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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the centre?

All students of Vancouver Island University can use the services of the writing centre.
The writing center is not only for students who have problems with writing but also for
good writers who want to become better writers.

Who are the tutors?

Tutors, who change every semester, are faculty from various disciplines.  The English Department and International Education are always represented.  Tutors have also come from the Criminology Department, the Philosophy Department, and the Faculty of Nursing.

How much does it cost?

The writing centre is a free service of Vancouver Island University.

Do I have to work with the same tutor every time?

Each time you book your appointment you choose your tutor, depending on availability. It’s often a good idea to work with a variety of tutors.

What should I bring to the tutorial?

Bring a copy of the assignment you’re working on and an idea of what you’d like to accomplish in the tutorial. For example, you might say, “My essay doesn’t flow.” The tutor will then help you with transitions and coherence. Or you might say, “The assignment calls for 1500 words, but I’ve got only 600.” The tutor will then help you to develop your ideas in greater depth and breadth.

How long is a tutorial?

Each tutorial lasts twenty-five minutes.

What happens during a tutorial?

The tutorial will begin with the tutor asking what you would like to focus on. You can come at any stage of the writing process: choosing a topic, developing a thesis, revising a rough draft. The tutor will help you to understand the assignment and will work on writing skills that both of you have identified as important.

Tutors will protect the confidentiality of all tutorials.

Can I see someone without an appointment?

Yes, the Express Lane operates from Monday to Friday, two hours a day (see our home page for the schedule.) You can drop in for a shorter 15 minute tutorial.

Can I drop off my essay to be proofread?

We do not proofread your essays because we do something that will benefit you even more:
we will work with you on any writing project, helping you to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your writing so that you can develop effective approaches to revising on your own.

Will coming to the writing centre improve my grades?

In the centre, we focus on improving your writing ability; this process takes time. Some students may notice an improvement in their grades, but no sudden change is likely to occur. We do not guarantee any improvement in your grades, and the tutors will not discuss grades with you.

Can I bring non-academic writing like a cover letter for a job I’d like to apply for?

Yes, we will help you with any writing project.

Sounds good. How do I sign up?

Sign up or cancel appointments online
Caution! Two no-shows will result in your writing
centre privileges being cancelled until the next semester.

Does the centre offer any services besides one-to-one tutorials?

Yes, the centre offers workshops, supervised writing sessions, print resources, and online resources. Come to the fourth floor of the library (the one with the books!). Turn right at the top of the stairs, go through the stacks and you’ll see us on the left in a large glass-fronted room with a great view.

We’re here to help you become a better writer.