Writing Center FAQs
What is the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is a place where students can get free, one-on-one help with their writing projects from a trained student tutor. Tutors help both with papers and presentations for classes as well as other professional writing, for example, resumes and application letters.
Where is the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is in the Whitten Student Center, room W118.
What are the Writing Center hours?
Writing Center hours vary slightly by semester. See the Writing Center Portal page for current information.
Who uses the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is available to all Woodbury undergraduate and graduate students on both our Burbank and San Diego campuses. Although we only have in-person tutors in Burbank, we encourage our San Diego students to take advantage of our online tutorials (see below).
Do I have to pay for a tutorial?
No, tutorials are free.
How long are tutorials?
In-person tutorials are 30 minutes long.
Do I have to schedule an appointment?
No. We welcome walk-ins. However, often our tutors are all busy working with other students and are unavailable to immediately assist you. Therefore, we recommend that you schedule an appointment. This is the best way to fit a tutorial into your busy schedule at the time you desire.
How do I schedule an appointment?
In three ways: (1) you can schedule an appointment on The Writing Center website, (2) you can call for an appointment at 818.252.5232, or (3) you can walk into the Writing Center and talk to a tutor (if one is available and not helping another student).
What kind of assignments can I bring? Can I bring in things that are not for a class?
You can bring in any piece of writing, even if it is not for a class.
What do I need to bring with me?
You should try to bring everything related to the writing project, including the assignment, written drafts, readings, outlines, and previous feedback. You can bring printed copies or have the materials on your laptop or tablet. (Note: Tutors will have a difficult time reading your materials from a phone.)
I haven’t started writing yet, but I need help with ideas. Can I still come in?
Yes! We can help you at all stages of your writing, including brainstorming ideas at the beginning and polishing at the end.
English is not my first language. Can you still help me?
Yes! Our tutors have received training and have much experience working with students whose first language is not English.
What happens during a tutoring session?
During a typical tutorial, a writer and a tutor discuss the writing assignment and talk about what the writer's goals are for that session. These goals could be anything from help with understanding the assignment and brainstorming to offering feedback on a final draft. Tutors are trained to help student writers achieve their goals through a collaborative dialogue. Near the end of tutoring sessions, the writers should clearly understand what their next step in the writing project will be. Afterwards, the writers are asked if they have time to take a brief survey.
I have a busy schedule and can’t come to the Writing Center when it's open. What should I do?
The Writing Center also offers online tutorials. Simply click on our portal page's link, "Submit Your Microsoft Word Document for an Online Tutorial Here" and follow the prompts. You will receive an email with online feedback within 24 hours. Please make sure you submit your essay as a Word document, or else we cannot provide feedback. If you have a project that is more than 10 pages long, please submit it as two or more separate documents no longer than 10 pages each. This will ensure that you get yoru project returned within 24 hours.
Note: With online tutorials, tutors are limited in the type of help they can provide to students because they cannot have a real conversation. Sometimes tutors cannot understand the writer's meaning, particularly if the If a student is a beginning writer, or a writer cannot understand a tutor's written comments. This is why we recommend in-person tutorials for beginning writers.
Are there any limits to how many in-person appointment I can make?
You may have a maximum of two appointments per day. These may be at different times of the day or can be back-to-back. They may be for the same writing project, or different writing projects. There is no limit to the number of appointments you may make in a semester.
Who are the Writing Center tutors, and how are they selected?
Our tutors come from all schools at the University and are as diverse as the student body. They are outstanding student writers themselves and are selected for their writing and interpersonal skills. After being hired, tutors go through a rigorous training and receive ongoing training every semester they work.
Will Writing Center tutors edit my writing for me and correct all the errors?
Not exactly. Writing Center tutors will point out some grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary errors to you, especially if they are recurring; their goal is to train you to catch these errors on your own. They cannot catch all your errors, because they are trained to be collaborators and tutors, not editors. In addition, they are trained to consider the "big picture" before honing in on details like grammar and punctuation. They understand that your instructors care about these "big picture" issues such as whether your essay follows the assignment's directions, has good supporting evidence, is well organized, has a strong thesis, is clear and focused, and is properly citing the words and ideas of others.
My instructor is requiring me to visit the Writing Center. How will my instructor know that I have?
Mention to your tutor that you would like a copy of the “Tutorial Report” sent to your instructor. Make sure you have your instructor's email with you (usually on his or her syllabus). The tutor will then send the report to your instructor's email.