Writing Services at Frances Loeb Library

Writing Services at the Loeb Library provides one-on-one peer tutoring, workshops, handouts, and other resources for strengthening skills related to academic and career documents. 

Peer Tutoring 

Workshops

Writing Services Specialist

Canvas

Peer Writing Support FAQ

What is this service?

The GSD’s Writing Services provides free one-on-one peer tutoring, workshops, handouts, tutorials, and other resources for strengthening skills related to academic and career documents. GSD students can receive support with any stage of the writing process, from understanding writing assignments to revising a final draft. The website also has resources for developing more efficient time management, planning, and reading strategies.

Who provides the service?

Writing tutors are GSD students from all degree programs who have been selected for their strong writing skills and desire to collaborate with their peers to strengthen their writing. 

What kind of help is provided?

Tutors coach writers by asking questions, identifying problem areas, and sharing techniques for building skills. Tutors can assist in understanding the assignment and pre-writing; in developing structure and tone; and in reviewing partially completed and completed drafts.  Please note that copy-editing services and line-by-line proofreading are not provided.

How long do writing sessions last and how often can students sign up?

Sessions are an hour in length.  Students can sign up for two session per week. 

Where do students sign up?

All currently-enrolled GSD students can sign up using the Writing Services appointment scheduling page: 
https://libcal.gsd.harvard.edu/appointments/writingservices

Before the session
  • Share your writing: Tutors are excited to help you at any phase of the writing process, and you’re encouraged (but not obligated) to email them your writing before the session. Whether you have an outline or a polished draft, tutors can spend up to 15 minutes reading your writing ahead of time.
  • Set goals and prepare questions: Your tutor is there to support you, and the session will be most productive if you prepare 1–3 goals and/or a few specific questions. Commonly asked questions include
    • Is my argument well-supported by my use of evidence? Or, have I made any assumptions that need to be better supported?
    • Is the structure of my argument clear?
    • What do you understand the main point of my essay to be?
    • Are any of my ideas confusing or underdeveloped?

During the session

  • Establish the parameters: At the beginning of the session, you and your tutor should discuss the assignment, where you’re at in the process, and any constraints that you’re working within. For example, if your essay is due the following day, you and your tutor will want to focus on aspects that can be improved within the time limits.
  • Discuss your goals: Your tutor has experience with what is and isn’t achievable in an hour-long session. Share your goals, and be open to a conversation with your tutor about how you can most productively spend your time together.
  • Improve your writing: Depending on the goals you’ve set for the session and where you’re at in the process, you and your tutor will spend most of the time discussing your writing. Some strategies that your tutor might use include
    • Taking notes about your goals and ideas
    • Asking clarifying questions to help generate new ideas or insights
    • Identifying stylistic patterns in your writing that you might not be aware of
    • Sharing advice, experience, and strategies that might help you
  • Leave with an action plan: At the end of your session, you and your tutor should identify 1-3 clear, specific ways for you to continue developing your writing.
After the session
  • Fill out the post-session survey
  • Review your notes: Depending on the session, your tutor might follow up with helpful links or references that you discussed together (for example, if there’s a specific grammar or punctuation concept).
  • Schedule your next appointment. Even if you don't have a draft yet, set yourself up for successful time management by planning ahead.
Can I receive feedback on applications to internships and jobs and grant proposals?

Yes. Our tutors can help you with the clarity and effectiveness of your writing in career documents. You should contact Career Services for questions about content.

Does the Writing Services offer anything besides tutoring?

We also run workshops throughout the year and provide a range of resources related to time management, reading strategies, pre-writing, avoiding plagiarism, and the writing process.

I didn’t finish my paper. Should I still go to my scheduled tutoring session?

Yes. We prefer that you come well in advance of a deadline, but we can assist you with any stage of your writing, including helping you to focus your final efforts and strategize how best to complete your work.

All the tutoring slots filled up at the start of the week. Should I come back to the website to check for openings later?

 Yes. Cancellations happen frequently, so definitely check back often. If your need is pressing and there are no slots, reach out to us at writingservices@gsd.harvard.edu for assistance.

I am a faculty member, TA, or TF. How do I refer my students to this service?

Students should be directed either to the Writing Services sign-up page at gsd.harvard.edu/ws or write to writingservices@gsd.harvard.edu