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Writing Tutoring at the
Undergraduate and Graduate Level

What is the purpose of the SLC Writing Tutoring Program?
The purpose of the writing tutoring program is to help students develop a more comprehensive understanding of the conventions of college-level prose. To facilitate this, tutors discuss writing assignments, listen and respond to students' drafts, introduce students to various writing strategies, and help students understand the reader/writer relationship.

Who are the writing tutors?
The SLC writing tutors are graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of academic majors, including three Graduate Assistants from the department of English and one from the department of History, who are selected because of academic achievement, faculty recommendations, and interpersonal communication skills. Upon being hired, writing tutors participate ina training seminar where they are taught to use current writing center instructional pedagogy, and they are closely supervised throughout the semester. Meet the writing tutors here.

What happens in a writing tutorial?
While every tutoring session is unique, tutors follow general protocols at each stage of the writing process.  At the start of most tutorials, writing tutors read over students’ assignment sheets and ask them to articulate goals for the session. Some students may want to discuss the assignment guidelines in detail, develop a plan of action, and talk about time management. Others may find it helpful to brainstorm paper topics with their tutors. Conversations like these are often helpful in the prewriting stage.

Other students bring in a complete first draft.  Tutors typically ask these students to read their drafts aloud which helps the students discover strengths and weaknesses in their writing while staying active in the tutorial. Tutors may comment on the quality of the thesis, the relationship of the thesis to each paragraph, organization, paragraph development, grammar and punctuation, and/or the citation of sources. They focus on the issues of greatest concern to the students, but, if time permits, they will point out other aspects of the students’ writing that need additional work. Tutors will usually discuss approximately 3-6 pages of a draft with the student and then ask the student to work on the remaining pages independently, applying the concepts discussed in the tutorial session.

During the tutorial, students are encouraged to take notes and make corrections to their papers.  (Tutors do not make written corrections on students’ papers.)  Tutors will typically focus on a few specific writing issues or patterns of errors in a single tutorial and introduce students to strategies to improve these.  Tutors may ask students to put new writing strategies into their own words or jot them down in a writing log for future reference.  Thus, students should leave the tutorial not only with a better understanding of how to improve the current assignment, but also with a supply of writing strategies that will assist them with other assignments.


Principles of Writing Tutoring:

  • The writing assistance available for students in the SLC is an educational process. Writing tutoring is not the same as “editing” or “proofreading” to comprehensively identify and correct all the errors in a manuscript.
  • The student is required to be actively engaged in the tutoring process which means taking notes, being willing to try out new writing strategies, or learning to use resources such as grammar handbooks or citation manuals. 
  • The writing assistance available for graduate students working on theses or synthesis papers is the same as the assistance for undergraduate students working on any other writing assignment.
  • Writing tutoring at the SLC follows instructional pedagogy that is consistent with writing center best practices.  Time limits for single tutorials and weekly visit limits are reflective of those practices, and students must respect the tutors’ responsibility to uphold these practices.
  • Writing tutoring does not guarantee a high grade on a written assignment.  Tutors will most likely focus on a few specific writing issues in a given tutorial.  Therefore, not every issue will be addressed.  Grading student work is the responsibility of course instructors and thesis advisors. 


How do students schedule an appointment?
To schedule an appointment with a writing tutor, please call the SLC at (585) 395-5472. Students taking classes through the MetroCenter or the SUNY Learning Network who are not able to get to the Brockport campus may make an appointment for a Remote Writing Tutoring session. (Click here for more details.) Walk-in appointments, while occasionally available, are not guaranteed. Each appointment is scheduled for 55 minutes.

  • Appointments should be made well in advance of assignment due dates. 
  •  Students may make a maximum of one appointment per day, and may have a maximum of three appointments per week. The time limit for any one session is fifty-five minutes (the tutors need 5 minutes to complete their notes). 
  • Tutoring for a single assignment, including a thesis (with multiple chapters) or a synthesis paper, will usually not exceed three appointments. In cases of extraordinary need, given that the student has demonstrated active engagement in the learning process, the Director can authorize additional sessions. 


Helpful Links:olivia tutoring
APA Format Support:
Student Learning Center APA Tutoring Policies

Student Learning Center Navigating the APA Manual

Drake Memorial Library's Citations and Styles Page

General Writing Skills Support
Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).