FAQs

Student FAQs

Should I visit the Writing Center?

YES! Any member of the McDaniel community can can come to the Writing Center at any stage of the writing process for free help. Our team of trained peer tutors come from a wide range of personal and academic backgrounds and are genuinely interested in you and your work.

You can come in to practice writing skills (even without an assignment), discuss ideas with a tutor after you have received an assignment, discuss an outline/notes, get help with a resume, or get help with pretty much any other kind of writing you’re working on. We will look over any stage of a draft whether it is incomplete, rough, or final. Basically, if it’s writing, it’s welcome at the Writing Center!

NOTE: please don’t bring in a final draft mere minutes before it is due as we will be unable to help you with anything meaningful.

What should I bring to my tutoring session?

Bring your ideas and a willingness to work. Peer tutors also like to see assignment sheets and any written work you have done on the paper and/or your most current draft. Sessions are active exchanges between you and the tutor. Come prepared to ask questions, review writing skills/concepts, or practice other active revision techniques to identify places that need attention. Tutors watch for larger issues like the strength of a thesis statement, supporting details, and organization, before focusing on other important elements of effective writing (e.g. documentation, punctuation, usage, etc). We want you to get the biggest bang for your buck!

We do not comment on grades, nor are we an editing service. We’re here to dialogue about writing and help you become the most empowered writer you can be!

How long will a tutoring session take?

An average session takes thirty (30) to sixty (60) minutes. You can choose the session length when booking an appointment using our online scheduler.

What’s your scheduling policy?

You can book up to three appointments a week! Due to demand, we recommend scheduling at least a day or two ahead of time.

Also, please make sure that you log in to the scheduler at least thirty (30) minutes beforehand and cancel an appointment yourself if you cannot make an appointment. People who don’t arrive within five minutes of their scheduled start time have their session marked as a “no-show.” After two or more no-shows, those people are blocked from using our services for the semester and are readmitted only after meeting with the Writing Center Director.

How do I make an appointment?

Check out  this overview about using the scheduler:

Using WC Online

Also feel free to come into the Writing Center in Hill Hall 102 for help setting up an appointment!

 

 

What if all the appointments are taken? Can someone still help me?

Check out this overview of our waitlist feature:

Waitlist Infographic

We also often announce openings on our Twitter: @McDanielWriting

Will anyone know that I’ve come to the Writing Center?

That’s up to you!

Every time you come to the Writing Center for a tutoring session, you and the tutor will work together to write up a report outlining your next steps. You’ll always receive a copy of that report for your records, and that report will be available to Writing Center staff so that they can continue to help you no which tutor you work with. Like all of your academic records, these reports are protected under FERPA.

However, if you also want us to let your professor know that you put in some extra effort on this assignment, just let us know and we’ll send your professor a copy of the report! Professors want to read your best possible work, and they typically appreciate knowing that you’re using all available resources to succeed! Who knows, they may even offer you extra credit!

 

How do I become a peer tutor?

We’re glad you asked! Applicants are recruited each Fall (typically in mid-late October) and interviewed by a committee including experienced peer tutors and the Director. If chosen, those students enroll in ENG 2218 in the Spring and begin working as Associate Tutors the following Fall. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from all majors are encouraged to apply!

 

What is the difference between a peer tutor and a Writing Fellow?

Writing tutors are generalists who work with students from a variety of majors. Writing tutors hold regular hours and work from the Writing Center. Writing Fellows, on the other hand, are specialists in a particular kind of writing and are connected to a specific faculty member and course. Whereas writing tutors work with multiple individuals on many different assignments, Writing Fellows typically work with students from a single class on a small number of assignments. Both are highly trained in tutoring pedagogy, but each specializes in a different type of tutoring.

How do I become a Writing Fellow?

We’re glad you asked! The best way to become a Writing Fellow is to let your department’s faculty know that you’re interested while you’re taking your major’s WID course! Applicants are recruited by individual faculty members in each department, usually in February, then interviewed by the Director. If chosen, those students attend a day-long training over the summer and enroll in DWP 3201: Departmental Writing Practicum in the Fall.

Faculty FAQs

Why should I send my students to the Writing Center?

Our peer tutors are well-trained in pedagogical and practical considerations. Above all else, they are committed to helping everyone who walks in our door become a well-equipped, empowered writer.

Every writer benefits from having an audience; every writer benefits from revision. Encouraging your students to book an appointment with the Writing Center guarantees undivided attention that is both personable and academic.

Tutoring is most effective when students come voluntarily and ready to engage in the process. Research overwhelmingly finds that required visits with a tutor damage students’ internal motivations and overall relationship with the peer tutors. As a general guideline, we ask that you do not require your students to visit more than once a semester and, if you do require tutoring, that you not attach the requirement to any particular assignment. If you do choose to require that students use Center services for a particular assignment, we ask that you email the Writing Center Director beforehand so that we can ensure appropriate staffing to meet the increased need. Instead, we encourage finding other ways to incentivize more than one visit to the Center.

Should I talk about the Writing Center in my syllabus or on my Blackboard site?

Yes! We would love for you to link students from your Blackboard site to our online scheduler! If you link out to the Writing Center, here is some suggested language:

“This link will take you to the McDaniel Writing Center online scheduler, WC Online. You can use this system to make appointments with tutors, and appointments can be made from now until the end of the current semester. Plan ahead and book appointments once you know when major assignments are due! You can also bookmark this site on your own computer: https://mcdaniel.mywconline.com/”

 

How can I encourage my students to come to the Writing Center without requiring them?

The best way to encourage your class to work with  tutors is to demonstrate when in your own writing process you might seek feedback from a skilled reader. Remind them that reader feedback is a natural part of the writing process for writers at all levels.

It is extremely helpful for students who work with tutors to have a clear sense of your priorities for their improvement. If you have seen drafts of the assignment already or noticed patterns in their writing prior to a new assignment, empower your students to ask for the help they need by providing them with a small set of skills to focus on first (ex. “I want you to improve your thesis and topic sentences before you work on grammar”).

NOTE: Extra credit is fine so long as it functions merely as incentive for the uncertain student and not as a hail-mary for a failing student.

How will I know if my students are visiting the Writing Center?

By their nature, all Writing Center appointments are confidential. If a student indicates that they would like for us to report back to their professor regarding their appointment, the Writing Center Director will contact you personally via email.

NOTE: If you do ask your students to visit the Writing Center for extra credit, please make sure you also instruct them to permit us to share our reports with you.

Can someone from the Writing Center come to my classroom to describe your services?

Absolutely! Tutors are available, on request, to give a 15-25 minute presentation on the Writing Center and our services. Contact the director to schedule a time for us to visit your class!

Can someone from the Writing Center come to my classroom to conduct workshops?

The Writing Center is now available to come visit your classroom and help lead a mini-workshop session tailored to your audience. Possible topics include outlining, thesis creation, citation style guides–and many more! Contact the Director to discuss this opportunity.

Can a peer tutor come to my classroom to teach Peer Review strategies?

Absolutely! Peer tutors are, at heart, highly-trained peer reviewers. As such, they are excellent role models for how to make in-class peer review sessions effective. If you would like to have a peer tutor come to your class to coach your students in peer review techniques, email the Director to schedule this service!

Can you build an online resource for my class?

Absolutely! We are always working to improve our website, and peer tutors on our website committee are currently focusing on updating our instructional content to be more user-friendly, searchable, and multi-modal. However, if we don’t already have a writing resource that your course needs, we’re happy to work with you to develop it! Email the director to discuss your needs.

My students are great writers, but they’re not English majors. Can they be a tutor/Fellow?

Absolutely! Our goal is to have tutors from a wide range of academic backgrounds. If you know of a great writer, or more importantly, a good writer who is gifted at helping classmates, please encourage them to apply to be a peer tutor in October (and let the Director know so she can reach out to them personally)!

At the same time, if you want that student to serve as a Writing Fellow in your WID/writing-intensive course, please pass their name onto the Director in February so that she can reach out to them about working as a Writing Fellow!