What to Expect

When you arrive

  1. If you have made an appointment (using the Online Scheduler), your tutor should be available to help when you arrive. If not, we might still be able to help! Just stop by either Writing Center (HAB 103 at CSB or Quad 263 at SJU) and ask if any tutors are available to help.

  2. Before we begin looking at the paper, we will ask about your year in school, your class, your professor's name and the assignment you are working on. We want to get to know you and understand the assignment, so we can offer personalized advice in the way that is best for you.

  3. We will work collaboratively with you to help improve your paper and build your skills for future writing. We almost always do this by reading the paper aloud (either you or your tutor), as this fosters discussion and helps in noticing errors; if you strongly prefer not to read aloud, just ask!

Hierarchy of Writer Concerns

 Start at the foundation (bottom) of the pyramid and then make your way up!

Writing Center Hierchy of Needs

Don't worry if the chart looks a bit complicated. This is our method of improving papers.
We focus first on broad structural and conceptual issues (the ‘base’ of the pyramid), and look at smaller issues (grammar, sentence structure, etc.) only when these have been addressed. This is to help focus the session on what the paper needs most; it is better to miss a grammatical mistake than a weak argument. If we see a larger structural problem, we will try to help you work that out before looking at grammatical or stylistic issues.


Step By Step: How to Make the Most of Your Session

  1. Make sure you have enough time: Sign up for a half-hour or hour long time slot on our Online Scheduler.
    • NOTE: We do accept walk-in appointments, but you will not be guaranteed an appointment if all tutors are busy.
  2. Choose who you want to work with: You can pick a tutor that is familiar with your paper topic by checking our Tutor Specialties list.
  3. Come earlier rather than later: We can help you most if you give yourself time to revise.
  4. Bring the prompt/assignment sheet: This helps us know exactly what we should work on.
  5. Know what you want to work on. Be able to tell your tutor if you need to look at organization, thesis, etc.
  6. Relax! There is no need to be nervous: The Writing Center tutors are friendly and eager to help!
  7. Come into the Writing Center again: You can make multiple appointments for the same paper so that you have help during all stages of the writing process.