Drafting Student Success: How Our Center Can Help Shape Great Habits

Kyle Harley, Kaplan University Tutor

Photo © 2015 clipart.com

Photo © 2015 clipart.com

I think it is safe to say that we have all experienced extremely tight deadlines. Since being out of school, however, I rarely take a moment to remember those deadlines. You must remember them. They were the deadlines that caused near-caffeine overdoses and, admittedly, not-the-best-of foods to be consumed at the acclaimed “fourth meal” hour. These were deadlines that helped make you and anxiety the best of pals, possibly even friends for life with matching pendants. There were those tense, brain cramping moments when even the word “thing” feels like Shakespeare’s greatest masterpiece on the last line of the final 10-page research paper. Yes, those, wonderful, though certainly not missed, panic-filled nights due to a deadline in a collegiate setting.

However terrible I paint these monsters out to be, the necessity of rigid deadlines helps keep structure in the academic world. Not all structure need be so stressful, though, and with the plentiful amount of academic services readily available to students here at the university, we can certainly help students develop skills to plan more effectively through one of our popular sources.

The KUWC’s Paper Review service offers students a fantastic chance to get into the habit of planning well in advance. Just last week I tutored a student who seemed rather shocked to find out that we look at drafts of papers, regardless of the length, and not just the final product before submission. Many students seem to feel that a complete draft is the only option, which is for good reason due to the fact that they will receive feedback on the totality of the work. But that to me sounds like an excuse. Why not get students more involved with our Paper Review service during the drafting process? This makes the student far more accountable for allotting plenty of time for multiple drafts per assignment, and—two-birds-with-one-stone sort of deal—they will receive a massive amount of help throughout the process from our experienced tutors on multiple steps and/or stages of the writing process. Not only that, but this could be a very valuable teaching moment for any and all teachers to suggest that this practice of drafting and allotting time needs to be implemented elsewhere in the student’s studies.

Why plan ahead solely for writing? Studying for a test, much like writing a paper, can be very easily managed in incremental portions—and that’s just the most obvious example from the seemingly endless list of student activities. Challenge your students to utilize the supporting services for multiple purposes, certainly to help them academically in that respective field, but also to develop into better academics—and that can simply start by utilizing the process of drafting.



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2 Responses

  1. This is so true. It is so important to plan ahead, but it is so hard to do. I know the times I have planned ahead while writing, it really changes what I am able to do as a writer.

  2. starknotes says:

    I agree that we can have students make more effective use of the paper review service by submitting partial drafts. Often during Live Tutoring sessions I will ask a student, “When do you start on a paper?” and they will respond that they perhaps get a paragraph or two done before the weekend and then work on the weekend to get a full draft to Paper Review. That’s when I make the suggestion that they follow a regimen in which if they get the assignment on Wednesday they make an effort to get one or two paragraphs in to the KUWC Paper Review service by that evening. Then when they have more time on the weekend, they will have some initial comments that help them think about how to proceed with the draft. Often the thought had never occurred to the student to get help earlier in the writing process, which goes along with this misconception we see so often that writing centers are just for end-stage revision and editing. When students follow this regimen, they often also make more use of the Live Tutoring service along the way. Just half an hour here or there can make a huge difference! So glad to see you calling our attention to the importance of scheduling and deadlines.

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