FAQ: What to Expect
What should I expect from my appointment?
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 face-to-face (online or 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.
What types of writers do you help?
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.
Do I need to have a draft before I come to the writing center?
No. The writing center supports all stages of the writing process:
- Understanding your assignment: Our consultants can help you parse the language of your assignment to better understand the requirements and expectations of the task at hand. An appointment that focuses on understanding your assignment will uncover potential avenues of exploration, help to identify and refine potential research questions, and point you in the direction of future work. This type of consultation occurs in a face-to-face appointment.
- Outlining and brainstorming: Our consultants can support your pre-writing by offering you the space to brainstorm, sketch out rough plans or detailed outlines, and help you to make sense of your own thoughts and ideas. This type of consultation occurs in a face-to-face appointment.
- Drafts and revision: Once you have made a start on your writing, our consultants can work with you to develop your ideas further and to address your writing concerns. Whether you want support on the organization of your writing, or need someone to hear you read your paper aloud, our consultants can help you make your writing stronger. Depending on your particular need, this type of consultation can occur face-to-face or via document drop.
What should I bring to my appointment?
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. The Writing Center requires Microsoft Word files for e-tutoring, so your consultant can make notes and add comments to your writing. You must also upload a file with your assignment or prompt if possible. To download Microsoft Word, please visit: Available software, Information Technology Services. If you have questions about how to download a copy of a google doc please refer to this guide: Docs Editors Help.
How many times can I use the center in a week or a semester? What happens if I have to cancel?
Can I come to the center without an appointment?
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.
Do you proofread?
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.
Why don’t you correct grammar?
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.
Can I come to the writing center, even if I’m a … ?
Of course! The Writing Center is here to help anyone in the Brandeis community. We look forward to welcoming you.
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