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Writing Center Frequently Asked Questions

Browse the Writing Center FAQ

Visiting the Writing Center

What can I expect when I come into the Writing Center?

When you arrive, one of our front desk assistants will greet you. Give your name and appointment time or, if you are a walk-in, explain that you would like to see a consultant. Help yourself to a mint while you wait for one of our consultants to assist you.

What is a typical tutoring session like?

Once you've checked in at the front desk, your consultant will come to the waiting area to meet you. He or she will take you to a tutoring station. Your consultant will then ask you what you are working on and how he or she can help you.

The two of you will look over your assignment sheet or writing project together. Typically, the consultant will ask you questions about your audience, purpose, content, and organization, then help you find ways to improve the project at hand, and your writing in general. At the end of the session, your consultant will submit a comprehensive tutoring report slip that you can choose to have sent to your professor.

Can I drop off my paper so that one of the consultants can look it over?

No! The Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service. Our goal is to make you a better writer. During your session, our consultants will talk with you and offer suggestions to improve your paper and your writing.

What do you mean you aren't an editing or proofreading service?

Our goal at the writing center is not just to help you get a better grade on your paper, but to make you a better writer. We do so by working with you on the paper you have. If your tutor simply located and corrected "errors," you wouldn't gain much from the experience. When you work with a writing consultant during a session, he or she can help you understand how to make your paper and your future writing better, how to better understand what your teachers expect from you, and how to improve weaker areas of your writing. Editing and proofreading can't do all of that.

Scheduling an Appointment or Walking In

Can I walk in to see a consultant during the day?

Yes. We prefer that you make appointments for our daytime hours, but they are not required. You may walk in at any time, but if you do not have an appointment you are not guaranteed to see a consultant. During our peak periods (just before midterms and finals) we highly recommend that you make an appointment several days in advance. See how to Schedule an Appointment for more specifics.

How far in advance should I schedule an appointment?

We usually advise students to schedule appointments at least 2-3 days ahead.

How many times can I visit the Writing Center per day/week/semester?

You may schedule 1 appointment per day, and up to 2 appointments per week. You are welcome to return during library and evening walk-in hours as often as you like. Remember, because library and evening hours are walk-in only, there may be a short wait when you arrive.

Can I request a particular consultant?

If you find that you work well with a particular consultant, you may certainly request subsequent appointments with that consultant. Be aware, however, that it is sometimes helpful to get suggestions for improvement from more than one person.

What should I do if I cannot make my scheduled appointment?

If you find you cannot make your scheduled appointment, please cancel by calling the Writing Center at (301) 405-3785 as soon as possible. If it is over an hour beforehand, you can also cancel your appointment by logging into your Writing Center account and clicking on your scheduled slot. Please note that 3 missed appointments without prior cancellation will result in your account being disabled. If your account is disabled, you will not be able to schedule an appointment and must come to walk-in hours to be tutored.

Why is the Writing Center closed during Finals Week?

Most of our consultants are students who also have final exams and papers to complete.

Tutoring Report Slips

Will my professor know if I see a consultant at the Writing Center?

At the end of your session, your consultant will fill out a tutoring report form detailing what you discussed during your session. You are given the option of sending your report slip to your professor. Even if you choose not to send a report form to your professor, we still keep a record of your visit in our files.

If none of your consultants are available to see me, can I just come in and pick up a tutoring report slip?

No. The purpose of the tutoring report slip is just that—to provide a report of a tutoring session. A session has to occur in order for there to be something to report.

Writing Partners


The Writing Partners Program matches ENGL101 students with the same Writing Center tutor for 5-10 consecutive sessions during the semester. Current ENGL101 students at the University of Maryland, College Park are eligible to participate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Apply to the program.