Wellesley students can meet with trained peer tutors to discuss any aspect of their writing or the writing process. Come write with us!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule an appointment with a tutor?

To make an appointment, use the online scheduler. Appointments are not required, but they are strongly recommended. You may sign up to meet with a tutor for either 30 or 60 minutes. If you want to work regularly with a particular tutor throughout the semester, that can usually be arranged. To make a special tutor arrangement, contact Jeannine Johnson in the Writing Program.

What do the writing tutors do?

Tutors work with you one-on-one, helping you with your writing assignments, including summaries, response papers, essays, research papers, lab findings and reports, and senior theses. Tutors can help you with any English-language writing assignment for any course. In addition, tutors can advise you on application essays for fellowships or graduate or professional school.

The tutors' goal is to help students generate, organize, revise, and improve their writing. Tutors will look at work at any stage of the writing process. In fact, you can meet with a tutor before you've even written a draft just to brainstorm ideas for a paper. While tutors will work with you to address problems of grammar or usage, they will not proofread your paper or correct mistakes for you.

What should I expect from a session with a writing tutor?

You can expect the tutor to ask you lots of questions about your paper's subject matter, its organization, and your goals for the assignment. The tutor will read over your draft and offer advice, but she will always expect you to be actively engaged in the tutorial process. Tutors typically will not write on your paper. It is up to you to take notes on the ideas you discuss, to jot down a possible new outline for the paper, and to write out new sentence structures as the two of you talk.

What should I bring to my tutoring session?

Bring your assignment sheet to the tutor session, along with any writing you have done. Also bring specific questions: the more specific you are in directing tutors to the main sources of your concern, the more productive the tutoring session will be. Don't expect to simply ask the tutor to read your paper and tell you if it is "good" or not.

When should I see a writing tutor?

The earlier in the writing process you see a tutor, the better. Consider seeing a tutor as soon as you get an assignment. At the least, aim to see a tutor a day or two before an assignment is due. That way, you'll have time to absorb and apply what you learned in the tutoring session. Meeting with a tutor on the same day that something is due is not advised.

Where do the tutors work?

Most of the tutors work in the Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center (PLTC) on the third level of Clapp Library. Tutors also work some hours in Sage Lounge in the Science Center and in Harambee House. See the online scheduler for the location of the tutor you are scheduled to see.

My primary language is not English. Is there a special writing tutor for me?

Any of the tutors can help you with most writing issues. Students who would like more intensive language support may schedule a tutoring session with Renata Rivkin Haag. Renata is the coordinator of the English Language Resource Center (ELRC), and she specializes in working with multilingual students. The ELRC is located in the Sanger Room in Clapp Library, and it is open Sunday 7-9 pm, Monday 6-9 pm, and Wednesday 5-8 pm. You may schedule an appointment using the tutors' online scheduler.

I have to write a science lab report. Should I see a science writing tutor?

Any of the tutors can help you with lab reports, research findings, or any other assignment you receive for your science classes. However, if you would like to see someone who specializes in science writing, such a tutor is available a few hours per week in Sage Lounge in the Science Center. Her schedule is available on the online scheduler.

What if I need help understanding the content of my paper?

Contact the PLTC and request a department tutor.

Who can see a writing tutor?

Any currently-enrolled Wellesley student can work with the writing tutors.

Do I have to pay to see a tutor?

No. Writing tutors are available to currently-enrolled Wellesley students free of charge.

How long do tutoring sessions last?

Students may schedule tutorials that last either 30 or 60 minutes. Students may not work with a tutor on a single paper for more than 60 minutes on a given day. After an hour, the student will have plenty of advice to act upon. In addition, work beyond an hour may put the tutor in the position of collaborator, rather than advisor, and this may lead to a violation of the Honor Code.

Is there a limit to the number of tutoring sessions I may have?

Students may meet with tutors up to 3 hours per week.

Can I submit my paper so the tutor can read it before my tutorial?

No, tutors do not accept papers from students ahead of time. We build into the period allotted for tutorials sufficient time for the tutor to acquaint herself with your work.

I really just want someone to proofread my paper. Why can't a writing tutor do that for me?

At Wellesley, as is true at most colleges, we want students to be actively involved in the process of improving a piece of writing. We think this is the best way to help students develop their confidence and their skills in writing. Proofreading a student's writing puts her in a passive position, and in that position she isn't likely to develop any skills that she can build on for the future. We understand that correctness is important, and tutors can help you address problems of grammar, spelling, or punctuation. However, they will do so in a way that requires your active participation. Even if you do work with the tutor to identify and correct mistakes in your paper, don't expect to have time during a tutoring session to correct them all.

I want to improve my understanding of grammar. Is there a special resource for me?

There are some useful online guides to grammar. See "Resources" in the left sidebar.

Apply to Be a Writing Tutor

Students are invited to apply now to work as a writing tutor during the 2015-2016 school year. The application form is here. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. If you have questions, contact Professor Jeannine Johnson at jjohnso2@wellesley.edu.



What do writing tutors do?

Writing tutors advise students in one-on-one sessions that last 30 or 60 minutes. Tutors work with students from all class years on writing assignments from across all academic disciplines. Writing tutors do not proofread or edit papers for students. Instead, tutors engage students in lively conversation, helping them brainstorm topics, organize ideas, refine arguments, revise prose, and use evidence appropriately.

Who can apply?

Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to become writing tutors. Students from all majors are welcome to apply. There is no minimum GPA for applying, though writing tutors tend to be strong all-around students.

What qualifications are necessary?

Writing tutors have exceptional writing and communication skills, and they are able to diagnose strengths and weaknesses in others’ writing. They are patient and friendly, and they have the ability to work with students from a broad range of backgrounds and preparation. Writing tutors are also reliable, responsible, and able to work without supervision.

What about hours, pay, and training?

Writing tutors work between 3 and 8 hours per week, at a starting rate of $9.50/hour. Tutors work as their schedules allow between 9 am and 9 pm, Sunday through Friday. Paid training is provided at the beginning of the fall semester, and it continues periodically through the year.