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Frequently Asked Questions about Tutoring

Q: Who can use the tutoring services?
A: We work with everyone in the University, from First Year Writing and IH students to graduate students, from CLA to CST to Fox to Tyler. Talking to a tutor is not only for people who are struggling with writing (though if you're struggling, we welcome you), but also for good writers who want to become even better. Students are welcome to bring papers from any course, as well as personal statements, resumes and cover letters, and other documents.

Q: How does a tutoring session work?
A: We believe that most writers, most of the time can benefit from talking to a friendly-but-critical reader about what they are writing. In an ideal tutoring session, you and the tutor work collaboratively to choose a priority for the session. The most productive sessions occur at the planning, drafting, and revising stages, when you still have enough time to rethink your ideas, your argument, and your evidence in creative and constructive ways. At these stages, a tutor will ask lots of questions to get you to clarify your claims and strengthen your arguments. Ideally, this conversational exploration will prompt you to refine both the argument and the prose for clarity and power.

Q: Why can't you just fix my paper for me?
A: The key thing to know about our pedagogy is that we're not trying to give you a great paper, but to teach you how to write those papers yourself. Our tutoring sessions are tailored and adjusted to meet your particular needs. We don't use standard lessons or worksheets; instead, we try to work with you and your specific assignment so that you get exactly what you need.

Q: Does the tutor get to decide what we work on?
A: Generally speaking, you get to decide what aspect of writing you would like to address, although if the tutor sees a significant problem that you haven't mentioned, she will probably point it out and ask if you'd rather work on that instead. You get to make the final decision about what to focus on, though.

Q: What do I need to bring to my session?
A: Bring a draft of your paper if you have one, or notes and ideas if you don't. You'll also need your assignment and any texts or class notes that might help.

Q: Can you consult with my professor to find out what s/he wants me to work on?
A: While we do occasionally work with faculty and instructors in First Year Writing, IH, and other disciplines, we rarely consult directly with professors before a student comes into the Writing Center. We respond to papers based on our knowledge of academic writing in general, and of certain disciplinary expectations in particular. Your tutor will provide substantial and relevant feedback on your paper, but the tutor's take on your writing may not be exactly the same as the instructor's because all readers have different priorities and are looking for different things in a piece of writing.

Q: My professor required me to come to the Writing Center. How can I prove I was here?
A: The Writing Center verifies tutoring sessions by directly emailing instructors. If you need verification of your Writing Center session, simply inform your tutor of this. You will need to know your instructor's first and last names and his/her email address.
PLEASE NOTE: We only provide verification when students have participated in a full session. We cannot verify sessions for students who have nothing to work on, or who have not participated in the tutoring process.

Q: Can I come in every day?
A: Our usage polices are as follows:

  1. Students may have up to 3 sessions per calendar week. These sessions can be broken down as follows: 2 drop-in sessions and 1 appointment, 2 drop-in sessions and 1 email session, OR 1 appointment , 1 drop-in and 1 email session.
  2. The week runs from Monday to Saturday. This means that you cannot have one appointment on Tuesday and another appointment on Thursday, but you can have one on Thursday and one the following Monday.
  3. Students who are more than 5 minutes late to an appointment forfeit the time slot. If late-comers still wish to be tutored, they will have to wait for a drop-in session.
  4. Students may only be seen ONCE per day
  5. Students may not make same-day appointments.
  6. Students who are waiting for a drop-in session can leave at their own risk. If you are not here when your name is called, your name will be removed from the drop-in box.
  7. Drop-in sessions last 25 minutes. Appointment sessions last 45-50 minutes.
  8. Students who miss three appointments will lose their appointment-making privileges for the remainder of the semester. If you call at least 24 hours in advance to cancel your appointment, you will not be considered a "no-show," and the cancelled appointment will not count toward your "three missed sessions" total.
  9. Writing Center computers are reserved ONLY for students seeking tutoring. You are welcome to work in the lab as long as you'd like before or after your session.
  10. Students may be tutored on their OWN WORK ONLY. We cannot review a paper on behalf of someone else.

Q: How do I access your services?
A: Temple students can access our tutoring services in three different ways:

  • Drop-in Sessions: Come into the Writing Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Sessions are approximately 25 minutes long. Be aware that there is sometimes a significant wait for drop-in tutoring, especially during midterms and finals.
  • Appointment Sessions: Call ahead (at least one day in advance) to schedule an appointment with a tutor. You can reach our appointment schedulers at 215-204-0702. Appointment sessions are approximately 45-50 minutes long. If you are more than ten minutes late for your scheduled time, you forfeit your session.
  • E-Mail Sessions: You may submit your paper for email tutoring during our normal operating hours. You will receive a response within 24 hours.