Preparing for Your Appointment
A few tips for making the most out of your appointment with the Writing Center:
1. We do allow walk-ins to the Writing Center, but it’s a good idea to make an appointment as soon as you know you will need one. We tend to get busy, especially during midterms and finals. One tip is to look through your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and make appointments a few days before each major writing assignment is due. You can always cancel an appointment, but having these on you calendar will help you get started on your papers early. And you don’t have to have anything written yet for your appointment -- we can help you even before you start writing!
2. On that same note, don’t wait until you have a complete draft to come visit us! We can help you at any point of the writing process, from reading through your assignment sheet, to brainstorming, to making outlines, to working with drafts-in-progress, to polishing and revising.
3. Feel free to bring us writing from any of your classes, or even writing for other projects. We help students with fellowship and job application letters, personal statements, grant-writing, and more. If it is written down, we want to help you!
4. Be sure to make appointments that are long enough to address the assignment you would like help with. 15 minute appointments are best saved for short questions, like how to cite a source, how to format a particular document, or assignments that are just a few paragraphs. For more substantial papers (anything reaching 4 or 5 pages) we recommend at least 30 minutes.
5. Feel free to come back at different points in the writing process, even for the same paper. We often help students put into practice feedback from tutors, from faculty members, or from their classmates.
6. When you come to your appointment, please bring copies of the paper you would like to work on, but also bring anything else relevant to the assignment. Our tutors are very well trained, but they don’t (for example) have all of Shakespeare’s plays memorized. (Alas!) If you are writing on a specific text, it is helpful to have it with you so the tutor can see what you are working on. Similarly, any handouts, assignment sheets, or notes that you have collected will be useful when talking through what your instructor is looking for. The more information you can give us, the more we can help you!
7. We do not accept drop-off papers except in very specific circumstances that have been pre-arranged with a given tutor. This usually happens with very long projects (senior theses, etc.). So, please be prepared to stay for the duration of your appointment.
8. It is helpful if you come with specific questions to help your tutor target what it is you are interested in working on (or that your faculty member would like you to think about). The majority of the time tutors are asked to “just look things over for grammar.” This is fine, of course, but chances are addressing more substantial things about the paper’s argument, organization, evidence use, etc. will improve your paper far more than fixing a few commas and typos. So, it is best to have questions that speak to these larger issues and/or be ready to think about them together with your tutors.
9. Lastly, be sure to introduce yourself to your tutor! We are friendly people, and we want to get to know you!