Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who can use the Writing Lab?

A: We work with everyone in the University, from freshman students to graduate students. All students are encouraged to use the Writing Lab no matter what stage of the writing process they are at. Students are welcome to bring papers from any course, as well as personal statements, resumes and cover letters, and other documents. Sessions for developing reading, test-taking, and test prep strategies are also available.

Q: What types of tutoring sessions are available?

A: Face to face tutoring in the Writing Lab is the most effective type of session. However, the Writing Lab knows sometimes it is not possible to get here. We also offer Online Writing Lab (OWL) sessions via e-mail sessions (See “Online Writing Lab (OWL) E-Mail Tutoring” for specific policies.)

Q: How does a tutoring session work?

A: A tutoring session could be to explore an assignment, to generate a thesis, to structure an outline, or to revise the current draft. A student works together with a tutor to determine the priority for the session and the tutor then facilitates suggestions through questioning and discussion of the paper.

Q: Why can't you just fix my paper for me?

A: The Writing Lab does not write or fix your paper to make it superior; there is no “grade guarantee.” The tutors strive to help you identify areas in the paper that would benefit from revisions. It is then up to you to make those revisions. The best results happen when the student is actively involved in the session, asking questions, brainstorming ideas, and writing the information down to use independently when revising the draft after the session. The tutor will work with you, using the assignment, to help you get the academic support you need.


Q: Does the tutor get to decide what we work on?

A: The student decides the focus of the session. However, should the tutor see a problem you have not identified as a concern, s/he will ask if you would like to work on that issue instead. You do make the final decision on the focus of the session.


Q: What do I need to bring to my session?

A: Bring a draft of your paper if you have one, or notes and ideas if you are just beginning the assignment. You'll also need the assignment and any texts, readings, handouts, or class notes that might help.


Q: My professor required me to come to the Writing Lab. How can I prove I was here?

A: All appointments, whether face-to-face or online, are scheduled through TutorTrac. At the end of the appointment, the session is marked as attended, including the length of the session. During this process, notes to the professor are created and an e-mail will be sent regarding the session.

PLEASE NOTE: Notes to professors can only include what the session covered. If a student comes unprepared to the session or chooses not to actively participate, the notes will reflect this.

Q: Can I come in every day?

A: The Writing Lab appointment polices are as follows:

  1. Students may have up to 4 (FOUR) sessions per paper.
  2. Students who are more than 10 minutes late to an appointment will be marked as “student no-show.” Once a student has accumulated two no-shows (or cancellations) the student will have to speak with the Assistant Director to schedule future appointments.
  3. Students may only be seen ONCE per day per course.
  4. Students may not schedule back-to-back appointments for a paper.
  5. Appointment sessions last 50 minutes. 
  6. Students who miss three appointments will lose their tutoring privileges for the remainder of the semester. If you call in advance to cancel your appointment, you will not be considered a "no-show," and the cancelled appointment will not count toward your "three missed sessions" total.
  7. Students may be tutored on their own work only. We cannot review a paper on behalf of someone else.
  8. Students may make "walk-in" appointments based upon availability.

Q: How do I access your services?

A: Rider University students can schedule an appointment in three different ways:

  • TutorTrac: Click on this link to schedule your appointment using our online scheduling program.
  • Telephone: Call ahead (preferably at least one day in advance) 609-895-5640. 
  • In person: You can also stop by the Writing Lab in BLC 237 to schedule your appointment.

Q: Can I apply to become a Student Writing Tutor?

A: Student Writing Tutors must complete ENG 316, Theories of Writing and Tutoring, a three credit course, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Based on the recommendations of the course instructor, students are invited to interview with the Student Success Center.