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Students in writing consultation

What to Expect in a Graduate Consultation

Whether in person or online, Undergraduate Writing Consultants strive to uphold the Writing Hub's Core Principles and Practices. All undergraduate consultation appointments are 30 minutes. Graduate students can 30- or 60-minute appointments, and up to 2 hours of consultation per week. 

Our appointment system - MyWCOnline - allows for synchronous online conversations about writing, including "live" conversation through video or text-based chat as well as real-time document sharing. In an Online appointment, you can expect your consultant to talk with you about your concerns with your writing project and to provide observations and actionable feedback for moving forward. 

You can expect:

  • Help with every stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to final draft. 
  • 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. Even if the consultant is outside of your discipline, they will use their knowledge of advanced writing genres to help you put your writing in context.
  • Student-led brainstorming. Your consultant will ask you supportive questions to help develop your ideas, find clarity and logical relationships between your ideas, and explore effective ways to convey complex information. 
  • 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.
  • Development of sentence-level clarity. Because we believe that you are the owner of your own work, a consultant will not write directly on or in your paper. While we cannot directly edit your writing, the consultant will help you develop strategies for making sentence-level revisions for better clarity. 
  • Situationally-appropriate feedback and suggestions. Consultants will try to take into account the due date, submission requirements, and other important factors when they give you feedback. 

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 Consultations are grounded in the following tenets:

  • 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. Your graduate consultant will attend to both your disciplinary-discourse concerns and the linguistic skills and backgrounds you bring to the writing process. 
  • 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. As a peer reader, your consultant will not look for weaknesses or critiques, but rather will engage with you to discover what you value and what you think, and then will work with you collaboratively to bring those insights to your writing. 
  • 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. Your consultant will work with you to think explicitly about the genre for your work and connect those expectations back to your draft. 
  • Grad School is hard enough! The Writing Hub promotes a positive and human-centered culture of writing: 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. Your consultant will be available to provide empathetic support and connection as you work through your projects. 

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.