What Happens During a Session?
- Our sessions happen online in response to covid-10. See our homepage for more!
- They will ask you about your goals for the session and help you discover what part of your writing process you are in with your current project.
- They will ask questions to help you think about your writing and they will share their observations to help you gain a greater awareness of how you write.
- Optionally, either you or your tutor will read your work aloud (if you have a draft).
- Your tutor will shape their feedback to suit your goals and to suit your deadlines.
- Your tutor will collaborate with you to develop strategies that make your writing more effective.
- Some of the strategies our tutors most often use are: taking notes on your ideas as you speak them, asking clarifying questions, identifying patterns in your writing that you may not be aware of, and modeling new sentence options.
- Tutors are trained to work on any kind of writing at any point in its development—they can work with you on brainstorming ideas even before you have a draft or they can help you identify common grammar issues and typos in your final drafts!
How to Get the Most from Your Session and the Center
- Remember that you are the authority on your work—even if you don't quite know where to start, we believe that you are in charge of your project, your piece, your process. We don't require you to change anything about your piece; it's always your choice. To help you consider what kind of feedback you want before your session, your tutor will assist you in filling out an "Author’s Note" [.doc]. The Author's Note asks you to name your goals, worries, and other information about the project.
- Don't be afraid to get curious and be specific! The more clearly and specifically you can articulate what you want to get out of the session, the easier it will be for tutors to provide that feedback. We are here to help you in the ways that you need and want to be helped. Some example questions you might ask about academic writing are:
Is my argument and evidence convincing to you?
Do you see the connection between my writing and my sources?
What would you say is the main message of my piece, as you read it?
Do you have any techniques to work on the stage I'm at in my process?
When you read this, is anything unclear? Where do you get hung up?
Are there any common grammar mistakes or typos I should consider editing?
- Arrive on time with your project materials. When possible, the Writing Center recommends bringing a copy of the prompt, and any resources you're using to write.
- Make multiple appointments and give yourself plenty of time. If you’re working on a longer or high-stakes project, consider making multiple appointments over the span of a couple weeks. With all appointments, give yourself time afterward to think through and incorporate the feedback you received. Only so much can be accomplished in a single tutoring session, so coming in as early as possible before a deadline gives you adequate time to explore your writing more fully.
- Find a good match. You can meet with the same or different tutors. If you find a tutor you work with well, consider meeting with them on a regular basis. Working with the same tutor can save time because they become familiar with your writing style and what you’re working on in your program. You can schedule a weekly appointment to reserve the same time each week with your tutor. Alternatively, you may find it beneficial to meet with different tutors to get varying perspectives on your paper. Please note that tutors cannot read your paper before the session or meet anywhere off-campus.
- Make a commitment to yourself as a writer. If you are passionate about exploring yourself as a writer, and you have time in your schedule to dedicate to your craft, consider making weekly or biweekly appointments for a quarter. You are likely to discover a great deal about your process, style, and strengths.
The Writing Center can offer alternative tutoring arrangements, such as longer or more frequent sessions, on a case-by-case basis.
Tutors can also meet with you in the Assistive Technology Lab, where one can access screen readers, dictation software, and other technological resources.
Alternative arrangements are best made ahead of time and must be agreed to by all involved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Myths About the Writing Center
Myth #1: The Writing Center is only for inexperienced writers (and experienced writers don't go to the Writing Center).
Reality: The Writing Center is for writers of all styles and skill levels. Even our tutors utilize the Center for their own writing projects and assignments. We can talk with you about writing concepts, techniques, and how to find a process that works for you. All writers can benefit from talking through their ideas and techniques with another writer, whether you're struggling to see the point or excited about your work. We're people who love to talk about writing challenges, successes, and curiosities!
Myth #2: The Writing Center "cleans up," "fixes," or proofreads my papers before I submit them—I can drop off my paper, come back later, and it will be corrected. OR The Writing Center doesn't proofread.
Reality: The Writing Center's philosophy is that writers can best improve their writing through hearing feedback from their readers. Therefore, we promote a one-on-one environment where writers interact with tutors to improve their writing and their process. Writing Center tutors assist writers in developing effective strategies for developing their best writing; they don't correct your work for you but help to guide you to options you might not have known you had. This process extends to proofreading. So, long story short: we proofread! And when we proofread, we do it together.
Myth #3: I have to have a draft written in order to use the Writing Center.
Reality: You don't have to have a draft written. You can come in just to talk about what you think your idea for your writing might possibly maybe be. You can even come in to talk about the idea that you don't like but it's all you've got at the moment!
Myth #4: The Writing Center will make my writing perfect/ the Writing Center will make my faculty like my writing.
Reality: We believe there is no such thing as perfect writing, but every writer has areas where they can learn and grow. Our aim is not to make "better" pieces of writing but to support you in achieving the goals you want to achieve through your writing. You define as your successes; we support you in getting there. If your goal is to achieve proficiency in college-level academic writing, we can support you in that. If your goal is to navigate your process as an experimental poet, we can help you with that. If your goal is to write a letter to friend back home, we'll support you in doing that!
Myth #5: Writing tutors possess all knowledge about writing.
Reality: No one knows everything about writing! If a tutor doesn't know the answer to the a question, they will work with you to figure it out by checking out our bookshelf, handouts, sometimes other tutors, and online resources.
Myth #6: Writing tutors wouldn't want to work on my graphic novel/genre fiction/personal letter/cover letter.
If you have a specific interest, you can ask the front desk about our tutors' specialties to find a tutor who is particularly knowledgeable or excited about a subject or genre. At the same time, our sessions are designed so that most tutors can help with most types of writing. Most tutors are excited about most types of writing.
Myth #7: All I have to do is bring in my paper right before it's due and that will produce significant improvements to my work.
Reality: If a you bring in a paper an hour before it is due, you won't have much time to incorporate the changes you thought to make during the tutoring session. How long does it take you to revise a draft? We strongly encourage you to build the Writing Center into your writing process and bring your work in a few days or a few weeks before it is due to allow ample time to reflect and revise.
Myth #8: Tutors will read my paper ahead of time.
Reality: Our current methodology is for both the writer and the tutor review the paper at the same time so that you can discuss any questions or reflections in real time.
Myth #9: Tutors know all the material in my program.
Reality: Tutors depend largely on writers to inform them about their assignment and whatever reading was necessary for that assignment; as peer-tutors, they are students like you and only do the assignments and readings required for their own classes. Bringing a written copy of the prompt or instructions from your faculty can be a good idea. While tutors don't have a mindmeld/psychic connection with faculty that allows them full knowledge of the faculty's intentions, tutors may be able to use their prior experiences as writers or as Evergreen students to help understand a prompt or assignment.
Myth #10: Appointments are required at the Writing Center—I can't just drop in.
Reality: Both the Olympia campus and Tacoma campus Writing Centers accommodate and welcome drop-in writers. Although we don't require that folks schedule in advance, we do recommend it. This is especially recommended during our peak times in the last three weeks (Week 9, 10, and Eval Week) of every quarter.