The ERC is located in the Center for Student Services at 100 Bay State Road. For traditional and ESL Writing Skills appointments, please report to the fifth floor of the Center for Student Services prior to the start time of your appointment. Your confirmation email will include the room number you need to report to. Click here for the location of Drop-In Appointments.
You will meet one-on-one with a Writing Fellow for up to 45 minutes (for a traditional appointment) or up to 30 minutes (for an ESL Writing Skills appointment). Drop-In appointments vary, but can last up to 20 minutes.
Laptops are permitted, but meetings are generally most effective when you bring a printed, double-spaced copy of the writing piece you’d like to work on, as well as a copy of the assignment sheet. It is also often helpful to bring your class syllabus, application form/essay prompts, outline/notes (especially if your draft is still rough), professor’s comments, and/or previous assignments (especially if you hope to identify recurring patterns of issues in your writing).
You do. Your appointment will be a judgment-free space for you to ask any and all questions. You will also be challenged to work through your writing process with the guidance of your Writing Fellow. We will talk with you about your writing and what you’re trying to accomplish, ask about the problems that you’re already aware of, read through your composition with you, and present our feedback on how you might resolve your concerns and improve your own work. We will respond to any issues you have identified and offer insights based on our experience. You tell us what you hope to accomplish during your appointment, and we’ll do our best to help.
It’s okay if you haven’t written anything yet, or what you have is not as polished as you’d like. The Writing Fellow can help you with all stages of the writing process: time management and organization, brainstorming, confusion over the reading or prompts, outlining, thesis formulation, building an effective argument, drafting, presenting and integrating evidence/quotations, revising, style and voice, patterns of error at the sentence level, citations/avoiding plagiarism, and techniques for editing and self-proofreading.
Traditional appointments tend to focus on the writing process, while ESL Writing Skills usually have an intensive focus on foundational issues of language and academic writing. Just as with a traditional appointment, the ESL Writing Fellow will not fix your grammar for you (please don’t expect to walk out with an error-free paper). Instead, we will focus on skill development. For example, we will try to help you identify and self-correct grammar errors such as agreement, tense, word forms, and articles and prepositions; we can also help with common ESL issues such as word choice/vocabulary expansion, punctuation, sentence structure/syntax, citations/avoiding plagiarism, and critical reading for comprehension, engagement, and analysis.
Please note that native speakers and non-native speakers alike are welcome to use all three kinds of appointments!
Writing Fellows will not help you with a take-home exam without written permission from your instructor. Check your assignment sheet to see if your professor allows you to seek assistance. If it says that help is permitted, bring the assignment sheet with you and show it to the Writing Fellow. If it doesn’t say anything, ask your professor if it’s okay to take your exam to Writing Assistance. If your professor says yes, ask him or her to e-mail us at email@example.com to let us know before you make your appointment. Otherwise, we will not be able to assist you.
Please note that our Writing Fellows will NOT do the following:
If you have signed up for a Writing Assistance appointment and later realize you are not able to attend, you must cancel your appointment. You can then book a new appointment.
To cancel an appointment, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours prior to the start of your scheduled appointment. Include the word “cancel” in the subject heading and tell us your name and the date and time of your appointment. If you cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, we appreciate the notification, but you will still be marked as Missed. As long as you cancel at least 24 hours prior to the start of the scheduled Writing Assistance appointment, you will not be marked as Missed.
Missed means that you did not attend an appointment as scheduled (either you did not come to the appointment, or you were more than 15 minutes late). It is the policy of the ERC that once you have two Missed appointments, you will be unable to make or attend any future appointments until you have come to the office and spoken with one of the ERC’s professional staff about your attendance. If you feel you have received a Missed notification in error, please see the next question.
If you feel you have received a Missed appointment notification in error, or if you have any questions regarding Missed appointment emails, please email email@example.com.
Your Missed appointments only count against you for the current semester; all Missed appointment records are reset to zero once the new semester begins.
Instructions to schedule a Writing Assistance appointment.
Shortly after you have scheduled your appointment, you will receive a confirmation email from the ERC that will contain the following information:
You will also know you have scheduled your appointment correctly if you refresh your home screen in TutorTrac and see Upcoming Appointments.
You can have one appointment of each kind in a week (which means that you can schedule your next appointment on the seventh day after your first appointment). You may schedule nine appointments of each kind per semester.
The Writing Assistance program can work with these students through our Online Writing Support service.
Alumni are encouraged to use ERC Writing Assistance. Alumni graduating in 2011 or later can simply use their BU IDs and Kerberos passwords to log on. If you graduated prior to 2011, please use the Writing Assistance Special Request Form to request a TutorTrac login. You will receive an email when your account is set up.
You might want to try Drop-In Writing Assistance hours (click for dates and times). Additionally, if you have not hit your appointment limit, try waiting for a day or so and then re-checking TutorTrac for appointments; sometimes new availabilities open up.
If you have exhausted these options, you may use the Writing Assistance Special Request Form to request that an appointment be made available to you. You should receive a reply within two business days. We cannot guarantee your request will be met, but we will make every attempt to help you.
The usual structure of a Writing Assistance appointment is one-on-one, but we may allow group projects under special circumstances. Please use the Writing Assistance Special Request Form to request a group appointment. Please note the following restrictions:
ERC Writing Fellows are graduate students with a strong background in effective writing who offer writing advice and troubleshooting strategies for your projects.
To understand the reasons behind why our Writing Fellows do not proofread, you should understand the difference between proofreading and revision.
The goal of Writing Assistance is not to fix your paper; it is to help you become a better writer. Thus, Writing Fellows will offer advice about revision and strategies for self-proofing so that writers learn what sorts of problems to look for in future papers and discover strategies to correct or avoid them.
We are not content experts, but we can usually offer some sort of assistance with any type of academic writing, and we serve all BU students, staff, faculty, and alumni. We commonly assist with research papers, thesis-driven essays, personal statements, graduate theses, and application essays. If you are concerned about an unusual project, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Writing Fellows are not specifically trained to review career-related documents such as resumes and cover letters. We strongly recommend that students visit the Center for Career Development for assistance with these documents. However, we can help you with your application essay.
If you’re trying to log into TutorTrac and it is slow to respond, please be patient and take a look at your web-browser’s progress icon. If it is loading, it might take a few extra seconds. If you still can’t log in, please email email@example.com or stop at the front desk and the ERC Student Desk Assistants will assist you.
Please explore the following options to discover the resources that will best meet your academic needs. You may also wish to look at our Online Writing Resources page. If you have any questions, or you would like help determining which resource will be a good fit for you, please make an appointment with one of our professional staff members.