Frequently Asked Questions


Why would anyone want to meet with a writing tutor?

ANSWER: Writing Center instructors/tutors are trained to read academic papers critically, with an eye towards strengthening an argument. They can talk to you about structure, ideas, and clarity of your paper, and they can suggest strategies for revision. Academic writing can be a solitary pursuit; sharing your ideas with a writing tutor is a way to try them out for an audience and to improve your writing.

Can I e-mail my paper and receive written comments from a tutor?

ANSWER: At the moment, the Writing Center does not respond to writing that has been e-mailed. This service will be provided at a later date. Experience suggests that the most productive conferences are those that are truly an exchange of ideas between the tutor and the writer. The Writing Center Instructors and student tutors do not write sentences for students because doing so prevents students from learning. Instructors and student tutors write notes for improving writing: subject-verb agreement errors, comma splice, etc.

Will a tutor proofread my paper?

ANSWER: The Writing Center cannot proofread or edit your work, but we will be happy to point out problems with grammar and syntax as we discuss your paper. The ultimate goal is for you to learn, with the Writing Center’s assistance, how to proofread your own work.

Should I schedule a conference or drop-in during any Writing Center hours?

ANSWER: Writing is a process that takes time and effort. Coming to the Writing Center for help with a paper within a couple of days before it is due is strongly discouraged, and you may not be helped, depending on the number of students seeking assistance in the Center at the same time. Our schedule tends to fill up quickly during busy weeks of the semester. If you can’t find a daytime appointment that fits your schedule, please feel free to come by in the evenings (Monday-Thursday) from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. during the Fall and Spring Semesters. However, hours may change because of professional development, PLATO class sessions in the WC, etc.

Will you tell my instructor that I visited the Writing Center?

ANSWER: Writing Center conferences are confidential. We will not discuss your conference with your instructor, unless that is the agreement between your professor and you.

Can I bring a take-home exam to the Writing Center?

ANSWER: Tutors can discuss a take-home exam with you only if you bring written permission that explicitly states that your professor is requesting such help for you.

Can you tell me what grade I will get on my essays, research papers, etc.?

ANSWER: The Writing Center cannot predict what grade you will receive on a particular piece of writing. Tutors can, however, respond as readers to issues of clarity, structure, and argument. Remember that the WC is not a proofreading service; your paper is your writing. Ultimately, the grade that you receive is your responsibility.