FAQs for Writers

What is the Writing Center and who can use it?

The Writing Center at the University of Miami offers free, one-on-one help with all types of writing concerns.  We will help you with everything from brainstorming a topic to final revisions.

The Writing Center serves all of the University of Miami community, including students, faculty, and staff.

Where is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is part of the University of Miami Learning Commons and is located in Richter Library, 1st floor.

When are the Writing Center’s hours?

The Writing Center offers tutoring hours in the Writing Center itself and in satellite centers throughout the campus as follows:

Location and Hours

Do I need an appointment to see a tutor?

No.  Appointments are recommended, but you are also welcome to stop by.

How do I make an appointment?

Writers can make appointments online or over the phone (305) 284-2956.

Do I see the same tutor every time I come?

If you would like to see the same tutor, you can schedule appointments specifically with that person.  If you would like to see different tutors, you can arrange that as well.  If you’re coming in as a walk-in, you’ll be placed with whomever is available.

How often can I use the Writing Center?

You may use the Writing Center throughout the term.  When we are especially busy, we limit students to two one-hour sessions per week.

What kind of writing projects can I bring to the Writing Center?

You are welcome to bring any type of writing, including:

• Academic Projects (papers, theses, dissertations)
• Professional Projects (resumes, CVs, cover letters, grant applications, articles for publication)
• Personal Projects (creative writing)
• Digital Projects (PowerPoints, posters, infographics)

I’m a good writer.  How can I use the Writing Center?

Writers at all levels can benefit from sharing their writing with someone who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy, someone who is not grading them or evaluating their work.  In fact, published authors, including many of your professors, routinely show their work to friends and colleagues to get feedback and constructive criticism. 

My paper is due in two hours.  Can I see a tutor?

We will try and provide whatever help we can offer in such a short time frame.   However, to get the most out of your visit to the Writing Center, you should leave yourself time to change the paper in whatever ways you find necessary.

Can I leave my paper here for you to fix?

No.  The Writing Center is a teaching environment.  We teach writers how to improve their writing; we do not perform a proofreading service. 

My teacher wants to see proof that I’ve come to the Writing Center.  Can you help?

Yes.  Every time you leave the Writing Center, you will have the opportunity to write a “Strategies for Revision” form.  This form is designed primarily to help you with your writing, but you can also attach it to your paper when you turn it in to your professor.

I don’t understand my assignment.  Can you help?

Yes.  We would be happy to go over the assignment with you.  However, your professor is the final authority on the assignment, and you might also consider meeting the professor to discuss the confusion.

I’m having trouble with the reading.  Can you help?

We can help you with specific passages.  We cannot interpret readings for you or suggest meanings. 

How long does a tutoring session last?

Tutoring sessions run either 25 minutes or 50 minutes.

English is my third language.  Can you help me with articles and idioms?

Certainly.  We have tutors who are specifically trained to work with students for whom English is not a first language, and all of out tutors have read material on how to tutor non-English speakers.  We also have useful books and worksheets you might come in to review.

Can you tutor me for my Biology class?

If you are writing for a biology class, we would be happy to look over your writing.  We will not be able to comment on the content of your paper, but we can always help you work on the qualities all good writing should possess:  clarity, coherence, conciseness, awareness of audience, appropriate tone, etc.

Who are your tutors?

The tutoring staff at the Writing Center is composed of Lecturers from the Composition Program and Graduate Students from the English Department.

What should I bring to a tutoring session?

The more you bring to a tutoring session, the more help we can offer.  Bring your writing prompt, if possible.  Bring your early drafts, bring your research, bring your notes. 

What is a typical tutoring session like?

The typical tutoring session runs between 25 minutes and 50 minutes.  You and your tutor will look over your paper, often reading it out loud.  You will let the tutor know what areas of your paper or your writing you are most interested in addressing in this session.  There will also be a few quick forms for you to fill out.

When is the best time for me to come in?

Come early, come often.  The more often you come, the more help we can provide.  We are open all semester.

Location and Hours

I’m a graduate student.  How can you help me?

We offer our services to all members of the University of Miami community, including graduate students. We can work with you on all types of writing in your graduate work:  papers, theses, dissertations, proposals, C.V.s, letters, personal writing projects, research articles, and conference presentations.  We offer help at all stages of the writing process, from prewriting strategies to revision techniques. If you want to make a weekly or bi-monthly standing appointment throughout the duration of a longer writing project, we’ll be happy to accommodate you.

I'm not a student.  How can you help me?

If you are a member of the University of Miami community (faculty, staff, alumni), we are happy to provide assistance with your writing projects.

What happens if I miss an appointment?

Please call ahead to let us know about cancellations or rescheduling.  This allows us to give your appointment space to someone else who might need it.

The Writing Center • (305) 284-2956