1. Don't assign a grade: Preceptors do not have any input on the grades of the students.
2. Talk to the FYS instructor. The instructor is the final authority on how you should proofread a student's essay.
3. Identify and indicate problems, but don't fix them. When you fix a problem, the student will simply retype the fixed part and will not learn anything. If, on the other hand, a student is told that a problem exists and that page 89 of the writing manual has a discussion on that type of problem, then the student may actually learn something while fixing the problem.
4. Be familiar with the writing manual and refer the student to it for discussions of particular types of problems.
5. Be selective about the issues you address. Two, at most three, issues are more than enough for a student to fix per essay. Focus on the big issues first: Does the paper have a well-defined thesis? Is the thesis well-supported? Does the paper utilize transitions, both within paragraphs and between them? How is the paragraph structured?
6. Be positive. Find strengths. Reinforce what works. It is discouraging for a student to hear only negative comments. Sometimes it is hard, but if you look hard enough there is always something constructive to say.