Policies and Expectations 

Policies and Expectations for Writing Center Tutoring 

At the Writing Center at College of the Sequoias, our goal is to help our students develop new skills, tools, and strategies for approaching writing. We respect the writer’s authority over his or her own work, and the writer’s responsibility to make choices about their writing. The following policies exist to help our tutors and participating instructors keep those principles in mind as they work with students, and to ensure that students are getting the best help possible. 

Tutoring and the Writing Process

The goal of all sessions is a plan of action, not a perfect draft. Only the writer can revise an essay; all tutors can do is provide feedback. Students should expect to leave a tutoring session with a clear plan for what to do next, not a perfect, polished essay.

Many papers will require more than one session. Each session will be focused on finding the writer’s next step. This means that most writers will want to meet with a tutor, carry out the revision plan they generate in the session, and then come back to look at new issues.

Tutors will focus on the writing process, not simply the draft on the table. Our goal is to help writers learn new ways to approach writing. We’ll always work with a student’s draft, but our goal is to help writers learn things that they can take beyond the current assignment.

Students must allow adequate time for their sessions, and for revision. It’s the writer’s responsibility to be aware of due dates and time constraints. Students should allow at least 30 minutes for the tutoring session, and plenty of time after the session to revise. 

Expectations For Your Tutoring Session

Tutors will not write on student papers. It is the writer, not the tutor, who is in charge of the paper. Therefore, writers are encouraged to write on their own papers, but tutors will not.

Tutors will focus on big issues first. Language-level issues like grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important, but usually they’re the last step in the process. Tutors will focus on issues like purpose, focus, structure, and organization before looking at language-level issues.

Tutors will focus on one or two key issues. Talking about every single issue in a paper will overwhelm the writer, and leave the writer less certain about what to do next. Instead, tutors will choose one or two key issues to focus on in a session. Again, the goal is to find the next step.

Tutors in their first semester at the writing center are not allowed to work with language-level issues. New tutors have not yet received training in working with grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In some cases, tutors may refer students to a more experienced tutor, or a faculty or staff member, to deal with these and similar issues. 

Finally, students must log in when they enter the Writing Center and log out when they leave. If a student leaves without logging out, he or she may not receive credit for time spent in the Writing Center.

Last Updated: 2/12/2015 4:44 PM