Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a writing center, and why does Skyline have one?

A Look Inside the Skyline Writing Center

Over the last two decades, the best high schools and universities in the country began to build writing centers as an organized way for writers to get help and feedback about their academic papers and creative projects from trained tutors.  Research on the impact of writing centers is growing, and, to this point, it overwhelmingly reveals that students who regularly use writing center services have improved skills, more confidence in their abilities, and, in the end, higher grades.  Put simply: peer-to-peer writing interventions work to augment student writing across the curriculum, not just in English class.  

Since 2012, the Skyline Writing Center has made over 6,000 student contacts online, in classrooms, and in our Writing Center space.  Almost 100 percent of the students using our Writing Center said that they felt better about writing in both the short-term and the long-term based on the help offered by our tutors.  Moreover, students from different social groups find ways to connect and develop lasting, meaningful relationships over school content, which is vitally important to ensuring a school environment where everyone has the resources and opportunities to succeed.

The video on the left, created by Julien Griffith ('15), addresses the need for Writing Centers at all educational institutions, including Skyline.


Q: Who can use the Skyline Writing Center?

The Skyline Writing Center is available to any currently enrolled student at Skyline on a walk-in or appointment basis every hour of everyday.  Staff members can also request that tutors come to their classrooms to work with small groups of students or engage in whole-class workshops.  Staff members requesting tutors to come to their classroom should speak with Mr. Austin to ensure that the visiting tutors have proper direction and instruction on their task.  

Q: Where are you located, and when are tutors available?

The Skyline Writing Center is located in B429, by the nurse's office.  Tutors are available every hour, every school day (Monday-Friday, 7:45 AM-2:36 PM), including both lunch periods.  Students can make an appointment or walk-in for assistance.  Tutors are not available for in-person sessions after school, but we're happy to help after hours via our Online Writing Lab (OWL).  Our OWL service allows Skyline students to submit their paper electronically and receive feedback from a tutor within 24-72 hours. 

Q: How many people use the Writing Center?  What do they say about it?

In 2016-2017, the Writing Center conducted 1018 sessions in the Writing Center, in the Online Writing Lab, and in classrooms.  100 percent of students using our services stated that they believed their visit to Writing Center helped them improve their writing skills significantly.  Every student who used the Writing Center also reported being treated with empathy and respect by peer tutors.  

Q: What does a typical session look like?

The typical writing center session lasts approximately 15-20 minutes depending on the needs of the student.  Longer sessions can be arranged for students needing more extensive assistance.  The tutors will generally ask students about the nature of the assignment and what they want the focus of the session to be.  We will do some proofreading, but we are generally concerned with organization, argumentation, integration of evidence, and other higher-order concerns.  It is important to note that we are not a copy editing service, so students are required to stay with the tutor at all times, as the tutor may have important questions.  We will ask you to fill out a brief feedback form at the end of class.

Q: What should I bring to a session?

Students should bring: a copy of the assignment with the scoring rubric, something to write with, and any work they have done on the assignment so far.  Remember: SWC tutors will assist students at any part of the writing process, so whether a student has nothing on paper or a fully-formed draft, we can assist them in improving their writing and, most importantly, becoming a better writer.

Q: What kinds of work will you tutor?

We will tutor any written work.  Last year, we tutored work in every subject area save for math.  For us, it is all about writing across the curriculum, and, trust us, we can do it all.  We will even tutor work that wasn't assigned for a class: we'll help with college essays, cover letters for job applications, practicing for standardized tests, or that creative piece you've been working on that isn't quite coming together as you had hoped.

Q: How do I become a tutor?

Use the application form to apply to become part of the Writing Center family in 2018-2019.  In general, students need to have a grade point average greater than 3.50, a grade of B or better in every English class they have taken, a staff member willing to act as a reference on their behalf, and a high quality writing sample.  In 2017-2018, there will also be an interview component added to the admissions process to ensure that tutors have the same passion and commitment that we have for helping Skyline students become better writers.