Writing Center Interview

Nicholas DeBlasio




On Tuesday, September 20th, I interviewed Kevin Wang, a tutor in the Skidmore Writing Center. I asked Kevin a significant amount of questions on the basis of how students should use the Writing Center services. This paper will include some of the feedback I received from Kevin.

To start off the interview, I asked Kevin, how a student should use a campus writing center? He immediately explained the general procedures to actually make an appointment online, which are to login into your Skidmore profile, click on the ‘make an appointment online’ square and find an available time slot with a desired tutor. He explained that the appointment should be made 72 hours in advance and the student should be well prepared. Kevin went on to say that the student should have some type of prompt, a set of guidelines, and a draft written. He pointed out that the Writing Center is not for students to simply hand over papers and expect them edited within the hour. Kevin describes the Writing Center as a way to discuss ideas, structure, and content with Skidmore students.

Some other questions I had for Kevin were: How often do you think a Skidmore student should use the writing center? How far into their papers should a student be to gain maximum benefits from the Writing Center? Kevin responded, “at least six times a semester,” to point out the average amount of essays a student might receive in a single term. Kevin answered the next question by telling me that a student could be anywhere in their paper and still receive a great amount of feedback from their tutor. Another question I asked Kevin: Have you ever been in a situation where you could not help a student with a paper due to the lack of the material? His answer: No. As he went onto state, “I try to pry it out of them,” explaining the struggle of drawing out information from the students that don’t have as much to work with.

Finally, my last question to Kevin: What is the biggest take away for a student that is working with a writing center tutor? Kevin answered, “the writing center provides a second set of eyes,” to further explain the writing center as different perspective for the students. Often, students are so zoned into their essays that they do not realize other strains of ideas that a another person can see. Kevin tries to keep the students on track. Making sure they stay true to their points and ideas. Some side notes that Kevin gave me were to avoid making appointments 30 minutes before class, which he has seen before. He also mentioned the Writing Centers new program, Night Write, for first year students that allows individuals to work on papers with or without a Writing Center tutor. Kevin believes that owning your grammar, practice, and learning new words are essential to becoming a great writer.

To conclude our discussion, Kevin explained the qualifications to become a Writing Center Tutor. A student must be nominated by a faculty member and fulfill the EN303H course requirement. He mentioned that he would not recommend a student with a mathematic or science report to refer to the writing center for help. There might be some feedback, but rather going to a professor or an outside tutor might be more beneficial. Overall, my discussion with Kevin was very informative and I gained some knowledge on how to properly use the Writing Center.

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