What To Expect at a Session

Session Details

Your session at the Writing Center is a time to step back and examine your work with a fresh pair of eyes. Through collaborative support, tutors help you review and assess your projects, develop and reorganize content, refine or revise the written style, and decide how to direct your work after the session is over. 

Tutors can support you in any stage of the composing process, from brainstorming to final revisions. If you are at a brainstorming stage, expect a discussion about the assignment or context of the project and collaborative discussion about developing ideas and initial choices about structure and organization. If you have a draft or part of a draft written, expect the tutor to spend a few minutes reading it or to ask you to read it aloud with them. In every session, expect your tutor to engage you in dialogue about where and how you might improve your work. 

Note that we respect the privacy of student tutees; the content of sessions will remain confidential unless College conduct policies for students and employees require otherwise. 

What We Do

  • Support you in any stage of the composing process.
  • Collaborate with you to evaluate or revise the organization or structure of your ideas, regardless of project topic.
  • Assist you in evaluating and improving focused aspects of your projects, i.e., argument, cohesion, conclusion, incorporation of sources.
  • Identify patterns in grammar and usage and help you make choices about how to shape the style and voice of your pieces to meet your audience and context.

What We Don't Do

  • Write the paper or the project for you or dictate what arguments or ideas to include.
  • Proofread projects without involving you in the process.
  • Guarantee any grade on a project.
  • Work with take-home-exam essays or exam-projects, unless the student has explicit permission from the instructor to use the Writing Center services for the exam.

Tutors are "Responsible Employees" Under Title IX Policy

Writing Center Tutors are designated "responsible employees" under the College's Title IX policy. That means that, like other faculty and staff on campus, they are required to report to the Dartmouth Title IX Coordinator certain information that they learn while working as a tutor. College policy requires responsible employees to to share a disclosure of sexual assault, sexual or gender-based harassment, dating or domestic violence, or stalking including all the details known with the Title IX Coordinator at Dartmouth. 

To learn more about Title IX at Dartmouth and the differences between "responsible employees" and staff and other resources designated as "confidential," visit Dartmouth's Title IX Office website and its page on responsible employees.

How To Prepare for a Session

Preparing appropriately for a meeting with a Writing Center tutor is key to getting the most out of your session. To avoid complications, make sure you have permission from your professor to seek the help of the Writing Center.

What to Bring

  • A sense of what you want to accomplish in the session.
  • For papers, a shareable copy of your draft or outline (if you've gotten this far).
  • For multimedia projects, a way to display your work to the tutor (if you've gotten this far).
  • A copy of the prompt or assignment.
  • Yourself! Please don't send a proxy or substitute to the meeting.

Tips for a Successful Session

  • Be on time, even if you don't anticipate needing the full hour.
  • If you're not used to talking about your writing projects' goals or the features of assignments, take a minute to write down the most important assignment features or goals for your project. 
  • Be ready to be actively involved! You tutor will aim to give you a few different ways to participate in a dialogue; choose the ones that work best for you. Remember that you know your project, your writerly process, and your writing situation better than your tutors does. 

FAQs - Working with Tutors

Can you just proofread my paper? 

Tutors are employed to support your learning and your growth as a writer, not just to polish your projects. So, while tutors can defintely support you in noticing and making decisions about patterns in grammar, spelling, or word usage, they will only do so in dialogue with you.

Instead of coming in for a session, can I blitz my paper to you and get feedback?

Sort of! In 2020, the Writing Center launched an asynchronous feedback option, designed for students who can't access live tutoring. Log into the Writing Center's scheduling platform, rwit.dartmouth.edu for more information. 

Can multiple people working on a collaborative, multimedia project schedule a group appointment?

Yes, but please email your tutor in advance to let them know they'll be meeting with multiple students.

I am working on a paper in a specific discipline (science, art history, engineering sciences).  How can I find a tutor who can help me this paper?

Writing Center tutors are trained as general readers. We think all tutors are capable of assisting students with projects, papers and assignments in any discipline. However, you can also look for tutoring staff with academic interests that align with your project on our Staff page: Our Staff.

Can tutors verify session attendance or give professors progress reports?

No. Writing Center tutors are not permitted to engage in third-party discussions about a student's session. Our online scheduling system will generate a confirmation email once a session has been completed; you are welcome to forward that automated message if you need to verify your attendance with someone else.