During sessions, the student and the tutor work together to develop and improve the student’s ideas, plans, and arguments, with the tutor providing non-directive guidance. Consequently, to get the most out of each session, the student/visitor should be active, and aware of their needs. Ideally, as you begin a writing project, you should plan on visiting the center multiple times, in the early, middle, and late stages of the writing process.
Remember that tutors are not editors and that students are fully responsible for their work, in both content and form. The mission of the Writing Center is to help students develop their skills in interaction with experienced writers. And since “Where You End Up Depends on Where You Start,” each session will help you start a little higher on your next project. To benefit more quickly, pay attention not just to what the tutor says about your paper, but also to what the tutor does: they will look at, among other things, the link between claims and evidence, the relation between facts and interpretations, the clarity of your summaries, the strength of your descriptions, the effectiveness of transitions, down to spelling and grammar.
How to Use, and What to Expect from The Writing Center
You are encouraged to visit the Writing Center at any stage of the writing process: at the beginning, before you even begin to write; at the research stage, when you are increasing your knowledge on the subject; at the planning/outlining stage, to discuss your strategies; at the drafting stage, to go over any coherent portion of the paper you may have already written; at the finalizing stage, when the paper is close to its definitive shape. There is much that can be improved in your writing, if taken in stages and chunks, so don’t wait until you are nearly finished.
Below, is a list of steps to take before meeting with the tutor (which ones apply may depend on where you are in the writing process):
- Preliminary/Early Stages
- Expanding Knowledge and Building Structure
- Writing the Essay
- Finalizing the Essay