College of Arts and Sciences

The Writing Center

FAQs

Who is allowed to use the Writing Center?
Can graduate students use the Writing Center, too?
Do you help students who are not native English speakers/writers?
Do you charge for tutoring?
Do I need to make an appointment?

Where do I go?

Are you open on the weekends?

How many times may I visit the Writing Center each week?

How does a tutorial work?

Do you correct grammar and edit papers?

What do I need to bring with me? Do I need a draft?

It’s 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday and my paper is due later that day. Can you help?
Do you help students with papers for classes other than English?
Who are the tutors?
Can I request a specific tutor when making an appointment?
Do you offer online tutoring?
Are you open during the summer?

Who is allowed to use the Writing Center?
Any student, staff, or faculty member at Saint Joseph’s may use our services. We help writers in all colleges, at any level of expertise, in any stage of the writing process.

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Can graduate students use the Writing Center, too?

Yes. Many graduate students who visit the Writing Center find it helpful to make appointments with one of the graduate peer tutors who work in the Writing Center. While our tutorials generally last for 30 minutes, graduate student writers often find that the complexity and length of their projects are better addressed in a longer session. If we are able to accommodate students for one-hour appointments, we are happy to do so. Please mention to the receptionist that you are a graduate student in need of a one-hour appointment. Graduate students, staff, and faculty in need of editing services may contact the Writing Center for a list of people who may be willing to help edit entire thesis projects and dissertations for a fee.

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Do you help students who are not native English speakers/writers?
Yes.  We welcome students for whom English is not a first or home language. All of our tutors are trained to assist such students. For more information, contact the Writing Center at (610) 660-1341.

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Do you charge for tutoring?
Our services are free.

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Do I need to make an appointment?
No, you do not need to make an appointment in advance; however, we do get busy, particularly around mid-semester and the last couple of weeks of classes. We also tend to be busier during Free Periods, in the late afternoons and early evenings. Scheduled appointments are honored before drop-in appointments, so to make sure that you get the help you need, when you need it, we do recommend that you reserve a tutoring session in advance.

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Where do I go?
Our tutoring sessions take place in our main location at Merion Hall 162 and at our library satellite in the Post Learning Commons (room 128).

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Are you open on the weekends?
Yes.  We are open on Sunday evenings from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., at our satellite in the Post Learning Commons.

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How many times may I visit the Writing Center each week?
In order to serve as many students as possible, we permit you to make two 30-minute appointments or one 60-minute appointment per week.

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How does a tutorial work?

Once you enter the Writing Center and have checked in with the receptionist, you will be given two forms to fill out, a Contact Report and an Evaluation form. The Contact Report provides us with some basic information to help us assess the students who are visiting the Writing Center. The bottom of the Contact Report also provides a space for a tutor to describe the tutoring session. Tutors never offer an opinion about the quality of your paper or your writing ability in this space; they simply describe the writing issues that you addressed during your tutorial. You may decide whether or not to have a copy of the Contact Report sent to your instructor. Most students do so as they want their instructors to know that they have made the effort to seek additional help for their writing. The top half of the Evaluation form asks you to discuss briefly why you have come to the Writing Center. At the end of the session, you will complete the last half of this form, providing any feedback about your tutor and tutoring session. Your input is critical to us as it helps us to evaluate our services and make any necessary improvements.

 Your tutor will begin by asking you what you wish to work on during your tutoring session. If you have a draft with you, he/she will then likely skim that draft, mostly likely asking you to read it aloud. Your tutor won’t correct your essay or write it for you; instead, he/she will read your work with care and give feedback on elements of the paper that are working well and those that could be working better. Your tutor will talk to you about the content of your paper, helping you to expand your ideas or to articulate them more clearly.

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Do you correct grammar and edit papers?
Yes and no.  (How's that for a non-answer?)  Some students who visit the Writing Center are interested in a quick edit of a paper that they already feel pretty good about it. When tutors dig in, they may notice that the paper actually has significant errors in structure and content, making grammar and final editing a much lower priority. We do address grammar issues, but most of the time, we find that grammar is something to address much later in the writing process, after the structure and content are solid. Still, if we read a paper and notice patterns of grammatical error, we will point out those errors to you and help you figure out how to avoid such errors in the future. Likewise, if you have specific questions about grammar rules, we will answer them for you. We often run out of time, though, before we have made our way through an entire paper, so we don’t promise to catch every mistake. But, again, that’s not our goal. Our goal is to help you become a better writer any time you write, not just for a single assignment.  To that end, you'll never find us with pencils in hand, silently "correcting" or "editing" your work.  We'll instead put the pencil in your hand and help you learn to be a better editor of your own writing.

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What do I need to bring with me? Do I need a draft?
We help writers at every step of the writing process, from pre-writing to revising. It is always helpful if you bring your assignment sheet with you. If you have already begun writing, please bring a draft as well. If you are looking to revise a paper that has already been evaluated, it is helpful for us to have the paper that includes your instructor’s feedback. We advise students not to wait to the last minute to visit the Writing Center. Often times, students come to the Writing Center for a quick check, only to discover that major revision is in order. Please come as early as possible in the writing process so that we have time to help and you have time to implement our suggestions, or even to return again with another draft.

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It’s 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday and my paper is due later that day. Can you help?
We advise students not to wait to the last minute to visit the Writing Center.  Often times, students come to the Writing Center for a quick check, only to discover that major revision is in order.  Please come as early as possible in the writing process so that we have time to help and you have time to implement our suggestions, or even to return again with another draft.

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Do you help students with papers for classes other than English?
Absolutely. While many of the students who visit our Center bring papers they are writing for Craft of Language or Texts & Contexts, we see students from classes across the university. Sometimes students visit us who are working on writing that isn’t for a class, perhaps a scholarship application or a personal statement or a cover letter for a job.

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Who are the tutors?
Our staff is primarily made up of undergraduate students representing majors from across the university. All of our undergraduate peer tutors have successfully completed ENG 345: Writing Fellows, Theory & Practice. We also have some graduate students who tutor for us as well as two professional Writing and ESL Specialists. All of our tutors are excellent writers who share a love for writing and a desire to help others.

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Can I request a specific tutor when making an appointment?
Yes, if you found working with a specific tutor particularly helpful, please feel free to return to that tutor. Likewise, on occasion, students and tutors don’t click. If you felt that a tutoring session wasn’t as effective as you had hoped, please try another tutor the next time you make an appointment.

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Do you offer online tutoring?
Yes, but only to students who are enrolled in online courses and/or who are enrolled in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies.  All other students must appear in person at our main location or in the Post Learning Commons in order to receive assistance.

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Are you open during the summer?

Yes, we are open during both summer sessions.  Summer days and hours are posted at the end of the spring semester.

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