University of Massachusetts Amherst

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What to Expect During a Tutoring Session

Preparing for Your Tutoring Session

Visit us at any point in the writing process, even (especially!) if you haven’t written anything yet. In addition, when it comes to scheduling, consider your processes, and give yourself enough time between your session and the deadline to revise.

  • Bring a copy of your assignment. Understanding your assignment is the first step toward writing a good paper.

  • Bring all relevant materials. Bring any books, passages, or notes that will help you write your paper.

  • Think about your audience. For whom are you writing? How do you want to sound? What is your purpose in writing this paper?

  • Bring a hard copy or an electronic copy of your paper. There is no printer in the Writing Center, but we are more than happy to work with an electronic copy either on your laptop or our desktop computers.

For more specific information, check out what we do for grad, post-doc, and faculty writers.

For a complete list of our policies, go here.

For more information about online sessions, go here.

What We Do

Writing Center tutors work with undergraduate, graduate, post-doc, staff and faculty writers on any academic genre at any point in the writing process. We help writers develop drafts, clarify arguments, reflect on sentence structure, re-organize texts, and build productive writing practices. We also are happy to give feedback about content, organization, readability and style. A tutoring session is a great time to ask questions and get feedback about how well your ideas and purpose comes across to your readers.

Tutoring sessions are free and are reserved for 45 minutes, in-person or online, where you can work one-on-one with a tutor. We support writing assignments for courses at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Five College Consortium courses held at UMass, and UMass students taking a Five College Consortium course.

Brainstorming & Outlining: We love working with writers at the early stages of a project. If you're uncertain about how to start your paper or how to interpret an assignment prompt, we can work with you to generate ideas, formulate an argument, build a preliminary outline, or develop a plan for your paper.

Revising & Feedback: Immediate, in-the-moment feedback from a peer can be incredibly helpful because writing is an inherently social process. Conversations with tutors can be a really productive way to develop ideas, clarify your purpose, and better address the expectations of readers. Tutors can also support you in revising your writing holistically including structure and organization.

Writing Process & Strategies: We want writers to be confident and independent beyond just one specific project.During sessions, tutors can work with you to identify goals for your writing, help you identify and practice different writing strategies that you can use on future writing projects, and help you reflect on ways you can continue developing as a writer.

Grammatical Conventions and Copyediting: We can process questions and concerns about grammar and academic English in your session, teach you strategies that can help you copy-edit your work independently, or direct you to resources online and in-person on this topic.

Getting Connected to Resources: Our tutors are knowledgeable about many of the services available on campus and can help you get connected to resources to support your writing and research.

What We Don't Do

Offer Subject-specific Tutoring: We do have writing tutors from a range of academic backgrounds, but we may not have extensive experience with your content area, and cannot always comment with specific knowledge about what you’re studying.

Guarantee an “A”: There are many factors that can influence a grade, but you are ultimately responsible for your work. We want to be as supportive as possible to your writing process, but we will not make promises or guarantees regarding your grade on a paper or in a class.