FAQ

What will I accomplish in a tutoring session?

Writing Lab tutors have one goal in mind: to help you become a better writer. We are happy to work with you on ideas, organization, argument, sentence structure, or to answer any questions that you may have about your writing. For this reason, tutors work to create a dialogue with you in which you will play a major role. We are trained to teach you skills that will enable you to gain confidence and independence in your writing.

Who uses the lab?

There is no typical student who uses the Writing Lab. Any student can come to the Writing Lab for help, and writers of all abilities visit the lab. Many tutors bring their work to the lab. Some students come because they know they are inexperienced writers. Some students come because they have a specific concern about their work. Some students are learning English as a second language. Other students come for help to understand or clarify assignments. Students in any course and at any level are encouraged to visit the Writing Lab. After all, it never hurts to have two pairs of eyes reading your paper to gain fresh ideas and second opinions.

How long is the wait?

The wait varies. Sometimes there is no line and sometimes there are students waiting. Since we tutor on a first come first served basis and must conclude tutoring at the sheduled time, it is a good idea to come fairly early on in the shift and to come as soon as possible (not the night before the paper is due!). If there is a line, we try to put a 30 minute time limit on our sessions and a one paper limit per student.

When should I come to the Writing Lab?

You can come to the Writing Lab at any stage of the writing process. However, we suggest that you come in as soon as you know what questions you have about the paper.

What should I bring with me when I come?

When you come to the Writing Lab, it is helpful to bring anything you’ve written, an assignment sheet and/or any class notes that you’ve taken about the assignment, any comments from your professor, and your ideas.

Here are some things that you can do to get the most out of your tutorial session:

  • Think about what kind of help you really want from a tutor. If you set a rough agenda of items to cover in the tutorial, you can be sure to get the most out of our time together.
  • Bring both your assignment and any work or drafts you’ve done so far.
  • If possible, bring along your instructor’s assignment sheet and your class notes. Even if you don’t have a draft yet, bring in your questions and have an idea of the help that you need.
  • Think carefully about the assignment and maybe list some characteristics your paper should satisfy.
  • Mark sections of your draft that you’re unsure of or mark sections of your paper that you would like to concentrate on.
  • Write down your questions; they can be very helpful.
  • Try outlining; outlining is a good way of rethinking the overall organization of your paper.
  • Think about your instructor’s comments and any suggestions that have been made on other papers that you’ve written.

In short, remember that you are in control of your tutorial. After all, it’s your paper, and you are the reason we’re here.

Will my instructor know that I came?

Yes, every visit is recorded on line and instructors can check this log. The roster is what you sign-in on when you come to the Lab, and the roster states only that you came to the Writing Lab and briefly outlines what we worked on during your session.

Can you tell me what grade I will receive?

Tutors are not involved in the grading process at all; therefore, we can’t make predictions about grades. While we will definitely try our best to help you make your writing the best it can be, we cannot predict or guarantee your final grade. A good policy is “When in doubt, go see your instructor.” Your instructor knows best what he or she wants, and so if you aren’t sure you’re on the right track, then the instructor is the perfect person to ask.

Should I go see my instructor?

It is never a bad idea to go see your instructor, and if you are asking this question, then the answer is probably ‘yes’. The instructor is the only person who can definitively answer your questions about the assignment and tell you what he or she is looking for in your writing. Although we are always happy to answer your questions about writing, when it comes to the specific assignment itself and the expectations of your professor, the Writing Lab is no substitute for a visit to your instructor.

I’m an English Language Learner  - can I come to the Writing Lab for help?

Definitely! We tutor many ELL students each week, and we also provide many ELL handouts.

I have a learning disability – can I come to the Writing Lab for help?

Definitely! We work closely with the Class Office and have many of the same resources as the Class Office. If you feel comfortable telling us that you have a learning disability, that could be helpful to us. Perhaps you know some learning strategies that work for you and could help the tutor learn to be more effective in working with you.

Do I have to be writing for an English class?

Not at all! We will tutor writing from any kind of class at Augsburg. The only condition is that it must be written in English. For papers written in foreign languages, please visit the Foriegn Language Department. The fact that we may be unfamiliar with the content of the paper does not mean that we can’t help you. Things like unity, organization, development, grammar are much the same in all fields of study.

Are all the tutors English majors?

No! While many tutors are English majors, the Writing Lab tutors hail from many majors and minors.