All sessions are 45 minutes. You are welcome to drop in without making an appointment, however our Center does get busy and a tutorial may not always be available. To reserve a session in advance please use our online scheduler, which will allow you to choose the most convenient time and location, as well as decide whether to consult with a Writing Tutor who has particular expertise in your field. Writers who are more than ten minutes late to their scheduled session will lose their appointment if there are other writers waiting to work with a tutor. Please make every attempt to be on time.
We ask that no undergraduate writer make more than 3 appointments per week, and only one per day. We cannot tutor take-home exams unless the instructor clearly states in writing – on the syllabus or exam — that students may consult peers. Writers coming from FYE courses are expected to make appointments in advance, and to come in pairs. This year, the Writing Center implemented a new policy requiring graduate students to meet with a Graduate Assistant to assess the writing project they want to work on at the Writing Center. For more information on this policy, please click here .
What to Expect
Our two locations – Austin Bulding 159 (formerly CLAS) and on the first floor of Babbidge Library – are a little different, and you may find one more convenient than another. The library has tutoring all day as well as on Sundays and during the late evenings. It tends to be a little noisier, and to see more drop-in traffic. Austin Building 159 is open weekdays, and has some lounging space; this location also serves as a connecting point between the Writing Center and the Creative Writing Program. When you arrive you’ll be asked to sign in. If you haven’t made an advance appointment, you’ll be asked to complete a brief form that lets us keep track of the different majors and writing assignments we see. Your tutor will begin by asking you to talk a little about what you would like to address in your writing. After identifying specific areas, you might be asked to read aloud from your paper while your tutor follows. This allows your tutor to understand what your paper is about, and gives you a chance to raise further questions. Your session will largely be shaped by your own questions and interests, so come prepared to be an active participant! At the end of your 45 minutes your tutor will ask if you would like a description of the session sent to your instructor. This is optional, and you will receive a copy as well. These brief descriptions don’t evaluate you or your writing in any way; many faculty find these notes a good indicator of the extra work you’re putting into your writing, and you might find them a helpful reminder of the session.
What we do and can’t do
In each session, we aim to create a learning environment that offers one-on-one attention, a good conversation around your ideas and your writing, and thoughtful answers to specific questions. We are very proud of the academic breadth our Writing Tutors bring to the Center: this year we have 35 tutors from 18 different majors – including nursing, music, human rights, anthropology, economics and biology. Writers are invited to bring in any writing project, at any stage. Your course papers, lab reports, graduate school applications, and cover letters are all welcome, from budding idea to final draft.
We welcome writers who are working with English as a second language (ESL). Several of our tutors have experience with ELL-specific issues, and we can support writers in planning a series of writing tutorials. Our goal in working with ELL writers remains the same as our goal for native speakers of English – that is, to support and guide an ongoing learning process.
We are not an editing or proofreading service – our goal is to offer guidance as you learn to become a better writer and editor. Toward that end we can help you identify weak areas and guide you in working on both broad and specific elements of effective writing.
We don’t generate ideas or thesis statements for you, nor can we stand in for classroom instruction or faculty office hours. We are eager to work with you to explore ideas, test arguments, and refine your prose, but your writing always remains your responsibility.
Will my instructor know I came?
You can ask for a description of the session (a ‘tutor note’) to be sent to your instructor, and/or to yourself. These brief descriptions don’t evaluate you or your writing in any way; many faculty find these notes a good indicator of the extra work you’re putting into your writing, and you might find them a helpful reminder of the session.
Can my instructor require me to visit?
We strongly discourage required sessions. The only exception we make is with FYE courses, where we work closely with instructors to integrate writing into that program’s specific goals.
Can I work on a dissertation, thesis or other large project?
All projects are welcome. Longer papers might need multiple sessions; graduate students seeking help at the dissertation stage should consult our graduate student policy (above) and be aware that we will not proofread or edit dissertations.
How many times can I visit?
We ask that no undergraduate writer make more than 3 appointments per week, and only one per day.