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 enhance the educational experience of students as well as encourage students to value the revision process. By using a writing assistant, professors are more likely to see better final drafts of student papers.

Writing Assistants (WAs) are full-time students: trained sophomores, juniors, and seniors majoring in various disciplines across the board. All have weathered a rigorous selection process, and many have been nominated as proficient student writers to RWIT by faculty, and some have won significant writing prizes and honors in their undergraduate careers. Over the years, some of our WAs have been Rhodes Scholars, Lombard recipients, Fulbright and Presidential Scholars, and Senior Fellows. They are writers dedicated to helping other writers.

The RWIT senior and junior staff train WAs in the pedagogy of writing, research, and multimedia composition. In the fall term, WAs attend 18 hours of intensive training in diagnosing and responding to student text (in the traditional academic essay and in multimedia composition) and addressing student research strategies and skills. In each term of work, WAs must complete four to six hours of ongoing training in one of four training domains: writing, research, multimedia composition, and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.

What Does a Writing Assistant Do?

  • The Writing Assistant (WA) diagnoses and responds to students' first drafts through margin notes and end commentaries, covering local and global writing problems, from grammar and style to paragraph organization and structure. The WA may meet with students either individually or in small group sessions to discuss compositions.
  • Your WA is a resource for students to develop effective writing practices. To maintain a facilitative approach to commentary, the WA may not edit, proofread, or grade papers. Furthermore, WAs may not comment on professors' grades with either the professor or the students.
  • The WA acts as a second pair of eyes for your paper. Usually, WAs look over major assignments andd comment on the weaknesses and strengths of your writing. Sometimes, WAs will have office hours during which you can personally meet with the WA for help on your writing. The WA is not, however, an intermediary between the professor and the students. For example, a WA will not be able to get a grade changed for you. 
  • While a WA can help you improve the quality of your writing (and hopefully help you achieve a better grade), the WA is not responsible for getting you that grade. The WA is a valuable resource and can help you establish strong foundations for your writing. Having said that, the professor will in the end give you the grade, not the WA.  If you have doubts about a certain assignment, direct your question to the professor.
  • Writing assistants are requested by professors for their classes. Some classes may not have a writing assistant either because the professor did not request a WA or the professor requested a WA but because of high demand, RWIT was not able to meet the request. 
  • We encourage students to meet one-on-one with a WA to go over papers. If the WA does not have office hours, then students should blitz the WA and ask for meeting.
  • Some WAs are more than willing to look over papers by Blitz, others may prefer to meet face-to-face. Asking the WA their preference is the best option.