About the Writing Center
Writing Center tutors work with students on a range of college writing assignments and at any stage of the writing process. We can help you as you clarify your essay's focus, develop your essay's thesis, and structure your essay's argument, or we can offer you assistance as you integrate sources or revise a draft. Please be advised that we do not consult with students on their creative writing or poetry. Nor do we help students affiliated with the following Hopkins schools: the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the School of Education, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Carey Business School, and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Although tutors at the Writing Center can help students identify and correct certain patterns of error in their grammar and syntax, we do not edit or proofread papers. Nor do we offer intensive or comprehensive instruction in the rudiments of English for second-language students. The Writing Center’s goal is to help students develop their own writing abilities and to become skilled readers of their own prose.
Location and Hours
The Writing Center is located in the north wing of the Hutzler Reading Room (Gilman Hall 230). During the regular academic year, we usually maintain hours Sundays through Thursdays from 2:00pm to 10:00pm. We are also open for limited hours during the summer months. For more information, please see our scheduling website, which can be accessed by using your JHED ID.
Click here for information on scheduling an appointment. Appointments are scheduled in 50-minute sessions and begin on the hour. Please be advised that you may not schedule an appointment on the same day your essay is due. Also, you may not schedule more than three appointments for any given writing assignment.
You may also drop by our office without an appointment. If you choose to do this, you should make sure to arrive at the beginning of the hour to ensure that we have enough time to conduct a consultation with you. Because drop-ins are first-come, first-serve, however, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment online.
How Does the Writing Center Work?
- What should I bring?
Bring whatever you have, including notes, pre-draft exercises, drafts, or portions of drafts. Please make sure to bring a double-spaced hard copy of your materials.Your tutor will not read your essay on your laptop. Also, please bring the assignment sheet or prompt for your essay, as well as any comments you have from your instructor.
- What happens during a consultation?
At the beginning of the session, your tutor will ask you about your assignment and how you have begun to approach it. If you know what you want to work on during the session, you should tell your tutor during this introductory conversation. If you have not yet written anything, you and your tutor may discuss your ideas and consider different ways of developing and organizing them. You may leave the session with an outline or a thesis statement, or you may discover that you need to do more research before you can begin an outline.
If you have written something, including an outline or notes, your tutor will read through your writing and will thereafter discuss the strong and weak points of it with you. Our main interest is the argument and structure of your paper. Among other things, we will attempt to determine whether you have responded to an assignment properly; whether you have a thesis and have supported it with evidence; and whether your paragraphs are cohesive and placed in a logical order.
Of secondary interest to us are problems of style and mechanics. Your tutor may use part of a session to ensure that your sentences are clear, concise, and grammatically correct; in addition, he or she may try to ascertain whether you have cited your sources appropriately. Rather than identifying every mistake in your writing, however, your tutor will try to point out patterns of error and will attempt to explain the grammatical or stylistic rules that will enable you to identify your own mistakes in future. Be sure to ask questions if anything your tutor says is unclear. Also, if you feel your tutor is overlooking possible problems in your essay, you are welcome to suggest other areas of discussion.
Wherever you are in the writing process, please plan to take notes during your consultation.
- Will the tutor read my paper ahead of time?
Writing Center tutors do not read papers ahead of time. The Writing Center holds over 2000 consultations a year with writers at all levels and in all disciplines. If we were to read papers in advance, we would be unable to serve as many students as we currently do. Scheduling concerns aside, we also believe your active participation in the consultation will help you become a better reader, writer, and reviser of your own work.
- May I request a particular tutor?
We will try to accommodate requests for a particular tutor, especially for students working on an extended project, but time and schedules determine whether such requests are honored. Whoever assists you, please rest assured that he or she is qualified and wishes to help you articulate your ideas most effectively.
**Note: Graduate students will be assigned only graduate student tutors.
- Other questions?
Email us. We’re happy to help.
Writing Center tutors include both undergraduate and graduate students who have been trained to help students develop their thinking and writing. If you would like to know who is on the tutoring staff this year, please view our “Tutoring Staff” page. If you are interested in becoming a tutor at the Writing Center, please view our “Prospective Tutors” page.