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Writing Center FAQs

Location and Hours

Golisano Academic Center 61B
Director:  Steven Tolson

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Answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Writing Center FAQs

Why are sessions limited to only 30 minutes?

Since the goal of a writing center visit is to help you develop a plan for revision, not to perform that revision, 30 minutes is all that is really necessary. In a short portion of the paper, or a quick structural and organizational scan, a trained peer tutor can easily determine with you what you will need to focus on when you revise your paper. Limiting the session to 30 minutes also ensures the tutors can help the large number of people who utilize the Center.

Can I have back-to-back sessions?

You can't read my 20 page paper in half an hour - can I have three back to back 30 minute sessions so you can read all of my paper?

Since the goal of a Writing Center visit is to identify what stage of revision is next, and not to simply proofread the paper, a single 30 minute session is all that is necessary and will be surprisingly helpful. Furthermore, since there were over 500 peer tutoring sessions last term alone, we must limit the duration of each session so all students have equal access to the Center. After one session, you can make an appointment for another session after significantly revising the paper along the lines you and your peer tutor have discussed.

Will you proofread and mark up the grammar on my paper?

Not exactly - but we can do something better. We will help you recognize patterns of mechanical errors in your writing and provide brief instruction on grammatical topics, but you will still be responsible for executing the "proofreading" on your own paper. If we proofread your paper, you wouldn't learn how to do it yourself (and we'd have to charge a lot more!)

What if my topic is not one the Center tutors are familiar with?

While each discipline has specific forms of writing, academic writing in general is fairly consistent from discipline to discipline. Most academic writing shares basic structural components of logic and readability. Obscure subject matters, in almost all cases, are not a hindrance to benefiting from a Writing Center session. What's more, the Writing Center staff has a diverse range of majors.

I brought my paper to the Writing Center - how come I only got a B?

Writing Center tutors will never make a prediction about your grade. Since they are not grading your paper, they have no way of knowing how someone else will evaluate your work. Grades are determined by your professor or instructor. No one other than the particular person assessing your paper knows why you received a particular grade.

If I get a contract from my professor to visit the Writing Center what does that mean?

A writing contract is simply a way of formalizing a specific sequence of actions, or formalizing a number of visits to the Center. The contract benefits the Center staff most of all because it defines and specifies the things your professor has identified that will benefit your writing the most.

Am I only allowed to visit the Writing Center once a term?

Visits to the Center are limited only by tutor availability and the Center's limited schedule. You can visit as many times a term as you like; however, you are allowed only one visit per "revision cycle." In other words, after you have a session with a tutor on a paper, you cannot come back with that same paper until you have executed the revisions identified during the session.

I did not like my tutor/session - What can I do?

Talk with the Director to see if there's another tutor on staff that might be better suited to your particular ways of working.

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