1When should I encourage my students to come?
Students gain most if they come in the drafting stages or if they have opportunities to revise. It is best to ask students to use the Writing Center well before an assignment is due (and well before the end of the semester, when it is more difficult to make appointments). Many of our most productive tutoring sessions occur when students do not bring any writing at all, but come to discuss the purpose of an assignment and to plan next steps.
2Why do many students seem unprepared to write in college?
Literacy has changed and become more complex. Although the amount students write has increased through the use of electronic media, students receive relatively fewer opportunities to write for academic purposes. In high schools where the tax base is higher, smaller class size makes it possible for teachers to assign and respond to more writing, but teachers are also asked to focus on skills for AP and college entrance exams. Many of these skills overlap skills needed in college, but not all. Even students who are prepared will need opportunities to work on their writing throughout their college.
Students learn to write through practice. Students learn many significant skills in First Year Writing, but to write as well as students in peer institutions, our students need opportunities to write in many other courses as well.
3What do students gain from tutoring?
Even one hour of tutoring allows students to gain distance from their writing and view it more objectively from the perspective of a reader. Although interacting with an “outside reader” cannot take the place of input from an expert in the field, it can help students learn to address a good deal of the writing issues that impede clarity, organization, and readability.
Students who use us frequently have the time to address a greater range of issues. Tutors work with writers to set priorities and encourage students to divide time in the session between sentence level and global issues. When addressing issues, tutors offer suggestions, options, and resources, but avoid taking over and rewriting for the student. This way, students both understand how to continue making revisions in the future and avoid ethical issues about authorship. Because revising and editing take time, tutoring session tend to address sections of writing rather than a whole text.
4Can a whole class visit for a workshop?
For classes of 24 students or less, you can schedule a workshop for the entire class. We offer two types: “brainstorming a new assignment” and “developing a thesis (or main idea).”
Both begin with the instructor and students reviewing the purpose of the assignment while tutors listen in. For brainstorming, the tutors help students analyze the assignment more closely and then give students time to sketch initial ideas, which are then discussed. For thesis, students and tutors list criteria for a thesis (or main idea) and then consider each member's thesis in relation to that criteria.
5What information can be put on a syllabus?
You are welcome to adapt the following:
The Writing Center welcomes you to work on writing for this or any course. You can also work on personal statements, resumes, or job applications. You are welcome to work with a tutor before you start writing in order to brainstorm, plan, or ask questions about an assignment.
To make an appointment, go to writingcenter.uic.edu
You can meet with a tutor face to face or online. If you have questions about appointments or tutoring, you can call the WC at 312-413-2206 during business hours or visit in person. The WC is located in 105 Grant Hall (next to Lincoln and Douglas.) The Writing Center is open from the second week of the semester through Wednesday of finals week.
Tutors work together with you to provide options for improving and learning about writing. The final responsibility for revising and completing writing assignments remains with you.