Independent Minds, Working Together

FAQ's

Can I require a student/my class to visit the Writing Center?

Yes. However, if you require your class to visit the Writing Center for a particular assignment or for extra credit, we ask that you please notify us ahead of time (preferably two weeks' notice) and send us a copy of the assignment guidelines/your syllabus. This will allow us to not only make room in our schedule to accommodate your students, but also to prepare our staff ahead of time to assist with your particular assignment. It is also important to keep in mind that while you can require a student to come to the Writing Center on an individual basis, it may not always produce the desired results. Students who are required to come may not be as motivated to work on improving their writing as students who decide to visit. We suggest you encourage students throughout the term, especially those who might need extra writing support.

Can the Writing Center help strong writers?

Yes. The Writing Center should not be seen as a place of punishment or remediation. We know that writers at all levels, including professional writers and academic scholars, seek out feedback and constructive criticism for their writing projects, and everyone can improve their writing in some way. We're not out to "fix" bad writing or bad writers. Rather, the Writing Center seeks to help every writer and every writing assignment become the best that it can be.

Do students need to have a full draft before they make an appointment?

Students do not need to have a completed draft before they make or attend an appointment. We can help students at any point in their writing process, and that help may be more useful before a draft is completed. Encourage students to make and keep appointments regardless of how far along they are in the assignment.

Does the Writing Center help students with take-home essay exams?

Yes, but we need to know that you approve of that practice beforehand. By default, we will only help students working on take-home exams with general proofreading/editing, NOT content, unless we hear differently from a professor or a student brings in some form of verification. We rely on students to ask their instructors whether or not they may bring take-home exams to the Writing Center. If you do/do NOT wish your students to receive feedback from a Writing Center tutor on a take-home exam, please make that explicit when you distribute the exam.

Does the Writing Center work with I.S. students?

Yes. We are always happy to work with I.S. students at any stage of their writing work. In fact, I.S. students might want to visit the Writing Center regularly throughout their work, rather than wait until the often lengthy project is mostly completed. We want to be clear about our IS policy: we will assign IS students to work only with Writing Consultants and the Writing Center Intern. In the event that an IS student wants an appointment when these professionals are not available and the student has no other scheduling options, we will offer that student the option of working with a Peer Tutor, and it will be up to the student to decide if that will meet his or her needs.

Besides tutoring, what other services does the Writing Center offer for students?

We are happy to help with non-coursework related papers, creative assignments, study abroad/graduate school/internship applications, or personal statements/essays. We offer workshops for students/faculty throughout the school year. We also offer many links through our website to helpful and informative writing guide sites. We maintain a well-stocked and up-to-date library of print resources, as well as a collection of model independent studies from most majors. We hold open houses, creative writing workshops, and other writing-centered events. Year One, the College's first-year literary magazine, is produced and published through the Writing Center.

Do tutors in the Writing Center discuss grades with students?

No. Writing Center tutors understand that grades and evaluation are matters for the instructor. We concentrate on helping the writer become a stronger writer and write a stronger paper. We also do not discuss professors, and we do not write on student papers- we believe allowing the student to mark up his/her own paper gives them greater ownership of their work and more responsibility for the development of their writing.

Do you send written notices to faculty when their students visit the Writing Center?

Yes. We send email notification for every appointment a student has with the Writing Center. This notification consists of a work report detailed when the student came in, what assignment was worked on, and what writing issues/concerns in particular were addressed in the tutorial.

My student brought her paper to the Writing Center. Why are there still so many errors?

The Writing Center is a collaborative environment. We try to help students improve their overall writing abilities; we do not "fix" their papers. We do not proofread or edit a student's work without their interactive assistance. In addition, students retain ownership of the papers even after a Writing Center visit; they decide whether or not they want to incorporate the tutor's suggestions into their work. The Writing Center staff has no control over what a student does upon the end of the tutorial.

Can the Writing Center help me revise or develop writing assignments for my courses?

We are always happy to work with faculty on your writing prompts/assignments. Also, we have a number of books on writing and the teaching of writing in the disciplines which you may find useful.