Purdue Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
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Welcome to the Purdue Writing Lab

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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 writing.lab@purdue.edu.

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

FAQs: Graduate Positions

What is the Writing Lab?

The Writing Lab 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 Writing Lab also offers multilingual conversation groups, workshops, computers for general use, faculty support, and online support materials through the Online Writing Lab (OWL). You can read the Writing Lab's mission statement at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/mission.

What are the benefits of working in the Writing Lab?

Graduate consultants often find that tutoring in the Writing Lab 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 Writing Lab, 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. Writing Lab 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. Writing Lab 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?

Writing Lab consultant positions are usually .50 FTE (20 hours total per week). Normally, consultants spend 18 hours a week tutoring in the Lab. 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. Writing Lab 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 take English 502, a Writing Lab practicum course, throughout their first semester of tutoring.  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 Purdue Writing Lab?

Tutors can as long as they are consultants in good 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 Writing Lab needs.

What professional development opportunities are available for Writing Lab Instructors?

In addition to tutoring, Writing Lab consultants participate in a variety of professional development activities, from presenting at conferences and research to developing new materials for the OWL. Consultants may also take on administrative responsibilities by serving as coordinators for various Writing Lab services. Furthermore, they 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 Writing Lab to learn more about employment opportunities and what tutoring entails.

How can I get more information about the Writing Lab?

Please contact writing.lab@purdue.edu with any questions about graduate tutor positions or the application process.

Tutoring Schedule & Locations

Schedule a tutoring appointment at any location with our online scheduler.

Please note: If you have issues logging in, please call the Writing Center for assistance scheduling your appointment

Phone: 765-494-3723


Main Location and Hours (Spring 2020)

Open through Friday of Finals Week

Virtual Tutoring Only

Monday - Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

(Limited slots available for 6:00PM-9:00PM)

Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM