- How long is the writing session?
Writing sessions are either 50 or 30 minutes long. 50-minute sessions take place only from 10-10.50 am. 30-minute sessions run for the rest of the day and start on the hour and half hour (11, 11.30, 12 etc.). All sessions can be booked online, or you can just walk in and check if a tutor is free.
- How much does it cost and who is it for?
Our service is free, and we are open to all undegraduate and post-graduate UCD students.
- Do I need to make an appointment?
Not necessarily. We offer pre-booked and drop-in sessions. If you are around the Library and it's handy to walk by the Writing Centre and check if a tutor is free, we suggest you do this. Students who have short questions usually prefer to walk in. However, if you are only at UCD at certain times or you would like to make sure that you get a place, it's best to book online.
To get a drop-in session, come to the Writing Centre and check if a tutor is free. There is a 'daily sign-in sheet' on the desk by the door. If tutors are busy, please put your name on the sign-in sheet and either wait there or come back at a later time that day that you have 'reserved' on the sheet.
- How often can I come?
We suggest you don't book more than 5-6 sessions per semester. After that, you are welcome to use our 30-minute drop-in sessions. The reason for limited online booking is to make sure that all students have equal access to our service and a chance to book a place if they need to. Also, our aim is to help you become an independent writer. Writing is a process that requires a lot of reading, thinking, note-taking, planning, drafting, and re-drafting. After a writing session it is recommended that you revise and think about what has been covered, and you work on your writing skills for a week or two before you re-visit the Writing Centre.
- When is the best time to come?
Writing Centre is particularly busy in Weeks 5, 6 and 7 of Semester One, as well as during any pre-exam periods.
If you are a first-year student, we suggest you come as soon as possible, before you get your first assignment. We will tell you how to go about your first essay and will explain the differences between secondary school and college writing.
Writing Centre sessions are designed to make you think about your writing and to give you strategies for working on particular aspects of your writing. Therefore, we suggest you plan ahead and make an appointment well in advance of your deadline so you have enough time to revise, edit, or rewrite your paper. In our experience, the earlier you come (preferably when you are still in your planning/drafting stage), the more you take out of the session.
- Can I book a session with a specific tutor?
Sometimes students like to work with the same tutor. This is possible and you can either indicate this in your online booking form, or email us to let us know. However, since accommodating tutor requests disrupts our own timetable, we ask that you only make these requests once or twice. All our tutors are well-qualified and experienced, and it is sometimes helpful to work with a variety of tutors to get a better perspective on your writing.
- What can I expect in a writing session?
The session usually begins with the tutor asking you questions about your assignment and about the issues or concerns that you would like to be addressed. The tutor will be interested in the requirements of your subject and your lecturer/tutor's expectations, so please bring any guidelines/instructions that might be relevant. The tutor will then ask to read a piece of your writing and will probably ask more questions about your writing process and will comment along the way, usually by pointing out if a section is not clear enough, isn't analytical enough, could be phrased better, or generally might need more work. The tutor will not 'fix' these areas for you, but will discuss them with you and help you identify and improve the weaker points yourself.
30-minute sessions are quite short; if there are many areas that need work in your assignment, the tutor might focus only on the main ones during the session. They may suggest a longer session or another visit, and will usually recommend useful handouts or websites, as well as a course of action after the session.
If you haven't written anything yet but are unsure about the requirements of assignment writing in college, come anyway and the tutor will talk you through the writing process.
- Do I need to bring a hard copy of my writing?
We will read your work from your laptop (not from your phone or tablet) but we do prefer it if you bring a hard copy (or two copies, one for you and one for the tutor). This way it’s easier for us to read your paper and you can underline, highlight or write comments in the margins.
- How do I find out about your workshops?
Our workshops/seminars are advertised on our website and on Facebook/Twitter. You can always pop into the Writing Centre or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the upcoming seminars.
- Do I have to book a place in a workshop?
Yes. Some workshops are very popular and fill up pretty quickly. You can book a place on our website. Alternatively, you can come to the workshop and see if a place has opened up, but we cannot guarantee that you'll get a place.
- Do you offer small group teaching?
Yes, sometimes students who work on the same assignment wish to come as a small group (usually 4-6). This can be easily arranged but you need to email us beforehand.
- I’m not a native speaker. Can you help me with my English?
We are not qualified as English language teachers and we do not offer help with English as a foreign language. However, we will look at your writing with you and will try to identify issues that you might have with English, at the same time looking at the structure of your writing and possible lack of clarity due to language problems.
If you feel that you need help with English specifically, you should contact UCD Applied Language Centre at email@example.com
- Can you help me with grammar and word usage?
Yes. While we won’t do grammar exercises with you, we will help you identify recurrent grammar errors and will give you strategies to correct them. We will also direct you to grammar resources or other useful grammar and writing websites that might help you in your writing.
- Why can’t you proofread my essay?
We are simply not a proofreading service - rather, we aim to help you become a better writer. We believe you should take responsibility for all stages of your writing, from planning and drafting to editing and proofreading. Therefore, rather than proofread your essay for you, we would like you to take an active role and let us teach you how to edit and proofread yourself. Once you learn how to self-proofread effectively, you will be able to improve all your future assignments without our help.
- What if my writing is not a college assignment?
UCD Writing Centre is an Academic Writing Centre. We deal will all sorts of academic writing, and if your written work is in some way related to your studies, we are happy to look at it.
- Who can I contact with feedback/suggestions?
We would love to get any feedback, suggestions or questions from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply pop into the Writing Centre.