Frequently Asked Questions

It will take you to the login screen where you type in your UTOR ID and password to enter the system. We look forward to helping you!


1. What should I bring to my in-person Writing Centre appointment?

We are maintaining physical distancing in the Writing Centre. Please bring the assignment sheet/description (if you have one) and TWO hard copies of the draft you are working on, printed double-spaced. Your assignment can be in any state: an outline, notes, partial draft, full draft, etc.

 

If you do not have hard copies, you could bring in your laptop. You and the writing instructor could then share the relevant documents online.

2. May I make an appointment before I begin a U of T assignment?

Yes. If you are a first-year student, you are encouraged to bring in an essay you wrote in high school. A writing instructor will talk to you about the expectations of university-level writing, and they will identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your prose.

3. Will the Writing Centre read work on my laptop or print my assignment?

No. We need to work with your assignment on paper. Please print it double-spaced and bring it with you.


4. What happens during a Writing Centre appointment?

We’re here to help you learn whatever you need to learn to write better assignments. Here’s how you might use an appointment:

 

  • Bring an assignment sheet to discuss how to choose your topic and how to approach it, or to brainstorm ideas.
  • Bring an outline, or notes that we can help you use to create an outline.
  • Bring a partial or full draft of your assignment. We’ll then show you which aspects are good and which you could improve, and we’ll deal with the most important things first.

 

When you leave your Writing Centre appointment, you should feel good about having learned a little more about writing and about the prospect of improving your abilities still further in future appointments.


5. How can Writing Centre instructors know how to help me with the content of my paper? What if I need help with ideas more than writing?

It’s actually an advantage to have to explain ideas clearly to someone who is not an expert in your field. The Writing Centre instructors are all generalists with many years’ experience teaching different forms of writing and working with undergraduates on assignments in all possible fields.

 

The writing instructor can help you brainstorm and generate further questions about your subject. He or she can also point out places in a draft where something seems to be missing, whether it is background information, evidence, or a logical step in an argument.


6. How can the writing instructor fix my entire paper in 50 minutes?

We’re here to help you understand how writing works, to help you fix the problems in your paper and avoid or spot problems in the future. We’ll show you how, not just talk about it in general terms. The Writing Centre is a teaching service, not an editing service. We use your own work as teaching material. We can’t teach you everything at once, so if you want to learn as much as possible, you should make use of the service whenever you can.


7. Can the Writing Centre help me better understand the readings my assignment is based on?
Yes. We can show you how to approach reading and note-taking. Just bring in the material you are working with.

8. What if I'm getting good grades? Can the Writing Centre still help me?

Absolutely. We help students at all levels of ability. We’ll adjust the level of instruction upward as you progress, and as you undertake more and more advanced assignments. For example, a student who consistently gets B+ and thinks that additional improvement in writing may move his or her marks into the A-range can get instruction on an advanced level.

 

Even students who often get A’s on assignments may find it helpful to consult a writing instructor during the planning and writing process and get feedback on finished drafts. Or they may simply wish to learn a little more about fine points of style.


9. Does the Writing Centre help with graduate school applications?

Yes. Innis College students may book up to two appointments per term for help on an application letter or admissions statement.


10. Can I come to the Writing Centre more than once for the same assignment?

Yes. You can come at various stages of your work on an assignment: for example, when you first get the assignment, or when you have made an outline. Then you can come back with a draft or part of a draft. We may not give you more than one appointment at the draft stage; that will depend on the length of the paper and the number of opportunities you have had to get writing instruction.


11. Is there a limit on the number of appointments I can have?

Yes. Students are limited to one appointment per week. Innis College students may book up to two appointments per term for help on an application letter or admissions statement.

 

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