Policies and Restrictions

Appointment Policies and Restrictions

Who may use the Writing Center

You may use the Writing Center's free services if you are a member of the George Mason community–a student, a staff member, faculty, or alum within one year of graduation.

  • You must present a picture ID at the appointment. 
  • You may schedule appointments to work on your own writing only. You may not use your account to make appointments for any other person than yourself.

Number of appointments per day, per week, and per semester 

  • You may book up to two appointments per week.
    If you are working on a thesis or dissertation, one of these may be a Thesis/Diss consultation.

  • Students, faculty and staff may book up to fifteen appointments per semester. Alumni within one year of graduation may book up to five appointments.

  • You may not submit the same version of a draft to more than one consultant. You must revise in response to a consultant's feedback before resubmitting the draft. If your paper longer than 10 pages, however, you may submit the draft to one consultant, then submit the draft to a second consultant, with the first consultant's comments in the document. The second consultant can then provide feedback on parts of the draft the first consultant did not reach.

  • You may not book back-to-back sessions. 

No-show and cancellation policy

  • If you are more than fifteen minutes late for your appointment, you lose the exclusive right to that appointment, and the session may be given to a walk-in student.
  • After two missed appointments (or what we call “no-shows”) you may not book further appointments in advance for the current term, and your existing appointments will be canceled. You may, however, use the Writing Center on a walk-in basis. 
  • If you need to cancel an appointment, make every effort to do so two hours prior to your session. This will allow another student to book the appointment.

Clients who abuse the scheduling system or our policies are no longer eligible to receive our services.

A Few Kinds of Writing We Cannot Help You With

Although the Writing Center can help you with most types of writing, we are subject to certain specific restrictions. We cannot help with these types of writing:

  • Take-home essay exams, unless you have written permission from your instructor, or the instructor has contacted the Writing Center directly
  • Writing that has legal or financial consequences
  • Writing that is related to an appeal of a university decision.
  • Personal statements for fellowships, jobs, or academic programs that do not permit outside assistance on these statements. It is your responsibility to determine whether or not writing help is permitted for a personal statement you are working on. The Writing Center is not liable if the writer violates such a policy.

Confidentiality of Consulting Sessions

The Writing Center believes that a collaborative relationship between instructors, consultants, and writers is the most conducive to writing improvement. We do, however, respect the confidentiality of every consulting session. Should an instructor inquire about the content of a session, we will not provide this information unless the writer has given permission for us to share it. 

Plagiarism

Our consultants generally assume that the writing brought to them is the writer’s own. If there are concerns with how and when research is cited, consultants point out these concerns and explain the need for correct and thorough citations.

Consultants do not report suspected plagiarism to anyone outside of the Writing Center. If a consultant feels that a paper is clearly not the work of the writer present for the session, and the writer resists reworking the potentially plagiarized elements of the assignment, that consultant may cancel the session.