University Learning Center

What Writing Tutors Do

The primary concern of Writing Services is helping students develop their writing skills and, secondarily, their critical reading skills. We want students who schedule Writing Center appointments or drop in at the Writing Lab to develop their best writing process. We do this by:

  • engaging students in conversation. Talking with students about their papers, texts and ideas is one of the most important things we do. We want students to take a positive attitude toward writing and reading and that attitude does not come about by intimidation or condescension. Writing tutors should share their own writing strategies and other ways they know that writers engage in the process of writing.
  • allowing the writer to do the work. We will not write papers; we will, however, guide students through a revision process as their draft develops. To bring home this point, students who seek writing help should keep the pencil in their hand: they do the writing, not the tutor!
  • focusing on global revision concerns first. Discovering a focus or thesis, finding the appropriate tone or voice, re-envisioning organization and structure, exploring ways to fully develop ideas and points - these are the first concerns of a writer, and should be the first concerns of the writing tutor. Other, local revision concerns - sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage - come later.
    WE DO NOT EDIT. However, we do help students learn how to edit their own work!
  • helping writers improve a piece of writing. Improvement, not perfection, is our goal. You should raise and explore questions about the paper. The student seeking help must maintain ownership of the paper.
  • remembering that the writer is our primary concern. Our goal is to help students strengthen their writing skills so their writing, in general, will improve. We work with the current paper as a way of getting to work with the writer.

What Writing Tutors Must Remember