Health Professions Applications Tutoring

Writing support for students applying to medical and dental school.

Writing tutors are available throughout the summer to work with Cornell students and alum who are preparing applications to medical and dental school. Health Professions application tutors are experienced writing instructors who listen patiently, read thoughtfully, and offer considerate, supportive, and challenging feedback on personal statements and supplemental essays at ANY stage of the drafting process.

Writers can meet with tutors in person or online using an internet-based video, audio, or synchronous messaging platform (Online Tutoring). They can also submit drafts for a tutor's written feedback (eTutoring). Writers will need to register for accounts and make appointments for all online appointments.

Summer 2024 Schedule

First day of operations: Monday, May 20

Last day of operations: Friday, August 2

Schedule an appointment


During a session, tutors may help medical/dental school applicants to:

  • get started with personal statements and supplemental essays by reading and discussing writing prompts, evaluating personal, academic, and clinical experiences, brainstorming outlines.
  • explore ways to shape coherent arguments, make strong use of evidence, work within restrictive word-length requirements.
  • consider questions about depth of analysis, organization, thesis statements, audience expectations, paragraph development, style, sentence structure.
  • identify patterns of errors in grammar or usage and develop effective strategies for line-editing. 


  1. Bring 1 essay per 60-minute session; schedule additional sessions as necessary.
  2. Bring 2 specific questions; sessions are most productive when you are an active participant.
  3. Seek out multiple perspectives; you may meet no more than 3 times with the same tutor on the same essay. 

Schedule an appointment


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

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
  • 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. eTutoring appointments are reserved for clients who have already met with a writing tutor to discuss the current writing project. When you submit an appointment request, name the tutor you met with and briefly describe the work plan you established with them.


Tutors are generally flexible in our work with writers, but the following guidelines may help you to better understand how we function.

Cancellation 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 home 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.
  • 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. Writing tutors then explain what they see and work with writers to revise.
  • 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.

Meet our Tutors

Rocío Corral García

PhD Student, Literatures in English

I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Literatures in English at Cornell interested in the Anglo-Spanish relationships during the Early Modern Period. More specifically, my dissertation project examines the mechanisms of reception history to investigate the theoretical and conceptual topic of female sovereignty, paying particular attention to the early modern stage’s ability to generate some of the terms and tropes in which political power is theorized.

I have worked as both a FWS instructor and multilingual writing tutor at Cornell for four years, and enjoy assisting writers throughout the writing process—from the early outlining stages to the revisionary ones. In each session, I aim to create better writers, not just better writing, by fostering a comfortable yet dynamic space for peer dialogue. Whether strengthening arguments or identifying patterns in grammatical mistakes, I work to empower students with needed strategies and knowledge. I enjoy assisting students with academic papers, personal statements, application for internships as well as graduate and professional programs at various stages of their projects. Generally, I find my experience as a writing tutor immensely rewarding, especially when students, who openly claim they “could not write,” walk out of a tutoring session feeling more equipped and confident on their writing.

Chijioke Onah

PhD Student, Literatures in English

I am a PhD candidate in the Literatures in English department where my research focuses broadly on violence. Previously, I have worked on the mediation and memorialization of the Chibok girls kidnapping by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. My dissertation project will be moving away from political violence to environmental violence—which is interesting to me because ecological violence may not always offer the same kind of spectacle that political violence offers. For example, I will be focusing on the (bio)political dynamics that influences the movement of toxic waste materials from the countries in the global North to African and Black communities globally. I want to see how this process can be used to understand the condition of Blackness and American empire-making globally. 

I have studied in different parts of the world before coming to Cornell. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. After that, I studied for my Masters degree at Goethe University of Frankfurt with a semester stay at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. In the US, I studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to Cornell. These international experiences influence my approach to writing as I am attentive to not only working with multicultural populations, but I also help my students to craft their essays in a way that is culturally sensitive and globally conscious. Having taught at Cornell’s First Year Writing Seminar for a year now, coupled with my experience interning at the Knight Institute last summer, I have worked with several students on different writing projects, including applying for medical schools or gaining healthcare summer internships. I am delighted to work with students to help them achieve their dreams. 

Donny Persaud

PhD Candidate, Science & Technology Studies

I am a 5th year PhD candidate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. My dissertation research focuses on the launch and development of new Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite internet constellations such as Starlink. LEO constellations have led to new, overlapping conflicts concerning the viability of LEO internet connectivity, the future of astronomical research, and how outer space will be framed in future environmental legislation. My interest lies in how actors navigate and contest the claims of ubiquitous, physically unbound internet connectivity provided by LEO constellations and how this form of infrastructure sees discursive and legal reimaginings of what constitutes nature. I completed a B.Sc. in Physical and Environmental Geography at the University of Toronto, a MA in Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and worked at a community newspaper in Toronto, Canada. At Cornell, I have taught Writing in the Majors courses such as ‘Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine’ as well as two First-Year Writing Seminars called ‘Digital Infrastructures’. My instruction style emphasizes clarity, structure, and simplicity in one’s writing to ensure that complex ideas can be easily understood by readers. I enjoy working with students at all stages of the writing process and am comfortable working with writers coming from any discipline or level of English proficiency.