Do I have to make an appointment to work with a tutor?
Appointments aren’t required but will guarantee that you will meet with a consultant on a specific day and time. If you do not make an appointment in advance, a certain number of same day appointments are available daily and are given away beginning at 8:30 am each morning.
Writers are limited to 2 sessions per week (not on the same day) in our Heavilon Hall location. Consultations in satellite locations are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Writers can also schedule weekly appointments with a specific tutor throughout an entire semester.
How can I make an appointment?
We now have a convenient online option for scheduling appointments, and writers can choose a specific tutor, day, and time that meets their needs. To schedule an appointment, please visit https://cla.purdue.edu/wlschedule.
How can I make the most of my consultation?
- Watch this video of regular tutees discussing how they prepare for a session.
- Use the Pre-Consultation form to help you identify areas of concern that you’d like to address during your session.
- Bring your assignment guidelines or any other related documents like a job advertisement or application instructions.
- Bring your notes or a draft of your project.
- For long documents, choose a specific section you’d like to review or come with specific questions.
- Take notes during your consultation.
- Tell your consultant when the project is due.
- Schedule follow-up consultations.
Thirty minutes is too short for a consultation! How can I get more time?
For most consultations, 30 minutes is sufficient time to discuss key issues about your document without overwhelming you because you need time to reflect on and address the suggestions you receive. Sessions work best when you 1) prioritize and focus on a few areas of concern within your paper, 2) revise based on the feedback you receive, and 3) return to the Writing Lab for follow-up visits.
You may need multiple sessions before finishing a project. Although tutors provide advice and guidance, you have the responsibility for applying strategies from a consultation to the rest of the document. Tutors should not be expected to go through every line of a document but to look at the overall document instead.
You should come prepared with questions or concerns to address, and tutors will start with larger, holistic concerns before moving to sentence-level issues. This is because issues such as organization, structure, argument, and support (among others) affect the ideas and meaning of a document. And you may need to do significant revision before addressing issues like grammar and mechanics because the document is likely to change.
In rare situations, a consultant may determine that a student needs extra time in a session, and the student may be scheduled for an hour-long session. If you think you need extra time, please talk to your consultant or contact the Writing Lab Director or Associate Director.
Can I request the same tutor for future appointments?
You are encouraged to work with the same tutor if that is beneficial or to seek out multiple opinions from different tutors. When you schedule an appointment online, you can select the tutor you'd like. Please note that we may need to make adjustments in a request due to unforeseen scheduling issues or based on the type of document. In those cases, we will contact you to give you the option of rescheduling.
What should I do if I can’t make my scheduled appointment?
If your plans change and you cannot make your appointment, please log into https://cla.purdue.edu/wlschedule to cancel and reschedule your appointment. When you arrive late, you will forfeit your appointment because sessions are unproductive when we do not have enough time to address the concerns you have about your document. If you repeatedly arrive late or if you simply do not show up without canceling, you may be restricted in making future appointments.
If I only have a quick question, do I have to stay for the entire 30-minute session?
Although you may have a quick question in mind, we may notice other issues with your paper that need to be discussed, so plan on using your entire appointment. If you do have a brief question about grammar, mechanics, or citation style, you may find answers on the Online Writing Lab (OWL). Also, you can submit brief questions to our OWL Mail service. We generally respond within 48 hours, except during Purdue University holidays and breaks.
Where on your website can I submit my paper for feedback from a tutor?
At this time, we do not offer online tutoring and will not accept entire documents for feedback. However, we offer a free service called OWL Mail that provides answers to short writing questions including those about grammar, mechanics, and citation styles. This service is available to anyone in the world, and our tutors generally respond within a few days. We are unable to respond during university holidays and breaks. For more information, a list of commonly asked questions and their answers, and question submission page, please visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/contact/owlmailtutors.
Do you work only with undergraduate students?
We gladly work with any graduate student, undergraduate student, post-doc, faculty member, visiting scholar, or staff affiliated with Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.
Why can’t I bring in my friend’s paper for feedback? She’s busy and can’t find a time to visit the Writing Lab.
We sympathize with your friend, but it is essential that we work directly with writers and their texts because our feedback is tailored toward each writer. And because writers themselves are intimately familiar with their writing projects, only they can sufficiently respond to the kinds of questions we will ask during sessions. Your busy friend may be able to visit one of our evening satellite locations or find help on the OWL.
I don’t have a complete draft of my paper finished. Can I still work with a consultant?
We are happy to work with you in any stage of the writing process, so complete drafts are not necessary. We can help you brainstorm and start a project, revise what you’ve already written, or polish a finished draft.
My teacher has assigned a visual writing project (or a project with document design involved). Can you help me?
Document design and visual arguments are important components of some writing projects, and not all course assignments are traditional essays or research papers. As a result, our consultants are trained to help writers with many different kinds of documents.
Do you only provide feedback on class assignments? What if I’m working on a job application or personal statement?
We are able to help writers with any projects, not just assignments for classes. We have trained Business Writing Consultants (BWCs) who can provide feedback on résumés, cover letters, and personal statements, and our graduate consultants can help with other documents as well.
Can I get help on take-home exams or comprehensive exams?
In order to provide feedback on exams (i.e. essay exams, open book exams, prelims, comprehensive exams, PhD exams, or Master’s exams), we must have written documentation from the instructor or advisor specifying that students can get help from the Writing Lab. This documentation can be included on the exam instructions, syllabus, or separate document.
Will the Writing Lab send proof of my visit to my instructor?
We’ll be happy to send notification of consultations to faculty and instructors, but only if you request it. We do this by sending a copy of our Post-Tutorial Notes, which describes what took place during the consultation, including what areas of concern we addressed. We can only send notification for consultations and cannot provide information related to other types of visits, such as conversation groups or in-Lab workshops. We regret that we cannot sign any other documents verifying a student’s visit to the Writing Lab for any reason. Most instructors know this, but if they ask you for any other kind of signed document, let us know, and we will discuss our policy with the instructor (without mentioning your name).
My instructors are always complaining about my grammar and punctuation. How can the Writing Lab help?
We won’t proofread or edit your documents for you. In other words, we won’t fix your mistakes, but we can address sentence-level concerns such as grammar and punctuation. We may address global writing concerns (such as structure, thesis statements, or organization) first because those concerns can really impact the overall meaning of your paper, but we will be happy to talk to you about grammar and mechanics, too. It’s helpful if you can inform us about the mistakes you tend to make in your writing.
What accommodations do you provide for students with documented disabilities?
Accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis and may include additional time during consultations, consultations in a quiet space, or use of specialized software, such as Kurzweil, a text-to-speech program. Students are encouraged to schedule an initial writing consultation and discuss helpful strategies and resources with tutors before any accommodations are arranged.
What other services does the Writing Lab offer?
In addition to our one-to-one writing consultations, we offer workshops on a variety of writing topics that students can attend. No appointments are necessary. We also have daily conversation groups for English as a Second Language (ESL) students who wish to practice their spoken English while learning about American culture. Finally, we offer online resources through the OWL and answers to brief writing questions through OWL Mail .