What happens during a session?
Our sessions happen online in response to COVID-19. See our homepage for instructions for scheduling!
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, they can help you understand where to pare down or rewrite what you have, or they can help you identify common grammar issues and typos in your final drafts. 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, asking questions that help you generate new ideas or perspectives, reading your work aloud, identifying patterns in your writing that you may not be aware of, and modeling new sentence options.
Please note that tutors only read your work during the session (they cannot read your paper before the session) and they can only meet on-campus or online for your appointment (they cannot meet off-campus).
To guide the session, your tutor will ask you questions. It's not required, but you can prepare for those questions by reviewing or completing an Author's note:
Your feedback means a lot to us. You can give us feedback in one of two ways:
How to get the most from your sessions
Don't be afraid to be specific! When you tell your tutor what you want to get out of the session, tutors can make sure to support you in meeting that specific goal. If you don’t know what to focus on, you can always ask your tutor to help you explore possible goals. If you’re having a session about academic writing, for example, you might ask:
Is my argument and evidence convincing to you?
Do you see the connection between my writing and the quotes I am using?
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?
Be prepared. Arrive on time with two paper copies of your draft or notes, and one copy (digital or paper) of your faculty’s instructions or other prompt.
Make multiple appointments. If you’re working on a longer or high-stakes project, consider making multiple appointments over the span of a couple of weeks.
Give yourself time afterward to reflect. You’ll need this time to think through and incorporate the feedback you received.
Find a good match. 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.
Make a weekly appointment. You can schedule a weekly appointment to reserve the same time each week with your tutor.
Mix it up. Alternatively, you may find it beneficial to meet with different tutors to get varying perspectives.
Make a commitment to yourself as a writer for a whole quarter. 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 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 need to go to the Writing Center.
Reality: The Writing Center is for writers of all styles and skill levels. Even our tutors and administrators use the Center for their own writing projects and assignments. We love to talk about writing challenges, joys, 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 by receiving feedback from their readers in real-time; 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 your idea (or lack of ideas).
Myth #4: The Writing Center will make my writing perfect/ the Writing Center will make my faculty like my writing.
Reality: While we don't believe in "perfect writing," we do believe that every writer has areas where they can learn and grow. 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 a friend back home, or a toast for your sibling's wedding, we'll support you in doing that! As for making your faculty like your writing, this can require communication between you and your faculty to make sure you have a clear understanding of their expectations. And if your goal is to meet their expectations, we can support you in that!
Myth #5: Writing Center tutors will try to standardize all voices to become "academic" or "professional."
Reality: As stated in Reality #4, writing tutors really want to meet you where you are at. We believe it is important to respect how dynamic language is. Languages are fluid, ever-changing, and how we use our language(s) always reflects who we are as people. No one person, institution, or culture's standard is the only way to write or speak. Our respect for your unique voice is a big part of why our sessions are centered around your goals. Whether you want to master a standard, break a standard, or forget about standards and focus on your own expressivity or process, we can support you. Lead the way!
Myth #6: Writing tutors must possess all knowledge about writing.
Reality: No one knows everything about writing. If a tutor doesn't know the answer to a question, they can still be a great tutor. For example, we don't require our tutors to memorize MLA citation styles, but they are quick to find resources to help you get your citations done well. They will work with you to figure it out by checking out our bookshelf, handouts, and online resources, and sometimes by checking in with other tutors or a reference librarian.
Myth #7: 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 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. Our tutors' main focus is on you and your goals.
Myth #8: 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 you bring in a paper an hour before it is due, you won't have much time to incorporate the changes you decided to make during the tutoring session. To really improve your work, you might need to learn how long it takes you to really revise a draft. (Note: This topic—what revision looks like to you—is a great one for a tutoring session!) While you may not have time to bring every piece to the Writing Center, we strongly encourage you to build the Writing Center into your writing process for those specific pieces and assignments that are important to you. Make a session a few days or a few weeks before your project is due to allow ample time to reflect and revise.
Myth #9: Tutors get information from my faculty about my assignments/the material in my program.
Reality: Tutors depend 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 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. Tutors may be able to use their prior experiences as writers and as Evergreen students to help understand a prompt or assignment and identify choices about how a writer could express themselves within or beyond academic constraints.
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.