Frequently Asked Questions

What happens in the Writing Center?

The work we do in the Writing Center is to help Pierce students become better writers. We do this by offering one-to-one drop-in and booked appointments during which a trained writing tutor will work with you to help you develop your writing, as well as your strategies for writing.

Can I come in with a writing assignment for any course?

Yes! We help people with their writing across the disciplines. We see people with writing assignments in Biology, Math, Psychology, Philosophy, Nursing - even English. You are welcome to come in with any writing you are doing at Pierce. Our writing tutors are a diverse group of people with diverse academic backgrounds. We aren’t only English majors; we’re just good writers who like to help others with their writing!

What are “writing strategies”?

Writing involves a whole series of skills, including:

  • Reading and researching a topic
  • Brainstorming and organizing ideas
  • Coming up with a plan and outline
  • Drafting your work
  • Integrating your research
  • Editing and refining your drafts
  • Proofreading and formatting

How does a writing tutor help me develop these skills?

We will sit with you at any stage of your writing process and go over with you what you have done or are thinking of doing. We will ask you to tell us what you are writing about, and may ask you to read what you have written. Our tutors are experienced in quickly seeing what elements of your paper may be missing or need development. We will ask you questions for clarification and we may suggest ways we feel the writing could be improved. Essentially, we are trained and critical readers, and it’s always helpful to have a supportive and critical reader for your work.

But what if I just need my grammar checked and my paper corrected before I turn it in?

Many students, and even some faculty, believe that is what we do. It isn’t. We can point out grammar errors and help you learn to identify and self-correct them, but we cannot simply “correct” your paper for you. If we did that it would no longer be strictly your work; it would, in fact, be a form of academic dishonesty. We discourage our tutors from even writing on your papers, because your papers should remain wholly your work.

Can you stamp or sign my paper as proof that I visited the Writing Center so that I can get extra credit from my professor?

The stamp was an old practice that we no longer do, and we also do not sign a paper. What we do have is a consultation form that we can fill out with you that lists what was done during your appointment and what things you can work on from there. This will let the professor know that the visit was a meaningful one with the purpose of learning in mind.

Can I set up recurring appointments throughout the quarter?

We don’t do recurring appointments unless there are specific considerations that we need to take into account, such as a learning disability or some other special case. Otherwise, we like you to think ahead and book in ahead of time if you think you will want a consultation, or just drop-in if you have a quick question.

How many appointments can I get per day or per week?

You can have two 25 or 50-minute pre-booked appointments a week. On top of that, you can have up to two 15-minute drop-in appointments a day, with each drop-in ideally separated by at least an hour. That will give you the opportunity to continue working on your writing, and then come back later in the day if you want more quick help.

What if I have to cancel an appointment?

If you have to cancel an appointment, we ask that you do this online, by phone, or by coming in as soon as you know you can’t make it. This will give another student an opportunity to take that spot. If you don’t cancel within 2 hours of the start of the consultation, then it will be counted as a “no-show”. The Academic Support Services policy states that, after two no-shows, you will not be able to pre-book appointments for the remainder of the quarter.

Do you do online writing consultations?

Pierce College subscribes to an e-tutoring service in which you can submit your paper and get it returned with comments on it, normally within 24 hours.

The Writing Center also provides some live online writing consultations through a video-audio-document-sharing platform such as Skype or Cranium Cafe. Online consultation hours are available on request. Email at least two days in advance with the time and date request and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Can I just come into the Writing Center to write or work on a computer?

Yes! You are welcome to come into the Writing Center to write or to use one of the computers, even if you are not there for a consultation that day. If you have a group writing project, you might want to meet as a group in the Writing Center and plan your writing project. We can always help you with strategies to get you going on group projects.