University of Chicago 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. Students writing papers for the Common Core can come for writing support in the evenings on Sunday through Thursday. In the Autumn and Winter quarters, one of our Writing Tutors is also typically available on one or two afternoons per week. 

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

Spring 2018 Writing Tutor Schedule

  • Sundays: 7:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Mondays: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
    • ESL Writing Tutor available 6:00-8:00pm
  • Tuesdays: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Wednesdays: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Thursdays: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
    • ESL Writing Tutor available 6:00-8:00pm
  • Fridays: 10:00am - 2:00pm 
Due to the Memorial Day holiday, Tutors will not be available Sunday, May 27th or Monday, May 28th. 

 

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.

All Core students (HUMA, SOSC, Civilizations and others) are welcome to come in and see the Writing Tutors, who are currently available on a day-of appointment basis. Appointment sheets for evening tutors are posted at 4:30pm the same day outside each Tutor's cubicle. Demand usually peaks during certain weeks of the quarter, particularly mid-term and then again in weeks 10 and 11, and spots may fill up quickly. It is therefore advisable to plan ahead of when the paper is due, in order to ensure that a student can be seen, have enough time with the Tutor, and write or revise the paper afterwards.

Undergraduates writing for courses outside the Core curriculum, as well as those seeking feedback on application essays, may sign up for the Tutors on a day-of "standby" basis to be seen when time and availability allow (i.e., if no Core students are waiting). These times often include weeks 2-3 and week 9 of each quarter. In addition, our Friday daytime Writing Tutors are available by advance appointment beginning 9am on Wednesday of the same week and are equally open to ALL undergraduates, with no standby list.

As noted above, an ESL Writing Tutor is available on Mondays and Thursdays from 6-8pm in cubicle #18. The ESL Writing Tutor provides support for non-native English speakers seeking assistance with their Core writing assignments. The specialist 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?

The short version: 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. This kind of comment can include, but is not limited to, logical flow of argument, effective uses of quotes and other types of evidence, 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 grammatical 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 course texts or content insofar as this directly pertains to improving a paper, but more in-depth discussions on content should be perused with course instructors, TA's, or Writing Interns.
  • Copy-edit or 'correct' the paper. Tutors are there to teach students how to improve their writing, and not to 'fix' papers for students.
  • Correct grammar errors in a paper. Again, Tutors can look for patterns and help teach students how to self-correct, but cannot go through and adjust the paper to be grammatically correct (i.e. switching tenses, subject-verb agreement, etc). 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. 

What if you're not taking a Core course?

Writing Tutors are required to give first priority to undergraduates working on papers for the College Common Core. If no Core students are waiting to be served, Tutors may read papers for other classes or other types of documents on a standby basis. As a practical matter, during busy times of the quarter when many Core papers are due (for example, weeks 7, 10, and finals week), it's likely that all of a Tutor's time will be devoted to assisting students with Common Core papers.

If you're seeking help on larger projects or non-Core-related projects, you may contact the University Writing Program (writing-program@uchicago.edu) for help in finding a suitable Tutor or editor.