Frequently Asked Questions
Student Writing Center (SWC) appointments have gone virtual, for now. We can still meet face-to-face – through Zoom – or connect by phone to discuss your academic writing assignments. If your schedule does not allow for a live conversation, we can offer written feedback through email.
Please only schedule one appointment per week, unless you have already contacted us about the need for writing support for a longer paper. We can sometimes offer follow-up appointments within the same week, but please check first by sending an email message to Eileen Cunniffe.
Please Note: This is the Student Writing Center at Jefferson's Center City Campus. We serve Center City and Abington students, as well as distance learners enrolled in Center City-based programs.
If you are a student at the East Falls Campus, make a writing appointment for that location by clicking here.
Appointments are offered either in-person on the Center City Campus, or virtually. In-person appointments take place on the 18th floor of the Edison Building (130 South 9th Street).
Our primary offerings are 30- and 60-minute tutoring sessions. In these sessions, you will work with your tutor to identify strengths and areas for development/improvement in your writing.
Book a 30-minute session for a paper up to three pages long. Book a 60-minute session for a paper up to 10 pages long. If you have a longer document, please contact Eileen.Cunniffe@Jefferson.edu to determine how we can best support you with one or more appointments.
Distance learners meet with writing tutors virtually. Center City-based students should indicate their preference for in-person or virtual sessions in the “Special Instructions” field when making an appointment. We will do our best to accommodate your preference. However, please note that some writing tutors are only available for virtual appointments, because they do not work on campus. If you request an in-person appointment with a tutor who can only meet virtually, we will let you know. All of our tutors have experience with Zoom, and we have had good results with virtual appointments.
All appointments, whether in-person or virtual, include written feedback, if we receive your draft at least 2 hours in advance.
Virtual appointments are generally done through Zoom, although if a phone conversation is more convenient, just let us know. If your schedule does not allow for a live conversation, we can offer written feedback through email. You do need to book an appointment with a tutor even for email feedback, to ensure we budget time to review your paper. Add a note in the “Special Instructions” field if you are requesting written feedback only.
To make the most of a virtual appointment – a Zoom meeting or phone conversation – plan to send your draft assignment to the writing tutor at least 2 hours before your scheduled session. Be sure to include the guidelines/rubric, as well as 1-3 specific questions or concerns you would like the tutor to focus on. If we receive the materials in advance, we will send an annotated document to you shortly before the appointment. Then at the scheduled time, we can review the notes together and work through your priority questions.
Please be sure to send your draft assignment for review as a Word document in an attachment, not as a PDF or through a link to a shared drive.
Although we find the best approach is to offer feedback through a live conversation, we realize some students have work/class schedules or clinical rotations that make this challenging. If we can't find a time to talk by phone or through Zoom, we can send you feedback by email. For written feedback, you need to send your materials no later than the start of the scheduled appointment time, and you can expect to hear from your tutor by the end of that time.
Jefferson distance learners and Abington students have been working with us through virtual appointments for some time. Since we switched to all-virtual appointments in March, our student writers and staff have found that virtual appointments work quite well, because tutors have already seen your draft assignments and are prepared with feedback when the session begins.
Our offices are in the Edison Building, at the corner of 9th & Sansom Streets, on the 18th floor. The entrance is on Sansom Street.
We currently are not in the office every day, so do not plan to visit our office at this time. Our appointments are virtual for now, but our services are available Monday through Friday. So the best approach is to reach out to Eileen Cunniffe with questions, or schedule an appointment using our online system.
Note: There is another writing center in Scott Memorial Library, on the 3rd floor, run by the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) – the Office for Professional Writing, Publishing & Communication
The Student Writing Center focuses on helping students with academic writing assignments for Jefferson courses; the Office for Professional Writing serves both faculty and students seeking publication.
Yes, the Edison Building is accessible (entrance on Sansom Street), and we can be reached by elevator.
Our writing tutors are a diverse and highly trained team of both full-time and part-time professional writing staff, and part-time peer tutors. All of our writing tutors have strong backgrounds in writing and experience with tutoring in a higher education setting.
Scheduling an Appointment
Yes, you do need to make an appointment in advance.
While you can schedule an appointment for the next day up until 11:59 p.m., we encourage you to plan ahead and not wait until the last minute. (Planning ahead also means allowing time to incorporate feedback from SWC staff and polish your draft before your assignment is due.)
We do not accept same-day appointments.
We are happy to work with students at any stage of the writing process. You do not need a complete draft to make an appointment. For example, we sometimes help with brainstorming or outlining strategies. Up to a point, we can help you understand assignment guidelines – in terms of the writing process. However, if you have specific questions about the assignment purpose or course requirements, those are best directed to faculty.
- Carefully review your guidelines and draft, and do your best to identify 1-3 specific questions or areas of focus.
- Send your draft, the assignment guidelines/rubric, and your questions to the tutor at least 2 hours before your scheduled appointment. (When possible, send these materials the night before.)
- Be ready to work. Your tutor will encourage you to jot down notes, will ask you questions, and may even ask you to do some writing or revising during your time together.
Scheduled appointments are set at 30 minutes or 60 minutes. Generally speaking, the length of your assignment will serve as a good rule of thumb regarding how much time you may need to spend with a tutor. Our office uses the following guidelines:
- 1-3 pages: 30 minutes
- 4-10 pages: 60 minutes
Please email Eileen Cunniffe if your paper is longer than 10 pages so that the Student Writing Center can best accommodate your needs.
What can I do if my writing project is longer than 10 pages? Can the Student Writing Center help me?
Yes! Please email Eileen Cunniffe to describe your project and your needs. We will discuss the number of appointments needed and appropriate intervals between appointments. We will also assign an appropriate tutor to work with you through all relevant appointments.
Please plan to focus on a specific part of the paper in each one-hour appointment.
- At the beginning of the session, you and your writing tutor will create an agenda for your time together that will help keep the session focused on your specific concerns.
- Together, you and your tutor will review the notes that were sent to you ahead of the appointment. You will have opportunities to revise some of your writing and to apply the concepts being discussed.
- Please understand that you will not leave your appointment with a finished draft, but rather with clear next steps for revising.
- When appropriate, your tutor will provide you with links to our website or to other academic writing resources.
We can provide advice on grammar, syntax, or mechanics; however, we will not correct your paper but will instead provide you with the information and tools to do so yourself.
Our goal is to provide you with the tools, strategies, and resources you need to become a better writer.
While we will provide feedback and resources, and answer questions about the use of a designated reference and citation style, we do not guarantee that we will identify all errors.
It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your formatting, citations, and references are correct.
While we will often refer to paper guidelines when offering questions, suggestions, or other feedback, we are unable to grade your paper or to assess the draft using the rubric.
Please note that we are informed readers and will provide feedback on, among other things, overall structure and organization, clarity, development, and support.
We can discuss strategies to help you understand an assignment's description, but we are not trained in your field and are unable to answer specific content questions – please ask your professor or check appropriate course materials.
- You will receive a confirmation email from Appointment Plus. Please review the appointment time and writing tutor's name.
- Carefully review your draft and identify 1-3 specific questions or areas of focus for the session.
- At least 2 hours before your scheduled appointment time, email your draft, your questions, and the guidelines/rubric to your writing tutor. (Note: If you have requested email feedback, it is not necessary to send the materials 2 hours in advance – just be sure the tutor receives them by the scheduled appointment time).
For virtual writing appointments, we are almost always able to read student papers in advance and make notes to guide our scheduled discussion. Occasionally, if we have high demand for writing appointments, our tutors may not have time to review an assignment in advance. However, as long as you are prepared with specific questions, we will still be able to address them during the session.
As a professional courtesy, we do ask that all students notify the Student Writing Center if they are unable to make a scheduled appointment time (barring emergency circumstances). This can be done by emailing Eileen Cunniffe.
Please note that in the event of a cancellation, we cannot guarantee a rescheduled appointment time will be available right away. We'll make every effort to accommodate your schedule, but during busy stretches, it make take a few days to find a new time.