One of the best things you can do during your college experience is to understand how to find and utilize help. It’s a great skill to learn for your future career. Getting help, including advice, guidance, and a perspective, isn’t cheating. Cheating is cheating: please don’t do that. Instead go with the perfectly legal help available to you.
OverviewWith no available exceptions, college and university tutoring and support services are available to all at no charge. While various campus groups such as varsity athletes have access to tutoring, that doesn’t take away from your access. You don’t have to do anything to receive this tutoring. You don’t have to have low grades or any other circumstance. Just show up. Now, you may need an appointment—according to the policies of the office offering a particular resource. But unless a resource has a statement to the contrary, they are available to all on a first-come/first-served basis (or by appointment).
General TutoringMany universities and colleges have large tutoring centers. These may group all tutoring together or may have various divisions for various subjects. Naturally, there is variation from institution to institution, but many tutoring centers are staffed by undergraduates, graduate students, and their professional support staff. Of course, whatever level the person is on, he or she tutors only in an area in which he or she has demonstrated expertise. At most institutions, undergraduate students must have very high grade point averages and demonstrated skill in a particular area to qualify as tutors.
Subject-specific tutoringSometimes tutoring specific to one particular area is housed apart from the general tutoring center. In some cases it is sponsored by individual departments and housed in them. One might begin by looking at the department’s web site or by contacting the department secretary/administrative assistant to find out if the department has tutoring. If not, go to the university or college’s web site and either perform a search in the available search box or go to a tab such as “resources,” “students” “academics,” etc.
Writing CenterAlmost all universities and colleges now have writing centers. Most of these are very easy to find on the web, with their own web pages. Writing centers are tutoring centers expressly for your writing projects. You can utilize the tutoring assistance from these centers for papers (and even presentations, since these include language) in any class, not just English. Here are some of the functions of the writing center:
- Helping students brainstorm and develop topics. Students should bring the assignment with them.
- Helping students analyze texts for papers that analyze these texts. Not all writing centers will do this, since some may feel such a service runs too much a risk of doing too much of a student’s work. However, many writing centers have staff members who will dialogue with students, helping them to develop their ideas while not spoon-feeding them or generating ideas for them.
- Giving students assistance with grammar and syntax. A staple of writing centers is working with students at various levels who have problems with basic grammar.
- Proofreading and editing. Writing center staff usually devotes a percentage of its energies and time to helping with the meticulous task of proofreading a paper and trying to rid it of small mistakes.