College Core Writing Tutors

Writing Tutors are available during the Autumn, Winter, and Spring academic quarters, beginning in Week Two and extending through Finals Week. 

You can keep track of late-breaking and last-minute updates to the schedule on Facebook.

Autumn 2018 Writing Tutors

  • Tutoring will resume on Sunday, October 7. Please check back in late September for our Autumn quarter schedule.

Why Tutors?

The University's Common Core includes a significant writing component. Students taking Core courses can end up writing dozens of papers in an academic year. These papers present significant challenges, since students must not only understand the course material, but construct an argument about it that is coherent, sound, and intellectually significant.

The College Core Writing Tutors can help students tackle these tasks. Working as an extension of the Writing Program, Tutors act as a resource to help Core students develop and improve the organization, coherence, and argumentative sophistication of their essays. Tutors can work with students through the entire writing process from the crucial moments of brainstorming and questioning, to drafted/outlined material, to full drafts.

Who may see the Writing Tutors?

All students writing for Humanities, Social Science, or Civilizations Core sequences are welcome to use the Writing Tutors. In Autumn 2018, we are pleased to announce that we'll be piloting an online appointment system for advance appointments. We will continue to offer a limited number of walk-in appointments.

Undergrads writing for courses outside the Core, as well as those seeking feedback on application essays, may use the tutors on a walk-in basis. In addition, our Friday tutors are available by advance appointment and are equally open to all undergrads.

An ESL Writing Tutor is available on Mondays and Thursdays from 6-8pm. The ESL Writing Tutor provides support for non-native English speakers seeking assistance with their Core writing assignments, and helps students build their knowledge of North American academic stylistic features and conventions related to the proper integration and citation of sources. The specialist can also provide analysis of sentence level structural errors and teach students strategies to to avoid these moving forward.

What do Tutors do?

Writing Tutors teach writing on a one-on-one basis. They're not copyeditors or proofreaders; instead, they work with students on individual papers in order to help improve students' overall skills in academic argumentation and structure.

Some things Tutors can do for students in the Common Core:

  • Brainstorm on how to get started on a paper or how to best approach a paper assignment or prompt, particularly in terms of how to construct an argument.
  • Read a full or partial draft of a paper and comment on its overall argumentation (use of textual evidence, logical flow of argument, persuasive placement of points, etc.).
  • Read a full or partial draft of a paper and comment on its organization, both globally and at the paragraph level.
  • Spot patterns of mechanical errors in a student's prose and teach the student how to identify and correct these patterns.
  • Make suggestions for how to revise a paper for greater coherence, clarity, and persuasiveness of argument.

Some things Tutors do NOT do:

  • Work on course readings or content. Tutors can discuss content insofar as it directly pertains to improving a paper, but more in-depth discussions be referred to course instructors, TAs, or Writing Interns.
  • Copyedit or proofread the paper. Tutors teach students how to improve their writing and can look for patterns to help students self-correct, but don't 'fix' papers for students. For a list of helpful grammar resources, click here.
  • Read papers longer than 10 pages.

How should you prepare for your tutoring session?

  • Print out your draft or outline.
  • Bring the paper prompt (if there is one).
  • Ask yourself: what do I want to get out of the tutoring session? Is there a particular place in my draft that I am concerned about? Is there a particular area of writing that I want help with (such as main claim, introduction, use of evidence, or organization)?
  • Think about which parts of your draft you really love, and why!
  • Be prepared to be in charge of the paper. You're writing about what you want to say, elaborate, support and defend. Tutors won't tell you what you should say. 

If you're seeking ongoing help on projects longer than 10 pages, you may contact the University Writing Program (writing-program@uchicago.edu) for help in finding a suitable tutor or a local fee-based editor.