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Opportunities for Purdue Graduate Students

If you are a graduate student eligible for a tutoring position, we'd love to receive your application. The following FAQs describe the work of a graduate tutor in detail. For more information, please contact

Not sure what tutoring in the OWL would be like? Here's a video featuring six tutors and their experiences in the OWL.

We are interested in reflecting the diversity of the Purdue community. Students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply for positions in the OWL.

FAQs: Graduate Positions

What is the OWL?

The OWL offers one-to-one consultations to any student at Purdue on any project, in any stage of the writing process. Consultants assist graduate and undergraduate students (as well as faculty, staff, and postdocs) from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The OWL also offers multilingual conversation groups, workshops, computers for general use, faculty support, and online support materials through our website. You can read the OWL's mission statement at

What are the benefits of working in the OWL?

Graduate consultants often find that tutoring in the OWL can serve as an extension of their teaching, creating new pedagogical opportunities through one-to-one interaction. However, tutoring in the Writing Lab is different from teaching and even from conferencing with students in English 106 or other courses. Tutoring does not involve evaluating or grading students' writing as an instructor might. Instead, consultants, through a number of techniques, provide feedback on students' writing and answer questions that students have about writing, encouraging students to become active learners in the process.

The OWL, through its tutoring and administrative positions, can foster professional development for graduate students and provide access to cutting-edge pedagogical experiences and even IRB-approved research projects. Graduate consultants may serve in administrative positions devoted to multilingual services, workshops and Writing Across the Curriculum, business writing, and technology. These administrative, research, and pedagogical opportunities have helped many graduate students grow professionally and be competitive in the job market.

What is tutoring like?

Most tutoring occurs in one-to-one sessions, the goal of which is to help students become better writers, not merely to improve individual texts. OWL sessions typically focus on larger, rhetorical issues related to writing, although sentence-level issues are addressed. We talk to students about their writing and help them figure out how to say what they want to say. OWL consultants help students work on all kinds of writing, including assignments from first year composition, upper division papers from across the disciplines, resumes and job letters, technical writing, and graduate theses. Tutors work with graduate and undergraduate students, novice and expert writers, and writers from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

How much do Graduate Consultants work?

OWL consultant positions are usually .50 FTE (20 hours total per week). Normally, consultants spend 18 hours a week tutoring in the OWL. The rest of the time is used for staff meetings and other work. Tutoring has a different rhythm than classroom teaching, but most consultants will tell you that it requires about the same amount of effort as classroom teaching. OWL consultants also facilitate workshops, conduct conversation groups for multilingual students.

How much specialized knowledge do I need to be a tutor, and is there mentoring available?

We look for consultants with different kinds of knowledge and experience, and you will gain the rest of what you need to know on the job, through mentoring, regular staff meetings, and interacting with other Writing Lab staff. All new graduate consultants participate in a week-long orientation prior to the start of the semester, and they continue with on-the-job staff education throughout their time consulting in the OWL. In addition, they are observed and mentored as they go along. All consultants must attend mandatory staff meetings (schedules vary by semester), which provide additional mentoring opportunities through workshops and discussion.

How are tutoring hours scheduled?

Schedules for tutoring are built around consultants’ teaching and class schedules, and schedules shift each semester as necessary. Most tutors end up with schedules that are close to what they have requested. All consultants are required to attend any staff meetings scheduled each semester.

How long can graduate instructors work in the OWL?

Consultants can remain in the OWL as long as they have good workplace and academic standing. Continued employment is based on a number of factors, including academic standing, and other teaching assignments and obligations in the tutor’s home department, as well as OWL needs.

What professional development opportunities are available for OWL staff?

In addition to working with writers, OWL consultants participate in a variety of professional development activities, from presenting at conferences and research to developing new materials for the website. Consultants might develop and facilitate workshops, lead conversation groups, and participate in campus outreach.

How can I get more information about tutoring and other opportunities?

Graduate students are always welcome to contact the OWL to learn more about employment opportunities and what tutoring entails.

How can I get more information about the OWL?

Please contact with any questions about graduate tutor positions or the application process.