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Student FAQs

What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is a tutoring space dedicated to helping UMBC students with writing in any class. The Writing Center offers one-on-one sessions that generally last between 30 minutes and an hour. We work with students at any stage of the writing process, so you don’t even need to bring a finished paper along. If you’re having trouble getting started, bring us your assignment sheet and spend a few minutes talking about strategies for beginning with any of our experienced tutors. If you have an outline, we can help you expand and improve on that. If you’ve got a paper written and just want to be sure it makes sense to someone else, we can help with that, too.

However, please note that the Writing Center is not an editing service. You cannot simply drop off a paper and have a tutor mark and fix your grammatical errors. Additionally, you should plan to leave time to make adjustments to your assignment after you leave the Writing Center. Bringing a paper to the Writing Center right before it is due probably won’t leave you much time to work on any of the issues you and your tutor discuss in the session.

Where is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is located on the first floor of the AOK Library. Once you pass through the security sensors, turn right and continue to the back of the room. Sign in at the reception desk below the Writing Center and Math Science Tutoring Center sign.

What happens in a typical session?

When you come to the Writing Center, you’ll check in at the front desk. A tutor will then ask you what you’re working on and what aspects of your writing you’d like to discuss. Your tutor will have you read whatever you’ve written so far aloud, or your tutor may read your work aloud to you. You and your tutor will work on the biggest concerns first. Usually, tutors will initially focus on things like your thesis statement and your organizational strategy before discussing citation issues or grammatical errors. Be prepared to be an active participant in the session; tutors will not tell you what to write or fix mistakes for you, but they will help you learn to critique and improve your own writing. Finally, please remember that our tutors are not necessarily experts in your content area. You need to bring the subject matter expertise–our tutors will help you make sure your knowledge comes across clearly and cohesively. All in all, sessions generally take between 30 minutes to an hour, so be prepared to spend more than just 10 or 15 minutes with your tutor.

What should I bring to a session?

You should always bring your assignment sheet and rubric (if you have one) with you, or be prepared to access those documents online through your own device–we do not have computers available. Ideally, it’s best to bring two hard copies of your paper–one for you to mark up, and one for your tutor to see. If you bring your paper on your laptop or table, please make sure that it is charged, as we cannot guarantee a place for you to charge your device. Be sure you have something to write with, and consider bringing any books you’re working with, in case you want to talk about integrating sources correctly. Finally, bring a positive attitude! We know writing can be painful, but we’re here to help. Your willingness to work with us will help you get the most out of your session.

How do I make an appointment?

Students can schedule appointments independently, using the ASC scheduling system, TutorTrac. Click on the ASC Tutor Schedule to check for available tutors and reserve your sessions. If you want to know more about how to use TutorTrac, download the Student procedures.