The WC works in partnership with students and their instructors across the curriculum. All SHU students are welcome to drop by or make an appointment for one or more of our one-on-one sessions or group tutorials. Students can attend our workshops, use the Online Writing Lab (OWL), and access our online writing resources for additional support. Whether you need support to start a writing assignment, revise a draft, work on a specific skill, get some research tips, or brainstorm ideas, the WC is here to help!
What students should bring to a WC session:
Students will get the most out of a tutorial by bringing all the materials needed to complete the assignment, such as:
- Assignment instructions
- The instructor's grading rubric
- Course writing or research guidelines
- Assigned print or electronic texts (textbook, articles, bibliography)
- Rough draft, outline, or notes
- Any other relevant material (such as the course syllabus, handouts, or research material)
What students can expect from a WC session:
Students are encouraged to explain to the tutor what they want to achieve in a particular session or over the course of several sessions. It's oftenhelpful for the student to set up a regular meeting time to work on short-term assignments and to make progress on longer-term assignments.
Because the WC is committed to self-directed learning, tutors help students take charge of their writing process. A WC tutor can, with the student's active and engaged participation, help with:
- Assignment review: understanding the objectives and criteria of an assignment through a careful reading of the instructor's guidelines and instructions
- Reading critically and efficiently: analyzing a text by listing key ideas, identifying the thesis, interpreting charts and diagrams, analyzing evidence, outlining, summarizing, and finding thematic connections
- Prewriting strategies: getting started on an assignment by brainstorming, free writing, clustering, and diagramming
- Using online and library resources: searching databases available through SHU, assessing online information sources, and developing general information literacy skills
- Revision: discussing, clarifying, and strengthening important elements in the student's rough draft, such as the thesis statement, supporting arguments, and evidence; using appropriate language and style; organizing the draft by outlining, diagramming, or flow charts; using topic sentences to build strong paragraphs; creating smooth transitions by using linking sentences; and writing a succinct introduction and conclusion
- Documentation: reviewing MLA, APA, or Chicago formatting guidelines; addressing plagiarism concerns by creating, understanding, and using citations, bibliographic entries, and end-notes or footnotes; and learning when and how to paraphrase and summarize source material
- Proofreading strategies: finishing a paper by reading the draft aloud and/or marking a hard copy; and by reviewing punctuation, grammar, and the principles of sentence structure.
What tutors won't do:
Because the WC is committed to self-directed learning, tutors don't work on assignment without the student's full, engaged collaboration. WC tutors will not, for example, proofread or revise a paper for the student. Our mission is to help students become critical thinkers, readers, and writers. To that end, we help students apply the same strategies that scholars, research scientists, civic leaders, journalists, and professionals in business, law, healthcare and other fields employ to communicate effectively with colleagues and the larger communities in which they work.
The take-away for the student:
The goal of each tutoring session is the student's improved understanding of the writing process and increased confidence in his or her ability to write. To ensure the best possible outcome, a student should:
- Come in good time: make an appointment at least 24 hours before the assignment is due. Rushed, last minute writing and revision will not allow you to do your best work!
- Bring your goals to the session. What do you want to accomplish? The session is for you, so be sure that you benefit from it as much as possible
- Approach the session with an open mind! Use the tutor's feedback and don't be disheartened if you need to work more on the assignment!
- Don't hesitate to make multiple appointments. Regular meetings can really pay off!
- Don't forget to bring all the relevant materials (see the list above)!
Students are invited to book a session as a study group to work on the same assignment or text. Be sure to read What students should bring to a WC session and What students can expect from a WC session above.
Make an Appointment
The WC's online writing support service (Online Writing Lab) offers students an alternative and/or complement to one-on-one sessions and group tutorials. Students simply fill out the form on the OWL site, attach their draft assignment to the email, and send both to the online tutor. It's important to include as much information as possible about the assignment and what kind of feedback you need. The more relevant and complete the input you provide, the better the tutor's feedback will be. Be sure to submit work at least 48 hours before the assignment is due: give yourself time to revise! Students can expect to receive their papers back from the online tutor with feedback within 48 hours. For more information on what to expect from the OWL, check out our FAQs below and the principles of self-directed learning.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I'm a pretty good writer and got As and Bs in high school. Why would I need to meet with a writing tutor?
College-level writing challenges students to develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. While many high school graduates are adept at executing certain forms of writing, such as a 5-paragraph essay on an assigned topic, they often find that college-level writing entails higher-level skills such as assessing information sources, formulating complex arguments, synthesizing multiple sources, and documenting research. The WC offers undergraduate and graduate students across the curriculum an opportunity to transition to and excel at the demands of college-level writing.
- Can I email my paper to a tutor?
Yes, students can submit papers to the OWL. Check out the Online Writing Lab for more information. Don't forget: the more information you provide to the tutor about the assignment, the instructor's guidelines, and the readings, the better the tutor's feedback will be.
- Should I schedule a session at the WC or drop by?
Scheduling is a good idea, particularly if a deadline is looming. Be sure to make your appointment at the WC—or submit your assignment online to the OWL—in good time, to leave you enough time to revise. You should give yourself at least 24 hours after a WC session and 48 hours after an OWL submission to ensure that you can apply what you've learned to the draft. Contact us or make an appointment online.
- My instructor recommended that I go to the WC. Do I have to?
Your instructor wants you to do as well as possible in your course. It's a good idea to ask your instructor what you need to work on. Your instructor may mention something specific, such as argumentation (thesis development and supporting arguments) or mechanics (grammar and punctuation). Your instructor may make a more general recommendation (such as using objective language or broadening your vocabulary). In any case, a session at the WC isn't a punishment! We're here to help you do as well as you can in your courses. And, because we try to make each session as productive as possible, there's a good chance that you'll leave the session feeling much more confident about your work. You and your instructor will be pleased that you've taken charge of your learning!
- Can a tutor proofread my paper?
WC tutors do not copyedit, proofread, or revise student papers. Your tutor will help you develop effective reading and writing strategies and practices that will make the writing process easier and a lot more productive. OWL tutors can offer specific feedback on argumentation, mechanics, style, and documentation, but it's up to the student to implement the tutor's feedback in conjunction with the instructor's guidelines.
- Can I use the one-on-one sessions as well as the OWL?
Yes, students are welcome to use any and all of our support services in any combination.
- Will my instructor know that I've been to the WC?
Yes, your instructor will receive an email with a brief summary of your work on the assignment.
- I received a grade I'm not happy with. Can you review the paper and talk to the instructor about it?
WC tutors will review a paper and discuss with you its strengths and weaknesses, but it's not our job to intermediate between you and an instructor about a particular grade. Talking over a paper can help a student understand how to do better in the future.
- How do I make an appointment?
Call 203-371-7820 or make an appointment online.
- Where is the WC?
The Writing Center is located in the Jandrisevits Learning Center, in the Student Success Center.