Tutoring Session


"Based on many comments from my students, your writing specialists are doing an excellent job at improving SJSU students' writing. Thank you for offering the SJSU community such an important service."

--Dr. Claudio Vera Sanchez, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

"Last spring he [a student] began as an F student and received a C+ in the class, which he fully deserved. Would that all struggling writers had the same attitude and were given the same exceptional opportunity to improve!"

--Dr. John Engell, Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literature

The SJSU Writing Center offers one-on-one tutoring to all SJSU students. Our Writing Specialists and Assistant Writing Specialists (tutors) are students who have met a rigorous GPA requirement and are highly trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines. Our tutors will help you find a topic, organize your paper, cite sources, avoid plagiarism, and use correct grammar and punctuation. We understand the special needs of students learning English as a second language and returning students, and we're experts in all phases of writing.

Visit our "Make an Appointment" page to schedule a tutoring session.

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 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 a hard copy of your writing. The Writing Center cannot provide computers or printing services, and tutors will not work off documents on laptops.

Example of a standard tutoring session

After arriving at the Writing Center (on time, or even a little early), 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.

The Writing Specialist will begin your session by asking what type of writing you've brought to work on and what concerns you have—what exactly do you want to cover during this session? Give the Writing Specialist your assignment, prompts, or any other relevant material. The Writing Specialist will do his or her best to address as many of your concerns as possible.

During the session, your Writing Specialist may ask you to read your paper aloud. By hearing the paper read aloud, you will catch errors in the paper and correct them. You will also identify sentences that sound awkward or incoherent.

After you have read the paper aloud, your Writing Specialist will jot down one or two things you will focus on during the session. The session is thirty minutes long, so you must use your time efficiently.

You, the student, will retain ownership of your work. The Writing Specialist will ask you to write comments and suggestions on your paper. You will be actively involved in figuring out ways to improve your work.

At the end of the session, your Writing Specialist will take a few minutes to review and reinforce what you worked on during the session. If you weren't able to get through the entire paper, the Writing Specialist may recommend that you make another appointment to continue working on your assignment.

With your permission, the Writing Specialist will follow up the session with an e-mail to your instructor. The e-mail will give your name and course, and it will briefly state what you covered during the session. Instructors find it very helpful to receive this information.

Group Tutoring

We are happy to assist with group projects. When you schedule your appointment, simply let the admin know that you're bringing a group so that we can make the appropriate seating arrangements. Ideally, everyone in the group should attend, but if that's not possible, we'll gladly meet with one or more participants.