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Get the Most Out of Your Writing Center Session

Plan Ahead

Come to the Writing Center early on in your process and well before the due date of your assignment. The earlier you come to the center, the more time you will have to think about and act on a tutor’s suggestions.

Develop Questions and/or Reflect Before the Session

Before you meet with your tutor, re-read your paper. As you read, write question marks or jot down questions in the margin anywhere you are unsure of the writing or have a question. Then, spend a few minutes reflecting on the piece. Jot out answers to the following questions before your session:

  • What part of this draft is the strongest?
  • What part of this draft do you think needs the most work?

Do Some Brainstorming Before the Session

If you’re still trying to decide what to write about or how to use the resources and ideas that you have, bring all the options with you and do some pre-session thinking about the pros/cons of each. Likewise, if you’re not sure what to do next in your paper, brainstorm on the options, and do pre-session thinking about the pros/cons of each. Many writers use a tutor as a sounding board to develop their focus or choose the direction to take next. The more you bring to a session, the more a tutor can help.

Bring Your Resources

Bring the assignment sheet, the book you’re responding to, any outside resources, your grammar handbook, model essays, grading rubrics, previous drafts, notes, and so forth.

Number the Paragraphs in Your Draft

Number the paragraphs in your paper so you and your tutors can refer top the passages easily.

Take Notes During the Session

Be sure to bring paper and something to write with. It helps to write down important details from your conversation with your tutors so that you have specific information to return to when you go back to revising the paper. It’s a whole lot easier to work from notes that to try to remember everything that your tutor said.

Summarize/Review at the End of the Session

At the end of the session, look over your notes and create a series of action steps for yourself. Make a list of the things that you need to do, based on the conversation you’ve had with the tutor.


Adapted from Traci Gardner’s List of Ten, http://www.tengrll.com/tens/042.shtml