Frequently Asked Questions

question mark on keyboard


"Thank you for the work you are doing with my students--it really does make a difference in improving the students' writing skills!"

--Sue Berghoff, Lecturer, Language and Linguistics Department

Who can use the SJSU Writing Center?

Any currently enrolled SJSU student or faculty member may use the Writing Center services.

How do I make a tutoring appointment?

You may use our Online Reservation System to make appointments. The system allows you to view our schedule and set up an appointment at your convenience. If you need additional assistance, you can call us during our operating hours at 408-924-2308.

Because our schedule is impacted, the Center does not provide drop-in or walk-in appointments. However, due to last minute no-shows and cancellations, appointments typically become available each day. If you wish to wait in person in the Center, you will have priority to take any appointments that become available throughout the day.

Where is the Writing Center and when is it open?

The Writing Center is in Clark Hall, Suite 126 on the first floor, past the Peer Connections counter and to the right.

Our hours during spring and fall semesters are Mondays-Thursdays from 9:30 - 5:30 and Fridays 9:30 - 2:00. Summer hours vary depending on demand, and we are not open during winter session. Our current operating hours are always listed on the Writing Center main page.

How should I prepare for my tutoring session?

Before you come in, review the assignment and talk to your instructor about his or her expectations. You may want to do research in advance, write an outline, or make some brief notes about your ideas.

What should I bring?

Bring a hard copy of the writing that you want to work on, along with the prompt and details of your assignment, any preliminary research or notes, and a general idea of what you would like us to help you with.

Remember that you must bring your assignment already printed out -- the Writing Center does not provide printing services, and we do not work from laptops. If you do not have your assignment printed out and ready on time, you will lose your tutoring appointment.

What should I expect when I arrive?

When you arrive at the Writing Center, please check in with the admin at the front desk. When it's time for your appointment, your Writing Specialist will greet you and guide you to a table in our tutoring room.

Your Writing Specialist will ask you some questions to determine the purpose of and intended audience for your paper. He or she will then review your work or ask you to read it out loud. You will be guided through the process of organizing, clarifying, focusing, and developing your work. For a more detailed description of a standard tutoring session, see our tutoring page.

How long will my tutoring session last?

Your tutoring session will last thirty minutes. If you are a graduate student working on your Master's thesis or are registered with the AEC (Accessible Education Center), we can arrange to give you one-hour appointments. 

How many appointments can I make?

You may make one appointment per day, with a maximum of two scheduled appointments per week. If you feel you need more time, you are welcome to come to the Center to wait for openings created by no-shows and cancellations.

What happens if I miss an appointment?

  • If you miss or are more than five minutes late to an appointment without canceling in advance, you will be marked as a no-show.
  • If you miss two appointments in one semester, you will be blocked from our online reservation system for the rest of that semester, and any future reservations will be deleted. You will then be restricted to drop-in appointments only, which cannot be made in advance. Drop-in appointments may not be available during busy times of the semester.
  • At the end of each semester, all blocks are cleared -- everyone starts each new semester with a clean slate.

Will you proofread and edit my paper?

No. The Writing Center is not a proofreading and editing service. You are responsible for your own proofreading and editing, but your Writing Specialist will help you identify problem areas and explain how to revise your paper.

Can you help me with private tutoring?

If you give your name, contact information, and details on what kind of help you need to the admin, we will pass that information on to our Writing Specialists. If one of them is interested, that Writing Specialist will contact you privately.

Any further discussion is between you and the Writing Specialist. The Writing Center serves only as an initial point of contact. If you do not receive a response, please understand that our Writing Specialists are quite busy, and they do not have to accept private tutoring offers. We do not tolerate harassment of the Writing Specialists or the Writing Center staff.

How can I apply to be a Writing Specialist?

If you're interested in becoming a Writing Specialist, you can read about the qualifications and application process on our jobs page.