What We Are
The Writing Center provides free tutoring for full time Rutgers University students enrolled in Writing Program and other writing intensive classes. Tutoring sessions are scheduled for one eighty-minute class period per week for at least five weeks, and are available free of charge to all full time Rutgers University students. Students are tutored in the full range of expository writing, from basic composition to the advanced research, business, and scientific writing courses. The Writing Center offers morning, afternoon, and evening sessions to ensure access for University College and other working students.
During each tutoring session, students engage in a series of tasks related to their latest course assignment. While tutors shape these tasks and advise students in the midst of them, it is the students who read, write, and revise. Because tutoring happens at a regularly-scheduled time and place over the course of many weeks, tutor and student reinforce new writing strategies while they navigate the challenges of college-level composition. This process of engagement is called minimalist tutoring.
Minimalist tutoring strengthens reading and writing skills by asking students to practice under the supervision of a more experienced writer, who acts as a coach rather than an editor. Using this philosophy, tutoring provides better habits of writing to take into other classrooms and the larger world. The Writing Center does not provide proofreading services to students. If you need help proofreading your work, you should ask a trusted friend who has a strong command of written English.
This method requires a highly-trained staff, and Writing Center tutors undergo a rigorous selection and training process overseen by Assistant Directors of the Writing Program. Tutors are drawn from a pool of applicants who may be advanced undergraduates, graduate-level Teaching Assistants, or teachers from diverse departments, including English, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Women's Studies.
Once selected, tutors are schooled in the techniques of minimalist tutoring, augmented later by special instruction in areas such as English as a Second Language (ESL), grammar skills, remediation, and advanced research. In cases where more help is needed, students and tutors may consult the Writing Center Directors, who maintain an open-door policy throughout the course of the semester.
Students receive individualized and directed assistance to develop their reading and writing skills. The primary goal of the center is to move students towards independence in these skills. The tutor will help you learn to read closely, develop critical readings, revise your drafts, and correct your errors on your own.
The tutor will not do the work for you, correct your paper, or act as a proofreader or style-checker. Rather the tutor will work with you on your own paper to help you learn how to revise, complicate, and develop your own readings of texts. The tutor will also work with you to develop the skills necessary to determine and correct your own patterns of error.
This approach to tutoring is minimalist in that it seeks to minimize your dependence upon the Writing tutor. The tutor's job is to assist you in identifying problem areas with your writing, to provide you with a concrete plan for working on those areas, to allow you the time to begin doing that work yourself, and to provide you with guidance when you get stuck.