Graduate Students

Our graduate and undergraduate tutors work with graduate students at all stages of their academic work: first-year MA students writing seminar papers to post-docs working on articles for publication. We work with writers at any stage of the writing process to understand new genres of writing, organize and explain complex material, incorporate and document sources effectively, develop conference posters and presentations, prepare a manuscript for submission, and much more.

I'm in a STEM discipline / I'm writing on a very advanced subject: Can a tutor really help me write about such technical material?

Yes, and here's why. Although we can never promise to be an expert in your subject area, we can promise to be an enthusiastic reader with rich knowledge of common genres of writing and the processes of writing. Our tutors spend time reading and analyzing many different examples of genres common across the disciplines, including lit reviews, research / grant proposals, research posters, and personal statements / statements of teaching philosophy. Because they are familiar with the genre expectations (and the common challenges for writers composing these genres), our tutors often begin with ideas of what your writing needs to accomplish rhetorically--no matter how advanced or technical your subject matter may be. Additionally, one of the biggest challenges for graduate students is to explain their complex research to a less knowledgeable audience; our tutors can respond as less-knowledgeable-but-articulate readers, pointing out places where a draft takes for granted background information or terminology that may need to be explained or defined.

Can an undergraduate student tutor really help a graduate student with an advanced project? Isn't that awkward?

Yes, our undergraduate tutors can help--and no, it doesn't have to be awkward. At the writing center, we understand that all writers--no matter how advanced--benefit from conversation with interested, experienced readers. Our tutors can never replace your professors or committee members--we're not here to tell you exactly how to fix your paper--but we can offer something that some instructors aren't able to: experience coaching people through the writing process and the time to offer encouragement on a regular basis. We can offer familiarity with many common academic genres (explained above), experience with undertaking major revision, enthusiasm for fine-tuning the clarity and grace of a paper, and your own personal cheerleading service. Many graduate students find that making an appointment every week (or every other week) at the same time, with the same tutor, offers them a terrific, low-stakes accountability mechanism that can help keep a long-term project moving forward. (If you're interested, ask a tutor or reception staff member about setting up a "regular" appointment.)

Okay, but I'd really rather work with a graduate student tutor. Is that possible?

We do have four graduate student tutors on staff each semester. You can find them by scrolling through our staff bios here. But if you find their scheduled availability doesn't match yours, we hope you'll consider working with one of our undergraduate tutors. Feel free to contact the Director with any questions.

I have a very long project that can't be handled in a 60-minute session. What should I do?

If you're working on a longer project, we encourage you to make a series of appointments--ideally with the same tutor. That way you can work on various sections (or look at a revision of an earlier version) with someone who already knows your project and your writing strengths and concerns. You may even be able to arrange for a "reading hour"--which allows your tutor to read some of your draft ahead of time.

If you're working on a series of projects in a single class or across multiple classes, consider making a "regular" appointment with a tutor. Many writers come for 30 or 60 minutes at the same time every week (or every other week) to work with the same tutor. In addition to the advantage of getting to know each other well and not having to re-explain your project and concerns each week, being a "regular" gives you the privilege of asking for a "reading hour" when necessary--time for your tutor to read a longer or more complex draft in advance. If you're interested, talk to your tutor or a member of our reception staff.