Our approach to Writing Mentoring

Our fundamental goal at the Writing Center is to help those who visit us to become more effective and confident writers. One of the greatest obstacles to clear and effective writing is the difficulty of predicting the impact of your words on the minds of your readers. Our Writing Mentors (the entire staff of the Writing Center) are “test readers.” They can help you to assess whether your point is clear, whether your argument is cogent, or whether your tone is off-putting. Even before you've put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, Writing Mentors can help you to explore and formulate your ideas. If you are stuck after writing the first couple of pages, we can help you get going again, by offering a new perspective on your ideas and suggesting writing processes you might like to try. If you have completed a draft, we can help you assess whether you have fulfilled an assignment’s expectations and, when appropriate, whether your argument is clear, well-organized, and well-supported. We can also offer strategies for revision.

Writing Mentors are not editors, since editing your work for you does not help you to become a better writer. To become a better writer, you need to learn (with our help) how to edit your own work. In all instances, the writing that you turn in to your professors will be your own writing, rather than writing that is co-authored by you and a Writing Center staff member.

Writing Mentors are also not teaching assistants. The teaching of academic content is the role of the Faculty at the College, and coming to the Writing Center is no substitute for talking to your professor. Writing Mentors cannot tell you whether your representation of the data or text is accurate and complete. That’s your professor’s job. But Writing Mentors can help you to assess whether the case that you make for your thesis is plausible, given your representation of the data or text.

In short, Writing Mentors provide you with an ideal audience– someone who is not necessarily trained in the material that you are discussing, but who is trained to ask the sort of questions that will help you to develop the skills that will allow you to write more clearly and cogently on your own.

Click HERE to make an appointment with a Writing Mentor.