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Peer Writing Center Guidelines

Sweetland's Peer Writing Centers provide one-to-one writing help to all undergraduate students at the University of Michigan, regardless of background or discipline. Sweetland-trained Peer Writing Consultants meet with student writers to help with any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final revisions.

Appointments at our main Peer Writing Center in Angell Hall G219 and satellite offices in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library 1144, Duderstadt's Atrium, and Alice Lloyd Hall 1059 are available by reservation or walk-in. We recommend making reservations as the schedule can fill up a few days in advance. Walk-in sessions run on a first-come-first-serve basis and vary in length, not exceeding 45-minutes, depending on whether another student has a pre-existing reservation.

Before you attend a Peer Writing consultation

  • You can’t be required to come. Writers cannot be required to visit the Peer Writing Centers and consultants cannot sign anything or provide evidence of your visit.
  • You’ll be responsible for making all changes to your text. Consultants won’t edit your writing or do the work for you. 
  • Make sure you’re allowed to submit a take-home exam. Consultants cannot assist writers with take-home exams unless the instructor has given Sweetland written permission to provide assistance. Permission can be emailed to sweetlandinfo@umich.edu. 
  • Make sure collaborators are present. Consultants can help writers with collaboratively written pieces if 50% or more of the collaborators are present.

Scheduling an appointment

How do I schedule an appointment?

Online Registration

Please register once per academic year.

  1. Visit Sweetland’s Peer Writing Center registration page.
  2. Register using your umich.edu email address and complete all questions on the registration form.
  3. Once all fields on the form have been entered, click "Register."
Scheduling Your Appointment
  1. Visit Sweetland's Peer Writing Center scheduling website.
  2. Select the schedule from the drop-down menu of the Peer Writing Center you wish to make a reservation at.
  3. If you have already registered this academic year, please type in your umich.edu email address and the password you created. Previously registered students will need to update their account information. If you have not registered, please see the “Online Registration” section above.
  4. You will be brought to the Peer Writing Center schedule. Openings in the schedule will be identified by white blocks.
  5. Locate the day, time, and consultant (if preferred) you would like an appointment with. Click on the appropriate white block of time; a “New appointment” window will appear.
  6. Complete the form.
  7. Click "Save" to make your appointment.
  8. You will receive an email confirmation of your appointment.

How many appointments can I schedule, and when can I schedule them?

  • Students may schedule one 45-minute appointment per day.
  • Appointments can be scheduled up to seven calendar days in advance. Please note that only one scheduled appointment per day is permitted, in order for Sweetland to help as many students as possible. 
  • You can also receive help on a walk-in basis if there are openings at our satellite writing center locations.

What if there are no appointments available?

If all available appointments are booked on the day you wish to visit, you may sign up for the Writing Workshop waitlist. 

  • From the schedule page, click on the clock icon to the left of the date you wish to visit, and the waitlist window will appear. 
  • Select your preferences then click the “add to waiting list” button. 

When there is a cancellation, you will be notified via email or text message. Then, you may schedule the appointment as usual. Other students on the waitlist will also receive an e-mail or text notification, and appointments will be scheduled on a first-come first-served basis.

Cancellations, rescheduling, late arrivals, & no-shows

What happens if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?

  • If for any reason you need to modify or cancel an appointment, please do so at least 90 minutes prior to the appointment time. This allows Sweetland to assist as many writers as possible. Thank you for your courtesy to our consultants and your fellow writers!
  • Please schedule, modify, and cancel your own appointments online.

How to Reschedule or Cancel Appointments

  • Visit Sweetland’s Peer Writing Center scheduling website.
  • Select the schedule from the drop-down menu on which you made your initial reservation.
  • Navigate to the date on which your appointment was scheduled.
  • Click on the orange box which opens your reservation panel.
  • If you need to make a change, edit the panel as necessary. Click “Save Changes.”
  • If you need to cancel the appointment, select the "cancel" box at the bottom of the page. Then click "Save Changes."
  • You will receive an email notification confirming the action.

What happens if I arrive late or miss my appointment?

  • Arrive on time. Arriving on time ensures that you and the consultant will have ample time to discuss your writing. Keep in mind: appointments do not run on "Michigan time." If you are 10 minutes late, you will lose your appointment.
  • If you miss an appointment, you will be unable to schedule another appointment for that day. Although you won’t be able to make an appointment, you are still welcome to use Sweetland’s walk-in services.
  • If you miss multiple appointments, your ability to make reservations may be revoked; however, you may continue to use our services on a walk-in basis.

Preparing for you appointment

What should I bring?

  • Reasonable expectations: What one or two issues would you like to discuss with the writing consultant? If you have a really long paper, on what part or parts would you like to focus? 
  • Your assignment sheet, writing prompt, and any guidelines you’ve been given. 
  • Ideas about or a draft of your writing project in electronic or hard copy. You can bring whatever you’d like: a paper for a course, a personal statement, a cover letter, a blog post, a PowerPoint, a website, a poem, etc.

What happens at your Peer Writing consultation

  • When you arrive, check in with staff and complete the online intake form
  • Most sessions begin with a brief discussion of the assignment you're working on and the kind of help you're looking for. 
  • Come prepared to participate in an active collaboration with your consultant -- for example, by asking and answering questions, reading through the paper aloud, generating ideas, making notes on your own draft, etc.
  • An effective session will often focus on "higher order" concerns (e.g., thesis, ideas, evidence, organization) before addressing sentence-level concerns such as grammar and punctuation. Prioritizing higher order concerns assures that you won’t spend time fixing sentences that might not even support your argument. 
  • While consultants are happy to work with writers on their sentence-level concerns, we avoid proofreading or "correcting" papers. We can help writers identify patterns of error, proofread more effectively, and improve clarity and style. If you’re ready to address sentence-level concerns, expect to address one or two error types per consultation.