with interview invites even at a top program in the country. This is my second cycle. My first cycle had no interview invites with 11 applications submitted. Your service with just these interviews so far is easily worth the price. Thank you!" Mary Arellano, Pre-PA

"I am very pleased with the services provided! I received an email almost immediately upon submitting my essay for review, and within 24 hours my essay review was completed. I would definitely recommend this service to any PA school applicant before they submit their essay to CASPA!" - Jessie Wallen, F Pre-PA

"The comments and edits made by Sue are exceptional! They've helped a lot in terms of helping me express my thoughts more clearly and effectively. It felt as if she was there with me, reading my thoughts and helping me with the entire process in person!" Jennifer Simmons, Pre-PA

"Sue was a huge help with my essay. Her edits made my essay sound much better grammatically and she pointed out some content problems I completely missed. She prompted me to write a few more paragraphs before her edit and added the information to my essay. That made a big difference. She is very knowledgeable about what PA programs were looking for. I am really happy with your service. Worth every penny, THANKS!" Josephine Peters, Pre-PA

"Sue was absolutely amazing. She had responded to me the day after I submitted my essay for review to inform me that she had received my essay and to ask a few questions. I had responded to her a few hours later, and she immediately responded to inform me my essay would be ready the next day with her suggestions and edits. With this being said less than 24 hours later, Sue emailed me an edited essay, comments and explanations about her edits, and a clean copy of my essay. I was amazed and extremely satisfied with Sue's timeliness and with how helpful she was. I could not be happier, and I thank Sue so much for her time and efforts. I would recommend this service (and Sue in particular) to anyone applying to PA school that needs a little help with their PA statement." Sharron Hardin, Pre-PA

Carly Hallman is a professional writer and editor with a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric (summa cum laude) from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She has worked as a curriculum developer, English teacher, and study abroad coordinator in Beijing, China, where she moved in 2011. In college, she was a Gilman Scholar and worked as a staff editor for her university's academic journal. Her first novel, Year of the Goose, was published in 2015, and her first memoir is forthcoming from Little A books. Her essays and creative writing have appeared in The L.A. Review of Books, The Guardian, LitHub, and Identity Theory, among other publications.

Here is what some of our clients have to say about working with Carly
"I am mind-blown by my editor Carly's work. My original essay is like an ill-fitting suit. She hemmed and adjusted it in all the right places and now it looks perfect. I don't think I'm a bad writer, but I don't write often and I have spent the past 10 years of my life focused on health sciences. I may have never been able to do this on my own. Thank you, thank you, I consider this essay service a bargain." - Andy, PA-S

"Carly's edit was absolutely fantastic. When we began, my personal statement was mostly complete in content, but the flow was choppy, and there was some awkward phrasing. Her first edit transformed my essay into a smooth, compellingly clear piece of work, and I am very proud of it." - Steven Montague, Pre-PA

"Carly was fantastic and provided excellent comments and revisions. The turnover was less than 24 hours which is amazing. Thank you so much, you conveyed what I was trying to say but couldn't find the words to do so!" - Andrew, Pre-PA

"Carly did an amazing job of strengthening my essay while still keeping it mine. All of her advice was clear and left me with enough guidance to feel confident I could further edit/add to it on my own." - Ariella, Pre-PA

Sarah Schultz honed her writing and editing skills as a professional grant writer for nonprofit healthcare and education organizations. A true word nerd, she holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English Literature from Murray State University, where she was a Jesse Stuart Fellow. She is the author of seven comedic plays and her first novel will be published in 2018.

Here is what some of our clients have to say about working with Sarah
"Sarah is phenomenal! I can tell she spent a great deal of time working on my essay because the edits are above and beyond. Would recommend her and this service to everyone!" - Danielle, Pre-PA

"Sarah did such an excellent job editing my personal statement that I wanted her expertise for my supplemental essays. I've had multiple interview invites so far. I'm so glad I used this service, and I'm so glad I had Sarah's help! She really took my essays to a whole new level and had good suggestions. I'm recommending her to my peers." - Emily Crenshaw, Pre-PA

"Sarah is awesome! I am so glad I made the decision to have my essay edited with this service. Money well spent! She made my essay flawless and gave me more confidence with my essay. Thank you so much!" - Annabelle, Pre-PA

"Finding the right words for reviewing Sarah being assigned to my one-on-one editing service is quite a challenging task. Simply, since Sarah goes above and beyond her job. She has been the best help that could have been sent my way during the hardest part of the application process. Before I start about how she helped with my essay, I would like to say a few things about Sarah. She is a gem of a human. There are some people you don’t meet or need to meet, to sense that they are truly caring humans. Sarah really has been a coach throughout this process. She didn’t treat me like a business and understood how important this is to me. I must admit that while purchasing this service I thought I would be just another essay to edit. I thought I would have to beg to get my questions answered or constantly email to get my stuff back in before the deadline. I was so wrong! I wasn’t treated like just another number in the pile of essays to edit, I was really given the personal editing service and a whole lot of words of encouragement in between. There was never a time when Sarah didn’t say words of positivity to me. She understood how much I’m struggling to put the pieces of my essay, which made sense in my head, on paper. I have visited a lot of pa program open house sessions and every single one stressed the importance of a good personal statement. I guess that is why I was so stressed about the statement because I knew it played just as much of a factor with my GPA, hours and GRE. I wanted to show why I want to be a PA, that I really love caring for people and I wanted to present my unique story in a way that makes sense. Keeping those things in mind, I came to Sarah with not even a complete draft. She helped me from beginning to end. She did whatever she could, whether those be emails or extra phone sessions, to ensure I could write exactly what I wanted to say. I cannot even imagine what I would have wrote without Sarah’s help. I was mentioning to Sarah that in addition to my healthcare experience, I have marine biology research experience and was going to mention that in my essay. I was going to relate my dissections on marine animals to my desire to be a PA. Now that would have been a fishy situation for anyone comprehending my dedication to be a PA. Thankfully, with Sarah’s help, I only wrote about my surgical patient care experiences and not the ones of the sea, haha! I bought this service three weeks before the deadline, in a desperate attempt of seeking help. I wish I could go back in time and seek this help sooner and tell myself that I don’t have to be stuck all alone in this. In three weeks, Sarah took what wasn’t even a draft and helped me turn it into an essay that I know speaks volume of my desire to be a future PA. Never once was I ever rushed and I turned in everything before the deadline. Seeing the result of my personal statement, it was no doubt to me that I would be working with Sarah for my supplemental essays. To me Sarah is the real one saving lives here, she’s helping people like me get into PA school.  Best writing coach I ever had!" - Sabura Aleem, Pre-PA

We Work as a Team

Duke is an excellent editor and is wonderful at cutting out the "fluff" that makes an essay lose focus and sets people over the 5,000 character limit.  As a state assessor, his advice is always spot-on.

Sue is an amazingly creative writer who will take your "ordinary" and turn it into entirely extraordinary.

I mean it when I say this service is one-of-a-kind! We have spent hours interviewing PA School admissions directors and faculty from across the country to find out exactly what it is they are looking for in your personal statement.

We even wrote a book about it.

To collaborate, we use Google Drive.  Google Drive is free, has an intuitive interface with integrated live comments in the sidebar,  the ability to have a real-time chat, to collaborate effortlessly and compare, revise or restore revisions on the fly.  Google Drive also has an excellent mobile app that will allow you to make edits on the go!

Duke, Sue and I have teamed together and worked with hundreds of applicants within the Google Drive environment.  We have had great success, and it has been a wonderfully rewarding experience.

The Physician Assistant Essay and Personal Statement Collaborative

Read more client testimonials

I have set up two options that I hope will offer everyone a chance to participate:

  1. Private, paid personal statement review service  
  2. A collaborative free one (in the comments section)

Private, One-On-One Personal Statement Review Service

If you are interested in the paid service, you may choose your plan below.

Read more client testimonials.

Free Personal Statement Review

We love working with PA school applicants, but don't just take our word for it!

How to submit your essay for the paid service

If you are serious and would like to have real, focused and personalized help writing your personal statement please choose your level of service and submit your payment below.

After you have submitted your payment, you will be redirected to the submissions page where you can send us your essay as well as any special instructions.  We will contact you immediately upon receipt of your payment and essay so we may begin work right away.

Pricing is as follows:


One Time Edit (average 48-72 hour turnaround): $135

The Personal Statement: One Time Edit

A one-time edit consists of so much more than a typical correction of grammar and spelling.

Not only do we correct those mistakes, we highlight issues such as the need for transitions and additional information, and identify awkward writing, flow or theme problems.

To ensure your essay shines, we will illustrate ways to address all these issues. We may also request additional information before editing to offer suggestions to make your essay complete.

You may add additional edits with our discounted rate of $30 per edit, or choose the one-on-one service that includes up to four hours of phone consultation and real-time collaboration.

Our goal is to help you make your essay unique.  We look forward to working with you.

FREE Bonus ($65 value): Everyone who purchases our service receives a free copy of How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement e-book, audiobook, and workbook + our brand new book, 101 PA School Essays.

One-On-One Editing Service: $345

1 On 1 Personal Statement Editing

One on one personal editing consists of a written edit and a series of personal discussions on the phone with our most experienced editors.

We will continue to edit your essay with you until we (you and the editor) believe your essay is polished enough to send to a PA school and give you a much better opportunity to get an interview.  (Read the reviews by many of our previous clients.)

A one time edit is very helpful, but nothing works better than reviewing your essay many times and making tweaks to improve it.

Here are the steps we follow:

  1. You will be assigned a professional editor.
  2. We read your essay the first time and cross out unnecessary words, phrases, and sentences as well as make suggestions and comments.
  3. We share the essay with you and have you rewrite it by following our suggestions and eliminating the crossed out words, sentences, and phrases.  The whole purpose is to get our first working copy.  Google Docs keeps a history of everything we do so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your original essays.
  4. We will set up a time to meet; we'll call you on the phone, and work on the essay together using Google Docs.  We examine your new working copy of your essay one paragraph at a time.  Your input is welcome throughout this process.  If we believe you essay is missing something, we will have you add it.  Your answers make it possible for us to clarify items which may be vague or unclear to the PA essay readers and give us an opportunity to have you add to your essay if necessary.  Our goal is always to make sure your essay remains yours and not ours.
  5. You rewrite the essay one more time, and then we do the same thing all over again until we think your essay is good enough to get you an interview.

Our goal is to make your essay unique.  We look forward to working with you.

FREE Bonus: Everyone who purchases our one-on-one service will get a free copy of How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement e-book, audiobook, and workbook + our brand new book 101 PA School Essays a $65 value.

Supplemental applications are a gift to you as an applicant, and you should view them as an opportunity to showcase personal traits and life experiences that may have been omitted in your CASPA application.

Supplemental applications should not reflect anything in your CASPA application and nothing should be repeated from your personal narrative. If you start to deviate from the question as the paragraph continues, you are not answering the question.

Find out what you want to tell the admissions team because you usually only have 300-500 words to explain yourself, although schools some may have higher word maximums.

We offer one-of-a-kind supplemental essay editing and revision based on years of experience working with 100's of PA school applicants like yourself.

We use a tiered pricing structure that is based on character and word count so that you pay only for what you need.

Choose your plan then click "Buy Now" to submit your essay and we will get started right away!

Every purchase includes a FREE digital copy of our new 100-page e-book How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement, Our 101 PA School Admission Essays e-book, the expert panel audiobook and companion workbook. This is a $65 value included for free with your purchase.

All credit card payments are processed via PayPal over a secure HTTPS server. Once your payment is processed you will be immediately redirected back to the essay submission page. There you will submit your essay along with some biographical info and all suggestions or comments you choose to provide. You will receive immediate confirmation that your essay has been securely transmitted as well as your personal copy of "How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement." Contact [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or problems - I am available 24/7.

The hourly service includes your original edit and one-on-one time over Google Drive, it is simple to add more time if necessary but you may be surprised on what a difference just a single edit can make. We find our four-hour service to be the most effective in terms of time for follow-up and full collaboration. We are open to reduced rate add-on's to suit your individual needs.

Writing and Revision

How to submit your essay for the FREE service

Follow the rules above and get to work below in the comments section. I look forward to reading all your essay submissions.

- Stephen

View all posts in this series
  • How to Write the Perfect Physician Assistant School Application Essay
  • The Physician Assistant Essay and Personal Statement Collaborative
  • Do You Recognize These 7 Common Mistakes in Your Personal Statement?
  • 7 Essays in 7 Days: PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 1, “A PA Changed My Life”
  • PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 2, “I Want to Move Towards the Forefront of Patient Care”
  • PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 3, “She Smiled, Said “Gracias!” and Gave me a Big Hug”
  • PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 4, “I Have Gained so Much Experience by Working With Patients”
  • PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 5, “Then Reach, my Son, and Lift Your People up With You”
  • PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 6, “That First Day in Surgery was the First Day of the Rest of my Life”
  • PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 7, “I Want to Take People From Dying to Living, I Want to Get Them Down From the Cliff.”
  • Physician Assistant Personal Statement Workshop: “To say I was an accident-prone child is an understatement”
  • 9 Simple Steps to Avoid Silly Spelling and Grammar Goofs in Your PA School Personel Statement
  • 5 Tips to Get you Started on Your Personal Essay (and why you should do it now)
  • How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement The Book!
  • How to Write “Physician Assistant” The PA Grammar Guide
  • 101 PA School Admissions Essays: The Book!
  • 5 Things I’ve Learned Going Into My Fourth Physician Assistant Application Cycle
  • 7 Tips for Addressing Shortcomings in Your PA School Personal Statement

Schedule a Live Recorded PA School Video Interview

We offer 45-minute mock PA school interviews with post-interview feedback and advice. Includes a recorded video of your interview that you can watch, download or share with family and friends. There is no better way to prepare!

Schedule an Interview
I just wanted to reach out an let you that I actually got into PA school this year! Out of the 10 programs I applied to, four offered me interviews. The first interview wound up being my top choice and they offered me a spot. I accept and declined all my other interviews. So I am absolutely overjoyed! I wanted to let you know though. Your editing and help, no doubt, helped me get through the initial phase. Thank you so much! I am truly grateful.
I just wanted to let you know I interviewed and got accepted to my top choice!! Thank you so much for your help with my essay this cycle, it obviously made a huge difference and I am so excited to start this journey. You do a great service and I am so grateful for it!
I cannot even believe it but they just called me with the acceptance offer to the * program!!! First of all, I would like to thank you for helping me along my journey!! I could not have done this without your help!
I just got accepted to one of my top three school choices!
This is money well spent because not only did I receive an interview from my top choice of Pace University, but I was just accepted into their program!
Just thought I would give you a quick update. I was accepted at * and *. I still have another interview coming up, so not certain just yet where I will be going. The good news is, I AM GOING SOMEWHERE!!!!!! Thank you again for all your help!
Hello, I wanted to let you know how this application season was going for me so far. I’ve had two interviews, still have at least three more scheduled, and I received my first acceptance last week. Thank you again for your help!
Hello, I just wanted to inform you that I got into * Pa program! I will be starting in January. Thanks so much for your help with my essay. Definitely, money well spent.
I am so grateful I found The PA Life during my application process. Our collaboration allowed my personal essay to shine and truly exemplify my motivation, inspiration, and experiences that have paved my pathway and passion for becoming a PA. I highly recommend this service. In a sea of applications, it is crucial your essay stands out, Duke will accomplish this! I have received numerous interviews and several acceptances!
Wanted to let you know that I just got accepted into my 1st choice PA program. Thank you so much for your help with my essay. I’m sure it made my application stronger and helped me secure one of the seats!
I finally have fantastic news. So first of all, in total, I was offered 13 interviews. I was just offered a seat at Nova Orlando! I am finally going to be a PA and a big part of that was from all of your help with my personal statement. So thank you very much for helping me succeed during this round.Jennifer. PA-S
I wanted to give a brief update: I have had 4 interviews, 2 acceptances, 1 waitlist, and waiting on one more. Right now, I have a deposit down at Univ. of Texas Medical Branch. Thanks for all your help. It really did make a difference, and I was even complimented on my narrative during a few interviews.Andrew S. PA-S
I am extremely pleased with this service. It is precisely the kind of constructive criticism I was hoping to receive. I had my essay reviewed by "myparesources" and was not very satisfied with their general comments. Sue put a lot of time and effort and gave me concrete examples of how to change my essay for the better. I WILL recommend this service over all others. Thank you so much!Joe. Pre-PA

The Personal Statement Review Service is:

  • Behind closed doors within a private secure network using Google Drive.
  • Completely interactive, meaning we will be able to provide real-time comments and corrections using the Google Drive interface.
  • Telephone consultations are included with all edits above the single edit level.  It's often hard to communicate exactly what you want 100's of miles away; for this reason, we offer the option to edit right along with us over the telephone while sharing in real-time over Google Drive.  This is an option available to all our paid clients who purchase above the single edit level.
  • We provide both revision and editing of all essays. What's the difference? See below
  • We will provide feedback, advice and help with brainstorming and topic creation if you would like.
  • We will help with a "final touch up" before the big day just in case your essay needs a few minor changes.

Why Choose Our Service?

  • It's not our opinion that matters. We have gone the extra step and personally interviewed PA school administrators from across the US to find out exactly what they think makes a personal statement exceptional.
  • We are a team of PAs and professional writers having worked over five years with PA school applicants like yourself, providing countless hours of one-on-one service.
  • Our clients receive interviews, and many go on to receive acceptance into their PA School of choice.

Because we always give 100%, we will open the essay collaborative for a limited number of applicants each month and then close this depending on the amount of editing that needs to be done and the time that is available.

Our goal is not quantity, but quality.We want only serious applicants, who are serious about getting into PA school.

Writing is not a tool like a piece of software, but more like how a photograph can capture your mood. It’s more like art. The process of developing a unique, memorable personal statement is time intensive, and it takes hours to compose, edit, finalize and personalize an essay.

Antoinette Bosco once said:

Time isn't a commodity, something you pass around like a cake. Time is the substance of life. When anyone asks you to give your time, they’re really asking for a chunk of your life.

And this is why I am charging for this service. We love helping people find the stories that define their lives, and we love helping individuals who have the passion to achieve their dreams. It's hard to describe the feeling I get when an applicant writes me back to tell me they were accepted into PA school.

There is no price tag I can place on this; it's the feeling we get when we help another human being, it's just like providing health care. But, this takes time.

Interested? Choose your plan below.

I've been telling everybody that I come into contact with about the incredible value of your service and that I directly attribute your editing as a reason I got into two schools this academic cycle and received 8 invitations to interview. All the best!Jeremy Cohen, PA-S
I just wanted to take the time to comment on the services I received from the PA Life. I was extremely stressed out about writing my personal statement and finally decided to search the internet for advice and assistance. I came across the personal statement editing service on the PA Life and decided to give it a try. I received a response within a day or so, and my stress was instantly relieved. I worked personally with Duke to edit my statement, and he is a phenomenal writer. He didn't change the content of my personal statement, but rather helped me tell my story in a way that is much more desirable! I cannot recommend this service enough to others seeking help on their personal statement. Duke was friendly, sincere, and definitely experienced! I felt 100% confident in his editing abilities, and we worked together the entire time so that we were both pleased with the results! Thanks again, Duke, for all of your help!Chelsie, K.

Post your essay in the comments section for a free critique

We want to make this opportunity available to everyone who would like help with their essay, and that is why we are offering free, limited feedback on the blog.

You post your essay in the comments section, and you will get our critique. It is that easy. We will try to give feedback to every single person who posts their COMPLETE essay here on this blog post in the comments section.

Also, by posting your comment, we reserve the right to use your essay

We will provide feedback on essays that are complete and fit the CASPA requirements (View CASPA requirements here). We will not provide feedback on partial essays, or review opening or closing statements. Your essay will be on a public platform, which has both its benefits and some obvious drawbacks. The feedback is limited, but we will try to help in any way we can.

Note: Comment Rules:Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, I will delete your stuff.  Otherwise, have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! And this should go without saying if you feel the need to plagiarize someone else's content you do not deserve to go to PA school.

* Also, depending on the time of year it may take me several weeks to reply!

Your editing and suggestions helped me out immensely!!! I cannot thank you enough for spending extra time to help make my essay really stand out, but I can tell you that it helped me land an interview with every program that I applied to and I was accepted into my top choice PA program! Jared Shaw, PA-S
I just wanted to reach out to you and say thank you again.  I was offered admissions to my number one school.  Who knows if this could've been possible without your help in revising my personal statement. Ashley, PA-S
Awesome service! Duke did a great job editing my personal statement and his feedback was top notch. For the 2015 cycle, I applied to one school. I was selected for an interview and yesterday I received an offer of admission which I quickly accepted. I know my personal statement played a huge role in my success. I highly recommend this service. Read more client testimonials. Nikki Reynolds, PA-S
I am writing this because I wanted to share with you that I have been accepted to the University of Iowa PA program. I would like to once again thank you for your insight and guidance while writing my personal statement, it came at just the right time.Eugene V.PA-S
I have recently been accepted to a program that was one of my top choices, and I also was waitlisted with two other schools. I wanted to thank you again for all your help. Not only am I grateful for your knowledge of writing and grammar (which were invaluable), but most importantly your kind words and motivation, which I needed so much at the time. You're a great person!Alex Taylor, PA-S
I worked closely with Duke and Sue for the revisions on my personal statement. They must have edited my original version half a dozen times before they felt it was good enough to send off and never made it seem like an inconvenience. They always responded to my e-mails within a 24-hour time frame but usually got back to me within a few hours. I am very pleased with how my personal statement turned out thanks to all of their time, ideas and direction. The service the PA Life provides is well worth the money spent!Michelle Murphy, Pre-PA
Duke helped me with my personal essay writing for PA school. He was very patient and helpful with me. I made lots of mistake in my essay, but with Duke's help, I was able to write a sensible essay which was good enough to get Interview calls. I highly recommend his service.Rajni, Pre-PA
I am very happy with your service and would highly recommend it to any PA applicant. Duke helped me to put my thoughts in order and to make significant changes. My personal statement sounds great and seems easy and interesting to read now.He took a lot of time to explain his way of thinking and to understand what I am trying to say. Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate what you are doing for others.Olga, Pre-PA
I was so glad that I chose to use the personal statement collaborative service.  Duke turned it (my essay) from long, rambling, and scattered to a much more concise, well-written essay. I really feel as though it represents me well! Duke always responded quickly and I felt as though I got a lot of value for the money. Thank you! Jennifer, Pre-PA
I was extremely happy with this service and would recommend it to anyone applying for PA school! I am just waiting for the schools I applied to receive the final pieces of my applications.  Thank you so much for your help! Hailey, Pre-PA

All writing benefits from rewriting when done well.

When you are in the process of writing a draft of an essay, you should be thinking first about revision, not editing.

What's the difference?

Revision refers to substantial changing of text.  For example, it may include re-organizing ideas and paragraphs, providing additional examples or information and rewriting a conclusion for clarity.

Editing, on the other hand, refers to correcting mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

On all submissions, we perform both, revision and editing.

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How to review a play

Preparing to Write a Play Review

Below are some tips to help you prepare to write a play review:

The Nature of the Assignment

Because the performance of any play is such an ephemeral experience, writing a play review can be an exciting, though difficult, task. You have to be both spectator taking in and enjoying the performance and critical analyst of the production itself. You have to be able to provide a very brief summary of the play, a close objective analysis of the performance you attend, and an interpretation and evaluation of the entire ensemble of staging, acting, directing, and so on.

The review assignment asks you to analyze in an objective manner the relative success or failure of a given production. Note that you are not asked simply to summarize the plot or give an opinion regarding the text of the play being mounted; your review must be grounded in the production itself. Your job is to describe the production accurately, and then to render a value judgment of it based upon what you have seen and what you expected. The assignment will test your skill as a reader of the play and as an observer and critic of the production.

In addition to grounding your review on the production you witness, you must be careful to limit your review to a few essential observations in support of your thesis (which will be discussed below). You must concentrate on a few important ideas and aspects of the production and focus your attention on only what you consider the most significant parts of the production itself. Unlike a newspaper review, which can be loosely structured and superficial, your assignment is quite definite. You are not asked to cover a wide variety of production elements (i.e. performance of every actor, every costume change, every set change, every directorial decision, and so on); instead, the assignment demands that you develop a few key ideas in thoughtful detail.

Remember, too, that your stance is to be objective and critical, not impressionistic and merely nasty. A critic is not someone who simply "criticizes," but a person who studies, analyzes, and then renders a rational judgment of what he/she has seen. Your tone will be very important in making your review reliable and intelligent.

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Before You Attend the Production

Read the play before going to the production. (It is important to be prepared for the production you plan to attend; otherwise, you run the risk of having to see it several times.)

  • In your mind, have a good sense of how a "standard" production might look, complete with a sense of what the characters might look like, the type of costuming that might be used, a suitable set design, and an appropriate rendering of the theme and tone of the work.

  • Pick out, as you read, several critical or problematic points within the play that may be of particular interest to watch for in the production you are about to attend. If your instructor has asked you to pay particular attention to certain elements, make sure that you are prepared to recognize them in performance.

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Attending the Production

Attend the play with an open mind, a willingness to accept the play as the director has presented it in production.

  • Note any deviations from your concept of a "standard" production and try to find a good explanation for that deviation. (Is the director trying to "say" something new or different? Was your sense of the play somehow inaccurate, or were you shown new insights by the director's production?)
  • You may want to consider some of the following:
    • Why the choice of costumes, and why the set design?
    • How did the actors deliver their lines (seriously, comically, realistically, formally)? Were there any significant actions or gestures that contributed to the play's meaning?
    • Were any "special effects" utilized (consider lighting, sound, audience participation, machinery)?
    • Were any significant cuts made in the script?

After the performance, jot down the details you recall and talk about the performance with friends. You'll need these details for your paper in order to substantiate your argument.

Evaluate the performance.

  • Did the director miss any important opportunities to convey something you were able to see in your reading of the play?
  • Would you have liked to have seen more attention paid to what you perceived as critical passages, passages the director seemed less interested in?
  • Why would you have preferred this attention, and why do you think the director avoided giving the passage such attention?

Consider the following practical aspects:

  • What kind of stage does the director have at his disposal? What kinds of restrictions does the stage impose on the director concerning movement and set design?
  • Are the actors professionals, amateurs, or students? What restrictions does this impose on the director? Are the actors capable of dealing with the script's requirements? (Be fair to the actors in your assessment of their talents and the level of their "craftsmanship.")

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Writing the Review

Below are some tips for writing play reviews:

Writing the Introduction

The introduction should include the following:

  • The title of the play, the name of the playwright, and any pertinent historical information regarding them (other similar works from this period? by this writer?).
  • The name of the director, the place and date of the production you attended, and the name of the production company (again, do you know of any previous work by this company? this director?).
  • The thesis of your review, which should include (possibly in more than a single statement) the following:
    • A general impression of the relative success or failure of the production, based on what you actually saw and on your initial impression of how the play should have been performed.

      (Note that even if the production did not exactly coincide with your own conception of the play, you should not feel obliged to condemn the performance outright. Be open-minded and willing to weigh pros and cons.)

      Examples:

      Papp's production of Lear captured all the horror of a world where love can't be counted on and where life is nasty, brutish, and appallingly short.

      (Note that this thesis asserts that Papp captured the essence of what is in the text itself -- the expectations set up by the thesis are that the reviewer will then analyze the methods by which the director achieved this effect.)

      Smith's You Can't Take It With You made me sympathize with the notion that freedom must permit eccentricity and even, to a point, endorse it. Without that sympathy, the play would have been reduced to pure chaos and would have failed to portray an American ideal of freedom.

      (This thesis suggests that "sympathy" was the director's intention. Note also that the reviewer gives a strong indication of what he/she expected to find in the production.)

    • Since you will not be expected to discuss all aspects of the production, focus your thesis on one or two major concerns that the performance has or has not addressed. Read your assignment carefully to find out which aspects of the performance are to be emphasized in your review.

      Example:

      In You Can't Take It With You, the acting by the family members on the open, exposed stage displayed an innocent and vigorous freedom, as well as a proud independence in their confrontation with accepted norms of behavior.

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Writing the Statement and Summary

Include a brief thematic summary (but not a plot summary) of the play, and support that summary with concrete evidence from the text.

You can include this summary in the introduction; or, if you wish to expand the summary, include it in a separate paragraph following the introduction.

Writing the Body of the Paper: The Review

Remember that in the body of the paper you are obliged to deal specifically with each element of the production that you mentioned in the introduction and thesis.

In order to give your review a tight internal logic and cohesiveness, you should also discuss these elements in the order that you outlined in the introduction. Such points of discussion might include the non-technical (acting, directing) and/or the technical (lighting, scenery, costumes) aspects of the production.

For each element that you discuss:

  • Describe: In as brief and precise a manner as possible, describe in detail the physical aspects of what you saw performed. Keep in mind at all times that whatever you include must in some way contribute to the assertion you made in your introduction and thesis. Focus on particular scenes or performances that will provide the evidence for your final evaluation of the play.

    Example:

    The tempest scene in Lear utilized a particularly hostile set in order to universalize the suffering depicted throughout the play. The lights were dimmed and the backdrop was flat black. Against this backdrop were propped, in no particular order, seven skulls that looked out over the events to come.

    (Note the vivid description of what was seen, and the use of detail to convey that vividness. The passage will work nicely as evidence for an overall, positive evaluation of the production.)

  • Interpret, Analyze, Evaluate: This part of the paper requires the most thought and organization and consequently receives the most attention from your reader. After you have finished describing important elements of the production, proceed to evaluate them.

    For example, you would need to answer the following questions regarding the last description of Lear:
    • Why were the lights dimmed at the beginning of the scene? (shock effect? slow unfolding of horror?)
    • Why was the backdrop painted black? (contrast? mood?)
    • Why was there no order to the skulls? Why seven? (emblem of disorder or chaos? significance in number?)

    In other words, assume that everything used in production has significance, but don't panic if you cannot find "answers" for all the questions raised by what you see in the production.

    In the evaluation, you are given the opportunity to attack as well as commend the performance; if the production fails to answer questions that you feel need answers, then say so. If the question or problems are relatively minor, ignore them. Don't quibble at the expense of missing the more important concerns.

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Writing the Summary and Conclusion

Your conclusion should not merely recapitulate your thesis in a mechanical way.

Rather, you should try to show why your response to the play is valid and significant, based on what you have described in the body of the paper.

Do not add any significant new material, but don't be afraid to leave your reader with something to think about.

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For further information you may wish take the Writing Center workshop entitled Literary Analysis?: No Problem!.