Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens in a Writing Center tutorial?
A: Writers sign up for a one on one 25 or 50 minute conversation with a tutor to discuss their project wherever they are in the writing process (reading, understanding the assignment, invention, drafting, revision, editing). We can also help with projects outside of course work such as job, scholarship or professional school applications.

Q: Will tutors do the work for students?
A: No, tutors will not proofread or complete work for students. Tutors will listen carefully to help writers get started, take the next step, or review relevant skills. Think of a writing tutorial as a conversation with a skilled and interested listener.

Q: Who are the tutors?
A: Writing Center tutors are upper level undergraduates or graduate students from diverse majors who have been highly recommended by professors because of their excellent writing and interpersonal skills. They attend required intensive training sessions before they work in the Center. (See Become a Tutor.)

Q: Can the tutors work miracles?
A: No. For students who are seriously under prepared for a course, working with a tutor cannot take the place of taking one or more writing classes.

Q: Can I require my students to visit the Center?
A: No, please don’t. Picture surly students who don’t want to work with tutors and who take away a valuable time slot from a student who volunteers to be there. Practically speaking, we wouldn’t have the space or resources to assist all the students if even a few professors made it a requirement. All the way around, tutoring works best with students who voluntarily choose to come.

Q: Can I encourage my students to visit the Center?
A: Yes, absolutely, please do! Speak to the whole class or to individuals about how they can use our services in light of your assignments. Hand out our brochures (Send requests to Direct them to our website. Invite a Writing Center representative to make a class visit. (See Class Visits.)

Q: How does the Center work with students on take-home exams?
A: Students who are working on take-home exams as well as other final projects may ask for our help. Tutors are trained to offer feedback on writing, not to provide answers or do the thinking for students. Nevertheless, since some students may wonder if they are permitted to seek feedback from us on take-home exams, please communicate your expectations clearly to your students. Our tutors are advised to ask students working on take-home exams whether they may seek our feedback, but if they are unsure, we do not turn them away. Please make your policies clear to your students so they may make appropriate decisions.