Graduate Writing Service

Cornell post-graduates (graduate students, professional students, post-docs, and faculty) can work with Graduate Writing Service tutors to refine and develop strategies for drafting and revising writing projects and teaching materials:

 

Dissertation Chapters, Seminar Papers, Research Proposals, Conference Presentations, Journal Articles, White Papers, Literature Reviews, Dossiers, Job Letters, Grant Applications, Teaching Statements, Teaching Philosophies, Syllabi, Lesson Plans, Writing Assignment Handouts, and Strategies for Responding to and Grading Student Writing.

 

Fall 2022 Schedule

Monday, August 29 - Monday, December 5

Schedule a GWS Appointment

Graduate Writing Service tutors are experienced writers and teachers of writing from multiple disciplines -- with scholarly and professional backgrounds in the humanities and social and physical sciences. Some of us are also instructors of languages other than English.

We are are available weekdays and evenings to work with Cornell graduate students, post-docs, faculty, and staff to refine and develop strategies for drafting and revising writing projects and teaching materials. 

We welcome graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who are working on scholarly and professional writing projects. 

During a typical session, Graduate Writing Service tutors may help writers to:

  • get started with writing projects and teaching artifacts by brainstorming organizational schemes, evaluating materials, defining research questions.
  • explore ways to shape coherent arguments, make strong use of evidence, work with appropriate citation conventions.
  • consider questions about depth of analysis, organization, thesis statements, paragraph development, audience expectations, style, sentence structure.
  • identify patterns of error in grammar or usage in order to develop effective strategies for line editing.

We offer three different types of appointments: you can meet with GWS tutors on campus at 172 Rockefeller Hall; you can meet with GWS tutors for a 60-minute digital appointment using an internet-based video, audio, or synchronous messaging platform, or you can submit a draft for a GWS tutor's written feedback.

GWS Appointments

Our tutoring program is by appointment only, so to get started, you need to register for an account.

Next, you need to decide how you would like our feedback.

If you select an ONLINE APPOINTMENT, you will meet with a tutor in a platform similar to a Zoom or Skype. You and the tutor can view, edit, and discuss your draft synchronously. You will be able to see each other (if you both enable the video feature), chat out loud (if you have a microphone or camera), or type in a messaging window on the right side of the screen. To prepare for your appointment, you should:

  • upload a draft within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment time.
  • a few minutes before your scheduled appointment time, log in to the scheduling site at https://cornell.mywconline.com
  • click on your red appointment block
  • look for red text in the middle of the pop-up window "Start or join online consultation."
  • click "Start or join online consultation" to open online meeting
  • Tutors are prepared to help you navigate technology issues—they will email you to check-in and offer help should you have any trouble “showing up.”

If you select an eTUTORING APPOINTMENT, you must upload a draft 24 hours before your scheduled appointment time. The tutor will read and respond to your draft and upload written comments by the end of the scheduled timeslot.

GWS Policies

The Graduate Writing Service is generally flexible in our work with writers, but the following guidelines may help you to better understand how we function.

Cancelation Policy

Writers should cancel tutoring appointments no less than 8 hours before the scheduled appointment.

We understand that you may not realize until the last minute that you cannot attend your tutoring appointment. As a courtesy to tutors and to wait-listed writers, please be sure to cancel as soon as possible.

If you miss three appointments (without canceling them), your WC Online account will be automatically disabled.  

Editing/Proofreading Policy

Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. In order to produce precise and polished prose, writers must direct attention to the sentence-level. And, as is the case when refining prose for clarity and concision, developing strategies for editing your own work requires time, practice, and patience.

Tutors at the Graduate Writing Service are available to provide certain kinds of micro-level support. Tutors will clarify rules, explain conventions, provide examples, and guide writers as they revise their own sentences. Tutors will discuss style, language, and rhetorical choices. But tutors are not editors – they cannot correct grammar, syntax, punctuation, or typographical errors. With sentence-level work, the tutor's goal will be to help you identify an error and correct it on your own. 

Here are some of the reasons why we have a NO-EDITING policy:

  • There is no pedagogical value in having a tutor edit a writer's paper. Writers do not learn when other people correct errors for them. The GWS’s primary goal is to ensure that students have access to learning opportunities, so during tutoring sessions, tutors use specific pieces of writing to engage broader discussions about academic writing and to encourage robust interventions into student writing processes.
  • Copyediting someone else’s writing requires a highly specialized skill set. Writing tutors are not professional editors; they simply do not have the training, experience, or desire to perform such technical work.
  • Tutors are Cornell University students themselves. They cannot complete assignments for other students. As such, deep collaboration of this kind, line-by-line editing, could violate Cornell University’s Code of Academic Integrity and thus put writers and tutors at risk.

Editing/Proofreading Strategies

Editing is hard work. Even experienced writers can come up against severe obstacles as they hone in on the word, paragraph, or page: Writers may be fatigued or stressed or facing a new kind of writing task. They might speak and write other languages, or they might be managing learning differences or disabilities.  They might have knowledge gaps or unevenly developed skills. They might be reaching to learn.

Tutors at the Graduate Writing Service are eager to help writers become more confident, efficient, and effective readers and editors of their own writing. Here are several typical strategies tutors will use for sentence-level writing work: 

  • LOCATE PATTERNS. Writing tutors read through significant portions of a writing project (no more than 5 pages) and identify ONLY phrases or sentences in which a writer's choices interfere with clear and effective communication. Writing tutors, for instance, may observe grammatical or mechanical errors (such as, run-on sentences or subject-verb agreement); and/or syntactical habits that obscure clarity (such as, overusing "this" and "that" or nominalizations). Writing tutors circle recurring patterns or put check marks in the margins to signal repetition. Writing tutors then explain what they see and work with writers to revise, if appropriate.
  • SELECT A PASSAGE OF TEXT. Writing tutors read through a short section of a writing project (one paragraph, perhaps, but no more than one page) and identify a range of grammatical, mechanical, or syntactical issues. Writing tutors circle phrases or sentences throughout the short section or put check marks in the margins to indicate questions about a writer's choices in the marked lines.
  • READ OUT LOUD. Writing tutors listen as writers read aloud portions of their writing (no more than 3-5 pages) and mark any places where writers say something different than what is on the page. Alternatively, writing tutors read papers out loud while writers mark any places that do not sound as intended.

GWS Tutors

Amanda Domingues

PhD student, Science and Technology Studies

I am a PhD student in STS who is interested in questions about how knowledge is produced. I also have a background in International Relations and Political Science and training in statistical methods. Because of the interdisciplinarity of STS, I am very familiar with the languages of different scientific disciplines: I have been trained to read work and write for audiences as varied as Archaeology, Biology, Physics, History, Anthropology, Engineering, and others. 

As a tutor, I draw from my teaching experience and my writing training from the Knight Institute, ELSO, and other institutions to offer productive feedback to writers. Influenced by a feminist approach to learning, I bring to my teaching and tutoring a critical view that encourages writers not only to think about how they are writing but also the implications of what they are writing. I believe that tutors and writers learn together, and I am excited to work with my peers!

Tamar Gutfeld

PhD Candidate, German Studies

I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in German studies and have tutored at the Knight Institute since the beginning of my studies at Cornell. I am intrigued by different writing practices and enjoy discussing anything related to the writing process, from brainstorming and writing strategies to work habits, revisions, and editing. I work with students from all disciplines by asking questions and paying close attention to writing patterns. Depending on what the text – and you as its author – need, I focus on the structure of the argument and its flow, word choice and sentence structure as well as signposting and the argument's framework.  

My research focuses on representations of families in 20th century German literature. While my work is primarily in the field of German Studies, I work with a diverse range of fields including history, philosophy, sociology, and law. My focus on families in the German context allows me to ask questions about the formation of identity considering historical trauma and its inheritance. 

 

Rachel Horner

PhD Candidate, Music and Sound Studies

I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in music and sound studies. In my work, I consider the intersections of music and language—especially in the contexts of Spanish and Latin American cultural festivals—and the effects these have on constructions of regional and national identity. My main areas of research include the musics of Latin America and Spain, ethnography, decoloniality, music and language, and music and identity.

 

Throughout my academic training, I have gained experience as an editor, Spanish–English translator, and diction coach. I have edited book manuscripts, seminar papers, and cover letters; translated publicity materials and meeting transcripts; and offered productive feedback on pronunciation and inflection for spoken lectures and presentations. As a tutor, I draw on all of this experience in order to offer a well-rounded approach to writing that can apply to any discipline. If you are looking for help with clarifying an argument, organizing a text, or developing your voice as a writer, I would love to work with you!

Jayme Kilburn

PhD Candidate, Theatre Arts

Jayme Kilburn is a feminist theater maker who believes strongly in the power of storytelling! In Jayme’s pre-academic life, she served as Artistic Director of the Strand Theater Company in Baltimore (MD) for 5 years before earning her master’s in Humanities and Social Thought at NYU. After 7 long years working towards her PhD in Theatre Arts (and a pandemic!), she took a one-year artistic position in South Dakota before returning to Cornell for what she hopes will be her swan song (…you can do it, Jayme! *she frantically whispers to herself). Jayme doesn’t like to brag but she’s done a lot of artistic things and a lot of academic things, including winning three first-year writing seminar awards for her work as an instructor at Cornell and organizing a campus-wide community symposium entitled "Feminist Directions: Performance, Power, and Leadership.” Jayme loves working with fellow grads and professionals on their writing, mostly focusing her efforts on idea clarity, cohesion, readability, and overall flow. 

GWS Tutor Application

The John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines employs matriculated graduate students to work as peer writing tutors at the Graduate Writing Service.

Graduate Writing Service tutors are experienced writers and teachers of writing from multiple disciplines. Tutors are available weekdays and evenings to work with Cornell graduate students, post-docs, and faculty to refine and develop strategies for drafting and revising writing projects and teaching materials of all kinds:

  • dissertation chapters, seminar papers, research proposals, grant applications, conference presentations, professional articles
  • job letters, teaching philosophies
  • teaching materials (syllabi, writing assignments & lesson plans), and responding to student writing

Job Description

  • GWS tutors typically work 5 hours per week. (Tutors set their own hours.)
    • Tutors can choose to meet with writers face to face on campus. (Office space is available.)
    • Tutors can choose to hold tutoring sessions online – via video conference or synchronic, text-based discussion. 
    • Tutors can choose to tutor electronically (eTutor) and provide written feedback on drafts that writers submit online.
  • Tutors are expected to attend one-hour monthly staff/professional development meetings. 
  • Additional opportunities include special projects assignments and promotion to Senior Tutor and Graduate Assistant Director.
  • Academic-year tutors earn between $17.00 and $19.00 per hour.
  • Summer tutors earn between $18.00 and $20.00 per hour.

How to Apply

  • Prerequisites: Enrolled status, experience teaching or tutoring and/or successful completion of WRIT 7100 or WRIT 7101.
  • Materials: Submit a CV and letter of interest detailing relevant employment or coursework to Dr. Tracy Hamler Carrick (tracyhcarrick@cornell.edu).
  • Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

Feedback and Questions

  • Have you visited the Graduate Writing Service recently? Would you like to offer us your feedback? Click here: GWS Feedback.
  • For answers to questions about the Service or if you need special assistance, contact Dr. Tracy Hamler Carrick, Knight Institute Writing Workshop Director and Graduate Writing Service Director.

Additional Writing Support

Cornell Help for Engineering Communication

The CHEC maintains a website with useful information pertinent to writing and presenting in engineering fields. Follow this link to learn more about writing abstracts and literature reviews, including equations in your writing, formatting presentation slides, and writing captions for visuals, among other topics.

Cornell Writing Centers

The CWC provides support for individuals at any stage of the writing process. It is a free resource available to all of Cornell—undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, and alumni—for nearly any kind of writing project: applications, presentations, lab reports, essays, papers, and more. Tutors serve as responsive listeners and readers who can address questions about the writing process or about particular pieces of writing. All tutors have training in supporting multilingual writers, working with writers remotely, and in supporting writers working on application materials. Follow this link to make an appointment at the Cornell Writing Centers.

English Language Support Office

ELSO offers writing and speaking support to multilingual and international graduate and professional students that meets the needs of students in diverse programs, from diverse linguistic backgrounds, and at diverse points in their graduate careers. offers individual consultations by trained peer tutors on any type of writing – from job application materials to dissertation chapters – at any point in the writing process – from brainstorming to finalizing. The GWS is available to all graduate and professional students.  Follow this link to learn more about ELSO's coursework, workshops, and tutoring programs.

Local Editors and Proofreaders

The Cornell Graduate School maintains a list of local editors and proofreaders. Although their services are not free, many on the list offer a sliding scale rate. Follow this link for a current list of professional editors and proofreaders for hire.  

Resources for Writing Competitive Fellowship Applications

The Graduate School offers a series of fellowship preparation workshops, consultation and peer review services, and an informative website

Write-Ins

Graduate and professional students with writing goals are invited to the Big Red Barn every Monday-Friday, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Be more productive and accountable; write with a supportive community. Sign in with your goals for the day, use the Barn during a quieter time, and enjoy coffee and tea. 

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