Getting the Most out of Your Tutoring Appointment
Students coming to the Writer’s Resource Lab for the first time often do not know what to expect from an appointment with a peer tutor. It can be difficult to know how to ask questions or explain concerns. Here are some helpful hints to make your tutoring appointment as effective as possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Students can be insecure about asking someone else for help on a writing assignment because they are afraid of looking “stupid.” But smart students ask questions and take advantage of helpful resources. And wise students know that writers at every skill level can benefit from talking with others about their writing. Coming to the WRL for a tutoring appointment shows that you want to learn and to improve your writing ability.
Make your appointment as early as possible. This point cannot be stressed enough. Tutoring appointments are given out on a first-come first-served basis. If you wait until the last minute, you might not be able to get an appointment when you need one. So if you know you have an assignment due date coming up, stop by or call the WRL to make an appointment right away. Don’t wait until the day your assignment is due to visit us! After your session, you will need some time to revise your work based on what you and the tutor discuss.
Bring your assignment sheet to the session. Having an assignment sheet with you helps both you and the tutor understand what the assignment requires. Sometimes just clarifying the instructions will help you move forward on the assignment. You can also bring in any other relevant materials (such as assigned readings or outside sources) that may help your tutor assist you. If your instructor doesn’t give out assignment sheets, be sure to take careful notes on the assignment in class.
Bring specific questions or concerns to your tutor. Feel free to make a list of questions before your appointment and try to decide what is most important for you to work on in the session. But remember that the tutor may also identify aspects of your writing for the two of you to work on. For example, if the tutor sees that you don’t have a clear focus for your paper, he or she will probably suggest you work on that before you correct verb tenses in your sentences. Of course, if you are not sure what you need to work on, your tutor will help you narrow it down. And don’t hesitate to ask your tutor for clarification if you don’t understand something the tutor said.
Participate in your tutoring session. Interacting with your tutor might be the best tool you have for making sure your session is helpful. Respond to the tutor’s questions and ask your own questions. Take notes, make corrections on the paper, and look up words in the dictionary. You are the writer; you are in control of your writing. That means you should be doing most of the work.
Don’t expect to cover everything or have a “perfect” paper at the end of a session. Tutoring sessions at the WRL last about 45 minutes. That sounds like a lot of time, but it isn’t enough to address every concern. By prioritizing your needs, you make sure the most important issues get covered. And don’t worry if you don’t go over every line of your paper. You should be able to take what you learned in the session and use it to work on the rest of your assignment yourself.