“Streets that follow like a tedious argument / Of insidious intent / To lead you to an overwhelming question... / Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' / Let us go and make our visit." 
– T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock 

Q: What services do you provide for students?

A: We offer peer-to-peer advising sessions for both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Writing Circles and whole-class workshops. 

Q: What should I expect from a peer-advising session?

A: We use one-on-one advising to address any aspect of the writing process. Our advisers are here to help you brainstorm topics, theses, or opinions; construct outlines; revise drafts; post-outline; and work on sentence-level grammar. Typically, the adviser and student sit side-by-side. Our minimalist philosophy keeps the pen in the student's hand, ready to mark, revise, and take ownership for their own writing. 

Q: How do I make an appointment for a one-on-one session?

A: You can call or stop by to make an appointment. You can also drop in and do a session immediately, if an adviser is available.

Q: What should I expect when I come in to CWAC?

A: When you come in, we will ask you to sign in. We will then introduce you to your adviser, and you will have a seat at one of the tables/couches in the Center to begin your session.

Q: What should I bring to my session?

A: We recommend bringing your assignment sheet/prompt,  professor notes from previous drafts, texts, notes, and any writing you already have.

Q: Do I need to print my paper?

A: It's helpful to bring a printout, but you may use the CWAC printer. We can conduct sessions on laptops, too, though many advisers prefer to work from hard copies.

Q: Can I work with a specific adviser?

A: Of course! Call CWAC during open hours and make an appointment with the adviser of your choice. For more information and adviser bios, go to the "Fall 2014 Advisers & Staff" tab of this website. 

Q: How long are sessions?

A: Sessions generally last for an hour, but they can run shorter or longer.

Q: What is a Writing Circle?

A: The essay is a dialogue--a conversation between the author and the reader. It is active. It is an exchange. Of course, writing also demands a certain amount of solitude, those hours logged in front of a computer or spent with a pen pressed deeply on the page. But when a writer sits down to write, he or she must always keep the reader in mind. Writing is a communal act.

Our weekly, hour-long Writing Circles are based on this communal concept. Throughout the semester, we read drafts of one another’s work, offering feedback as readers. With this feedback in hand, writers generally become confident in revising their work and moving toward stronger, more cohesive drafts. 

In addition to facilitated discussion, each week’s meeting includes learning particular writing strategies, including free-writing, outlining, and creating thesis statements, as fitting for your work at that stage of the semester.

See the "Writing Circles" tab of this website.

Q: What kinds of workshops do you offer?

A: Our workshops are tailored to the class and the students' stage of writing. Previous workshops have included "Integrating Sources," "Chemistry Lab Abstracts" and "Peer Review Strategies." 

Q: What if English is not my native language?

A: That's okay! We are trained to work with non-native speakers and different writing styles.

Q: How do I become a CWAC adviser?

A: All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to enroll in the training courses English 101.01 (undergraduate) or English 201.02 (graduate). These courses introduce students to minimalist advising and the Center's emphases on collaboration, reflection, and revision during the writing process. After these courses, students may apply for paid positions as advisers.



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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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