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Grad Students: Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of grad students use the Writing Hub?

All kinds! We see graduate students from their first years in grad school all the way through their dissertation defense. Generally, graduate writers come to the Writing Hub to increase the clarity and effectiveness of their writing, to get intellectual and social support as they work to complete a large writing project, to get impartial feedback from a knowledgeable reader, or to get help with the sentence-level mechanics of their writing.

How much do Writing Hub services cost?

Writing Hub programs and services are free to UC San Diego students, educators, and departments. 

Do I need to have a draft written before I make an appointment?

Not at all. Grad Writing Consultants can help with any stage of the writing process. Come see us if you want to talk through some initial ideas for a project, if you want a reader's feedback before you submit a draft, and at every stage in between!

How long is a graduate writing consultation?

Graduate students can make either 30-minute or 60-minute appointments. If you are working on a longer or more complex project, we highly recommend making a 60-minute appointment.

How many appointments can I make per day/week?

Graduate students can book up to two 60-minute appointments per week and are limited to one appointment per day.

How far ahead in the calendar can I make an appointment?

You can make an appointment up to two weeks from the current date. We encourage you to plan ahead so that you can see a Consultant at the most helpful point in your writing process, and to use your consultation appointments as a form of gentle accountability to meet your writing deadlines. 

I don't see anyone from my department/field, can the Writing Hub still help me?

Yes! We train our Graduate Writing Consultants to work with writers from all disciplines. Our training program focuses on building consultants' knowledge of academic writing genres and conventions, as well as the strategies for clear and effective writing at this level. In fact, having your writing read by someone outside your field can often be more effective for improving the logic and clarity of your work.

Can Postdocs use the Writing Hub?

Unfortunately, we are only funded to provide support to enrolled students. However, postdocs are welcome to attend our weekly Writing Workshops and our daily Grad Writing Room. To advocate for more writing support for postdocs, please reach out to the Office for Postdoctoral & Research Scholar Affairs.

Can a consultant help me with my grammar?

Yes, but they will not proofread or correct your paper. Consultants provide guidance to help students learn to identify and correct their own grammatical errors.  In alignment with our educational mission, Writing Hub consultants do not proofread students’ essays for them, but instead work one-on-one with students to help them develop more effective strategies as proofreaders and editors of their own work. This includes helping them: identify patterns of grammatical error in their writing; identify and address error types that most affect their ability to convey meaning accurately; identify and address error types that undermine their credibility with readers; suggest proofreading techniques; and locate additional resources for studying grammar.

Will a consultant proofread my draft and tell me what to fix?

A consultant will read the paper with you, giving you a reader’s feedback about what’s working well and what could be improved while also attending to your unique concerns about the draft. The consultant will not edit or proofread for you, but will instead help you become a stronger editor and proofreader of your own work by engaging you through discussion and mutual problem-solving.

Can I email or drop off my draft and get it back later with comments?

No, we only provide feedback in person. The value of a writing consultation comes as you reach your own insights about your writing by conversing with a careful reader who can also ask you questions about your intent, your concerns, etc. It is essential that you meaningfully engage in the appointment.

Do you have a waiting list for consultation appointments?

Yes, the Writing Hub scheduling system will allow you to sign up for the waiting list on a given day; you will be notified if any appointments become available, at which time you can sign up. To sign up for the waitlist, click on the "WAITING LIST" link on the lower right side of the schedule for that particular day and fill out the information in the pop-up window. 

Is there any kind of writing a consultant can't help with?

The Writing Hub can help with any of your program- or course-related writing requirements, your scholarly publications and research writing, as well as extracurricular writing projects, such as proposals, book reviews, personal statements, etc. 

The Writing Hub cannot provide any help with projects whose guidelines explicitly prohibit students from working with the Writing Hub and/or a writing consultant, such as a timed qualifying or comprehensive exam. Check with your department's Grad Coordinator if you are unsure about whether you can work with the Writing Hub on these projects. 

We cannot provide feedback on legal documents; course-, instructor-, or advisor-evaluations; or documents (including emails and letters) related to a student’s academic status (e.g. academic probation, academic integrity processes, financial aid, etc.).

Can I audio or video record my consultation appointment?

No, we do not allow sessions to be recorded. You are more than welcome to take notes on paper and/or an electronic device. Exceptions are made for students with accommodations from the Office for Students with Disabilities; please contact the Writing Hub (writinghub@ucsd.edu or 858-246-2117) before your session to make these arrangements.

Are there any reasons why the Writing Hub would revoke a UCSD community member's access to Writing Hub services?

Some reasons why the Writing Hub may revoke someone’s access to our services:

  • Misrepresenting your status as an enrolled UCSD student
  • Misrepresenting the nature or authorship of the work under discussion
  • Creating or using more than one account in the Writing Hub online scheduling system
  • Engaging in conduct that violates the UCSD Principles of Community, or any other Writing Hub, Teaching + Learning Commons, or UC San Diego policy or regulation.

As a student seeking services from the Writing Hub, it is important to respect and maintain appropriate professional boundaries between yourself and the writing consultants. This includes being mindful of the fact that while a writing consultant is your peer, there are certain actions that can cross the line to impropriety. Here are some actions we consider inappropriate:

  • Contacting a consultant on their personal email or social media accounts without their prior approval
  • Giving gifts
  • Touching a consultant without their consent
  • Trying to make off-schedule appointments with a consultant
  • Unsolicited social invitations
  • Making remarks about a consultant’s appearance, intelligence, or demeanor.

Still have questions?

Email us at writinghub@ucsd.edu. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!