Department of English

Writing Center

Guidelines for Conducting an Effective Consultation

  1. Introduce yourself to the student if the receptionist hasn’t already done so.
  2. Look over the Consultation Form and ask the student about his/her concerns.  If the student does not specify what concerns listed under “Grammar,” ask for details.  Establish priorities and focus for the session.
  3. Give the student a brief overview of what happens in during a consultation so he or she has an idea of what to expect.
  4. Ask the student to read the paper out loud. Offer to read the paper yourself if the student seems shy or reluctant.
  5. Give feedback as a reader.  Ask questions.  DO NOT FIX THE PAPER FOR THE STUDENT UNLESS YOU’VE EXHAUSTED ALL OTHER STRATEGIES!
  6. If you notice a major problem with mechanics, do not just fix the problem.  Help the student recognize and fix errors.  Here are some suggestions as to how to do this:
    • Point out an example or two of the error within the draft.
    • Explain the rule(s) that guide the correction of the error, using handbooks and tipsheets to help clarify the principle.  Ask the student to identify and correct other examples of the error, thus aiding the student in developing his/her own proofreading and writing strategies.