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). Writers can also help with projects outside of course work such as job, scholarship or professional school applications, cover letters and resumes.

Q: Will tutors do work for students?
A:  No, tutors help writers to produce their own best work. Tutors will listen carefully to help writers get started and take the next steps; they will review strategies and practice skills, say, for proofreading. 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: Sadly, no. For students who are having substantial challenges with writing, working with a tutor can help but not take the place of taking one or more writing classes.

Q: Can I require my students to visit the Center?
A: Please don’t without first talking with the Center director. 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 students from even a few classes if visiting were required. Plus, tutoring often works best when it’s voluntary.

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. Distribute our brochures. (Send requests to Direct students 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 clearly communicate your expectations to your students. Tutors are advised to ask students working on take-home exams whether our feedback is permissible, but if they are unsure, we do not want to turn them away. Please make your policies clear to your students so they (and we) can act appropriately.