Who are the Cornell Writing Centers tutors? Stop by any of our five campus locations and you'll meet friendly undergraduate and graduate students from across the disciplines who love writing and talking about writing! We will also periodically highlight WC tutors through tutor profiles, where you can get to know a tutor, their own understanding of the work of tutoring, and how they feel about writing.
What is your name, major and year? And, how long have you been tutoring at the Cornell Writing Centers?
My name is Matt Propper and I’m a Senior in ILR. I’ve been tutoring since the Spring of 2016, and I’ve been a writing mentor since the Fall of 2016.
What writing advice do you give the most often?
I often advise students to write concise paragraphs that only consist of one idea—as opposed to long paragraphs which encompass many different topics. Similarly, I frequently discuss that a concise paragraph starts with an effective topic sentence that both makes an assertion and transitions from the previous paragraph. The material discussed in the paragraph should directly correlate with the topic sentence—if it deviates, the paragraph should be cut into two smaller paragraphs. I often tell students that they should be able to understand their paper solely by reading the topic sentences.
How has tutoring impacted you personally?
I view tutoring as a form of ‘paying it forward.’ I’ve always received such great help/guidance from fellow students and mentors during my college career—being able to give back has been a very valuable experience. Additionally, I love that tutoring gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse array of students on campus and learn so many different stories. Interacting with students I would not normally meet has been my favorite aspect of the job, and as a result, I look forward to working with people in any job I do in the future.
What’s your goal in a tutoring session? What do you hope the writer will get out of it?
I have two main goals during tutoring sessions. First, I aim to ensure that the writer feels comfortable revising their writing and handing in their paper after the session. Often, students come in for help when the paper is due the next day. Thus, I endeavor to communicate with the student to make sure the paper is in good shape to submit. Second, along with helping students achieve immediate academic success, I hope to impress upon students certain methods that I think will improve their writing in the long term including how to effectively proof read and brainstorm.
Do you have any post-graduation plans yet?
After graduation, I’ll be doing a public policy Fellowship in Washington D.C focusing on urban poverty. It's a combination of policy research and working directly with disadvantaged citizens, helping people on public assistance find and retain jobs. Part of the Fellowship includes teaching in a classroom setting—I look forward to harnessing my tutoring skills to help adults escape poverty.