A tutoring session at the Writing Center means sitting down with one of our tutors and collaborating to make sure that your writing best communicates what you have to say. Our tutors – English Department teaching assistants and a few outstanding undergraduates – can assist in any phase of the writing process, including the following:
- Brainstorming and generating topics
- Organizing ideas
- Developing research strategies
- Using citation styles — MLA, APA, and Chicago
- Editing for sentence-level concerns
- Revising existing work
Our tutors work with writing of all types and at all levels. We can help you get started on a cover letter for your dream job or revise an academic essay, lab report, or even thesis. Tutorials are 30 minutes long, and we encourage you to call, email, or stop by to make an appointment. Walk-in sessions are often available, but in the last half of the semester we are often booked. We also offer phone tutorials for writers who cannot come to campus. More information on phone tutorials here.
To get the most out of a tutoring session, it’s important to come prepared:
- Make an appointment.
Call, email, or come in to reserve a 30-minute tutoring slot. We recommend coming in at least a day or two before the deadline for your writing, as you’ll need time to make any changes that you and your tutor come up with.
- Bring the following to your tutoring appointment:
- The prompt to which your writing is responding. This may include an assignment from a professor, a print-out of a job description, or a call for proposals.
- A paper copy of any writing/work you’ve done so far. This may include brainstorming notes, an outline, a draft or even a paper with comments from a teacher/peers.
- Your thoughts on what you’d like help with. Should the tutor pay particular attention to your organization and structure? Do you need to expand or cut parts of the writing? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the piece so far?
- Be sure to allow yourself time after the appointment to work on your writing based on tutorial feedback.
What to Expect from a Tutorial:
A tutorial at the Writing Center is an opportunity for you to talk about your writing with an experienced, attentive writer. It is not just about getting help with your grammar and sentence structure (though that’s part of it), it’s also about considering the choices you make as you write and taking the time to be intentional about those choices. Does this idea belong in one paragraph or two? If I’m writing a letter, should I address the reader directly, as “you”? Is “blue” a precise-enough description of that bottle? The writing tutor will help pose these questions and help you make decisions about exactly what you mean, and how to say it with words on the page.
During your appointment, you and your tutor will first discuss the piece of writing you’d like to work on. What is the assignment? What are your goals? Concerns? If you have specific questions/concerns about the writing, now is the time to mention them. After this, the tutor will read over any writing you’ve already completed, oftentimes making notes as s/he reads. Then you two will have the chance to work through the document together, with the tutor offering feedback, asking questions, and collaborating with you to get your writing where you want it to be. Sometimes this means that you draft an outline together and other times it means that you rewrite your thesis statement or make plans to move paragraphs around. The recommendations a tutor makes are not required. Your writing is still yours and ultimately, you will be the one making the final decisions.
Tutoring appointments are for thirty minutes, but sessions may be shorter or longer, depending on what you’re working on. If you would like to bring a piece of writing that is over 10 pages in to be reviewed with a tutor, please make note of this when you make your appointment. We can work with longer pieces, but may ask you to make multiple appointments (oftentimes over the course of a few days).