February 2014
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What does a McDaniel writing tutor do?

As a peer writing tutor at McDaniel’s writing center, I have one of the best jobs a student can have on campus. For six (nonconsecutive) hours per week, I get to work with McDaniel students from a variety of backgrounds and majors to work with them to improve their writing. The students I help are both undergraduate students (“typical” college students) and even graduate students (people seeking master’s degrees at McDaniel), and the things I help them with include essay revisions, brainstorming, PowerPoints, resumes, personal statements, scholarship applications, and more.

Basically, any McDaniel student can bring any piece of writing whether or not it’s for a class to the writing center, and for one hour, the tutor the student signs up to work with will work with that student on whatever he or she wants. Instead of merely correcting and editing students’ work, tutors make sure to engage students in writing and discussion during these hour-long sessions. Tutors also work on teaching students strategies they can use in future writing assignments–strategies such as how to write a great conclusion or even something small like how to use commas well.

When we’re not tutoring students, McDaniel writing tutors find plenty of ways to keep busy during our shifts. Each month, we make and distribute new posters to advertise the writing center, and students and professors across campus really look forward to our new posters. When the weather is nice, we also go outside with sidewalk chalk to create drawings and fun messages to attract people to the writing center, and when the weather isn’t so nice, we decorate the chalk board in our office and the white board outside of it. Last semester, I drew a writing center-themed Doge on our white board, and people LOVED it.


Other things we tutors do around the writing center include posting and scheduling tweets, writing fun blog posts, and planning events outside of the writing center. Some events we’ve done in the past have included life-sized Bananagrams, Valentine’s Day activities, and sponsoring a raffle to benefit McDaniel’s annual Relay for Life. We’re also planning to help out with a couple of nights of study sessions in first year dorms and to hold a six-week writing program for middle school students at the local Boys and Girls Club. McDaniel writing tutors certainly keep busy!

If you happen to get to tour McDaniel, you’ll get to see what our writing center looks like. Be sure to wave hello to us–we love to see tour groups! In the meantime, you can some helpful writing resources here to help make your high school writing assignments better as you begin to hone your writing skills for college.

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