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.

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

While grammar is not really the focus of most of our writing consultations, you can certainly request that we focus on grammar during your consultation. However, we will not just edit and proofread your work; that is not what we do. We can help you identify global issues with grammar or syntax, such as run-on sentences, and help you learn how to spot and correct these. But what we mostly do is have a conversation with you about the ideas in your paper, the strength of your argument or your research, and how to develop your own awareness of yourself as a writer, your own voice, and your confidence as a writer. You can even just come in and bounce your ideas off a tutor before you have even written anything at all! Those are some of the most fun conversations!

My professor gives extra credit for going to the Writing Center. What can I use as proof of my visit?

The writing tutor will use a "consultation sheet" with you during an in-person appointment, and should give this to you at the end for your own notes and as evidence of a meaningful Writing Center consultation for your professor. If it is an online consultation, you can ask the tutor to email you a post-consultation "client report," which they write up as notes for each consultation. Ask for this "client report" in the additional information field in the appointment window on our booking system.

Can I set up recurring appointments throughout the quarter?

We do not normally set up recurring appointments all at once because we have found that it is best if you book one or two weeks ahead when you feel you want a consultation. Come speak to us, however, if there is a particular reason you would like to have recurring bookings.

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

You can have two 30-minute or one 60-minute pre-booked appointment per day. If you want to come back later in the day and a tutor is available, you can feel free to have another consultation. You can also just stay and work in the Writing Center if you find it a comfortable space to study or write.

How should I cancel a pre-booked appointment if I can't make it?

If you have to cancel an appointment, we ask that you cancel your appointment 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. You can cancel yourself on our scheduling system up to 10 minutes before your appointment time. If you do not cancel, then it will be counted as a “no-show”. After four no-shows, the booking system will not let you pre-book any more appointments without talking to us and asking us to unblock your account. You can always still get a hold of us or come in and we can make appointments for you until your account is unblocked.

Do you do online writing consultations, and what do these look like?

Yes, we do! We have both live, online consultations and written feedback only consultations. We have a separate online schedule on our booking system, and only some online tutors also do written feedback appointments, so please be careful to select the right kind of appointment when you book. Our live, online consultations are on a platform that is built into our booking system; all you have to do is open the appointment window and click on the red link that takes you to that platform where the tutor will be waiting for 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.

Can I just email my paper to you for editing or proofreading?

Not really. We are not set up to distribute student's papers via email to our tutors. That is why we have our booking system and offer written feedback only appointments: so that you can set up your own appointments yourself and upload your draft and assignment instructions to the appointment window. At the end of the appointment time, the tutor will upload their feedback to the appointment window, and it should also be emailed directly to you. If it is not, however, you can retrieve the feedback from the appointment window.