Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center

Written Products: Request for Review

The staff at UROC are happy to review your written products for applications such as graduate school essays and statements of purpose for research experiences, awards, fellowships, conference abstracts, research competition papers, etc.

Here you'll find the protocol for what to do before you ask a UROC staff member to review documents.

Before you ask for a review

Please complete the following questions and submit them (either as a list in the body of your email or as an attached document) with your document when you email a UROC staff member.

  1. A self-evaluation series of questions.
  2. A cover page with a summary of your self-evaluation.

Self-evaluation questions

  • Where am I in the drafting process? (First and second drafts should not be submitted)
  • What in this paper do I feel least confident in?
  • What do I think my paper is trying to say?
  • If I had to take something out of my paper what would it be? Why?
  • If I could add anything to my paper, what would it be? Why haven’t I done it?
  • How do I want to sound in this paper? What kind of person do I want my reader to think I am?
  • Think about your intent. Are you looking for instructions or someone to help you make choices? (Reviewers help make choices)
  • Where you are in the writing process?
  • What are the strengths of this document?
  • Areas that need work?
  • What feedback would you like from the reviewer (submit up to three questions)?
  • How would you rate yourself using the Shared Criteria (link below) in the categories of Focus, Development/Support, Organization, Mechanics, Assignment prompt?

A note about formatting your written document

Don't forget to include the following formatting items in your written document:

  • Page numbers on your document (if more than one page)
  • Place your name on the first page (use headers on multiple pages)
  • Save your file with your last name and title of document
  • Attach the prompt (or link to the prompt), so we know exactly what you are writing for.

Why are you doing this? Because asking good questions leads to good feedback

Don't ask a general question: “What do you think?” You'll get two types of feedback--super general (“I like it.”) or super specific (resulting in major edits). Don't ask: “Is there anything I need to fix?”

What makes a question “good” in this context is that it is thoughtful–meaning both that the reader has to think to answer it, and that the answer will make you think. Questions with a simple answer will make it harder for you to take that simple answer and turn it into a plan for your paper.

The more specific in scope your question, the more likely it’ll lead to useful feedback, but here are a few ideas about the kinds of questions that can get helpful, challenging answers.

  • What do you think I’m trying to say?
  • What do you want to hear more about?
  • What do you find confusing?
  • What am I saying in paragraph 4?
  • Do I give enough examples to support the claim I make in this section?
  • Does my voice on this page come across as sarcastic or uninformed?

Remember: Your writing is Yours. Reviewers help writers through suggestions. At the end of the day, the writer and sole owner of a piece of work. Reviewers help writers by helping them to make good choices.

When we meet to review your work

Following our review, we will ask you to arrange a meeting with us to discuss our feedback. In this meeting, please expect and be prepared to do the following:

  • Edit and annotate your own work, which requires you to bring a hard-copy of your latest draft.
  • Take written notes of the feedback we provide as we talk with you.
  • Read your work aloud (a handy proofreading tool you may want to do before meeting with us).
  • Identify in your written paragraphs the sentences that are the Point, the Information and the Explanation (P.I.E. Paragraphs), explained in the document here:

How to set up a meeting with a UROC staff

  • Once you have completed the pre-meeting work above and are ready to meet, please email one of the following staff to set up an appointment:
  • Bridgette Clarkston, Curriculum Associate
  • Carla Fresquez, Research Associate
  • Natasha Oehlman, Writing and Professional Communication Associate
  • Heather Haeger, Assessment and Education Research Associate

Thank you, and happy writing!