About Our Tutoring

About Our Tutoring

During Mason's move to virtual alternative instruction, the Writing Center will maintain its normal hours of operation, offering all individual consultations online. Students will have the choice of meeting their tutor online in real time or submitting a draft for the tutor's written feedback. 

Our Goals Are Long Term

Our tutors work with writers on specific assignments, but our goals go beyond helping the writer improve the paper at hand. We want students to develop knowledge they can use going forward, so they become stronger, more assured writers in the long term. Thus in any given session, our tutors are likely to work in depth with the writer on two or three important issues and strategies, and the session will include conversation, analysis, explanation, and, of course, writing. We believe this kind of focused work leads to learning that students can transfer to the next writing task.

Please keep in mind that tutors do not proofread or edit writers' drafts. If you would like your students to have their drafts professionally edited, you may suggest they contact Jay Patel, the English Department's Graduate Coordinator (jpatel2@gmu.edu), who can circulate requests for freelance editing among the English graduate students. 

Encouraging Students to Take Advantage of the Writing Center

Consider inviting a tutor to your class to tell your students about the Writing Center! For faculty who would like to introduce their students to the Writing Center’s services, we offer Roadshows, brief 5-minute classroom presentations delivered by one of our tutors. If your course meets synchronously, we can schedule a tutor to join your class meeting to tell students about the Writing Center, or you can link students to one of the video roadshows on our In-Class Workshops page.

request roadshow

We also invite you to include this blurb, or one with similar language, on your syllabus:

Take advantage of the Writing Center as you work on written assignments in this course. You can book free 45-minute appointment to meet with a tutor on Zoom or to submit a draft for written feedback. Tutors will work with you on any phase of a writing project. They can help you develop your ideas, provide feedback on a draft, answer your questions, and show you strategies for brainstorming, organizing, drafting, revising, and editing. To schedule an appointment, go to writingcenter.gmu.edu, register with the center, and make an appointment using the online scheduler. Watch this short video (https://youtu.be/wPT0tJdqHFQ) for more detailed guidance on making an appointment, and send any questions to wcenter@gmu.edu.

In addition, these are strategies you can use to help students get the most out of their tutoring sessions:

  • When you introduce your first writing assignment, invite all your students to use the Writing Center.
  • Remind students that professionals get feedback from colleagues on their high-stakes writing.
  • Recommend meeting with a tutor early in the writing process.
  • Recommend scheduling appointments to allow time for revision afterwards.

Referrals vs. Required Visits

Referrals to the Writing Center are highly encouraged; we appreciate faculty support of students who use and work in the Writing Center. If you refer a student to the Writing Center, please remind them to bring the assignment prompt and other materials related to the assignment.

We discourage requiring students to visit the Writing Center for extra credit. As pleased as we are that you are supportive of our services and want your students to take advantage of them, students whose primary interest is to earn extra points sometimes disengage in the session, do not bring material to work on, or end the session after only a few minutes. Our center serves the entire community of Mason writers, and we wish to make our resources available to the students most likely to benefit from them. 

Essay Exams

Unless we have written permission from you, we do not tutor students on assignments and essays distinguished as “take-home exams.” You may include a note in your syllabus or exam prompt telling students they may consult a Writing Center tutor as they work on take-home exams; your student may show this note to their tutors. To give permission for individual students to consult tutors on take-home exams, email us at wcenter@gmu.edu.

Verifying that Students Have Visited the Writing Center

We provide a visit verification form to students who request them; the student may then pass the form on to you. This form indicates the date and length of the session, and provides a few notes on issues the student and tutor worked on during the session.

Tutors may not sign off on or certify student work; thus we must respectfully decline to sign such forms provided by instructors.