Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to make an appointment?
While appointments aren't required, they're strongly encouraged.
Making an appointment is the only way to guarantee that you'll be seen by a tutor on a particular date or at a particular time. If we don't have any appointments scheduled, we can take walk-in visitors; however, we're often unable to do this during busy times in the semester.
What should I bring with me?
We recommend that you bring a copy of your paper (either printed, on a flash drive or on your computer), a pen, the assignment prompt/handout and enthusiasm! You can also bring your laptop.
Will you tell my professor I came in?
Only if you want us to. When you sign in at the Writing Center, you have the option to indicate whether or not you'd like us to notify your professor that you visited us. Keep in mind, though, that most professors are very happy to learn that their students visited the Writing Center; this tells them that you are taking extra time and care with your work in their class!
I don't have an essay; can I still come in?
We can work with resumes, lab reports, graduate school applications, creative writing, contest submissions, love letters or even brainstorming! If you need help understanding your prompt, bring it in, and we can also assist you with that, too!
How long is a tutoring session? When should I come in?
Tutoring sessions are between 30 to 40 minutes. We recommend that you visit the Writing Center at least a few days before your paper is due so that you have enough time to revise after you meet with the tutor. In many cases, multiple visits, at both the early and later stages of your writing process, are beneficial. Please note that if you visit the Writing Center the night, day or hour before your paper is due, the degree to which the tutors can help you will be limited.
What happens during a tutoring session?
The tutor will probably begin the session by asking you about your assignment and inviting you to talk about your questions and concerns. Often tutors will read your paper aloud or invite you to do so; this helps with catching errors that are often skipped over when we read silently. The tutor will ask you questions, make observations and suggestions, and explain concepts. In short, expect a lively conversation about your writing with a friendly, helpful peer.
Who works at the Writing Center?
Our tutors are all Stetson University students, mainly undergraduates, from majors across campus. All of our tutors are strong writers who have been trained to work effectively with students one-on-one.
Can my tutor help me, even if they haven't taken the class that this paper is for?
It's not necessary for tutors to be familiar with the content area of your writing in order to help you make it clear, focused and stylistically correct. However, we understand that in some cases (when writing a lab report, for example), you may wish to work with a tutor from a particular major. See the list below for reference; when you make your appointment, you can see when a particular tutor is available.
- Sciences: Elizabeth, Hannah, Vanna, Tracy
- English: Bianca, Victoria A., Taylor, Alex, Jordan, Mara, Lizzie
- History/Economics: Cameron
- Religious Studies/Political Science: Victoria L.
- Psychology: Aaliyah
- Sociology: Kate
- Music: Melaina
- Communications: Michael
- Grad student papers: Taylor
- Personal Statements: Bianca, Elizabeth, Taylor
What takes place during a tutoring session?
Put simply: conversation between peers about writing.
More specifically, tutors:
- Listen actively, ask questions and make suggestions, helping students develop ideas, make effective arguments and achieve clarity.
- Work with students to identify patterns of error in usage, form and style, explaining rules and offering strategies for editing and proofreading.
- Help students with anything from understanding assignment prompts to finding library resources to using correct citations.
Tutors never write any part of a student's papers or edit their papers for them.
How can my students use the Writing Center most effectively?
Generally, your students will benefit from multiple visits to the Writing Center, starting early in the writing process.
In the early stages of drafting, tutors can help students understand their assignments and work with them on focus and argument. Later on, tutors can help them with sentence-level issues. Time for revision after a visit to the Writing Center is always recommended.
Can I require my students to visit the Writing Center?
We believe that students should be encouraged, but not required, to visit the Writing Center. While required visits can be beneficial to students, tutorials are most effective if the student is a willing and engaged participant. A required visit can result in a student's bringing in a negative or apathetic attitude to the session, which limits productivity. Additionally, required visits often result in students rushing to the Writing Center at the last minute, often right before their papers are due, which prevents them from being able to make substantive revisions based on the tutors' suggestions. If you still choose to require your students to visit the Writing Center, please note that we cannot guarantee that all of your students will be seen by a tutor, especially if they do not have an appointment.
Will I be notified if my students visit the Writing Center?
The content of each tutoring session is confidential. However, prior to each session, students have the option to indicate whether or not they want their instructors to be notified of their visit. You will receive an email notifying you that a session report was uploaded to Stetson SSC. The session report will contain a brief summary of the session, written by the tutor.
My student visited the Writing Center, and their paper still contains grammatical or punctuation errors. Why?
The Writing Center is not an editing service. Tutors are trained to attend first to "higher order concerns" (focus, development, organization, etc.) and typically work on issues of style and grammar only after these bigger picture issues are addressed. Additionally, while tutors will certainly identify and explain patterns of errors to students, they are not able to identify every error a paper may contain within the course of a tutorial—nor is this a good use of their time. We find it most effective to teach students rules and concepts so that they can apply this knowledge in the future.
Does the Writing Center offer support for faculty?
We are open to all members of the Stetson University community. Specific support for faculty is also available. Director Leigh Ann Dunning holds weekly hours in which she is available to help faculty and staff with their professional writing tasks, including assignment prompts, conference proposals, cover letters, articles, etc. Email Leigh Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a consultation.
Can a representative from the Writing Center visit my class?
Class visits are generally about 10 minutes long. During this time, the tutor will talk to your students about the purpose of the Writing Center and what to expect from a tutoring session.
We've also created 40-minute interactive presentations on topics related to writing.
We can also assist with particular writing assignments or tasks. For example, a tutor can help facilitate peer review or class workshops.
To arrange a visit, please email email@example.com at least a week in advance.