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Writing Center: FAQ


This page answers frequently asked questions about the Writing Center itself.

If you need quick answers regarding your writing, check out our resources page for help with APA, MLA, Microsoft Word, and more!

Have more questions?

Visit us in The Writing Center
(Whitten Student Center, Room 118)

Or email our director,
Laurel DiGangi, at
or call her at 818-252-5216

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is a place where students can get free, one-on-one help with their writing projects from a trained student tutor. Tutors help both with papers and presentations for classes as well as other professional writing, for example, resumes and application letters. 
Where is the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is in the Whitten Student Center, Room W118.
What are the Writing Center hours?
Writing Center hours vary slightly by semester.  See the Writing Center home page for current information.
Who uses the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is available to all Woodbury undergraduate and graduate students on both our Burbank and San Diego campuses. Although we only have in-person tutors in Burbank, we encourage our San Diego students to take advantage of our online tutorials. Students do not need a referral to use this service.
Do I have to pay for a tutorial?
No, tutorials are free.
How long are tutorials?
In-person tutorials are 30 minutes long. However, students who need to spend more time with a tutor can schedule up to 3 appointments in a row, for a total of 90 minutes maximum. 
Do I have to schedule an appointment?
Students must schedule virtual appointments but you have up until 15 minutes before the start time to schedule. (We prefer you schedule them sooner so that our tutors have time to prepare, but we understand that sometimes you need to schedule at the last minute.)  
When in-person tutorials are available, we welcome walk-ins. However, sometimes all our tutors will be busy working with other students and are unavailable to immediately assist you. Therefore, we recommend that you schedule an appointment. This is the best way to fit a tutorial into your busy schedule and be able to see a specific tutor that you prefer. 
How do I schedule an appointment?
You can easily schedule an appointment on The Writing Center website.  See "How to make an appointment" for further instructions. You may contact if you have any problems. When campus is open, feel free to visit the Writing Center and have a tutor walk you through the process (if one is available and not helping another student).
What kind of assignments can I bring? Can I bring in things that are not for a class?
You can bring in (or upload, for virtual appointments) any piece of writing, even if it is not for a class.
What do I need to bring with me?
You should bring in (or upload, for virtual appointments) everything related to the writing project, including the assignment, written drafts, readings, outlines, and previous feedback. 
I haven’t started writing yet, but I need help with ideas. Can I still get help?
Yes! We can help you at all stages of your writing, including brainstorming ideas at the beginning and polishing at the end. You do not have to bring in (or upload, for virtual assignments) anything if you don't need to. 
English is not my first language. Can you still help me?
Yes! Our tutors have received training and have much experience working with students whose first language is not English. You may also consider scheduling an appointment with Prof. Laila Dahan, our ESL specialist, who is also on the schedule. You would make an appointment with her in the same way as you would with a student-tutor. Although she is not a student tutor, she has special expertise to help students whose first language is not English. 
What happens during a tutoring session?
During a typical tutorial, you and a tutor will discuss the writing assignment and talk about what your goals are for that session. These goals could be anything from help with understanding the assignment and brainstorming to offering feedback on a final draft. Tutors are trained to help you achieve your goals through a collaborative dialogue. Near the end of tutoring sessions, you should clearly understand what their next step in the writing  project will be. Afterwards, you will be asked if you have time to take a brief survey.
I have a busy schedule. Is there a way I can submit a paper and get it sent back to me with a tutor's comments.
YES! The Writing Center also offers a "written feedback" option.  Simply visit our "written feedback option" at the left of our home page and follow the prompts. You will receive an email with online feedback within 24 hours. Please make sure you submit your essay as a Word or PowerPoint document, or else we cannot provide feedback. If  you have a project that is more than 10 pages long, please submit it as two or more separate documents no longer than 10 pages each. This will ensure that you get your project returned within 24 hours.
Note: With our "written feedback" option, tutors are limited in the type of help they can provide to students because they cannot have a real conversation. Sometimes tutors cannot understand the writer's meaning, particularly if the student is a beginning writer, or a writer cannot understand a tutor's written comments. This is why we recommend in-person or virtual tutorials for beginning writers.
Are there any limits to how many in-person appointment I can make? 
You may have a maximum of three appointments per day. These may be at different times of the day or can be back-to-back. They may be for the same writing project, or different writing projects.  There is no limit to the number of appointments you may make in a semester.
Who are the Writing Center tutors, and how are they selected?
Our tutors come from all schools at the University and are as diverse as the student body. They are outstanding student writers themselves and are selected for their writing and interpersonal skills. After being hired, tutors go through a rigorous training and receive ongoing training every semester they work. Meet the tutors here!
Will Writing Center tutors edit my writing for me and correct all the errors?
Not exactly. Writing Center tutors will point out some grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary errors to you, especially if they are recurring; their goal is to train you to catch these errors on your own. They cannot catch all your errors, because they are trained to be collaborators and tutors, not editors. In addition, they are trained to consider the "big picture" before honing in on details like grammar and punctuation. They understand that your instructors care about these "big picture" issues such as whether your essay follows the assignment's directions, has good supporting evidence, is well organized, has a strong thesis, is clear and focused, and is properly citing the words and ideas of others.
My instructor is requiring me to visit the Writing Center. How will my instructor know that I have?
Mention to your tutor that you would like a copy of the “Tutorial Report” sent to your instructor. Make sure you have your instructor's email with you (usually on his or her syllabus). The tutor will then send the report to your instructor's email.
Will my instructor know if I visited the Writing Center?
Only if you specifically ask the tutor to send a "Tutorial Report" to your instructor (see above). Otherwise, we do not contact individual instructors and share this information. 

Contact Us

Whitten Center Room 118 | 818.252.5232 | Laurel DiGangi, Director of the Writing Center