FAQ

What is a Writing Center appointment?

A Writing Center appointment is an opportunity for current HGSE students to meet with an advanced doctoral student to gain the skills needed to respond effectively to assignments, organize papers, manage research projects, and improve their writing. You can bring ideas, notes, parts of papers, drafts, and even final drafts. You do not need to have finished your assignment or have started writing your paper to make an appointment; you can meet with us at any stage of your writing process. Please bring a copy of the relevant assignment so that we can better help you.

 

How do I make an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, click the "Writing Center: Make an Appointment" button under "Individual Student Support".  You will be sent a confirmation email after registering.

 

How do I cancel appointment?

If you need to cancel an appointment, please send an email to the teaching fellow with whom you scheduled an appointment.

Where are the Writing Center offices located?

All appointments are currently offered virtually through Zoom. Your TF will be in touch with the relevant meeting information.

How should I prepare for my appointment? 

To make the most of the session, you should come with focused questions and be able to describe the specific goals you hope to achieve in working with a teaching fellow. Please also bring a copy of the assignment.

Who uses Writing Center services? 

Both master's and doctoral students are welcome to make an appointment for a writing consultation. We are here for writers of all abilities. Some students are less experienced writers, who have never felt comfortable expressing their ideas in writing. Others are international students, for whom English is a second language. Still others are professionals, returning to academic writing after years away from school. In addition, many students use our services because they have learned the importance of getting feedback from trusted colleagues and peers. 

How long does an appointment last? 

A writing appointment typically lasts about 30 or 45 minutes, or up to 60 minutes for doctoral students. Although the time frame may not seem like long, we can get a lot accomplished during that period. You will get feedback about whether your paper reads well, has a logical argument, and uses academic styles correctly.  

How often can I meet with a Writing Center TF?

Students are limited to one appointment per week; or, at most, two appointments for two assignments. Students may set up a series of appointments over a few weeks or even months, particularly if they are writing a long paper or research proposal. 

What happens during an appointment? 

Our goal is to help you become a better writer. We will tailor the consultation to your particular needs. Sometimes students just need a quick read of a paper to make sure they are on target and that the paper makes sense. We support you in articulating your own thoughts and ideas while paying attention to larger issues such as argumentation, readability, and academic style. For this reason, consultations are highly interactive.

What can an appointment NOT help me with?

The Writing Center TF cannot help you with questions about the content of your courses. You should contact your professors and course teaching fellows about paper topics, grade expectations, and specific questions about an assignment. The Writing Center TF does not do line-by-line editing, assist with building a resume, review job or education applications. Questions of grammar are also outside the scope of the Writing Center's work.

How does HGSE define academic integrity?

All work submitted to meet course requirements is expected to be the student’s own. In the preparation of all papers and other written work submitted to meet course and degree requirements, a student must be careful to distinguish between ideas that are his or her own and those that have been derived from other sources. Information and opinions drawn from all sources are to be attributed specifically to these sources. It is the student’s responsibility to learn and use the proper forms of citation. Quotations must be properly placed within quotation marks and must be fully cited. All paraphrased material must also be fully cited. In all cases where ideas or material presented are derived from a student’s reading and research, the source used must be indicated. Students who submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to the original source, for whatever reason, face sanctions up to and including dismissal and expulsion. 

Students occasionally work with others or receive assistance in various aspects of their course work. Students should be very clear about how they are working with others and what types ofassistance, if any, they are receiving. Students should disclose to their professors any plans for outside professional assistance on editing, statistical work, or other matters central to completing their work. The student's professor will approve those kinds and levels of assistance that support, rather than supplant, the student's research, writing and learning. If assistance was approved, the student must specify what sort of assistance they received and from whom on the paper in question, upon submission. The goal of this oversight is to preserve the status of the work as the student's own genuine intellectual product. Students should remember that the Gutman Library Academic Writing and Research Services is available to assist them with assessing and editing their own work. This assistance has been sanctioned by HGSE. 

What is a Writing Center appointment?

A Writing Center appointment is an opportunity for current HGSE students to meet with an advanced doctoral student to gain the skills needed to respond effectively to assignments, organize papers, manage research projects, and improve their writing.  

What types of assignments can students receive help on?

Students can receive help with any type of writing assignment including, but not limited to, research papers, policy memos, case studies, literature reviews, and reflective essays. 

What can an appointment NOT help students with?

TFs cannot assist students with the content of a particular course. TFs do not do line-by-line editing. TFs also do not provide support related to professional application materials. 

Can I refer students the Writing Center?

Yes, you can encourage individual students or all students in your course to make appointments. 

How can I promote Writing Center offerings in my coures?

You can encourage students to make appointments. You can share information on our writing webinars (see "Resources") and distribute our webinar and other resource materials to your students.  

Who do I contact if I have questions and/or suggestions?

You can email Ning Zou, Associate Director for Student Academic Services & Learning Design, ning_zou@gse.harvard.edu