About the Program

Program Information

The Writing Assistance Program (WAP) operates under the premise that guided revision is the most critical process in improving student writing. Writing Assistants partner with faculty to enhance the educational experience of students and to encourage students to invest in the revision process. With some exceptions, Writing Assistants usually don't attend class sessions. Instead, they interact with student writers by arranging meetings outside of class or providing feedback on drafts of assigned projects. 

Writing Assistants are full-time, undergraduate students, who have worked in the RWIT Center as tutors. These sophomores, juniors, and seniors have passed through a rigorous hiring process, completed a month-long, new-tutor education program, and completed at least one full term of tutoring in the center. Writing Assistants harnesss this training and their own backgrounds as writers and learners in order to collaborate with faculty and support students within the framework of a Dartmouth course. 

Faculty looking to request a WA for an upcoming course can read more about program policies and request procedures

What Does a Writing Assistant Do?

Writing Assistants (WAs) work under the directon of faculty to provide feedback on student work. This feedback can take many forms and focus on different aspects of student projects, depending on the nature of the course and on the decisions faculty make in dialogue with WAs. But WA feedback, no matter its form or focus, always addresses drafts of projects--drafts that students are in the process of developing.  

Some commonly used strategies WAs employ: 

  • providing written commentary on students' drafts, 
  • discussing drafts in invididual or group meetings outside of class,
  • arranging open office-hours leading up to a project due date,
  • participating during in-class writing workshops or leading peer-review exercises, and
  • responding to pre-draft planning documents like outlines, proposals, free-writes, or project pitches.

Assigned WAs are always requested by faculty, and those faculty work with their WAs to clarify course objectives and assignment expectations. But WAs are not Teaching Assistants; they are not permitted to have input on or discuss student grades with faculty. Furthermore, their goal is not solely to improve each draft they encounter. They act as coaches supporting students as they make their own decisions and develop strategies to improve. As a result, WAs won't provide copy editing for student drafts, nor will their feedback represent a comprehensive roadmap for higher grades. Instead, WAs help students identify project features that could be improved, ask questions about ideas and decisions, and provide guidance about revision strategies.