Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Having trouble outlining your English term paper? Need a fresh set of eyes to proofread your biology lab? Consider making an appointment at your university writing center. Whether or not your professor requires it, visiting a writing tutor is crucial–especially for those huge, all-nighter assignments. No matter the subject, paying a trip to the writing center can make the difference between getting that B average pushed up to an A-. Follow these suggestions when you arrive at your scheduled time.

Schedule your session soon after receiving your assignment. 

Be practical–scheduling an appointment at the writing center two days before your paper is due may not be the most intelligent idea. You’re in college: things come up and you find yourself busy even on days with no class. So, make sure to give yourself enough time to get constructive feedback from a preliminary tutoring session and perhaps have enough time to still return for a second session. Making two appointments to review the same piece of work is a great idea, as it will allow you to see progress and evolution in your writing.

Bring any work/materials with you. 

Even if you are only showing up with the prescribed text or the email from your professor detailing the assignment, bring these things along with you. Have a pen and paper or laptop at hand, too. You may have already completed your work, or you may not have even begun. Regardless of the circumstance, being prepared for your appointment ensures that you’re not wasting anyone’s time–including your own. You will only have an hour or so to receive this type of assistance, so be conscious of your timing.

Provide your tutor with some background. 

If you’ve never met your tutor before, it would be smart to give him/her some quick background on yourself–your major, what courses you’ve taken, your current courses and professors, etc. Chances are, your writing center appointment will be conducted by a student volunteer, a peer of yours. What’s even more likely is that the first thing you’ll be asked to do is fill out a bio sheet. Often times, your professor will receive this as a sign of your visit, which can’t do anything but help your efforts. This shows you’re serious! In giving background, your tutor will be more privy to your learning style and know how to best guide you.

Take notes! 

This may seem simple, and it is. If you don’t write down what you’re discussing with your tutor, then you may as well not have scheduled your appointment. Students tend to think they’ll remember this constructive criticism when they’re back in their dorms writing their final draft. Sometimes, this doesn’t work out. Be sure that you are making the most out of your time, and write everything down. Your conversation may provide you with new ideas and elements to add to your assignment, and you won’t want to forget anything.

If you feel in need of help, schedule an appointment, regardless of your major. 

Most university writing centers have tutors whose backgrounds are in subjects other than the expected English or communications. If you’re an engineer and need a final read-through of an assignment, make an appointment. Just because you may not be an arts major doesn’t mean that you don’t have access to the writing center as a resource. If it’s an option, use it. Especially for work that can impact your average and is significant in nature.

Don’t expect an A+ paper as a result. 

Writing centers are not one-stop shops for ensured success. They exist to provide students with the tools they need to develop successful writing skills. Tutors may point out grammatical mistakes here and there, and may certainly help you refine your argument and ideas, but won’t nitpick at each mark of punctuation. Your time is limited, and they are not there to create a perfect paper for you. So, be prepared to discuss more conceptual aspects of your work.

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