What to Expect at Your Consultation

Appointments are scheduled in one hour increments (although they often run for shorter periods of time). Consultations are informal, interactive, and free-flowing, driven by student concerns. Students may be interested in improving their writing in general, or they may come to the consultation with the requirements of a particular assignment in mind. During your consultation, you will meet with a trained writing professional—one who will discuss your work with you, identify major writing issues, and help you develop some strategies to effectively address your rhetorical situation, your audience, purpose, and occasion. Academic Writing Centre instructors are aware of the writing conventions and scholarly practices of various disciplines as well as the expectations of readers specific to your field.

What We Do

Your tutor will be happy to assist you in any of the following areas:

  • Understanding your audience, purpose, and occasion.
  • Generating ideas and developing narrowed topics.
  • Planning and constructing essay outlines.
  • Surveying the state of knowledge and identifying knowledge deficits.
  • Understanding the principles of citation: summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting.
  • Understanding documentation: MLA, APA, etc.
  • Understanding and improving sentence skills and paragraph structure.
  • Making effective rhetorical decisions: analyzing and persuading.
  • Developing an effective, genre-specific scholarly style.
  • Identifying recurring writing problems.

What We Don't Do

  • We do not provide proofreading nor intensive copy-editing services.
  • We do not discuss student grades nor comment on marks a student has received.

How to Prepare for Your Consultation

Consultations are most effective when students come prepared with specific questions, already having given their writing significant thought. If you are working on a particular assignment, read the instructions carefully and make sure you have completed any required background reading in advance. Bring in the assignment instructions in question. If possible, bring an early draft, an outline, a first paragraph, or a partially-completed essay. We are also happy to look at final drafts.

If you are uncertain of how to approach the project, and if you are hesitant to begin writing before speaking with a tutor, at the very least consider the assignment thoughtfully and come prepared to discuss it. Do not be anxious if you are confused or lack confidence in your writing—remember, many now-famous writers struggled with English in school and university, and eventually they went on to great success! The ability to write well, like any other worthwhile skill, can be learned and perfected with effective instruction and informed practice.