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Writing services provides constructive feedback to students on writing strategies and assignments. To have a successful consultation, we recommend that you book your appointment early and come prepared with your assignment instructions and any work you have done so far. We also encourage you to start thinking about your assignment early so that you have time to work on and revise your writing after your appointment with one of our team members. The task of revision on any written work remains your responsibility. 

We offer three types of writing consultations:

  1. 50-minute consultation: If you have a draft, or if you want to discuss your writing or ideas in depth, make an appointment for a full 50-minute consultation.
  2. Drop-in consultation: If you have a specific question (e.g., about referencing) or want a response to an early draft, come to our drop-in hours. No appointment is necessary. Tutors will be able to answer quick questions and/or give a short response to a limited portion of your paper. These consultations are limited to 15 minutes. Drop-in runs in fall and Winter semesters.
  3. 50-minute online consultation: These appointments are currently limited to graduate students, particularly those who are not on the Waterloo Campus (e.g., Social Work, Toronto MBA, and International Public Policy students). These online consultations are conducted using Skype and Google Docs. If you do not have a Skype account, please set one up before you make an appointment

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you can do it through the student portal, or by emailing or calling us at 519-884-0710 ex2220. Please cancel your appointment 24 hours in advance. If you do not cancel your appointment at least four hours in advance, it will be recorded as missed.

If you are late by more than 10 minutes, we give the appointment to another student.

Our trained peer mentors can help you improve your writing skills, study skills, or both at once. To book an appointment, visit the Student Success Student Portal.

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you can do it through the student portal, or by emailing or calling us.
Please cancel your appointment 24 hours in advance. If you do not cancel your appointment in advance, it will be recorded as missed.

Appointment Lengths

  • Undergraduates: 55 minutes
  • LEAF Program students: 25 minutes
  • Graduate students: 60 minutes + (as necessary)

Additionally, we can assist students with group assignments (essays or presentations, for example). However, it is mandatory that all group members attend the consultation.

Appointment Policies

The following policies are in place to help writing support services run smoothly and support students as effectively as possible.

Number of Appointments

There is no limit to the number of appointments you may book per year; however, you cannot bring the same paper more than twice. This policy ensures that you retain responsibility for your own work and that you grow as a writer. Students may book the first appointment for each assignment themselves online and request a follow-up (second) appointment if necessary after they have completed their first appointment with a peer mentor or professional staff member.

Exceptions can be made for students who require extra support and need more than two appointments per assignment, if appropriate documentation is submitted to the manager. Excessive reliance on writing support may be limited at the discretion of the professional staff.

Students are limited to one appointment per day.

Cancellations and Missed Appointments

Please cancel your appointment 24 hours in advance. At the Brantford campus, any cancellations made with less than one business day's notice will be marked as missed. At the Waterloo campus, if you do not cancel your appointment at least four hours in advance, it will be recorded as missed. If you miss two appointments, you will be locked out of the student portal and not be able to book future appointments online until meeting with a professional staff member.

In a typical writing appointment, we will talk to you about your assignment and then take a careful look at your paper before discussing it with you. The feedback you get will be constructive and formative so that you can learn from it. The strategies you learn for writing and revision will help you with other papers you have to write.

During the discussion, we will discuss your paper with you and give you feedback. This discussion will focus on the core features of academic writing, such as thesis statement and argument, overall structure, development of ideas at the paragraph level, use and integration of sources, transitions and flow, sentence writing, and grammar. We will discuss strengths and weaknesses in your paper and also identify and explain specific writing and grammar errors so you can learn to correct your own mistakes.

We will not edit your paper for you, but we will teach you to become a better editor of your own writing.

Graduate students who book an individual consultation will meet with a team member who either has or is pursuing a graduate degree and has expertise in the field of writing studies. In Waterloo, our graduate student tutors are identified in our online booking system as well as by a (G) on our list of student tutors. In Brantford, students can book a Graduate Student Consultation which may be provided by a graduate peer mentor or professional staff.

In Waterloo, you may be asked to email your work to the consultant at least 24 hours in advance. The consultant may read some of your text prior to your appointment so that your session can be as productive as possible.

In your appointment at either campus, you can expect to discuss your research, the goals for your project, and any difficulties you are encountering in the writing process. If you have any feedback from your advisor or professors, bringing this along to your appointment can be helpful.

Feel free to make an appointment at any stage of your graduate work – from focusing your research question to completing course work assignments to drafting your proposal to finalizing your thesis or major research project. You will find that as you write in your graduate studies, you are also working towards a greater degree of professionalization.

In addition to appointments, we offer plenty of other support and resources for graduate students.

If you have any questions, please contact Jordana Garbati, PhD, or James Southworth, PhD, our Graduate Student consultants on the Waterloo Campus or Jenna Olender, the manager in Brantford.