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The Writing Center

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Who are the writing tutors? 

The WC tutors are Graduate Teaching Assistants in the Department of English's Master’s and Doctoral programs. 

How do I make an appointment?

There are three ways to schedule your appointment with the Writing Center.

  1. Schedule online by logging in to tutor.odu.edu.
  2. Call us during normal operating hours at 757.683.4013.
  3. Stop by our office in person, located in the Learning Commons at Perry Library.
How often can I come in for help? Students are limited to one appointment per week. Students are permitted, however, to schedule a series of once-a-week standing appointments for up to four weeks at a time.
I am a distance student. Can I meet with a tutor? Absolutely! The WC offers online tutoring to distance students through an Adobe Connect interface. For more information about distance tutorials, please click here.

Do you offer writing assistance for graduate students? 

Yes! We tutor undergraduate and graduate students alike. 

I'm not in Freshman Composition or any English classes. Can I still get help with my writing? 

Absolutely! The WC is available to all undergraduate and graduate students in all courses. 

Will you correct grammar in or proofread my paper? The WC is not a correction service; we will, instead, work with you on learning how to proofread your own papers including teaching you how to correct the grammatical errors that you typically make. You can't drop off a paper and pick it up corrected later.
How long do the tutorials last? Tutorial sessions generally last about 45 minutes. If you need to leave your appointment early, you should let your tutor know at the beginning of your tutorial session.
How early should I schedule my appointment? We advise that you schedule your appointment 3-5 days before you plan to come in for the tutorial. As the semester progresses and more papers are due, it becomes harder to schedule appointments at a desired time.

If I walk in without an appointment, can I get help?

All tutorials are made by appointment. However, if there is not a tutorial scheduled or if there is a sudden cancellation, we will accommodate drop-in appointments. You are more likely to get a drop-in appointment during the first couple of weeks of the semester than the last couple of weeks. It is always better to schedule a guaranteed tutorial. We hate to turn students away; please call and make an appointment in advance.

What is the Writing Lab? 

The Writing Lab is the WC’s bank of eight desktop computers open to all students working on writing assignments. The Writing Lab serves as a workshop space for students who have quick writing questions as they work and who desire only occasional access to a tutor or cannot schedule a one-on-one appointment. Writing Lab students are served by the desk tutor, who also mans WC reception. Typical questions for the desk tutor involve small-scale dilemmas with grammar, mechanics, and/or citation. We ask that all Writing Lab students sign in at the reception desk with their university identification number (UIN). 

What do I need to bring? Always bring your assignment sheet/description (if the professor provided one), any notes, outlines, or drafts that you have written, and a writing instrument with which to take notes.

Will you print my paper at the WC?

No; we will not print students' papers. You will need to print any hard copies before you arrive for your appointment.

Can I bring my laptop and we look at my paper on the screen? Yes; you can bring your paper on a flash drive or your own laptop; this will allow you to revise during the tutorial.
I haven't written anything, but I have research. Can you help me with organization and getting started? Yes; we are available to help you in any stage of the writing process.
I haven't written anything because I'm not sure what my professor wants for the assignment. Can you help me get started? We can try to help you interpret the assignment and get started. However, we also recommend asking your professor directly for clarification. Don't be afraid to see your professors during office hours or to send them a quick email.
Do you accept drop-off papers? No. Because the WC does not correct grammar and our tutorials are designed to promote individual proficiency/learning in writing, we do not accept drop-offs.

Can you tell me if this is a good paper or not?

No. Evaluation is a pleasure reserved for professors; however, we are here to encourage you to become better critics of your own writing.

I can't make it on time to my appointment! What should I do?

Not a problem! If you are late or need to cancel your appointment, please call the WC at 757-683-4013. If you are running late, we can hold your appointment time (provided that you have sufficient time remaining).

What happens if I miss my appointment? 

If you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, please call us as soon as possible so we can offer your slot to another student. If you are ten minutes late for your appointment and another student is waiting to be served, we will give your tutorial slot away – so please call us in advance! Likewise, if you miss three or more scheduled appointments with our office without informing us over the course of one semester, we are no longer able to serve you for the remainder of that semester. 

Can I schedule a group tutorial? 

Yes, we can provide assistance with collaborative papers. However, we are only at liberty to provide feedback on the writing of those group members present for the appointment.  

Are we the Writing Center that runs the Exit Exam of Writing Proficiency and Writing Sample Placement Test? No. The office of Academic Skills (formerly the Writing Center) in the Student Success Center administers both the Exit Exam and the Writing Sample Placement Test. However, we provide tutorial support for both exams. If you are preparing to take either exam and feel that you need help with your writing, the WC can help you with your concerns. The WC can also answer general questions about the format of the tests and discuss strategies for test taking. If you have questions about scores, test dates, exam topic areas, or any specific concerns about the writing exams, please contact Academic Skills through the Student Success Center at 757-683-3699.

Where do I have to go to sign up for an Exit Exam or Placement Test?

The Academic Skills Unit (formerly known as the Writing Center) administers and schedules the tests. They are located in the Student Success Center, which is on the 43rd Street side of the Perry Library.

I have taken the Exit Exam or Placement Test before and need help passing. Can you help me review my essay?

Yes! The Writing Center is the only service on campus that can obtain a physical copy of your writing tests for tutorial purposes. In order to schedule an appointment to obtain tutorial help on your specific test results, you must have first scheduled your follow-up appointment with the Academic Skills Unit to discuss the test results. If you haven't already done so, you should call the Academic Skills Unit at 757-683-3699. After that appointment, you are free to schedule an appointment with the WC for tutorial help. It typically takes 2-3 days for the WC to obtain a copy of your test, so plan ahead!

I am not an ODU student. Can I still make an appointment with the Writing Center? Unless your academic institution is already in a documented partnership with ODU, the Writing Center is unable to serve you. At this time, the Writing Center only serves the students and faculty of the ODU community.

Exit Exam

Some important changes have been made to the University Writing Program Requirement. This change affects undergraduates who are already enrolled at Old Dominion and who are following degree requirements in the 2011-12 Undergraduate Catalog and previous catalogs. Note: While the University Writing Requirement has changed, it is still a requirement for graduation.

As a student who entered Old Dominion before fall 2012, you NOW have theoption to meet the University Writing Program Requirement in two ways:

1)      Pass the Exit Examination of Writing Proficiency


2)      Pass ENGL 110C or 126C or its transfer equivalency with a grade of C (2.0) or better AND pass ENGL 111C or 127C or 211C or 221C or 131C or 231C (or their transfer equivalency) with a grade of C (2.0) or better AND pass the Writing Intensive (W) course (s) required by your major with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

If you have questions about the new writing program requirement, please contact your graduation specialist in the Registrar's Office based on the College of your major:

Todd Marville:  College of Arts and Letters and College of Education, 683-5452
Natrina Brooks: College of Engineering and College of Sciences, 683-4436
LaToya McLean: College of Health Sciences and College of Business 683-3629

A note on the writing intensive course/s, the course/s must be taken at ODU and be a total of 3 credit hours. Students in the 2012-13 and subsequent catalogs must meet the new writing requirement, and the exit examination of writing proficiency will not be an option.