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Writing Center

What to Expect at an Appointment

What to Bring to Your Appointment:

Bring an understanding of your assignment and all work related to the paper you are writing: the assignment sheet, class notes, reading notes, brainstorming notes about the paper, etc. If this is a follow-up appointment, be sure to bring the materials you produced in the previous appointment. You can bring your own computer or use one of ours. For longer papers or a proofreading session, please consider bringing a printed copy.  

What to Expect:

Regular Appointments

Click here to schedule an appointment online.

In regular appointments, you and your tutor will:

  • Discuss your assignment and set specific goals for your 50-minute appointment.
  • Peer tutors will not merely edit your paper. Do not expect to work on more than one paper during the appointment. 

Standing Appointments

Fill out our self-assessment form and contact the Director of Writing Programs mccabe@lakeforest.edu to schedule a standing appointment. 

In standing appointments:

  • You are assigned a specific peer tutor who works with you once a week. 
  • You and your tutor will select personal goals, which focus on improving specific areas of your writing.
  • At the end of each appointment, you and your tutor will decide what you will bring to the next appointment.
  • At the end of the semester, you and your tutor will discuss your goals and reflect on your progress as a writer.

Walk-In Hours

Evening walk-in hours are Sunday through Thursday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Walk-in hours are ideal if you do not anticipate that your appointment will last more than 30 minutes. 

Daytime walk-in hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Please arrive at the start of the hour; if a scheduled client does not arrive after ten minutes, their tutor will work with you. Daytime walk-in hours are not guaranteed.

Writing Center Principles and Practices

The following principles support and generate the acceptable tutoring practice that tutors follow, while recognizing, of course, that every tutoring session is distinctly different from another. Here, then, is a list of fundamental principles:

  • Writing is a form of communication that assumes a reader (even, in the case of a diary or privatized form of writing, if the reader is oneself).
  • The reader/writer relationship is built on reciprocal trust, with each assuming a seriousness toward the other and a level of respect from the other.
  • Tutors, as serious readers, respect the intention of the writer.
  • Writers, as serious communicators, respect the effort of the reader to respond to the written work. 

Over the past several years, we have established key practices to ensure the aforementioned fundamental principles are practiced in each and every session. These key practices include:

  • Reading the instructions thoroughly, interpreting and reviewing the assignment, and asking clients to explain what the assignment calls for and what they want to get out of the tutoring session.
  • Asking clients to read their paper aloud in order to give clients a chance to gain perspective on their writing.
  • When possible, having clients read their papers in their entirety before tutors comment on them.
  • Discussing teacher’s comments, if any, on the writing.
  • Beginning by talking about positive qualities in the writing.
  • Identifying and communicating the nature of the writing issue(s), taking care to avoid tackling everything at once (in the case of a great many issues) but rather isolating patterns of error and modeling appropriate solutions. 
  • Posing open-ended yet focused questions so as to invite meaningful client engagement during the session.
  • Encouraging clients to begin writing (or rewriting) during the session.

In order to uphold the Center’s principles and practices, our peer tutoring staff undergoes a six-week long training process, which is enhanced by weekly professional development after the training process ends.