Starting Points

Starting Points


Writing Tutor Sessions

by Harpreet Kaur, Hub Writing Tutor

Hello everyone, my name is Harpreet Kaur, and I am a graduate student at Marymount in the dual degree program for Healthcare Management and Business Administration. I have also been a writing tutor for the Student Academic Hub for over a year and will be graduating in May 2022.

In this series of three “starting point” columns, I will discuss ways for students to get the most out of their tutoring experience. Today, I would like to focus on what writing tutors offer in the way of writing support because many students are misinformed on what exactly writing tutors at Marymount do. Occasionally, professors may advise their students to seek writing tutor services so their paper can be edited or checked for grammar mistakes. However, this is not how writing consultation sessions are structured. As writing tutors, we are here to help students gain skills to edit their own papers and check for grammar errors. When a student meets with a tutor, both the tutor and the student work together to edit the student’s paper. The goal of the tutor is assist the student with organization, flow, and syntax of the paper. As tutors, we want students to be able to gain strong writing skills to be able to use them for other classes. In addition, there are many other writing resources that are available to students on the Write Now section of the Hub’s website. Finally, the writing tutors at the Hub are here to help undergraduate and graduate students with all their writing questions and needs.

Starting PointsHow to Prepare?

  • Come with questions for your tutor and have your assignment ready to share.
  • Bring rough drafts as well and share any comments your professor made regarding your assignment that could be beneficial for your writing tutor to be aware of.
  • Do not feel overwhelmed – we are here to help!




Common Challenges

by Harpreet Kaur, Hub Writing Tutor

Starting PointsStudents come to writing tutoring sessions with many of the same challenges and questions. Students are looking to gain skills in starting essays, correcting grammar, and making certain their paper is structured. Many students have the capabilities and skills for writing, but lack the confidence, which holds them back from starting their papers.

In order to help students to become more confident and to be able to move forward on their papers, I have found this resource on “sentence starters” to be quite helpful. Students I have tutored have shared with me that this list of potential sentence starters and transitional phrases helped them take the first step in starting their papers.

Another major area that students I have tutored struggle with is the flow and structure of an essay. These are important features of a paper because they create unity and clarity within a text. I have used information from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s website to reinforce what I have explained about flow during a writing tutorial.

Finally, correctly citing sources poses a substantial barrier to those students beginning their journey as scholars. Mastering citation formats is essential to avoid plagiarism. To help students streamline the citation process and to make formatting citations less intimidating, I have and do recommend the following citation generators:


Write Now

by Harpreet Kaur, Hub Writing Tutor

The Student Academic Hub offers online resources to assist both native-speaking English students and non-native English speaking students with their writing assignments. These writing support materials are offered through the Hub’s online gateway known as “Write Now.”

The writing support that can be found at “Write Now” includes insightful explanations to the oddities of the English Language (“Sorting It Out”), access to booking an appointment with a writing tutor, and a “hotline to receive quick answers to your grammar questions (“Grammar 911”).

In addition to the resources mentioned above, “Write Now” also offers materials and platforms geared toward providing support for English as additional language (EAL) students. These resources consist of short tips on English grammar and punctuation (“S.O.S. Topics”), a digital resource library for EAL students, and a Conversation Partners program, which allows EAL students to meet one-on-one with an English native speaker to discuss a variety of topics. This once-a-week, one-hour meeting offers an opportunity for non-native English speaker to meet and practice developing their speaking with a native English speaking peer mentor.

Finally, there is grammar trivia quiz, open to all students, which offers a prize to the student who submits the most correct answers throughout a term. New trivia questions are posted once a week.