Answers to frequently asked questions
We employ MA and PhD level consultants from a variety of disciplines. Our graduate consultants are successful writers in their disciplines and also may have coursework in composition pedagogy and/or experience teaching writing.
Please note: We employ both undergraduate and graduate level consultants. If you are a graduate student, be sure to select a consultant at the appropriate level (designated as M.A. or PhD.)
We may, but we may not. Because of their experience with writing instruction and focus on language, many of our consultants are from English. We are always looking to diversify our consultant pool, but it is impossible to represent every discipline. You should not expect that your consultant be an expert in your content area. Our consultants are, however, very good at helping you gain perspective on the writing process, evaluating and discussing the rhetorical elements of texts, providing thoughtful and sensitive readings of your work, as well as helping with stylistic and grammatical elements of texts. Sometimes it is not an expert that you need, just a thoughtful reader with whom to “talk it out.”
While we can look at an electronic version with you on your laptop, many consultants prefer working with a hard copy that can be easily viewed and that you can mark up during the session. So, if you can, bring a hard copy along with any specific questions or areas of concern. You will direct the agenda of the session.
Our sessions are generally around 45 minutes long, so there is only so much that can be covered in that time. If your paper is very long, decide which portion or portions you want to focus upon. You can schedule follow-up appointments as needed.
The CEW is a great place for international students because working one-to-one with a native speaker who understands the process of language acquisition is perhaps the most efficient way to grow as a writer. Improving proficiency in written English is a long journey, so many international students choose to schedule regular, ongoing appointments. As an added benefit, working one-to-one with a native speaking peer gives you excellent conversational practice as well!
The CEW is not an editing service. If the editing phase is a stumbling block for you, you may want to consider hiring an editor for the final stages of your writing process. The GSA also has an editing service that is paid through your student fees.