Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inside a Typical Tutoring Session: Advice to Make the Most of Your Appointment

New to The Writing Center? Do you want to make an appointment, but you aren't sure what to expect? Have you made an appointment, and now you are nervous? Are you questioning what the session will be like? Worry no longer. As a tutor who was formerly tutored here, I can tell you everything you can expect and give you advice so you can have the most efficient and effective tutoring session.

What you can expect:

  1. Whether you have made an appointment or were lucky enough to secure a drop-in appointment slot, the first thing you need to do is sign-in at the front desk. This ensures a level of accountability for both students and professors, especially those profs that require that their students visit our writing center. Best Advice: Please be on time! If you do not show up for your scheduled time within five minutes, it is policy that we can give your appointment to someone waiting. If you know you may be a little late because you are coming from class, work, etc., just let us know when you schedule the appt. We can make a note of this for the tutor, and your appt. will not be given away if we know this ahead of time.
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    After signing in, either the receptionist will introduce you to your tutor, or your tutor will introduce his or herself and ask you to have a seat at a designated area.
  3. Don't be nervous! Most likely, the tutor will start with some friendly chatter, because we all know what it's like--all of us have been in your shoes before.
  4. The tutor is going to ask you for your prompt for the assignment on which you are requesting assistance Best Advice: Bring your prompt! If your teacher did not give you a clear, defined prompt, make sure you know what is expected by your professor. We can't help you if you don't know what you need to do. Try to take notes when the teacher is giving an assignment so you don't doubt the requirements later.
  5. Once the tutor knows the prompt and what is expected of you, he or she will ask you both what you wrote about, as well as what you need specific help with, whether you think it is your thesis, tone, structure, citations, etc. We typically don't do straight proofreading--our goal is to improve the writer, not just the writing.
  6. After this is established, the tutor will look over the paper, possibly reading it aloud or asking you to read it aloud. Feel free to say no if that makes you uncomfortable; it will certainly not offend us. Reading papers aloud often allows both tutors and tutees to recognize errors that may not be caught in mere silent reading.
  7. Afterwards, the tutor will address the concerns you expressed at the beginning of the session. However, if the tutor realizes there are larger issues that need to be discussed, these will most likely become the focus of the session. Best Advice: If you have a longer paper and are worried that a typical thirty-minute appointment will not cut it, don't hesitate in scheduling an hour long appointment! We are more than willing to do this if it is scheduled in advance.
  8. Great news--all of the tutors here are extremely friendly people. I have worked with them all. None of them are going to degrade you, belittle you, or even judge you. We are simply peers trying to improve your writing and help you out. Feel free to ask questions, give your insight, and engage in meaningful conversations about writing with your tutor.
  9. Finally, whether the session is finished early, it's ended because time ran short, or the timing was perfect, the tutor will probably sum up the main points discussed before you leave. This will help you to know what you should focus on for you revisions.
  10. If you need verification that you were here, just ask your tutor. He or she must give you a signed and stamped form for your professor.  
Don't forget: We love helping you with your writing! Literally, it is our job. And we all love our jobs.

Bethany "The Ginger"

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