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FAQ

How do I make an appointment?

Call (608) 363-2162 for an appointment.  We schedule for up to one hour on the hour.  You can always leave a message and we'll get back to you.  We also accept walk-ins, but we encourage you to call ahead and confirm a time.

Where are you and when are you open?

We're downstairs at 635 College Street.  That's the brick house across the street from the World Affairs Center.  Try the side door on the left (north) side. We're open 3-10 pm Sunday-Thursday while classes are in session.

How does a session work?

We always have two tutors on site. When you come in, you'll be given a session record form, on which you'll write down who you are and what you want to work on.  Expect the tutor to ask you questions throughout your session—it's a good way for both of you to learn.  Expect to share any related materials, such as an assignment handout or related reading, so come prepared with anything that might be helpful.  Chances are good that the tutor will ask you to read your work aloud, if you're comfortable with that—you'll hear things you missed or want to change. If you don't have any writing done yet, that's okay; there is plenty of thinking and planning you can get done together. Don't expect to get at everything perfectly or completely in one session—you'll have to set reasonable goals, prioritize, and focus.  Plan on doing your share of the talking and working together in the direction you want to take.  Sessions run up to one hour, but we're done when you are.  Don't forget to ask for a cup of tea.

What kinds of things can we help with?

  • We can help you to understand an assignment, clarify your objectives, generate ideas, and make a plan.  Get your bearings before you begin writing, because "a problem well put is half solved" (John Dewey said that).
  • We show you ways to rework your ideas in a written draft.  Only dead writers don't revise.
  • We share tips about how to conduct research and use sources in your writing.  Find out how to "join the conversation" of academic writing.
  • We help you with the mechanics of writing, from grammar and punctuation to citation format.  We're more than a comma shop, but we do roll up our sleeves with you on the rivets too.
  • We'll invite you to come back and make collaborative learning a regular part of your writing practice.

How can you help us help you?

  • Plan—budget your time and start early.  Complete your tutorial session far enough in advance to follow through on the suggestions you receive from us.
  • Prepare—come to your session ready to work effectively. Always bring related materials to your session (such as reading texts, assignment sheet, and any completed writing).
  • Prioritize—don't expect a single session to do it all.  Peer tutors are trained to help you identify and focus realistically on shared objectives based on what you communicate and what they observe.
  • Participate—we don't "fix" your writing while you watch.  Instead, you will be asked to take an active role in sharing your objectives, questions, and perceptions throughout your session in order to improve your writing and become a better writer.  Every session should be a learning experience for you.

Will my professor know that I have visited the writing center?

You and your tutor together complete a short record of your session.  These notes give you an opportunity to articulate your objectives for the session, keep track of what you work on, and make a comment or two on plans or suggestions.  We keep a copy and you get one to send to Mom or give to your professor, so notification is entirely up to you.

What kinds of assignments can I bring?

If it's writing, bring it in.  Creative writing, lab reports, application essays, research citations, paper formatting, PowerPoint presentations, grocery lists—any aspect of any writing at any stage.  We're game.

Will my tutor know enough about my subject? 

We've been trained to help you with the writing aspects of any subject.  We won't always be experts, and we might be absolute novices with a particular course or topic.  But you'll benefit by having to talk with a general reader during your session.  Our questions and comments will stimulate and sharpen your own thinking and writing.  We'll have plenty of suggestions, but we're also good at helping you generate your own. 

Do you do proofreading?  I just need the commas and stuff cleaned up!

Yes, we help with grammar and punctuation and that sort of thing, but we do it together.  Just plan on learning something about the mechanics yourself, be reasonable about what you can cover in an hour, and expect to hear suggestions or comments about other related aspects of your writing along the way (even a comma sometimes raises a question about what you're thinking and want to say).

How many times can I visit the writing center regarding the same assignment?

We'll never get enough of you.  We encourage writing process, and we want to help with every step along the way.  Be a frequent flyer.

Does the writing center have any writing resource materials for me to take home or use while I'm there?

We can direct you to some of our reference materials in the center or on our website, which we can look at together or print a copy in the center for your use later.

How can I become a tutor?

Tutoring is a great way to help others, improve your own writing, and gain some valuable work experience.  WRIT 230 (Talk about Writing:  The Peer Tutorial) is a half-unit course typically offered each year for students who have been recommended by a faculty member.  Students who complete the class are eligible to apply.  We're looking for tutors who are good writers, accomplished students, reliable workers, and great communicators who know how to listen.  If you want to know more, contact Chuck Lewis, director of the writing center.