Writing Workshop Guidelines

Sweetland's Writing Workshop is a free service that provides one-to-one writing help to all undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Michigan, regardless of background or discipline. Sweetland faculty consultants meet with student writers to help with any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final revisions. All appointments take place in the Sweetland Center for Writing, 1310 North Quad. 

Appointments do not run on Michigan time, but rather on the hour and half-hour, and last 30 minutes for undergraduates and 30 or 60 minutes for graduate students. In addition, 45-minute appointments are available for undergraduate multilingual and international students who opt to meet with a multilingual writing specialist. International or multilingual graduate students who prefer to meet with a second language specialist should schedule an appointment with the English Language Institute's Graduate Writing Clinic.

What happens at a Writing Workshop appointment?

Here is what to expect when you meet one-to-one with a Sweetland faculty consultant to discuss your writing: 

  • When you arrive at 1310 NQ, sign in at the front desk. Your consultant will meet you in the lobby and walk you to his or her office. 
  • 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 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 directly. Rather, 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. 
  • Please keep in mind that appointments do not run on "Michigan time." By arriving promptly at your scheduled start time, you help ensure that you and your consultant have sufficient time to address your primary writing concerns. Any writer who arrives ten minutes late will lose his or her scheduled appointment. 
  • Writers cannot be required to visit Writing Workshop and consultants cannot sign anything or provide evidence of your visit. This policy exists because writing consultation works best when writers genuinely want to talk to consultants.

What should I bring to my appointment?

To get the most out of your session with a Sweetland faculty consultant, please come prepared with the following:

  • Reasonable expectations: What one or two issues would you like to discuss with the consultant? If you have a really long paper, what part or parts would you like to focus on? 
  • Your assignment sheet, writing prompt, and any guidelines you’ve been given for composition.
  • Ideas about or a draft of your writing project (a printed, hard copy). For multimedia assignments, it may be better to work from a laptop. If you have not reached the draft stage, bring your ideas.
    • Undergraduates: Writing Workshop consultants can help with any writing or multimedia project assigned for a course at the University of Michigan. 
    • Graduate students: Writing Workshop consultants can help with any writing or multimedia project that directly pertains to your academic and/or research pursuits as a graduate student, including course assignments, dissertation chapters, conference papers, articles, grant proposals, and fellowship applications. (Note: There is a two-appointment maximum for any given grant or fellowship application.) 

Writing Workshop Policies

  • Make sure collaborators are present. Consultants can help writers with collaboratively written pieces if 50% or more of the collaborators are present for the consultation. 
  • 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 should be emailed to sweetlandinfo@umich.edu at least 24 hours before your scheduled appointment. We appreciate your compliance with university standards for academic integrity. 
  • Writing workshop is funded only for materials related to courses and academic research. Undergraduates are welcome to take cover letters, resumes, personal statements, and other non-course-related materials to the Sweetland Peer Tutoring Centers. Graduate students are encouraged to take cover letters, CVs, and other job-related materials to the Career Center.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Online Registration

Please register once per academic year.

  1. Visit Sweetland’s Writing Workshop registration page.
  2. Register using your umich.edu email address and complete all questions on the registration form.
  3. Once all fields on the form have been entered, click "Register."

Scheduling Your Appointment

  1. Visit Sweetland's Writing Workshop scheduling website.
  2. Select a schedule from the drop-down menu (Note: if you are a multilingual or international student and wish to meet with a multilingual writing specialist, select the schedule that begins with “Multilingual”).
  3. If you have already registered this academic year, please type in your umich.edu email address and the password you created. Previously registered students will need to update their account information. If you have not registered, please see the “Online Registration” section above.
  4. You will be brought to the writing workshop schedule. Openings in the schedule will be identified by a white block.
  5. Locate the day, time, and consultant (if preferred) you would like an appointment with. Click on the appropriate white block of time; a “New appointment” window will appear.
  6. Complete the form. (Important: Multilingual undergrads should schedule appointment times based on the start times listed in the box at the top of the schedule.)
  7. Click "Save" to make your appointment.
  8. You will receive an email confirmation of your appointment.

How many appointments can I schedule, and when can I schedule them?

  • Undergraduate students: you may schedule one 30-minute appointment per week, with a limit of fifteen visits in a full term (seven in a half term), including walk-ins.
  • Undergraduate multilingual and international students: you may schedule one 45-minute appointment per week with a specialized consultant for multilingual writers during Fall and Winter terms with a limit of fifteen visits in a full term. (Alternatively, you may schedule one appointment per week with a regular Sweetland consultant.)
  • Graduate students: you may schedule one 30 or 60-minute appointment per week, with a limit of seven visits in a full term (four in a half term), including walk-ins. There is a two appointment maximum for grant proposals or fellowship applications support.
  • Appointments can be scheduled up to four calendar days in advance. Please note that only one scheduled appointment per week is permitted, in order for Sweetland to help as many students as possible. 
  • You can also receive help on a walk-in basis if there are openings in the schedule and you have not reached your limit of visits.

What happens if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?

  • Please schedule, modify, and cancel your own appointments online. You may contact the Sweetland information desk at 734.764.0429 if you encounter technical difficulties with the scheduling system or have questions about your appointment.
  • If for any reason you need to modify or cancel an appointment, please do so at least 90 minutes prior to the appointment time. This allows Sweetland to assist as many writers as possible. Thank you for your courtesy to our consultants and your fellow writers!

Rescheduling or Canceling Appointments

  • Visit Sweetland’s Writing Workshop scheduling website.
  • Select the schedule from the drop-down menu on which you made your initial reservation.
  • Navigate to the date on which your appointment was scheduled.
  • Click on the orange box which opens your reservation panel.
  • If you need to make a change, edit the panel as necessary. Click “Save Changes.”
  • If you need to cancel the appointment, select the "cancel" box at the bottom of the page. Then click "Save Changes."
  • You will receive an email notification confirming the action.

What happens if I arrive late or miss my appointment?

  • Please arrive on time. Arriving on time ensures that you and the consultant will have ample time to discuss your writing. Keep in mind: appointments do not run on "Michigan time." If you are 10 minutes late, you will lose your appointment.
  • If you miss an appointment, you will be unable to schedule another appointment for one week. You will be notified via email when this occurs. Although you won’t be able to make an appointment, you are still welcome to use Sweetland’s walk-in services.
  • If you miss two appointments, you will be unable to schedule an appointment for the remainder of the semester; however, you may continue to use our services on a walk-in basis.

Can I use Writing Workshop without an appointment?

You are welcome to visit Sweetland on a walk-in basis. If any consultant has an opening in his or her schedule, or if a scheduled appointment is canceled on short notice, you will be given an appointment on a first come, first served basis. However, note that our schedule often fills quickly, especially later in each semester. If all our consultants' schedules are full, you may not be able to get a walk-in appointment.

What if there are no appointments available?

If all available appointments are booked on the day you wish to visit, you may sign up for the Writing Workshop waitlist. 

  • From the schedule page, click on the clock icon to the left of the date you wish to visit, and the waitlist window will appear. 
  • Select your preferences then click the “add to waiting list” button. 

When there is a cancellation, you will be notified via email or text message. Then, you may schedule the appointment as usual. Other students on the waitlist will also receive an e-mail or text notification, and appointments will be scheduled on a first-come first-served basis.

What if Sweetland needs to cancel my appointment? (e.g., consultant illness)

If the Sweetland Center for Writing needs to cancel your appointment due to consultant illness, you will be notified by email as soon as possible. We will make every effort to reschedule the appointment with another consultant at the same time before canceling an appointment.