Sunday, October 3, 2010

Five Helpful Reminders for Our First Timers

Have you never been to the Writing Center and decided that it’s time to stop in to be tutored? If so, don’t be nervous or anxious about it because we’ve compiled five helpful reminders for students to think about before coming into their first session.

Bring all relevant material.
While it’s pretty obvious that you should bring the most recent draft of your paper, it’s a really good idea to bring any earlier drafts too, especially ones with your teacher’s comments. Since we are here to help you, it’s good to give your tutor an idea of the things that your teacher looks for in a good paper. In addition, bringing the prompt can be of further assistance. Even if you know what the prompt is about, the tutor probably will not, and it can show exactly how a teacher expects to grade the paper.

Think of any questions or concerns about the paper.
When you first sit down for a session, one of the first things that your tutor will ask is if you want to work on anything specific within your paper. Though it’s fine to come in for some general help, speaking up about a special concern can give your tutor directions on where to take the session. Higher order concerns like organization, forming your thesis statement, and working on the introduction, body or conclusion should be spoken about first. Then, lower order concerns like citation and grammar can take the focus. Also, speaking up helps spawn more conversation about the paper, allowing you to make the most of your session.

3) Don’t be nervous about coming in and sharing your work.
Even though everyone can feel a little uneasy about putting their words out there for another person to see, you shouldn’t be scared about coming in for a tutoring session. All of our tutors have been in your shoes before and all of us are students just like you. We have even been to the Writing Center to be tutored ourselves. No one is here to judge your work; we’re here to help you improve your own work.

4) Walk in for a session or call ahead for an appointment.
Anytime during our hours is the perfect time for a walk-in session. Simply, come in and as long as a tutor is available we can start working right then. However, if you have a busy schedule and limited free time, making a session in advance is probably a good plan. Calling in a day or two in advance to make your appointment allows an ample amount of time.

Keep in mind our busiest time of the semester: dead week.
Because we all like to use the anxiety of a deadline for motivation, our tutors get booked up full of sessions very quickly during the last week of classes, and sadly, some students hoping for a walk-in session may get turned away. To ensure you get an appointment, it’s always a great idea to call in a day or two in advance to secure a time. Also, although it goes without saying, procrastinating is never the best way to polish a paper, so if you want to finish your portfolio, the best plan would be to come in a few weeks before the end of the semester.

Hopefully these hints have cleared some of the concerns and anxiety you may have had about the Writing Center. Now, you can come prepared to make the most of your first hour of tutoring.

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