Odegaard Writing and Research Center

FAQs for Writers





Who can use the OWRC?

The Odegaard Writing & Research Center is open to the entire UW community: faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from any course.





What can I use the OWRC for?

The OWRC is a safe place to ask questions about writing and try out your work on a friendly, responsive tutor who will make suggestions or help find answers to your questions. Most writers bring in papers they are writing for courses, but we also help with personal writing such as cover letters, oral speeches, group papers, personal statements, resumes, and articles for publication. The only exception to our “open-door policy” is that, unfortunately, we cannot help students who are writing papers in languages other than English.

Please note that we are not a proof-reading service. We help build writing skills that will help individuals become self-sufficient and confident in their writing ability. We’re happy to do some “supervised proofreading” — that is, to help you recognize and learn how to correct persistent errors — but we can’t do all the work for you!





What does a tutoring session look like?

Generally, our tutors start by asking what sort of feedback or problem areas you’re trying to address in your writing. We then ask writers to read their paper aloud to gauge the coherency of their work, then we engage in dialogue to identify mistakes, make points clearer, and provide techniques and knowledge that will improve your writing. You can find a more in-depth overview at our What to Expect page.

However, this is just how one session can go! Depending on the tutor and what you’re looking for, we may go about consulting your writing in ways that are most relevant to your work.





Where is the OWRC, and when is it open?

The OWRC is located on the first floor of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library (campus map) in room 121. We are open during the following hours (except for select campus holidays):

Autumn, Winter, Spring Hours: Sunday 3:30 to 7:30 pm, Monday–Thursday 9:30 am to 7:30 pm, Friday 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.

Summer/EFS Hours: Monday–Thursday 12 pm to 4 pm





Do I need an appointment?

Signing up for an appointment is highly recommended. If you do so, you’re guaranteed to see a tutor of your choosing at a specific day/time. There is no hassle, no wait time, and no worries.

We also take drop-in appointments, but sometimes writers have to wait until a tutor becomes available. We also give away a reserved spot if the writer doesn't show up within the first 10 minutes of the appointment. For more information about our drop-in policies, please visit this page.

**Please note we are not accepting drop ins for Spring Quarter 2020. All appointments are online and must be scheduled beforehand**





How long does an appointment take, and how often can I come in?

Appointments are 45 minutes. You may come in as often as you like. We limit students to 3 appointment(s) a week. For more information, please see our policies.





You're booked on the date/time that I need! What can I do?

If no appointment slots open later, try visiting one of the other writing centers on campus! Many departments have their own centers dedicated to course-specific writing. A list of them can be found here.





I'm a graduate student. What services are available for me?

We have graduate tutors and resources specifically for graduate students, includng our Open Writing Circles and annual Dissertation Retreat.





I'm an ELL student, can I still use the writing center?

Of course! Our peer tutors provide a friendly, non-judgmental, supportive environment for English Language Learners, International Students, and Multilingual Writers. OWRC tutors are not language teachers or grammar experts, and therefore cannot edit or proofread papers for students. However, they can help writers with:

  • Identifying, tracking, and self-correcting their own language errors
  • Becoming more comfortable speaking English in semi-formal environments
  • Trying out and using different vocabulary
  • Understanding different prompts, assignments, and genres
  • Learning about US academic expectation

Be sure to checkout our Targeted Learning Communities Program as well. TLCs are weekly group tutoring sessions with our peer tutors. For more information, see our TLC page.





Who is on the staff?

See our staff profiles for information about individual tutors. We're proud to have a diverse range of talented writing and research tutors and librarians on our team. When booking an appointment, you can choose particular staff members as long as they are not already booked.





What should I bring to my tutoring appointment?

Bring as much information as you can about your assignment; bring your work-in-progress at any stage, bring your questions, and bring an open mind! We can help you at any stage of the writing process.





Can I drop off a paper and pick it up later? Or send it to you by email?

No. We don’t “fix” or work on your paper in your absence. The OWRC is all about conversation. Both you and your consultant will be asking and answering questions—reading your paper together and engaging in a dialogue about what





Can one member of a group bring in a paper that the group has worked on together?

No, unless they are only focusing on their own part of the paper. If different group members have written different parts of the paper, they all need to be here to ask and answer questions about their parts. This includes late-stage revisions and technical corrections; if there are errors to be found, the person who made them has to be here to correct them!





Can you show me how to cite the sources I use in a paper?

Yes. If you have kept track of all the necessary publication information and know which system of documentation you want to use (MLA, APA, CBE, and CSE to name a few), we will help look-up answers to citation-related questions. You can also find a lot of information about citing sources (including sample papers formatted in different citation styles!) in the Writing Resources section of our web site.





Can you help me with grammar?

Yes. We always ask you what special concerns you have about a paper when you bring it in, and if “grammar” is one of those concerns, then we will help tailor the session for your needs. As tutors, correct grammar and usage are among the many things we look for in reading drafts of papers with students. However, learning grammar rules and ways to identify them yourself can be especially difficult, so we suggest utilizing online resources such as our handouts page to strengthen your understanding.





Will my instructor know that I have come to the OWRC?

No. The OWRC does not provide evidence to instructors that students have visited the OWRC, especially if it pertains to extra credit opportunities. Thank you for your understanding.





Will you look at papers on a computer?

Yes. Our tutors are happy to read documents over any digital device. For in-person appointments, you are welcome to bring your own laptop or make use of an OWRC laptop or desktop computer by emailing the document to yourself in advance then opening it with a tutor once you begin your session. For online appointments, screen sharing or uploading a file via chat in Zoom will allow our tutors to view your written work as well.





How can I become a writing consultant?

We are always on the lookout for good tutors. We hire every spring for the following academic year and welcome applicants from all disciplines. Please visit here for more information.





To whom should I go if I have a complaint or a suggestion about the OWRC?

The coordinator of the OWRC would love to hear from you. Please send your e-mail to owrc@uw.edu.