Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule an appointment?

You have several options:
1) use our online scheduler,

2) stop by, and we'll do our best to assist you, or

3) email us at apheatwole@smcm.edu for assistance or additional availability. 

E-mailing or stopping by are the best options if you can't make any of the posted hours.

More FAQs

Meet the Tutors:

Hannah

 

Hannah Myers

Major: English

Minor: Music & WGSX

 

Click here to see all of our peer tutors!


The Writing Tutorial and Tutor/Writer Responsibilities



The Writer's Responsibilities to the Tutor:

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When writers come to the Writing Center, they almost always have a clear purpose in being there. They have questions about their work or about ways to approach the writing process. They want to be able to set their own agenda for writing help, or they just want an audience for their work. However, writers sometimes come because a teacher said they "had to," or because they want us to magically fix their papers. In these cases, our guidance will hopefully get even the most reluctant writers to take an active role in the tutoring session. It's our responsibility to see that the half-hour isn't wasted.

Ideally, writers come prepared for the session, arriving with at least:

  • questions
  • a current draft, be it seven pages or notes scrawled on a napkin
  • pen or pencil

...and if relevant to their writing task, they'll also bring:

  • a copy of the assignment sheet
  • a verbal summary of reading material for the assignment
  • teacher's comments or past graded work

Again, if the writer is not prepared, we can still do something, whether it be lending a pen or helping to brainstorm thesis topics.


The Tutor's Responsibilities to the Writer:

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Our primary responsibility is to try to give the writer something, such as knowledge, ideas, or enjoyment, that will be helpful to the writer long after the end of the tutoring session. The more successful we are in these attempts, the less we will have to worry about problems such as plagiarism and dependent writers. We should try to help the writers to:

  • Enjoy the writing process
  • Appreciate the usefulness or art of writing
  • Learn processes, such as
    • Idea generation, pre-writing, and organizing
    • Writing drafts
    • Thinking about and making major changes to their
    • Proofreading
  • Realize that immediate attention to certain areas will improve their writing
  • Overcome difficulties that classes don't alleviate
  • See how they could answer specific questions for themselves
  • Have confidence that, with practice, they can write well

Of course, certain tutor characteristics are also necessary, such as

  • Friendliness
  • Attentiveness and good listening skills
  • Patience
  • Appreciation of the writer's efforts and achievements
  • Acceptance of new ideas and perspectives
  • Ability to tactfully bring up other opinions and points of view
  • Knowledge of a wide variety of writing issues

Many of these go without saying, but we feel it's always important to be reminded of our goals from time to time. It's easy to forget to praise a writer's strong points in our rush to get the job done. We have to always remember that the writer is ultimately the one turning in the work, and we want to help them to the best of our ability.


Important Information about Tutorials and the Center:

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What Happens at the Center?

The tutors at the Writing Center will meet with you in one-on-one tutorial sessions where your specific needs and interests can be addressed. These sessions, also called tutorials or writing conferences, can last for a half hour to an hour. You can either reserve an appointment on the Sign Up sheet in the Center (Library Rooms 108, 110 and 115) or you can stop by on a first-come, first-serve basis during scheduled Writing Center hours.

Who Should Visit the Center?

All students interested in talking about their writing will find the Writing Center a valuable resource. The tutors, who come from various majors and academic backgrounds, work with students from all academic disciplines. For your one-on-one conference, you can bring in any assignment at any stage in the process, from the roughest of ideas to the almost-finished product.

What Happens During a Tutorial?

Whether you drop by or schedule an appointment, you can expect to meet with a tutor for anywhere from half an hour to an hour, depending on your needs and schedule. A tutor will greet you and ask you to fill out the sign-in sheet, where you simply write your name, the time, and the class or project for which you are writing. Then the conference begins.

The tutor will ask you to read your paper out loud so that you and the tutor can hear what the paper sounds like. Reading aloud also slows the rate at which both individuals read through the paper, allowing for you to see how the piece works. If reading aloud feels uncomfortable or unwise for the particular situation, your tutor may suggest that he or she read the paper aloud or that the paper be read silently. During and after the reading, the tutor will ask questions and raise issues for you to think about. If you come to the tutorial with certain questions or issues on your mind, the tutor will address these issues in the conference. The tutor will not write on your paper, so it will be up to you to make any notes or changes you will need to remember later.

Zach TutoringWhether or not you come prepared with questions, the tutor will also concentrate on the most important concerns he or she sees in your paper. You may originally be concerned with grammar, but as the tutorial progresses you may notice that your paper lacks focus, and you may decide to reorganize the work. Maybe you realize that your paper is structured well but that you could use more descriptive details or a stronger introduction. If your paper seems mostly completed, your tutor may show you how to proofread closely or create greater fluidity between sentences. If you are still working on ideas, your tutor may show you ways to free-write and brainstorm or some new ways to focus your thesis and find supporting details. Feel free to discuss your writing process and your concerns about writing with your tutor.

Every conference is different depending on the individuals involved, the stage of the work and the work itself. Your tutor will concentrate on helping you as a writer in the best way possible.

Where is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is located in room 115 in the library. Our offices are right next door in rooms 108 and 110. Our schedule changes every semester so visit our online schedule, call us or stop by the Center to check out our hours and sign up for an appointment.