Peer Writing Center Guidelines

What happens at a Peer Writing Center Consultation?

  • When you arrive, check in with staff and complete the online intake form
  • Most sessions begin with a brief discussion of the assignment you're working on and the kind of help you're looking for. 
  • Come prepared to participate in an active collaboration with your consultant -- for example, by asking and answering questions, reading through the paper aloud, generating ideas, making notes on your own draft, etc. 
  • An effective session will often focus on "higher order" concerns (e.g., thesis, ideas, evidence, organization) before addressing sentence-level concerns such as grammar and punctuation. Prioritizing higher order concerns assures that you won’t spend time fixing sentences that might not even support your argument. 
  • While consultants are happy to work with writers on their sentence-level concerns, we avoid proofreading or "correcting" papers. We can help writers identify patterns of error, proofread more effectively, and improve clarity and style. If you’re ready to address sentence-level concerns, expect to address one or two error types per consultation.

Getting the Most Out of Your Consultation

Come prepared to actively participate in a conversation about your writing. You’ll need: 

  • Reasonable expectations: What one or two issues would you like to discuss with the writing consultant? If you have a really long paper, on what part or parts would you like to focus? 
  • Your assignment sheet, writing prompt, and any guidelines you’ve been given. 
  • Ideas about or a draft of your writing project in electronic or hard copy. You can bring whatever you’d like: a paper for a course, a personal statement, a cover letter, a blog post, a PowerPoint, a website, a poem, etc.

Peer Writing Center Policies

  • Sessions run on a first-come-first-serve basis. They last 30-60 minutes, depending on whether other writers are waiting. 
  • You can’t be required to come. Writers cannot be required to visit the Peer Writing Centers and consultants cannot sign anything or provide evidence of your visit.
  • You’ll be responsible for making all changes to your text. Consultants won’t edit your writing or do the work for you. 
  • Make sure you’re allowed to submit a take-home exam. Consultants cannot assist writers with take-home exams unless the instructor has given Sweetland written permission to provide assistance. Permission can be emailed to 
  • Make sure collaborators are present. Consultants can help writers with collaboratively written pieces if 50% or more of the collaborators are present.