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Writing Commons Consultations
We offer free walk-in, one-time, and weekly consultation appointments to RIT students, faculty and staff.
Consultations are goal-oriented sessions that focus on the specific writing task you bring to the lab to develop. We do not edit or proofread your writing. Instead, during consultations we can:
- Review and develop revision plans for written documents
- Discuss documentation and citation formats
- Prepare applications, resumes, business letters and personal statements
- Review assignments and/or instructor feedback to help clarify expectations
- Complicate and develop your ideas
- Discuss challenging readings
Our aim is work with you to develop strategies that are productive for you. Because this work focuses on learning, not merely fixing papers, we encourage you to schedule an appointment well before the assignment due date. To improve as a writer over time, we encourage you to schedule a weekly appointment.
The Writing Commons is staffed by professional and peer writing consultants who can work with writers at every stage of the process, from brainstorming to final revisions. We have experience working with international students and writers whose first language is not English. Several of our professional writing consultants are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).
How do consultations work?
Before you arrive for your consultation
- Bring a copy of your writing assignment
- Bring pen and paper, laptop, or tablet to take notes
- If you have a draft of your work, bring a double-spaced hard copy, your computer, or a digital “.doc” file
- Reflect on what your draft needs most, and prepare questions/identify sections to focus on.
During your consultation
- Take an active role by asking questions
- See the consultant as a commentator and guide for expanding/clarifying existing ideas, or brainstorming new ones.
- Look beyond grammar and proofreading by focusing on big picture issues like structure, organization, purpose, logical reasoning, and style.
- Take notes/make an outline based on your discussion with the consultant.
- Consider your purpose and audience.
- Create a work plan that will help you continue your work after you leave the Writing Commons
After the consultation
- Make learning and self-awareness your goal, not a perfect paper. In the long run, a clearer understanding of your writing process and what works for you is more important than the final product of a single assignment.
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!
There are only a few things that we will not do:
- EDIT OR PROOFREAD YOUR WRITING for you.
- ACCEPT A DROPPED-OFF PAPER. We want to work with you on your drafts, not for you.
- READ TAKE-HOME TESTS / EXAMS.
- If several students are waiting to see a consultant, WE MAY NOT READ ENTIRE DRAFTS. We will discuss a section of your draft with you, and then ask you to work on the rest of the paper on your own.
Working with Graduate Students on Thesis, Dissertation and other Professional Papers
Many of the Professional Writing Consultants have completed a master’s thesis ourselves, and we have found these strategies effective for improving the quality of the written thesis:
- Be familiar with the Master’s Thesis guidelines publicized by your department.
- Read sample theses from your department, available in Wallace Center Library.
- Exchange drafts of sections or a full draft of your thesis with other graduates students in your program.
- As you work on your thesis, make note of any questions or concerns you have that can focus any discussions you have about your project or thesis.
In the Writing Commons, we recommend that you sign up for appointments online – if you are a graduate student working on thesis, please sign up for two consecutive consultations (one full hour).
What you can expect during your consultation:
- We are most interested in having a goal-oriented conversation with you about your writing. If you have specific sections or passages of the thesis that you have concerns about, your questions help focus our conversation.
- If your primary concern is grammar and mechanics, we are happy to read a portion of your thesis focusing on those issues (if you have questions about a specific section please identify that section for us). Based on our reading of that portion of your theses, we can then recommend strategies for how you can copyedit the rest of your thesis.
- We can also offer feedback on correct formatting following common style guides (e.g., APA, MLA, or Chicago).
- We can communicate with your grad advisor on the work we have done with you during your consultation.
If you are looking for proofreading or copyediting please see the information provided by the Scholarly Publishing Studio in Wallace Center: http://wallacecenter.rit.edu/scholarly-publishing-studio/