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FAQ for Students

FAQs for Students

The Odegaard Writing & Research Center is open to current UW faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students.

The OWRC strives to be a safe place to ask questions about writing and collaborate with a friendly, responsive peer tutor who will make suggestions or help explore 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 assist with “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!

Generally, our tutors start by asking what sort of feedback or areas you would like to address in your writing. Tutors may ask writers to read their paper aloud (with permission) to gauge the coherency of their work, or tutors might engage in dialogue to identify mistakes, make points clearer, and provide techniques that will improve your writing. You can find a more in-depth overview at our Policies 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.

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 Hours: Monday–Thursday 12 pm to 4 pm (online only)

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.

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.

If no appointment slots open later, please sign up for the waitlist or 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.

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

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 U.S. academic cultures

Be sure to checkout our Targeted Learning Communities Program as well. TLCs are planned to re-launch in Fall 2023 and are weekly group tutoring sessions with our peer tutors. For more information, see our TLC page.

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. OWRC Staff can also make suggestions for pairing you with a tutor.

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.

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.

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!

It depends. 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.

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.

No. The OWRC does not provide evidence to instructors that students have visited the OWRC for required visits or extra credit opportunities. Thank you for your understanding.

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 WC Online will allow our tutors to view your written work as well. We strongly recommend making any writing revisions outside of WC Online to avoid unsaved work.

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

OWRC would love to hear from you. Please send your e-mail to