Writing Center Policies

Writing Center Policies

The following policies apply to all Writing Center clients; please be aware of this information to make your Writing Center experience a positive and productive one. 

Policies About Appointments:

  1. Make an appointment to avoid waiting and disappointments. Tutors are typically booked for a consultation two or three days in advance. During peak periods, such as the weeks leading up to final exams, the Writing Center may be fully booked as early as a week or two ahead of time. Students should make an appointment as far in advance as possible. Virtual Tutoring Appointments are by phone or email.
  2. Late Appointment Policy: If you are more than five minutes late for your appointment you lose the exclusive right to that appointment and the session may be given to someone else. Please arrive promptly, in person or online, for your appointment, or call us at 608-243-4289 if you need to cancel.
  3. No-Show Policy: After two missed appointments without canceling (or what we call "no-shows") you may be limited from booking further appointments for the current term. Sessions may be canceled up to an hour prior to the scheduled session. Students who do not cancel in time and fail to appear for a session will be counted as a "no-show".
  4. Walk-in Policy: Walk-in consultations are accepted, but we cannot guarantee availability without an appointment during peak usage times. Helping students with existing appointments takes priority over students walking in for help. Virtual Tutoring is by appointment only.
  5. Appointment Length: On-campus appointments are 25-30 minutes in length. Sessions begin at the beginning of the hour and at the half-hour mark.
  6. Weekly Limits: You may reserve 1-hour per week at an on-campus writing center or up to 2 appointments per week virtually.

Policies About Eligible Writers:

  1. College Students and Staff: Only Madison College students, staff, and alumni may utilize writing center services. 
  2. Identity Confirmation: Consultations must be with the writer. You may schedule appointments for work only on your own writing (not the writing of your peers). If you are working on a group and/or collaborative assignment the tutor can only help with the part of the assignment you wrote. The whole group may come in for group tutoring on campus; please indicate this situation when you make your appointment.
  3. Academic Integrity: Plagiarism is a difficult issue for any writing center. Our tutors generally assume that the writing brought to them is the client's own. If a tutor feels that a paper is clearly not the work of the client present for tutoring and the client resists reworking the potentially plagiarized elements of the assignment, that tutor may cancel the session at his or her sole discretion.

Policies About Tutor/Client (Tutee) Interaction:

  1. Appointment Scope Limitations: It is neither possible nor appropriate for tutors to review every aspect of your writing.  Rather, we will draw your attention to manageable problems (given assignment requirements and your own writing goals). Addressing nuanced issues can require multiple appointments.
  2. Take Home Exams: Tutors are not permitted to help you with take-home essay exams unless you have written permission from your instructor, or the instructor has contacted the Writing Center directly. 
  3. Legal Limitations: Tutors are not permitted to help you with writing that has legal implications or is related to an appeal of a university decision.
  4. Active Participation: Tutors will not proofread a student’s paper. Proofreading--reading and marking up students’ work without any interaction--is not helpful because it does not give students an opportunity to learn and be confident enough to revise and edit their own work. Tutors will, however, review students’ writing with them, addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the writing and enabling them to effectively edit their own work in the future.
  5. Personal Statements: Tutors are prepared to help you with writing personal statements for fellowships, jobs, or graduate school; however, some schools and programs do not permit any outside assistance with the writing of your personal statement. It is your responsibility to determine whether or not tutoring is permitted.
  6. Confidentiality: The Writing Center believes that a collaborative relationship between instructors, tutors, and student writers is the most conducive to writing improvement. We respect the confidentiality of every tutorial session. If you have special concerns, please bring them up during your session.
  7. Appointment Confirmations: If you are a student working on an assignment for a course, your tutor will send a conference notification to your instructor following each appointment or online submission. This summary confirms you worked with a tutor; it does not evaluate you, your instructor, or your assignment in any way. Most instructors are delighted to learn that you have visited the Writing Center and are working on your writing skills.
  8. Grading: Tutors are not graders. Tutors cannot effect, predict, or guarantee grades earned by students, nor can the tutor grade students’ work. 
  9. College Policies: The Writing Center abides by all Madison College Codes of Conduct, Computer Usage Guidelines, Policies on Harassment and Classroom Disruption. If you abuse the scheduling system and/or our policies, you are no longer eligible to receive our services.
  10. Disabilities: The Writing Center accommodates disabilities, and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please let us know how we can accommodate your needs.

We Value Client Feedback

We strive to provide courteous and competent assistance.  If you are concerned with the performance of the center or your writing consultant, contact the Writing Center Director, Sarah Z. Johnson ( for assistance.