Writing Center Philosophy and Procedures

This statement, with the list of procedures that follows it, is intended to answer students' and faculty members' questions about what they can expect from a visit to the Writing Center. It is also a guide for the student writing consultants who work there.


The purpose of the Writing Center is to provide individualized assistance to all students who request help with their writing. Peer tutors, or writing consultants, are trained to read and discuss student texts in ways that address the student's immediate concerns and needs. The student may drop in or pre-schedule conferences. A faculty member may use the Writing Center Referral form to recommend that a student seek assistance.

Writing Center assistance is intended to supplement the student's writing skills, whether the student is a freshman or a senior, and at whatever point the student has reached with a particular writing assignment. For example, the student may need some help getting started on an assignment, organizing a paper, revising a draft, sharpening the focus of a piece of writing, understanding a grammatical point, or citing research in a text.

Writing consultants are not instructors, though they may offer ongoing support with particular problems the student may wish to work on. Writing consultants are not editors of student texts. (We define editing as the act of reading and correcting all or most of the grammatical and mechanical errors.) Writing consultants are knowledgeable readers prepared to help the student think through his or her writing by bringing a fresh perspective to it.


Writing consultants will follow these guidelines:

  1. Ask the student to identify his or her concerns about the writing to establish priorities for the conference.
  2. Ask the student to read the paper aloud.
  3. Talk with the student writer from a reader's perspective by discussing, for example, generalizations that need additional support.
  4. When a student needs help with spelling, punctuation, usage, or grammatical errors, writing consultants will help the student writer learn to find such errors and correct them. To do so, writing consultants will:

A brief Writing Center Consultation Report form will be used to record the topics discussed in the conference.

By Dr. Alice L. Trupe, updated Aug. 27, 2003.

Return to the Writing Center homepage or get acquainted with the Writing Center Staff.

Bridgewater College