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What can you talk about with a writing tutor?

You can talk with us about writing assignments in any course/any subject and about internship, job, or graduate school applications. More details about our writing help services and our guidelines for using them are below.

Information about our Writing Help Services

To access our services, see these instructions for how to make and attend appointments.

You can talk with a tutor during any stage of the writing process—you don’t need to wait until you have a completed draft! (In fact, the best time to talk with a tutor is when you’re in the brainstorming/early planning and drafting stages of working on any document.)

  • If you’re working on a paper for a course (in any subject), you can talk with a tutor about your assignment prompt, your readings, your topic ideas, a rough outline, or your thesis/main point. Doing so always makes the rest of the process easier and can help you produce a better finished product than if you wait to talk with a tutor just before a paper is due.
  • You can talk with a tutor when you just have one or two questions about a part of a draft–such as the introduction, when you want to know how to cite something, or when you want some help finding sources.
  • Of course, another great time to meet with a tutor is when you want some feedback on a completed draft–at least a day or so before you hand it in for a grade. We’ll help you identify ways to revise, improve, and polish your draft.
    • Email appointments, while not interactive like in-person and online sessions, are useful for times when you want written feedback on a completed draft (or a completed portion of a draft, such as any section of a paper or a reference page).
  • You can also get help when you’re working on application materials of any kind for internships, jobs, or graduate school by making appointments through our Application Materials Help schedule. We recommend making appointments early in the process of writing these so that your finished documents represents you in the best possible way.

Appointment availability

  • We offer appointments Monday-Thursday 9:30-7:00, Friday 9:30-4:00, and Sunday 4:00-7:00.
  • Appointments are made in 30-minute increments.
    • Keep in mind you don’t always have to spend the whole 30 minutes. If you just have a few questions about an assignment prompt, how to cite something, how to find a source, or how to revise a short portion of your draft, those sessions might only last 10-15 minutes.
    • Other tutor meetings may take the full 30 minutes, such as when you want feedback on a completed draft.
  • If you want more time, you can make an appointment for 60 minutes, or you can make two 30-minute appointments in one week.
    • Note: Students using our ESL Writing Help service may receive up to 90 minutes of help per week.
  • Because we need to ensure that we have enough time available per week to help all students across campus, we generally cannot provide additional help per week beyond what you can already access via our appointment system. 
    • Note: Students registered with Student Disability Services may request additional time in any week in which they need it; we will accommodate those requests as long as appointment times are available. Contact to make those requests; include the date and time of the appointment you want.
    • We can make exceptions upon occasion for extra time in a given week, pending available appointment time. Contact to make those requests; include the date and time of the appointment you want.
  • You’ll find the same tutors available at the same times every week. If you find one tutor with whom you enjoy working, it’s a great idea to meet with them regularly. The tutor will get to know you and your writing, which can be very helpful in terms of improving your writing.
  • All tutors have different styles, so no tutor meeting will be exactly the same. We want to make sure your experience is helpful for you! Reach out to us at with any questions or concerns.

Guidelines for Use of our Services

We are always happy to provide writing help, within the following guidelines. We will end sessions in which these guidelines are not observed, and repeated instances of failure to observe the guidelines may result in losing access to our services.

  • Join an online session from a setting/situation that is conducive to engaging in a productive conversation about writing—that is, do not join if involved in any other activity, including driving, at the same time. If you join while driving or engaged in some other activity, the tutor will end the meeting immediately.
  • Be prepared at the start of the meeting by having the writing you want to discuss in front of you at the time the session begins. If you are not ready within the first 5 minutes to discuss writing, the tutor will end the meeting immediately.
  • We’re here to support students’ school, creative, or career-related professional writing; we do not work on documents involving personal matters except for the personal statements that students write for internships, job, or graduate school applications. So, if the document you want to discuss is personal, we will not provide feedback on it, and the tutor will end the session immediately. (Note: for help with teaching-related documents, contact Teaching and Learning Innovation.)
  • We do not discuss personal matters–we’re here to discuss writing. Personal matters include situations involving professors and other UT programs or units, among other things. If you bring up a personal matter, the tutor will decline to discuss it and will ask you to re-focus on writing. If you’re not able to re-direct attention to writing upon the tutor’s first request, the tutor will end the meeting immediately.
  • We do not work on exams or tests of any kind without written permission from the student’s professor, which must be sent in advance directly from the professor to This includes comprehensive/qualifying exams for graduate students. If advance permission has not been received, the tutor will decline to discuss the test/exam and will end the session immediately.
  • We do not write or dictate any text for students; do not ask us to do that. The tutor will decline any such request, and if you ask again, the tutor will end the session immediately.
  • We expect all members of our university community to behave respectfully and courteously when seeking help from us. Any actions that disrupt our services, such raising one’s voice, shouting, swearing, and making threats, are unacceptable. We will end meetings immediately if you engage in such behaviors.

Please note that we will not “cancel” in our WCOnline appointment system any meeting a tutor has to end because you have not followed our guidelines; such a session will stay “on the books” in WCOnline and will count as part of your allotted time for that week.

If you feel that you will not be able to follow these guidelines in an upcoming appointment, please cancel it in advance and reschedule for another time when you are able to follow them.

If you have any questions or concerns related to our services, contact the director, Dr. Kirsten Benson, at