Copyediting or proofreading is part of a larger process called revision, a process that is worth thinking about. Copyediting deals with surface changes; that is with changes that don't alter the meaning of a text. Since there are so many things a writer can do to a text and, often, so little time, it makes sense to make those changes that will make the meaning of your writing more clear to a reader before focusing on surface changes. Still, a paper must be proofread before it is handed in to an academic audience. In college, great ideas only get a writer so far. What follows is a process that many writers use to make certain that their writing is ready for a critical audience.
Finish a draft or at least part of a draft before you consider revising at any level--otherwise you may never get anything finished.
Of course, you will always start with the most serious meaning-blocking issues and work down:
Eventually, you will work your way down to the level of sentences and format, the level at which you will "copyedit." When you focus on sentences and format, there are several things you will need to consider:
Questions, comments, and other sundry things may be sent to CSUwriting@csuohio.edu