What to Expect
When working with a writing professional at the Odegaard Writing & Research Center, a typical session may go like this:
A writing consultant (either a graduate or advanced undergraduate student) will start by asking you a series of questions about your assignment, what you want to accomplish, the work you have done on it so far, the due date, and your concerns and questions. It’s a good idea to bring a copy of the assignment sheet if your professor gave you one and/or any notes you took in class about it. Answering these questions often helps you to clarify your own goals and intentions for the paper, and helps us to know what to look for as we read the paper with you.
- If you have not written your paper yet – you and the writing consultant will work together to understand the assignment prompt and determine what is expected of you, perform research (if applicable) to find appropriate academic resources for your paper, brainstorm to determine what direction you might want to take with your paper, and/or outline to help you discover the most effective way to shape and organize your ideas.
- If you bring a paper draft to your session – then you and the consultant will read what you have brought aloud. You may be surprised at how much it helps to hear what you’ve written. You’ll both be listening for ways of improving the paper—ways to make it say what you want it to say as clearly and effectively as possible—and you’ll stop along the way to discuss possible changes.
Ultimately, the goal of each session is to make you feel ready and able to tackle the next step in writing or revising your paper, whatever that may be. Sometimes there may just be a little polishing and proofreading left to be done; if so, we’ll try to make sure you know how to do that. But sometimes a paper needs significant re-focusing or re-organizing; sometimes an argument needs to be reconsidered, or bolstered with more evidence, or stated more clearly; sometimes sources need to be identified more accurately, or individual sentences or paragraphs need to be written more clearly. Sometimes a paper needs attention to all of the above! Together, you and your consultant will sort out what you should work on first and whether or not you should come back to deal with other issues. That’s why we strongly recommend that you allow plenty of time between your first writing center visit and the paper’s due date.
Please note that a OWRC consultant is not a stand-in for your professor. Your tutor is not in a position to anticipate or explain your instructor’s response to your writing, or to judge either the accuracy or the quality of your paper’s content. The consultant may suggest that you bring some of your questions about a paper to the instructor who assigned and will be grading it. But it’s still worth coming to the OWRC to clear up what you can before turning in a paper. Think of your visit as an opportunity to clarify your ideas, goals, and rhetorical choices before submitting your final product.
We look forward to seeing you!