It doesn't take divine intervention to improve your writing skills. Whether you're struggling with your writing or whether you want to make a good essay even better, the Walk-In Service can help you overcome common writing dilemmas and give your written work that little extra pizzazz.
Before you come in...
- Do you understand the assignment?
If not, consult with your teacher. Also, be sure to bring both the assignment and any previous drafts with you.
- Do you have at least two days to work on your essay after the tutoring session?
If not, remember to bring papers in early next time!
- Do you have any grammar questions?
Try reading your paper slowly, out loud and fixing mistakes first.
To get started...
- Start the work as early as you can. That way, you can drop in for several tutoring sessions: for brainstorming or organization one time, for prose style another time.
- Talk about the assignment with your friends.
Describing your ideas to other people can help give them structure and argumentative force.
- Write out an outline so you know what you want to say and how you're going to get there. A cohesive introductory paragraph which you can mull over for a while also helps.
- Skim material for quotes ahead of time so you know that what you're arguing is rooted in textual reality and not a beautiful creation with no textual basis.
When you come in...
- If the piece of writing is on an assigned topic, bring a copy of the assignment with you to the tutoring service. If the assignment is a rewrite, bring a copy of the paper on which the revision is to be based.
- If you sense that the piece you are writing relies too heavily on summary of a text, that your writing doesn't move far enough toward in-depth analysis, try to formulate the questions you have about critical reading, or think of examples, or bring the text itself with you.
- Tell the tutor what areas of your paper you feel need improvement most and identify specific areas of concern.If you like, bring in previous drafts or papers in which this area of concern has been commented on.
- Bring a pencil and make sure it stays in your hand so you can be a co-worker in your own writing – that's what will help you apply what you learn in one tutoring session to another.
- Have a positive, realistic attitude --no one becomes Shakespeare overnight, but no matter what your background or major might be, you possess the ability to write competently, concisely, and coherently.
- Dispel the myth that tutoring is suitable for only certain types of writers or writing situations. Peer feedback can benefit the inspired writer, the blank writer, the struggling writer, the successful writer.
When you go home...
- Don't be afraid to take a new approach with your paper --you're not throwing out your previous work but learning from it.
- Focus on structure and argument before focusing on grammar and stylistic issues
- And if you still have trouble, always remember you can come back!