We currently offer three options for getting support with writing:
- in-person consultations by appointment,
- real-time online consultations via Zoom appointments, and
- asynchronous online consultations via our Online Writing Lab.
Because our emphasis is on teaching rather than editing, we recommend students book no more than three tutorials for a particular assignment or document, whether online or face-to-face. Our objective is not to produce a “perfect” text, but to increase the writing expertise of the student. We expect the student to learn from these sessions, whether electronic or face to face, and apply what they learn not only to the remainder of the current assignment but also to future writing. The three-tutorial limit does not apply to sessions involving brainstorming, discussions of assignments, or sessions involving general principles of citation, writing, or rhetoric. Our appointment scheduling service automatically permits three appointments per week.
For a successful in-person appointment, plan to arrive about ten minutes before your appointment start time, to sign in at the front desk and print out your paper. If you have not arrived within ten minutes of your start time, we will cancel your appointment so another student can receive assistance during that time.
In-person and Zoom appointments can last up to one hour, during which a consultant can read and comment on about ten pages. A consultant may spend up to an hour on an online (OWL) submission from an undergraduate student, which means students should emphasize their specific concerns (in order of priority) in the e-mail message that accompanies a submission. We typically return these documents within two business days. A consultant will read as much of the paper as possible in an hour and comment on issues but does not assume any responsibility for correcting every error. Instead, the consultant will focus on issues they and the student deem most important. If Zoom or OWL options are not feasible, please consider booking an appointment for an in-person visit.
Our consultants are here to help you become a stronger writer. To that end, we are not clerical proofreaders or copy-editors. We provide feedback on all aspects of writing, including structure, content, style, and sentence-level concerns. While a lot of our interactions are assignment-based, we are able to identify both strengths and weaknesses in a student’s work. If we notice patterns of error, we will attempt to teach a student how to avoid the error and we expect him or her to make any necessary corrections. We may demonstrate ways students can revise particular passages. The aim of such revision is not to perfect the assignment of the moment, but to influence long-term writing outcomes. We do not offer estimates of grades for written projects or critiques of professors’ assignments.
Students may wish to download or print our documentary style guides or other handouts from the collection on our Writing Resources page. Print copies are also available free in the wall racks at the Center in 419 Reed Hall.
Documentation Style Guides