Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule an appointment?

You have several options:
1) use our online scheduler,

2) stop by during our walk-in hours, and we'll do our best to assist you, or

3) email us at apheatwole@smcm.edu for assistance or additional availability. 

E-mailing or stopping by are the best options if you can't make any of the posted hours.

More FAQs

Meet the Tutors:

Sam

 

Sam Cameron

Major: History

Minor: Educational Studies

 

Click here to see all of our peer tutors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who should visit the Center?

What happens during a tutorial?

Where is the Writing and Speaking Center?

When is the Writing and Speaking Center open?

How do I schedule an appointment? 

What is the contact information for the Writing and Speaking Center? 

Isn't the Writing and Speaking Center just for English Majors?

I'm a good writer, and I don't need much help. What can the Center do for me?

I need help revising my St. Mary's Project. It's REALLY long...

Can I still come if I haven't written the paper yet?

Can you tell me what my professor meant by (insert cryptic scribble here)?

Will you proofread this?

Is grammar all you help with?

Why was my account deactivated?

Are the tutors all English majors?

If I bring my paper in, will it get an A?

I need a tutorial as soon as possible, but the schedule is full. Can you do anything to help?

The scheduled hours don't work for me. What are my options?

 Can you tell my professor I stopped in for help?

Can I set up a repeating appointment?    

What do I need to bring to a tutoring Session?

Do you offer eTutoring? 

 

Who Should Visit the Center?

All students interested in talking about their writing will find the Writing Center a valuable resource. The tutors, who come from various majors and academic backgrounds, work with students from all academic disciplines. For your one-on-one conference, you can bring in any assignment at any stage in the process, from the roughest of ideas to the almost-finished product.

What Happens During a Tutorial? 

Whether you drop by or schedule an appointment, you can expect to meet with a tutor for anywhere from half an hour to an hour, depending on your needs and schedule. A tutor will greet you and ask you what you're writing, what (if anything) you've done so far, and what you want to get out of the tutorial. If you have an assignment sheet, the tutor will go over it with you.

If you already have a draft, the tutor may ask you to read it out loud so that you both can hear what it sounds like. Reading aloud also slows the rate at which both individuals read through the paper, allowing for you to see how the piece works. If you don't want to read aloud, however, don't worry about it; just ask your tutor to read the paper silently. During and after the reading, the tutor will ask questions and raise issues for you to think about. It's up to you to consider your tutor's input and make any notes or changes you will need to remember later.

Whether or not you come prepared with questions, the tutor will also concentrate on any other areas of concern he or she sees in your paper. For example, you may originally be concerned with grammar, but as the tutorial progresses you may notice that your paper lacks focus, and you may decide to reorganize the work. 

Every conference is different depending on the individuals involved, the stage of the work and the work itself. Your tutor will concentrate on helping you as a writer in the best way possible.


Where is the Writing and Speaking Center?

We are primarily located in Library 108 through 113. LI115 is occasionally used to practice and record presentations.


When is the Writing and Speaking Center open?

Our schedule is posted here.  It's also visible in more detail on our online scheduler.


How do I schedule an appointment?

You have several options: you can stop by during our walk-in hours, and we'll do our best to assist you; you can use our online scheduler (your login, if you've never used it before, is your school email with your last name as your password); or you can e-mail us at apheatwole@smcm.edu.  E-mailing or stopping by is the best option if you can't make any of the posted hours.


What is the contact information for the Writing Center?

Mandy Heatwole is the Assistant Director of the Writing and Speaking Center, and her e-mail address is apheatwole@smcm.edu.

The Center's extension is 4493. Call (240) 895-4493 from off-campus.


Isn't the Writing and Speaking Center just for English majors?

Certainly not. Every major involves writing, and therefore every major is welcome at the Writing Center. We also have some helpful information posted about writing in specific disciplines.


I'm a good writer, and I don't need much help. What can the Writing and Speaking Center do for me?

A tutor can let you know how the paper seems to a reader who knows less about the topic than you do. She can help you notice cool ideas that you've touched upon but not yet developed. Or he can help you notice those pesky, peristent patterns of error that even top-notch writers often have. Basically, think of your tutorial as a professional-level peer review. Professors ask for input from others before sending a paper off; why shouldn't you?


I need help revising my St. Mary's Project. It's REALLY long...

Unfortunately, SMPs are hard to fit into the standard session. Thus, we offer a special service for SMPs: Drop a hard copy off with Mandy Heatwole in LI 109, and a tutor will contact you within the next two days to schedule a tutorial with you. The tutor will read through your draft ahead of time, looking to address anything specific you'd like help with, but also anything else that catches the tutor's eye. The tutorial will occur within a week of the day you drop off the draft.


Can I still come if I haven't written the paper yet?

Please do. We can help with any stage of the writing process, even the part where you stare at the assignment sheet and wonder how you should start.


Can you tell me what my professor meant by (insert cryptic scribble here)?

If you can't read something your professor wrote on your paper, the best person to ask is your professor. If you can read it, but you don't know what it means or how to incorporate the suggestion, we can probably help.


Will you proofread this?

No. But we'd be happy to show you how or be an extra pair of eyes while you proofread your own paper. 


Is grammar all you help with?

No. We usually focus on things like organization, argument support, addressing the audience, how to cite sources, how to find sources, word choice, transitions, expanding short papers, compressing long ones... you get the idea.


Why was my account deactivated?

If you miss two appointments without canceling, the scheduler will automatically deactivate your account. But, we are happy to reactivate your account for you. Just e-mail Mandy Taylor at apheatwole@smcm.edu for assistance.


Are the tutors all English majors?

No. We're a mixed bunch. See for yourself in Meet the Tutors.


If I bring my paper in, will it get an A?

We can't predict or guarantee grades; our goal is not to improve the specific paper but to help you become a better writer. (But hopefully, as your skills improve, so will your grades.)


I need a tutorial as soon as possible, but the schedule is full. Can you do anything to help?

Maybe. E-mail Mandy Taylor at apheatwole@smcm.edu to inquire about additional availability. Depending on the timing, we can sometimes arrange last minute appointments when the schedule is full, so it doesn't hurt to ask. However, once the schedule is full, we cannot guarantee additional availability.

Also, be sure to join the Waiting List to be notified via e-mail or text message of openings on particular days.


The scheduled hours don't work for me. What are my options?

We typically tutor from 2:00-8:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, so most students can work with those hours. However, if your commitments are such that you can't, e-mail Mandy Taylor at apheatwole@smcm.edu to see about arranging something outside the normal hours. 


Can you tell my professor I stopped in for help?

Sure. During your tutorial, just ask your tutor to send a copy of the contact report (the appointment summary) to your professor. 


Can I set up a repeating appointment?

Sure. When you schedule an appointment, just click the link for "REPEAT APPT." in the upper right of the appointment form. Then you can set how often (weekly, etc.) you'd like the appointment to repeat. If you decide you don't need any of the appointments, please remember to cancel accordingly so that someone else can use that spot. 


What do I need to bring to a tutorial?

Please visit What to Bring for more information on that. 


Do you offer eTutoring?

At the moment, we only offer in-person tutorials. We allow you to schedule online for your convenience and to help us collect usage data, but we haven't yet found a way to offer eTutoring in a manner that matches the reliability and quality of our in-person tutorials. However, we have developed Robot Tutor as a means of electronic support.