About the Writing Center
Established in 1995, the Writing Center offers student writers free, individual conferences with experienced tutors trained especially to consult on writing assignments in the humanities and social sciences, though we may also be of use to students working in other disciplines. The Writing Center welcomes all Hopkins undergraduate and graduate students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering.
Writing Center tutors work with students on a full range of argument-based academic writing and other college writing assignments, from a first freshman essay in Expository Writing to a senior thesis, from a lab for material sciences to an application essay for graduate school, even graduate materials and essays. (The exception is that we do not consult with students on their creative writing, such as fiction or poetry.) Tutors can also help at any stage of the writing process, whether clarifying an initial focus, developing a thesis, structuring an argument, integrating sources, or revising a draft.
The Writing Center does not edit or proofread papers, nor offer intensive instruction in the rudiments of English for second-language students, although tutors can help students learn to identify and correct patterns of error. The goal of the Writing Center is to help students develop their own writing abilities and become skilled readers of their own writing.
Location and Hours
The Writing Center is located in historic Gilman Hall, in the north wing of the Hutzler Reading Room (Room 230). During the regular academic year, we usually maintain hours from Sunday through Thursday, 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. We also maintain limited hours during the summer months. For more precise information, please see our scheduling website, which can be accessed by all Hopkins students using their JHED IDs.
Through December 14, 2012, we will maintain hours Sunday - Thursday, 2 - 10 PM; during this time we will be closed on October 14-15 for Fall Break and November 22-25 for Thanksgiving Break.
Click here for information on scheduling an appointment. Appointments are scheduled in 50-minute sessions and begin on the hour. Note: you may not schedule appointments for the same day your writing for courses is due. Also, you may not schedule any more than three appointments to discuss any given writing assignment. See the scheduling website for more specific information.
You can also drop by our office without an appointment, though you should do so at the top of the hour--otherwise, there may not be sufficient time for the conultation to take place. Drop-ins are first come, first serve, so we strongly encourage that you make appointments.
How Does It Work?
• What should I bring?
Bring whatever you have: notes, pre-draft exercises, drafts or parts of drafts. Please bring these materials in print-copy rather than just bringing in your laptop. You may also bring in an electronic copy of the document, but you'll still have to print out a copy for you and the tutor to discuss. Also, bring the assignment sheet and any comments you have about your writing from your professor or instructor.
The tutor will ask you what you want to work on in the conference, so it’s a good idea to think about the kind of help you want. If you bring a draft or partial draft, the tutor will spend some time reading it and will then discuss it with you, usually asking questions and getting you to talk about any problems you see in the draft. If you’re just getting started and haven’t written anything yet, the tutor will ask you about your ideas and assist you as you begin to organize your thinking.
Wherever you are in the writing process, plan to take notes during the conference. And before you leave, the tutor will help you think about the next steps you need to take for writing and revising.
• 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 conferences a year, with writers at all levels and in all disciplines, and if we read papers in advance, we would be unable to serve nearly as many students. More importantly, however, it is your active participation in the conference - your dialogue with the tutor about your writing - that will enable you to become a better reader of your own work, a better reviser, and a better writer.
• Can 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 can be met. All tutors aim to help you articulate your ideas to an interested and experienced reader, someone trained to serve as a sympathetic and helpful critic, no matter the topic. 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, trained to help students develop their own thinking and writing. If you want to know who’s tutoring this year, or if you’re interested in applying to become a tutor, please view our “Tutoring Staff” page.