Freelance Academic Writer | What to Know Before Applying to a Job?

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Freelance academic writing is a field that is growing by the day. It gives people the opportunity to earn a handsome amount by putting their skills to use and working from the comfort of their homes. Before applying for a job as a freelance academic writer, you just need to make use of the skills you have.

Statistics show that around 58 million people in the US earn through freelancing. Each year, the number of freelancers is increasing, and a significant chunk of this comes from academic writing.

freelancers stats in US market

This is a very promising statistic that shows that the future of this industry indeed seems to be very bright.

What is freelance academic writing?

So, what really is academic writing? It is a formal style of writing for universities ad other scholarly publications. A lot of students these days struggle with tasks like essays, reports and projects. That is where freelance academic writers come in and do their job. They help students with their academic assignments, creating ease for them so that they can score better.

However, we can't ignore the fact that there are many backlashes that freelance academic writers face. Critics argue that this job is against the standards of the academic world. But at the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that there are people who need a lot of help.

Sometimes, they don't have any other avenue to ask for help since they can't even get relevant help from their schools. That is when they choose to get help from freelance academic writers, who help them easily get through with what they want. Therefore, it's not only a question of money; it's a question of assistance for those in need.

If you plan on starting off as a freelance academic writer, you should know that there are many options for you. For example, if you are not a world-known expert in writing but have excellent grammar skills, the structure of texts, and other aspects of writing, you can try working as a freelance proofreader or something similar.

Not just that, but the industry is very lucrative. It is only continuing to grow over time. But before you begin, here are a few things that you should know before applying for a job.

What to Know Before Becoming a Freelance Academic Writer?

Here are a few essential things you need to know before kickstarting your career as a freelance academic writer. 

Stick to Your Area of Expertise

There are obviously some subjects that you are good at. However, you possibly can't be good at everything, right? It has to be either what you have studied or what you are specifically interested in. So it is recommended that you stick to your niche to give your best to what you do.


For example, you are more likely to land a gig for a marketing report if you have a degree in marketing. Someone looking to get a mathematics assignment help will hire a math expert and not someone who has a degree in history.

So if you stick to what your niche is, you are likely to get better and polish your skills. Not just that, but you also have higher chances of getting more gigs. When you continue to do better in your area of expertise, naturally, more people will hire you because your ratings will improve too. Here is where word of mouth starts working. People will begin to recommend you to others, and you will get more academic writing jobs.

One other primary reason why you should stick to your area of expertise is that you will also be much more comfortable handling those tasks. When you do what you are good at, you can get it done in the best possible way as well. So don't waste your time trying to get unrelated tasks. Instead, focus on getting better at your area of expertise.

Update Your CV

You need to update your CV, mentioning all relevant things on it. Remember that this is what attracts the potential client. According to statistics, there are many aspects that employers and their HR departments are checking in your CV.

aspects of a CV to be important

So you need to make sure that you add in everything you have done. Having said that, make sure that you fit it all in, in one to two pages.

You must make it as concise as possible. Your clients don't have a lot of time on hand to be able to go through all of that and then hire you for your services. So make sure to add in everything useful but in a concise way.

Have Samples Ready

The first thing that potential clients will do is ask for samples. From their end, they need to make sure that you are good at what you do, and hence they will ask for proof too. So you need to show proof to them. This is one of the most critical factors that help you land well-paid gigs. So have a few samples ready.

Just a hint, many freelance academic writers also tend to use their own thesis as a sample. So you can do that too. But make sure your example is worth showing.

If you want to work on a few pieces as samples, then that is totally up to you as well. But make sure that you have a writer's portfolio that clients can see. That way, they will have confidence in your work, and your chances of getting hired will also naturally be much higher.

Do Your Research

Before you begin, understand what a well-written piece is. It needs to fulfill all the requirements of the clients. So make sure that you read a few samples of students that have scored well. That will help you have a good idea of what is required of you and how you can get that done. Remember that there are many people out there who are doing the same thing that you are.


For a client to hire you, you need to show extraordinary talent, and for that, you need to be well aware of what makes a written piece great. You can find high-scoring written material online as samples, and you can even have your friends lend some to you, so you can find out what is required of you.

Understand the Project First

A lot of freelance academic writers take any project that comes their way after going through it roughly. First, you need to thoroughly go through it to understand what is required of you. Once you do that, you will have a fair idea of what the client expects you to do. This will be the moment when you know that you can deliver a good quality piece that ideally fulfills all of their requirements.

IMPORTANT! Do not forget that academic writing has many specific criteria to follow. Therefore, if you are trying to change your writing career from writing articles for blogs or writing a website copy, you should be prepared that academic writing is completely different in nature.

Academic writing you have to get right. Fiction you have to get plausible. And there's a world of difference. - Elliott Colla

Let's not forget about deadlines. If you commit to doing something and cannot deliver it efficiently within the given deadline, then that reflects poorly on you as a writer. Once you fail at providing a good quality task, your chances of landing gigs in the future will be much lower since your reputation will suffer.

So to understand a project, first go through the brief entirely. Do not opt for any academic writing job available at this exact moment. Once you are done checking the brief, ask the client questions. You must clear any doubts that you have in your head to be able to deliver a high-quality task. Even if you think you are asking basic questions, don't hesitate. That is what helps you deliver quality work.

Learn How to Deal with Difficult Clients

Like any other business, you will come across all different types of clients- some will be easy to handle, while others might give you a tough time. Therefore, you need to learn how to deal with all types of clients.

freelance academic writing work with different customers

The easygoing ones will rarely have any questions or give you any work to revise. But the ones who want everything done perfectly might get in touch with you over and over to fix something that you might have done for them. When something like that happens, understand that this is all part and parcel of freelance academic writing.

Never let any of this bog you down. When dealing with difficult clients, make sure you tell them how you will be revising. Set rules with them, and ensure that both parties abide to ensure smooth workflow.

Find a Nice Place to Work

Many people consider freelance academic writing as an effortless job that you don't need to put much effort in. The truth is that it is quite the opposite. You need to give your best to what you do, which can only happen when you work with total concentration. While you can easily work as a freelance academic writer from the comfort of your home, you still need to have a designated space where you can peacefully work.

You need to be comfortable, and you need to be in a place with no distractions. Freelance academic writing requires you to do ample research to be able to give your best to what you do. Distractions can lead to a drop in the quality of your work. So, make sure you give your best and find a spot that works for you.

It can be a place in your study room or simply a desk in your room where you can work. This has to be the place that works for you, if nothing else. It should be a place where you can work with absolute concentration.

Understand that Some Days Will Be Harder Than Others

Some days, you might find yourself unable to give your hundred percent to what you do. You might feel lethargic, and you might not even be able to write as well as you usually do. Understand writer's block is a very common thing that happens and that you are not alone.

freelance academic writers days

But when something like this happens, the last thing that you should do is panic. You need to know that this is something most people face. Some days are better than others. So when you feel like you aren't as focused, only take up the project with longer deadlines so that you can give your best to your work.

Final Thoughts

Freelancing is indeed a great career option, where you are your own boss and can take projects as per your liking. Sometimes, there is a lot of work, which might seem like it's bogging you down. Balancing work and play is important.

There are a lot of valuable tips that can help you maintain the right balance. Additionally, when working with international clients, don't forget that there are some things that you should keep in mind, which are imperative to success.

If you have finally decided that you want to be a freelance academic writer, then you can begin immediately. There is nothing more you need besides a working internet connection and a system on which you can work. 

With these valuable tips in mind, you can surely start off as an academic writer and pave your way up the ladder. Of course, you might not see yourself landing gigs right when you start. But you will surely see that with consistent efforts, you will be able to grow with time.

So if you wish to begin your career as a freelance academic writer, you should start as the soonest. You will only see yourself improving with time and make it big very soon.

And I wish you good luck with your writing gigs ;)

Posted 26 April, 2022


Work hard, play hard

I'm just a regular guy, except for the regular part. - co-founder and CEO at Writing Metier, a company that offers bespoke copywriting services to customers worldwide; - specialize in education, freelance writing, blogging, technology, and marketing strategies. I follow all the newest updates in these fields; - interested in SEO and digital marketing and how it influences businesses and start-up...

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