FAQ

What is writing tutoring?
Who can use the Centre for Writers?
Does the Centre for Writers help ESL/EAL/multilingual students?
What can the Centre for Writers help me with?
What types of writing can I bring to the Centre for Writers?
Are there any documents that I cannot bring to the Centre for Writers?
How do I book an appointment?
What if I need to reschedule my appointment?
How many appointments can I book per week?
What should I bring to my appointment?
What happens if I don’t have a polished draft ready in time for my appointment?
Does the Centre for Writers offer writing tutoring for clients with disabilities/specialized needs?
Can I borrow books from the Centre for Writers office?
Who are the Centre for Writers tutors?
Do I have to book an appointment with the same tutor every time?
Can the Centre for Writers recommend a person to edit my work?
Can the Centre for Writers assist me in finding a publisher?
Can I hire one of the Centre for Writers tutors to help me outside of the Centre's hours?

What is writing tutoring? 

Tutoring is a collaborative process in which the tutor works with you to help you identify problem areas (e.g. lack of thesis statement, structural issues, weak arguments, problematic or unclear wordings, etc.) in a piece of writing and to suggest strategies for developing, revising and editing your own work. The long-term goal is to help you improve your own writing skills. 

We recommend coming in with a clear idea of what you want to accomplish during your appointment and input your goal on the scheduling system when you make the appointment.

You can bring in a writing assignment or project at any stage of development: from initial brainstorming, thesis formation, and drafting, to organizing, integrating sources and quotations, and final proofreading. 

You can even bring in a copy of an assignment question and discuss it with your tutor before you start researching and writing. Tutors will also read over instructor comments on an already-graded paper to help you identify areas in need of improvement or to clarify an instructor’s comments. 

Your tutor can also show you how to search for secondary sources or how to work with a specific citation style. 

The Centre for Writers is not an editing service. Your tutor will not proofread or edit your paper for you or make corrections on your paper. You are responsible for marking edits on your paper and for writing down your tutor’s comments. 

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Who can use the Centre for Writers?

All current University of Alberta students, staff members and instructors are welcome to book appointments at the Centre for Writers. You must have a valid OneCard, Student/Employee ID number and CCID. 

Students from Campus Saint-Jean and Augustana are welcome to make appointments at the Centre for Writers. Please note however that both CSJ and Augustana have their own writing centres. 

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Does the Centre for Writers help ESL/EAL/multilingual students? 

Yes! Multilingual students who want to improve their writing skills in English should come in every week so that the tutor can help at each stage of a writing assignment or spend time focusing on more specific questions and concerns like grammar and word choice. 

The Centre for Writers also has a number of useful handouts for ESL/EAL/multilingual students on our Resources page, as well as ESL dictionaries in our office.

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What can the Centre for Writers help me with? 

Writing tutors can help you with a number of different concerns, including but not limited to:
  • reading over an assignment to identify what the instructor is asking for
  • brainstorming
  • forming a thesis statement or central argument
  • developing ideas
  • understanding texts and assignments
  • finding and using secondary sources
  • discovering research tools and techniques
  • organizing a draft
  • searching for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors
  • writing in English as a second language
  • choosing the correct word or phrase (especially useful for ESL/EAL students)
  • using specific documentation and citation styles
  • integrating quotations into an essay
  • creating a bibliography or works cited list
  • and more!
Remember that your tutor can help with all stages of the writing process—not just with a final draft. 

The Centre for Writers also has a number of useful resources, handouts and links on the Resources page and several style manuals, dictionaries, ESL/EAL resources, writing handbooks, and discipline-specific writing resources in our office. 

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What types of writing can I bring to the Centre for Writers? 

Centre for Writers tutors will assist you with writing assignments and projects in any subject or discipline and at any level of scholarship. Here are some examples:
  • essays (literary analyses, position papers, expository essays, personal essays, etc.)
  • scientific reports
  • technical writing
  • creative writing
  • thesis and dissertation chapters
  • academic articles/journal submissions
  • conference abstracts/proposals
  • program applications
  • scholarship and grant applications
  • cover letters or letters to a prospective employer & resumes/CVs
  • and more!
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Are there any documents that I cannot bring to the Centre for Writers?

The Centre for Writers cannot assist you with take-home exams, legal documents, or assignments written in a language other than English. 

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How do I book an appointment? 

The Centre for Writers uses an online scheduling system, which allows you to book, reschedule or cancel appointments online from any computer at any time. 

For instructions on how to book an appointment, visit our Appointments page. 

You can also call the Centre for Writers during open hours at 780.492.2639. 

You can book appointments up to three weeks in advance. The schedule will be visible to you for the current week plus the next two weeks of the term.

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What if I need to reschedule my appointment? 

You can cancel and/or reschedule appointments using the online schedule or by phoning the Centre for Writers any time up until the appointment start time. The phone number for  the Centre for Writers is 780-492-2639. You must cancel your appointment ahead of time. There are penalties for failing to show up for a scheduled appointment. Please see our Policies page for more information.
  
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How many appointments can I book per week? 

Each appointment is 30 minutes, and appointments start every half hour. You can book a maximum of two appointments per week using the online schedule. 

You can book one appointment early in the week and then another later in the week, so that you can revise your work based on the feedback from your first appointment or  if space permits, you can book two appointments back-to-back to fit in your allowed one hour of tutoring all at once. 

You are also allowed unlimited drop-in sessions. If you come to the Centre for Writers during our operational hours without having a booked appointment, and we have a tutor available to help you, we view that as a drop-in session. 

For rules and regulations about booking appointments, please see our Policies page.

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What should I bring to my appointment? 

Please bring in two printed copies of your draft and a copy of the assignment (if applicable). 

The C4W office does not have a student-accessible printer. You will need to print out your draft at home or on a campus OneCard printer prior to your appointment.

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What happens if I don’t have a polished draft ready in time for my appointment?  

Don’t worry! The goal of a tutoring session is to help you identify areas in which you can improve the piece of writing and give you strategies for revision. Even a rough draft, a series of notes, or a copy of the assignment question will give you and your tutor a starting point. 

If you feel that your appointment will be more productive if you postpone it by a day or two, and space is available, then by all means reschedule.
  
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Does the Centre for Writers offer writing tutoring for clients with disabilities/specialized needs? 

The Centre for Writers will make every effort to assist clients with disabilities or specialized needs. Please contact us in advance to let us know if there is anything specific your tutor should know about the nature of your disability and how best to assist you.
 
There are also a number of services available through the U of A Specialized Support and Disability Services. 

The C4W office is fully wheelchair-accessible through the north door of Assiniboia Hall.

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Can I borrow books from the Centre for Writers office? 

Unfortunately, the C4W cannot lend out its books. However, many of the books are available in the U of A libraries or for sale in the Bookstore. You can also find a wealth of material (ESL/EAL resources, citation guides, etc.) online – for example, at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The C4W Resources page has links to a wealth of material.
 
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Who are the Centre for Writers tutors? 

Our tutors are UofA students who have received specific tutor training.  You can read profiles of all of our tutors on the Tutors page.

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Do I have to book an appointment with the same tutor every time? 

Not if you don’t want to. Some students develop a rapport with one particular writing tutor and choose to book all of their appointments with that tutor. Other students make appointments with three or four different tutors, depending on who is available. Sometimes students choose to work with the same tutor repeatedly because the tutor is already familiar with the student’s assignment and the revisions that they have made so far. Other students find it useful to get feedback and recommendations from a number of different tutors.

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Can the Centre for Writers recommend a person to edit my work? 

The Centre for Writers is not affiliated with any paid tutor registry or editors’ association and cannot recommend any specific tutor or editor. Organizations such as the Editors' Association of Canada offer lists of professional freelance editors. Another on campus resource to check out is the Writing Resources Centre located at 2-300 SUB
 
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Can the Centre for Writers assist me in finding a publisher? 

The Centre for Writers does not assist clients with finding a publisher for their work. If you are looking to submit to an academic journal, we recommend browsing through the databases of journals on the U of A Libraries website or speaking to a faculty supervisor in your department. If you are looking for a literary publisher, the Writers Guild of Alberta can offer assistance. There are also a number of Writers-in-Residence on campus who will offer feedback on literary work as well as publishing advice.

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Can I hire one of the Centre for Writers tutors to help me outside of the Centre's hours?

No. Student tutors are employees of the Centre for Writers and their work contracts do not cover work they perform outside of Centre for Writers operating hours. While they have freedom to enter into their own employment arrangements outside of the Centre for Writers, the Centre will not divulge any personal or contact information about the tutors to support or encourage clients to contact tutors directly.

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CLOSED for Spring term.

We will open

for Summer term on July 11


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Wednesday, 10 am - 3 pm

Thursday, 10 am - 3 pm

 

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