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by Jessica Barker

When you hear the words “writing tutor,” what is your first thought? If your answer is “editing,” you are not alone.

Recently, in an effort to raise awareness about writing tutors and the services we provide, I asked a few friends whether or not they had ever gone to the writing tutors, and if they had, I asked what their experience was like. Those who had gone to the writing tutors had overwhelmingly positive responses. One of my friends shared that she has only gone to the tutors twice during her college career, but that the tutors were very helpful both times. She then went on to say that during her two visits they worked on brainstorming, citations, and organization.

Many students have the misconception that tutors work as editors for poor writers. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Writing tutors serve all students regardless of their writing ability. In fact, some of the best writers on campus go to the writing tutors. But they don’t go to the tutors for editing, because we, as tutors, can’t actually edit papers for other students. What we can do is help students proofread their own papers! So editing does happen, but it’s a collaborative process involving both the student and the tutor.

In addition to proofreading, we can help with citations, brainstorming, organization/structure, annotated bibliographies, integrating evidence, grammar/punctuation, etc. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the scope of our work, so some students may never go to the writing tutors, even if they are struggling with something or would like feedback from a peer. That being said, I encourage students to come to the tutors with any and all writing questions!

Another friend told me that she has gone to the writing tutors a few times, but most recently she went to a tutor for help with a creative writing assignment. She explained that she went because she wanted to make sure that her message was clear and understandable to a reader. A few of my other friends admitted that they had not gone to a tutor in recent years, but when they did go, the tutors were helpful, friendly, and kind.

These testimonies, although simple, are representative of what we, as writing tutors, strive for. We work to create a welcoming environment, and we are always willing to help any students no matter where they are in their writing process. Keeping that in mind, I hope that you will consider visiting a writing tutor during these final weeks of the semester!


Jessica is a senior from Massachusetts who is studying theatre and sociology/anthropology. After she graduates this spring, she intends to earn her M.A. in theatre education.

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