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FAQ for Students

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What is the Clarkson Writing Center?
The Writing Center is a quiet place where any member of the Clarkson community, including international students, can work one-on-one with a writing tutor to improve any writing project, academic or personal. Tutors are available afternoons and evenings during the fall and spring semesters. Writing Center services are not available during the summer.

Where is the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is in 139 Snell Hall, next to the first-floor computer lab. Look for the glass wall at the end of the hall.

When is the Writing Center open?
At least two writing tutors are available afternoons and evenings. We have condensed hours in the spring when demand is lower, and more robust hours to accommodate the busy fall semester, particularly in light of our Univ 190 required writing intensive course, and our Co-Writing program 

Our Fall Hours: 

Monday through Thursday 12:00 - 5:00
  6:00 - 8:00
Friday 12:00 - 3:00
Sunday   6:00 - 9:00

Our Spring Hours: 

Monday through Thursday

Tuesday and Thursday Evenings

     12:00 - 5:00
Friday By Appointment Only
Sunday       6:00 - 9:00


When should I visit the Writing Center?
The sooner you visit, the better. You can visit the Writing Center at any point in your writing project: when you first get the assignment, have a list of notes, or have a complete draft for such projects as

  • essays & research papers
  • labs
  • design reports
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • memos
  • resumes
  • cover letters
  • personal statements
  • graduate thesis/dissertation (as part of multiple meetings, not a drop off for a cover-to-cover editing)

You can get help with

  • analyzing your project's goals and your reader's expectations
  • researching and developing ideas
  • organizing material according to your discipline's standards
  • learning to edit your work and eliminate grammar and punctuation errors
  • polishing your tables, figures and graphs (selected tutors).


Do I need an appointment?
Appointments are not required, and most writers just drop in. However, the Writing Center tutors do get booked, especially just before papers are due. You can easily schedule an appointment to guarantee a conference with a tutor. Call 315-268-4439 during hours or email us. 


How long will my meeting with a writing tutor take?
The length of your meeting depends on your needs and the demand for tutors. Our records show that the average meeting is 46 minutes, but you can work as long as you like (as student demand allows). During busy sessions, you are guaranteed at least thirty minutes.

Who are the Writing Tutors?
Writing tutors are undergraduates majoring in sciences, engineering, business and communications. They are selected for their strong writing, critical reading, and problem-solving skills and genuine interest in helping writers.

Writing tutors complete several hours of training before working in the Writing Center. (For more information, see our Meet the Tutors page.)

What does the Writing Tutor do?
The writing tutor is trained to help you identify problems in your written projects and will help solve them.

Tutors will first sit with you and get the big picture. He or she will ask you questions about the project and about your writing concerns. The tutor will read any notes or draft you may have begun and help you find its strengths and weaknesses. Together with your tutor, you can

  • analyze your project's goals and your reader's expectations
  • research and develop ideas
  • organize material according to your discipline's standards
  • learn to edit your work and eliminate grammar and punctuation errors
  • polish your tables, figures and graphs (selected tutors)
  • check your citation format.


Why meet with a writing tutor?
Two heads are better than one. Tutors understand the sources of writers' problems, so they can trouble-shoot and involve writers in improving their work.

The tutor will also give feedback from a reader's perspective, so the writer can judge the effectiveness of his/her writing. Tutors can help writers understand the different kinds and levels of evidence, different organizational structures and even citation formats expected by readers in various disciplines. 

Tutors are trained to work with a writer at any stage of the project:

  • getting started & analyzing goals
  • researching or developing content
  • organizing (whether lab, essay, letter, etc.)
  • revising or
  • editing.


What should I bring when I come to the Writing Center?
You will write during your conference in the Writing Center.

  • If you're working on an academic project, please bring a description of your assignment and any relevant texts.
  • If you've started writing, be able to access your Word file on a Writing Center computer or your laptop
  • If your project is more than six pages, please try to email it to the Writing Center before your conference.


Can I get help with my resume or personal statement? How about my lab?

Yes, you can.  Tutors devote time to helping you identify, develop and arrange your personal material for a resume or personal statement.  You can work with a Writing Center tutor on both personal and academic tasks:

  • resumes
  • cover letters
  • personal statements
  • essays & research papers
  • business case studies
  • memos
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • lab & design reports
  • graduate thesis (in small chunks, not cover-to-cover)


Can I get some help online?
Face-to-face conferences are most effective. If you cannot visit the Writing Center, you can request online feedback for your project.  With our shift to Google and Gmail, you can "share" your document with our Writing Center for comments and suggested changes. Email and share your draft to Explain the assignment and your concerns. A tutor will respond within two class days. Please plan ahead. We cannot always review a paper on-demand or immediately. 


Can I just drop off my paper and come back after you've read it?
The tutor's goal is to help you to improve your written project, so we ask that you meet with a tutor. We do not allow the drop-off of a long thesis or dissertation without student participation or last minute. We do not provide academic "editing" services; we provide interactive collaboration. 

You can email your work to, so the tutor can get an overview of your project before the meeting. In any case, if your project is more than six pages, please try to email it to the Writing Center ahead of your conference.

How do I become a writing tutor?
Writing tutors are skilled writers and excellent critical readers. They are also very congenial, have good interpersonal communication skills and enjoy working with writers from all disciplines. Tutors complete several hours of pre-service orientation and continue to strengthen their skills through in-service training.

To apply, come into the writing center and talk to us!


Can graduate students get help with dissertations and articles?
As an undergraduate center with limited hours, our undergraduate students are our priority. However, if we have time and tutor availability, we do assist graduate students in the Writing Center for their theses, dissertations and articles for publication. Tutors will help writers to organize, develop and edit those projects. We no longer accept drop-offs of a thesis or dissertation in need of editorial services. This is not our goal or our service. You may schedule an appointment with the Writing Center to collaborate with a tutor on these lengthy works; we will not accept last minute, cover-to-cover culminating papers in need of editing. 


Do you have another question? Click here to contact us.


Side Appendix

If you are an undergraduate and think you would be an effective writing tutor, email your cover letter and at least three writing samples completed for a Clarkson course, including one from a Humanities or Social Science course, to  or mail to

     Barbara Brady
     Clarkson Writing Center
     Box 5762

Applications are accepted in March.