Develop your skills as a writer: you'll do that here.
Before You Visit the Writing Lab
- Don't wait until the last minute to visit the Writing Lab. Give yourself at least a day between your visit to the Lab and the date the paper is due. Otherwise, you won't have time to make significant revisions.
- Think about what you want to accomplish before you talk with a tutor. What are your main concerns regarding your paper?
- Bring the assignment prompt for the assignment you're working on.
- You don't have to bring a completed draft before you can talk with a tutor in the Writing Lab. A conference can be helpful at any stage in the writing process, even if you haven't written a word yet. A tutor can help you decide on and limit a topic, brainstorm ideas for developing it, and consider how you might organize it before you begin.
Tutors in the Writing Lab are eager to assist you with your writing and will do their best to address the concerns you have. However, our policy is that we will not merely proofread a paper for you, correcting errors while you sit back and observe. Our mission is to empower you in your writing decisions.
We will not ignore mechanical issues in your writing. In fact, if we notice a pattern of error (in sentence structure, verb tense, or use of apostrophes, for example), we will call your attention to it and help you address the problem.
Ways Tutors Help
Tutors can help you to:
- Check that you've followed your instructor's directions.
- Develop your ideas through focused discussion.
- Become a better reader of your own work by identifying technical errors and analyzing your draft in terms of focus, organization, development, and style.
- Cite and document source material.
Sample Tutoring Sessions
You’re trying to write the perfect paper, but you’re not sure you’re on the right track. You need a little help, so you decide to come to the Writing Lab. But what happens once you’re here?
Room 103 – You sign in on the first floor of Memorial Hall. The sign-in process is online, and it’s just a series of questions that ask for general information, such as your email address and course number. If you get stuck, one of our friendly employees will be glad to assist you. After you sign in, you will be directed upstairs to the Writing Lab.
Room 201 – When you come in, just take a seat and a tutor will be with you as quickly as possible.
When you see the tutor, they will ask you to tell a little bit about the assignment. For example, is it a reflection essay or a research paper? Bringing the assignment sheet can be helpful because it lets the tutor know what your professor expects.
The tutor will ask if you have particular areas of concern for the paper. This is your chance to let them know what you need help with. You can ask them to take a close look at the introduction or conclusion, or maybe you need to know if you are using passive voice too much. Asking a tutor to make sure the paper follows the assignment guidelines is also a legitimate concern.
The tutor will read over your paper, pausing at various times to make a suggestion or mention an idea. You may be asked to clarify what you mean or why you chose a certain phrase. This is the tutor’s way of figuring out how best to help you.
Once your tutor has read over your paper and both of you have discussed it, you should have some great ideas for how to revise, and you can start improving your writing. If you want additional feedback, you can always visit the Writing Lab again.
When you come to the lab for assistance, bring questions and concerns about your paper to discuss with your tutor. Here are some questions you may want to ask when you bring your paper to the Writing Lab.
- Does my thesis statement explain my whole paper in one sentence and is it easy to find? If not, what can make my thesis stronger?
- Is my paper’s topic narrow enough or can I give it a tighter focus?
- Does the essay stay on topic and relate back to my main point?
- Are there areas in my paper that need to be explained more or could be cut down?
- Do the details in my paper add to or take away from the topic I am discussing?
- Are there any parts of my essay that don’t fit the rest of my paper?
- Does the point of view work for my paper?
- Do the transitions work well or could I connect my thoughts together more tightly?
- Have I used my sources effectively?
- Is the formatting correct? What about citations?
- Have I used verb tenses properly in my paper?
- Does my paper address the requirements of the assignment?
Our tutors are here to help you and are willing to address the concerns you have about your paper, so if you come prepared, we will help you make the best of your session.
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