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Students in writing consultation

What to Expect in a Consultation

Graduate Writing Consultants strive to uphold the Writing Hub's Core Principles and Practices. You can expect that the Writing Consultant will want to talk with you about your work and the thinking and ideas that you are trying to express.

In addition to these principles, our graduate writing consultations are designed to be a space for deep intellectual engagement with academic writing. To that end, our Graduate Writing Consultants strive to uphold these additional tenets: 

  • That all graduate students are in the process of learning the disciplinary discourse practices of their fields: That means that learning to write in these kinds of academic contexts is a learning process for all graduate students, regardless of their linguistic backgrounds. 
  • That all graduate students benefit from a different kind of writer-reader relationship: Unlike the typical "Writer and Critic" relationship, our consultations are based on a "Peer Reader" relationship. A peer is not looking for weaknesses or critiques, but rather engages with the writer to discover what they value and what they think, and then works collaboratively to bring those insights to the writing. 
  • That all graduate students benefit from unpacking the genres in which they are writing: Different genres convey implicit expectations for information flow, structure and organization, and argumentation and evidence. Consultants work with you to think explicitly about the genre for your work and connect those expectations back to your draft. 
  • That the Writing Hub promotes a positive culture of writing on campus: Writing in graduate school is a long term and often stressful process. At the Writing Hub, we seek to build a positive culture of writing that promotes community, fulfillment, reflection on strengths, and self-efficacy. 

What You Can Expect from a Graduate Writing Consultation

  • Supportive, in-depth conversation about your ideas and your writing process.
  • Friendly talk about your concerns/challenges with this project. The writing consultant will do their best to address your specific concerns as well as other things they see in your writing. 
  • Insights into bigger writing contexts, meaning the consultant will work with you to uncover the bigger picture behind their suggestions and questions.
  • Genre-based suggestions. Even if your consultant is from a different discipline, they will work with you to think about the genre you are working in, and what kinds of expectations come with that genre.
  • Mutual problem-solving. If something is unclear in your writing, the consultant will talk with you about your thinking and bring those insights back to your draft. Together, you and the consultant will problem-solve to figure out what to do next. 

What You Shouldn't Expect from a Graduate Writing Consultation:

  • Proofreading, editing, or "fixing" the writing: Your consultant wants to engage you in your own work through conversation. So while they won't proofread or edit your writing, they will help you develop strategies for making sentence-level revisions for better clarity. 
  • Comments written on the document or track changes: Before, during, and after a consultation, you maintain complete control and responsibility over your writing and your ideas. The consultant will not take notes on your paper nor cross out words already written. 
  • The Consultant to tell you "it's ready": In any consultation, including with final drafts, the consultant will work with you to determine what is working well and what is still unclear. It is beyond the scope of their role to tell you that any project is finished or ready to submit - that decision is up to you.