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What happens during a consultation?

During a consultation, you have 25-50 minutes of focused attention from a peer consultant. Consultants and students read through a text together and collaboratively look for ways to clarify and improve purpose, audience appeal, organization, research, support, style, and conventions. This helps us answer questions and offer advice during your consultation. We look at the entire paper because there is more to writing well than having correct grammar.

What should I bring to a consulting session?

  • A copy of the writing assignment and any info your instructor has provided regarding writing expectations for the class (such as an assessment rubric).
  • An electronic version of your outline or draft for your essay or two typed hard copies, if possible. We can work with handwritten copy if that's all you have, but you'll get more out of the session if we can work directly with your draft or ideas onscreen. The Writing Center has four coputers available, so no need to lug around a heavy lap top.
  • Questions! If there are particular questions you have about writing or grammar or citation, please include them in the "Notes" section of the online sign-up form so that the consultants can be better prepared to assist you with those specifics.

How are professors notified about visits?

Faculty like to hear that you're taking advantage of the Writing Center! Professors receive an email describing what you worked on during your session after each visit. This information is based on the Preview Sheet that you and your writing consultant complete at the end of your session. It provides an overview of writing issues discussed in the session. Some faculty recommend that you use the Writing Center for a particular essay, and some offer an extension or extra credit of some kind if you come; this Preview Sheet confirms that you're fulfilling any such suggestions or requirements.

Do consultants proofread papers?

Yes and no. Consultants improve your writing process, not just papers, so they will help you identify grammatical and spelling error patterns and show you ways to become a better proofer of your own work. We may not catch every single mistake, but we can help find those that are most distracting to your readers. If you are insecure about your grammatical knowledge ask your consultant about Grammarly, or learn more here.

I'm short on time — do consultations take long?

Not at all. Just 25-50 minutes with a writing consultant can save you time worrying about where to start and help you write more efficiently.

Isn't tutoring only for poor writers?

Nonsense. The most skilled writers share their drafts with other writers and revise according to the feedback they receive. Discussing a paper with an experienced peer is a great way to make sure your writing communicates your ideas clearly and appropriately for your audience. You don't have to be desperate to benefit from the Writing Center; you only have to be determined to write better.

What else does the Writing Center do?

The Writing Center offers for-credit writing tutorial groups to help students improve their writing skills, specifically in areas that are challenging for them (transitioning to academic writing, writing in the English Language, improving grammar skills, and writing in the major). If you are interested in learning more about writing tutorial groups please click here for more information.  Writing consultants sometimes visit classes to give special presentations on writing, especially assisting with peer review of first drafts and explaining the writing process.

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