What a Friendship: The Writer and the Tutor!

two woman chatting

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This was not the best day for Serfeti Alcobar. She was looking at her midterm essay the Economics professor had just returned, and once again the grade was disappointing. Again and again and again there were comments about what was incorrect, ranging from proofreading to punctuation to content to citations. Serfeti had done exactly what her professor suggested: have at least one other person read it for input. To be sure this was thorough, she again asked her friend Loria, an engineering major at Georgia Tech;  a longtime friend who owned an auto repair shop; and her mom, content to stay at home after high school to raise the five children in the family. Each was happy to help Serfeti and offered what they felt would improve her essay.  Unfortunately, apparently their efforts were not good enough. Frustrated, Serfeti turned to one of her classmates and asked if he knew a tutor who could help. An immediate response came: “Oh, without question Purdue Global’s writing tutors are the best! They not only take the time to help but also really know what makes good writing. You really ought to give them a try.” Serfeti took the advice and discovered what so many before her knew: to get some great input on one’s writing before submitting it to a professor the time spent with a PG writing tutor is simply golden – the meeting will go a long way in melting away writing stress, anxiety, and unhappiness.

Of course, there are many students who bypass the tutors, for a variety of reasons. First, unlike class assignments, such as Discussion or Seminar, which are part of the course, PG’s writing tutors are somewhat in the shadows, i.e., one has first to access PG’s Writing Center <PG’s Writing Center>, meaning an extra step outside of class. There are also folks who, like Serfeti, are content to let folks they know do the tutoring, and often the results are the same as Serfeti’s because they just don’t know what makes good writing. The third reason is the worst: simply not wanting to be bothered with the extra time it takes to visit the Writing Center, then explore the various tutoring options. Yet knowing that a person is always judged by others based on his or her ability to write – and the hope is that judgment is always good – the time and effort put forth to have a PG tutor as a writing “partner” is a wise investment.

Serfeti jumped into the PG Writing Center, and was immediately struck by the Writing Resources and Webinars on the lower left side of the Home Page. But that would have to wait; she was here to find that one tutor to really improve her writing. Her eyes widened at the array of tutoring sites available:  under “Writing Center Tutoring” there were the hours tutoring was available;  how to “Submit a Paper, a Project, or a Question”;  a video titled “How to Submit Assignments and Questions and Access Feedback in PG411″ [PG 411 is the Student Success Connection ]; and “Drop in for a Live Tutoring Session.”

To the right there were two more tutoring groupings: one labeled “Tutoring,” with live links underneath (“Submit a Paper or Question” and “Drop-in for a Live Writing Tutor”), the other “How to Ask a Tutor” (underneath there were four live links:  “Paper/Project Review and Q&A Guide,” “Connect with a Tutor Guide,” “Three Ways to Ask a Tutor, “ and “Student Use Policy for ASC [Academic Success Center <Academic SuccessCenter>] Tutoring”).

Serfeti thought this was amazing!  She never realized that tutoring could be so thorough, have so many different components. Immediately Serfeti clicked on “Three Ways to Ask a Tutor” as she felt it important to best know how to approach a tutor.  Here there was great information: “Connect with a Tutor in an Online Café,” “Submit a Question for Reply,” and “Submit a Paper/Project for Review.”  As she was most interested in speaking with/working with a live tutor she noticed such a session typically lasted 20 minutes. With this information Serfeti then clicked on “Drop-in for a Live Writing Tutor” (she was most familiar with this approach) and was met with a bevy of tutors: their names, when they were available in the Online Cafe, and the bio for each one. Although Serfeti was most appreciative of the tutoring efforts put in by her mom and two friends, she could see where each tutor had the writing chops to drastically help with improving all facets of an essay.  

Serfeti picked a name at random, dropped in when the tutor was available, and throughout the conversation quickly realized the essay she would next submit to her professor would be far better than any previous one. What Serfeti liked best about the tutor was her obvious expertise in writing but also the approach taken so Serfeti could easily understand many areas of grammar, punctuation, proofreading, content, and citations. There was an added bonus, as well: the tutor was cheerful, giving the impression she was thrilled to be helping Serfeti.

Ah, the joy of success, is what Serfeti thought, when the professor returned her latest essay. Yes, there were some writing errors the professor pointed out, but far fewer than she had in any previous essay to the point where she earned an A-. Heh: a lyric from a Beatles song immediately came to mind – “Help, I need somebody, Help, Just not anybody ..”  Serfeti definitely did not have just anybody as a tutor;  it turned out she had the best of the best: a Purdue Global tutor!

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