Writing Center FAQs

Writing Center

What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center offers academic support to any Brookdale student enrolled in any Brookdale course that requires writing. It is staffed by professional writing consultants, many of whom teach English classes. An integral part of ENGL-095, the Writing Center helps with essays and research papers from every academic discipline, including business, communications, history, nursing, and political science. Writing consultants also provide assistance with resumes and college admissions essays. In addition to the main tutoring room, the Writing Center houses a Computer Lab where students may work on their writing and print up to two copies of English papers without charge. Other types of printing are prohibited.

Who uses the Writing Center?

Writing Center users, all current Brookdale students, are as diverse as Brookdale’s population. They include the returning adult, the international student, and the recent high school graduate. Writing consultants meet with students who have basic skills, advanced skills, and everything in between.

How does it work?

Students can meet with a writing consultant in a half-hour face-to-face appointment or a one-hour on-line appointment. They schedule these appointments on-line through TutorTrac. Students without appointments may attempt to drop-in. Drop-in appointments are taken on a first-come, first-served basis and are not guaranteed. Students with scheduled appointments must arrive on time, as appointments are forfeited after five minutes. Students may use the Computer Lab without an appointment.

What happens during an appointment?

Students come to the Writing Center at various stages of the writing process. Some want help before beginning an assignment, while others want feedback on an early draft or help once an assignment is returned. Appointments usually take place at a table, though sometimes a consultant and student may work in the Computer Lab. Each appointment focuses on one or two main concerns with a student’s paper. Most appointments deal with higher order concerns such as focus, development, and organization, unless an instructor specifically notes otherwise. Lower order concerns such as grammar, usage, and mechanics are tackled once these higher order areas are addressed.

During a Writing Center appointment, students are often asked to read their papers aloud so they can hear their work. Writing consultants often ask open-ended questions that help students evaluate their writing processes and the work before them. Depending upon the appointment, students may take notes, cross out, write in the margins, or even do a little independent writing. Some students find they need additional appointments to achieve their goals for the paper. Students may not always leave their appointments with perfect papers, but they will leave knowing what to do next.

 

What writing consultants do

Writing consultants work as facilitators, rather than editors. Their goal is to help students become better writers, not to create perfect papers. During an appointment, the writing remains in front of the student, since the student is the one who needs to look at the work. If a student doesn’t understand a concept or how to do something, the writing consultant may explain it, offer some examples or models, and provide practice within the context of the student’s actual writing.

What writing consultants do not do

Writing consultants do not edit, mark up or write on students’ papers.

 

How do I schedule an appointment?

Instructions on how to schedule appointments and links to TutorTrac are available in the Make an Appointment section.

How should I prepare for an appointment?

Students with scheduled appointments should arrange to arrive a few minutes before their start time. Those with scheduled appointments take a seat on the couch, while drop-in students must first sign the clipboard indicating their class and time of arrival. In order to make the most use of the appointment time, students should have their ID numbers ready and their cell phones turned off. Any assignment instructions, previous drafts, instructor comments, or relevant research should be available to show the writing consultant.

What if I need more than a half hour?

Depending upon the volume in the Writing Center and the schedule of the student and writing consultant, sometimes an appointment may continue beyond the scheduled half-hour time slot. Often, however, the student will need to schedule additional Writing Center appointments with the same or a different consultant. Occasionally, a writing consultant will schedule a longer appointment for a student he or she works with on a regular basis or for a student whose specific writing issues require additional time.

Can I schedule an appointment with a specific writing consultant?

TutorTrac appointment scheduling software does not book appointments with specific writing consultants. Students who wish to work with the same tutor again can arrange this in person with the writing consultant. This can be a good idea for papers that require several appointments, for students who feel more comfortable with a particular consultant, or for students who would like consistency throughout the semester.

How will my instructor know I had an appointment?

At the end of each appointment, the writing consultant will complete and sign a Writing Center Appointment record. This small slip of paper will indicate the writing issues worked on during the appointment, what the student will do next, and what follow-up appointments are recommended. Some instructors ask students to staple these slips to the draft of the paper that was worked on in the Writing Center, while others may ask for the slip alone. Students should consult with their instructors. In addition, instructors receive printed reports verifying the number and duration of student appointments.

What should I do if I cannot attend my appointment?

If students are unable to attend their Writing Center appointments, they must cancel them promptly. To do this, students access TutorTrac and click the x next to the upcoming appointment they wish to cancel. Students without access to a computer should call the Writing Center at 732-224-2941 to cancel their appointment. Students who miss two scheduled appointments in a semester without canceling are prevented from accessing TutorTrac for one month and are limited to drop-in appointments.

Why am I unable to access TutorTrac?

1. You may have two or more missed appointments. Students who miss two scheduled Writing Center appointments without canceling are prevented from accessing TutorTrac for one month and are limited to drop-in appointments.

2. The Brookdale Portal may be down. Should this happen, you can still access TutorTrac by clicking on the Make an Appointment link on the Writing Center home page. You can then sign onto TutorTrac by using your Portal NetID and password.

How do I get off the banned list?

TutorTrac access is automatically reinstated at the end of one month. Students who think they are on the banned list in error should contact the Writing Center at 732-224-2941.

May I bring a laptop to my appointment?

Students may bring a laptop to the appointment, but should be prepared to print out a copy of the paper if necessary. This permits the student and writing consultant to see the entire piece at once and makes it easier for the kinds of note taking, scribbling, and highlighting that may occur during an appointment.