FAQ: What to Expect
In each session, you will receive verbal and written feedback (written only for the E-Tutoring Document Drop option) from an experienced and supportive graduate student consultant. Each session aims to balance larger writing issues (e.g., structure, scope, organization, style) with more mechanical concerns (e.g., punctuation, semantics, syntax, vocabulary).
During in-person sessions, your consultant will likely start by asking you about your assignment, where you are in your project and what you particularly want to address. As you work together, your consultant will highlight your existing strengths so you can grow them, and flag areas that would benefit from closer attention. The best and most productive appointments are ones that feel like conversations, leaving you with a clearer sense of your own ideas, your own aims and your own writing.
For the E-Tutoring Document Drop option, the feedback you receive will be guided by the information you give. Consultants will address specific issues that you raise and bring up other areas of attention to help your writing.
Regardless of the format of your session, you will emerge with clear steps on which to take action in order to improve your writing.
We help all writers at every stage of the writing process. We also firmly believe that no one is a bad writer. Writing is like a muscle or a sport — the only way to improve is through practice. Similarly, even skilled writers could benefit from our service.
No. The writing center supports all stages of the writing process:
The 30-minute appointment is for targeted issues and follow-up questions. Perhaps you have a particular paragraph that you are stuck on, or you feel that your introduction needs work; perhaps you had a 60-minute appointment earlier and are back for a follow-up to check that you are on track. This form of appointment is also very useful at the beginning of the writing process to help you orient yourself to the assignment and to grasp fully its implications and demands.
The 30-minute appointment is designed to be short and sweet; you won’t have time to tackle everything. However, as you work together, areas of your writing that would benefit from a longer appointment might emerge. In such cases, you will be encouraged to return for a 60-minute appointment.
The 60-minute appointment is best suited to overarching issues affecting your whole paper. For example, you might want help coming up with initial ideas, or making an outline for your paper. Perhaps you want to work on paragraph structure, or on making sure that your argument is present throughout the paper.
You will meet with your consultant for 50 of the 60 minutes (or 25 of the 30 minutes). This is so our consultants have time to fill out an appointment overview form, which we keep to help us stay up-to-date with your work and progress, and allow us to better respond to your needs.
For in-person appointments, we require you to bring a hard copy of your writing and to have your assignment readily accessible. Unfortunately, printers are not available in the Writing Center, so make sure you come prepared! If you need help, please refer to the library’s handy printing guide.
For face-to-face online appointments, please follow the instructions on providing a link to a Google or Word document.
To use the E-Tutoring Document Drop option, please make sure you upload your writing as well as your prompt and provide your consultant some guidance as to the particular feedback you would like. Please ensure you upload your documents in advance of the time that you have booked.
You can come to the Writing Center every day! All writers can make one face-to-face (online or in-person) or E-Tutoring Document Drop appointment per day. If you are unable to attend your appointment or no longer wish to have your document looked at, you must cancel at least three hours in advance to give people on the wait list a chance to take your spot. Of course, sometimes life intervenes to prevent you from making your in-person appointment at the last minute; this is OK, but please note that if you no-show more than twice a semester, you will be unable to make a new appointment for a week. If you continue to miss appointments throughout the semester, your account may be disabled for longer.
Yes! Even though it is always best to make an appointment in order in advance to guarantee an in-person consultation, the Writing Center makes every effort to see drop-ins when it is open. You are welcome to stop by to see if a consultant is available.
We believe that the most effective way to help you proofread is to provide you with strategies for self-correction, from identifying errors on your own to working with peers to improve your writing. Our ultimate goal is to help demystify the writing process and aid you in becoming better and more confident writers, and we are happy to work with you to set up peer-editing and review groups.
There is much more to good writing than correct grammar. Oftentimes, the writing you are doing in a college or university setting is at once difficult and new: you may never have written in the particular style that you are now being asked to write in, and it is very likely that you are using ideas that you have never encountered before (and may not be certain you understand). These factors can combine to make you struggle more with written expression than if you were writing in a more familiar style.
Correcting grammar is, therefore, frequently counterproductive, as the “problem” isn’t your grammar, it’s the difficulty of the task you are attempting. If you are an English language learner who is concerned about grammar, please contact the English Language Programs.
Of course! The Writing Center is here to help anyone in the Brandeis community. We look forward to welcoming you.