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

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Student/Client FAQs for Writing Lab Services

Who can work with tutors at the Writing Lab?

Sessions, conversation groups and workshops are only open to students faculty and staff at the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

Do I have to make an appointment to work with a tutor?

Appointments are recommended because the demand for our tutoring is pretty high. Our satellite locations, open in various locations during the evening in the fall and spring semesters, are available by same-day appointment. These openings are released at 5:00pm each day. You are limited to 2 sessions per week (not on the same day) in our Heavilon Hall location, and you may also visit our evening locations, as availability allows. You can also schedule weekly appointments with a specific tutor throughout an entire semester.

How can I make an appointment?

Navigate your browser to https://cla.purdue.edu/wlschedule​ -- At this site you can choose a specific tutor, day, and time that meets yours needs. You can also select online tutoring, in addition to face-to-face sessions. Please arrive 10 minutes before your session to ensure that you start and begin on time. You need to show your Purdue ID at the front desk.

How can I make the most of my consultation?

  • Have realistic expectations. Our goal is to help you address issues with your writing and to support your growth as a writer. We’re a teaching and learning space; we’re not an editing service, and we can’t take the place of your professor and grade your writing. We can help you discover approaches to editing through modeling, coach you on how to address issues you know you have, and support problem-solving any aspect of your writing process. Watch​ this video of regular tutees discussing how they prepare for a session.
  • Bring your assignment sheet, syllabus, guidelines or any other related documents like a job advertisement or application instructions.
  • Bring your notes or a draft of your project.
  • For long documents, choose a specific section you’d like to review or come with specific questions (remember, it’s just not realistic to get through a whole long document, but it’s rare that you can’t apply what you’ve learned during the session on the rest of the document on your own).
  • Come ready to collaborate and talk with your tutor, be engage Take notes during your consultation.
  • Tell your tutor when the project is due (if a project is due within hours, that reality limits what’s possible to accomplish; if you have much more time, then you can address more difficult issues).

My consultation is too short! How can I get more time?

Make another appointment. Remember, our goal is to help you become a more effective writer, so you should take time to think about and apply what you learned during the session to rest of your document, or whatever you didn’t cover with your tutor. Then make a decision about whether you need another appointment to review what you’ve done. Reviewing a whole document, especially long or complex one, just isn’t possible in a 30- or 60-minute session. We don’t want you to have unrealistic expectations about what’s possible or appropriate. We’ll encourage you to think about what you’ve learned from prior sessions to apply to the current or new document. Ideally, we’ll cover new ground each session, but everyone’s learning needs and learning curves are different.

What accommodations do you provide for students with documented disabilities?

Accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis and may include additional time during consultations, consultations in a quiet space, or use of specialized software, such as Kurzweil, a text-to-speech program. Students are encouraged to schedule an initial writing consultation and discuss helpful strategies and resources with tutors before any accommodations are arranged.​ Students are also encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center for information on university-provided accommodations, such as sign language translators.

Can I request the same tutor for future appointments?

You are encouraged to work with the same tutor if that is beneficial or to seek out multiple opinions from different tutors. When you schedule an appointment online, you can select the tutor you'd like. Please note that we may need to make adjustments in a request due to unforeseen scheduling issues or based on the type of document. In those cases, we will contact you to give you the option of rescheduling.

What should I do if I can’t make my scheduled appointment?

If your plans change and you cannot make your appointment, please log in to https://cla.purdue.edu/wlschedule to cancel and reschedule your appointment.

Please arrive 10 minutes before the start of your session, so you can begin and end on time. When you arrive late, you will forfeit your appointment because sessions are unproductive when we do not have enough time to address the concerns you have about your document. If you repeatedly arrive late or if you simply do not show up without canceling, you may be restricted in making future appointments.

If I only have a quick question, do I have to stay for the entire session?

Although you may have a quick question in mind, we may notice other issues with your paper that need to be discussed, so plan on using your entire appointment. If you do have a brief question about grammar, mechanics, or citation style, you may find answers on the​ Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Where on your website can I submit my paper for feedback from a tutor?

We now offer two different options for online tutoring through our online appointment system:

  • E-tutoring is an asynchronous option where writers can upload their paper, along with a detailed list of concerns, and tutors will respond with comments sent back to the writer in an email attachment. Writers will select a day and time for the tutor to respond, but writers do not have to be online during that time.
  • Online tutoring is a synchronous option. Writers select a day and time to meet with their tutor virtually. Writers will upload their document, and the conversation takes place in a chat window.

Do you work only with undergraduate students?

We work with any graduate student, undergraduate student, post-doc, faculty member, visiting scholar, or staff affiliated with Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

Why can’t I bring in my friend’s paper for feedback? She’s busy and can’t find a time to visit the Writing Lab.

We sympathize with your friend, but we only work directly with writers and their texts because our feedback is tailored toward each writer. And because writers themselves are intimately familiar with their writing projects, only they can sufficiently respond to the kinds of questions we will ask during sessions. Most importantly, we’re a space for teaching and learning; we can’t help someone grow as a writer if they aren’t actively involved. Your busy friend may be able to visit one of our​ evening satellite locations or find help on the​ OWL. They might even want to upload a document for feedback. Just remember, bringing someone else’s paper is a violation of the Purdue University Code of Conduct. It’s no different that asking someone else to take an exam or turning in work that’s not your own.

I don’t have a complete draft of my paper finished. Can I still work with a consultant?

We are happy to work with you in any stage of the writing process, so complete drafts are not necessary. In fact, consultations are often more productive when the writer can discuss ideas during the development stage, before a draft is written. We can help you brainstorm and start a project, revise what you’ve already written, or polish a finished draft.

My teacher has assigned a visual writing project (or a project with document design involved). Can you help me?

Document design and visual arguments are important components of some writing projects, and not all course assignments are traditional essays or research papers. As a result, our consultants are trained to help writers with many different kinds of documents.

Do you only provide feedback on class assignments? What if I’m working on a job application or personal statement?

We are able to help writers with any projects, not just assignments for classes. We have trained Business Writing Consultants (BWCs) who can provide feedback on résumés, cover letters, and personal statements, and our graduate consultants can help with other documents as well.

Can I get help on take-home exams or comprehensive exams?

In order to provide feedback on exams (i.e. essay exams, open book exams, prelims, comprehensive exams, PhD exams, or Master’s exams), we must have written documentation from the instructor or advisor specifying that students can get help from the Writing Lab. This documentation can be included on the exam instructions, syllabus, or separate document.

Will the Writing Lab send proof of my visit to my instructor?

After each consultation, writers will receive an email copy of their session notes. These provide a description of what the tutor and writer discussed. Writers are encouraged to share these with instructors and to talk about what was covered in the consultation.

My instructors are always complaining about my grammar and punctuation. How can the Writing Lab help?

We won’t proofread or edit your documents for you. In other words, we won’t fix your mistakes, but we can address sentence-level concerns such as grammar and punctuation. We can teach you to spot errors on your own. We may address global writing concerns (such as structure, thesis statements, or organization) first because those concerns can really impact the overall meaning of your paper, but we will be happy to talk to you about grammar and mechanics, too. It’s helpful if you can inform us about the mistakes you tend to make in your writing.

What other services does the Writing Lab offer?

In addition to our one-to-one writing consultations, we offer​ workshops on a variety of writing topics that students can attend. We also have daily​ conversation groups for English as a Second Language (ESL) students who wish to practice their spoken English while learning about American culture. Finally, we offer online resources through the​ OWL and our​ YouTubeChannel.

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Tutoring Schedule & Locations

Visit us in Heavilon Hall 226, Purdue University, West Lafayette campus.

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

Phone: 765-494-3723

Fall 2018 Hours
Heavilon 226
Monday - Thursday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM


Satellite Locations and Hours

Fall 2018

HSSE Library - Collaborative Study Center (CSC)*
Monday: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Asian American and Asian Resource and Culture Center (AACC)*
Tuesday: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Mechanical Engineering (ME)*
Wednesday: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Appointments required at all locations.

*Same-day appointments only. Spaces released at 5:00PM each day.