Students may book appointments for help with learning and studying, writing, and English language support. All appointments are confidential and free for Queen’s University students. Please see the tabs below for information about how to prepare for your appointment, appointment limits, and our cancellation policies.
To book an appointment with a professional learning strategist, a professional writing consultant, the ESL Program Coordinator, or a peer writing assistant, please use our online booking system. (Click here for frequently asked questions about the system.)
Learning strategies advising
For graduate and undergraduate students.
- Want to stay on top of your academic game?
- Behind in your readings?
- Feeling disorganized or unmotivated?
- Trouble writing exams?
Meeting with a learning strategies advisor can help you improve your performance and confidence. We welcome all Queen’s students, regardless of year, program, or academic standing. Our team of learning strategies advisors can help by coaching and encouraging you in different strategies, skills, and mindsets for learning.
Appointments are about 50 minutes long, and are free and confidential. No information will be shared unless the student gives specific permission to do so. Referrals are not required.
Before your first appointment, consider…
- For you to feel more satisfied with your school performance or experience, what would need to change? Are there academic skills to improve? Personal habits to modify? Attitudes to re-evaluate?
- What went well last term or year?
- What academic (or personal) habits or skills held you back from being your best?
- Have you run into these issues before? What helped?
- Is there feedback from your profs that you need to address?
At your first appointment, you are encouraged to bring…
- a completed Study Skills and Habits Questionnaire
- relevant materials, e.g., a text for help with reading, or class timetable for help designing a weekly homework or research schedule, or notes to practice summarizing methods
- an experimental frame of mind, as finding a better approach involves trying new ideas or methods
Wait time for a learning strategies advising appointment may be 1-3 weeks, or longer during midterm and final exams.
To maximize your opportunity to meet with a learning strategies advisor and allow you time to practice new strategies, students are welcome to book up to one appointment per week and two per month with the same advisor. In exceptional circumstances, the advisor may adjust this policy.
Undergraduate and graduate students of all faculties, writing proficiencies, and levels of academic achievement at Queen’s University use the Writing Centre’s popular one-to-one consultation service. These free, confidential appointments are specific to individual student needs, but commonly include topics such as
- understanding an assignment
- brainstorming ideas
- developing an argument or thesis statement
- organizing main points
- revising a draft
- improving grammar and style
- integrating research
Please use our online booking system to book a 25- or 50-minute appointment with a writing consultant (click here to book a telephone appointment). If you have questions about the online booking system, please see our FAQ tab.
If possible, book early–our appointments are popular!
Please click here for important information about writing appointment policies.
The Writing Centre also offers telephone appointments to students who are studying at a distance from campus and students who have disabilities requiring accommodation (documentation required for accommodation). Requests from other students in special circumstances will be taken into consideration. Find out more about telephone appointments here.
Having trouble getting an appointment? If you are a first- or second-year student seeking help with an assignment, you can sign up for an evening appointment with a Peer Writing Assistant (see Peer writing appointment tab).
Frequently asked questions about writing consultations
How far in advance should I book my appointment?
Book appointments early–if possible, well before your assignment is due. We recommend that you book an appointment as soon as you know your assignment’s deadline. Please note that you may only have one appointment per week; students who would like a second appointment in a given week can make that request and will be contacted about a second appointment only after those on the waiting list have been accommodated.
How do appointments work?
You will have a private appointment with one of our trained staff, who will ask you questions about your assignment and offer suggestions specific to your concerns. The session may involve working through an entire draft or only selected parts of it. Our consultants work with students at any stage of the writing process – understanding the assignment, brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and revising. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your appointment:
- Consider in advance how you would like us to help you. Are there specific parts of a draft, or specific skills, you want to focus on? Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
- Be prepared to collaborate. Rather than “fixing” your paper for you, our consultants help you develop your skills within the context of working through your assignment. Come prepared with questions, ideas, and your learning goals.
When should I book a 50-minute appointment? When should I book a 25-minute appointment?
Appointments of any length are subject to availability, but, generally speaking, 50-minute appointments are more suitable for longer papers and more complex issues (generating an argument, overall coherence, organizing the paper, etc.), while 25-minute appointments are more suitable for short questions, clarifying your purpose, grammar issues, short brainstorming sessions, and follow-up sessions. Note career document appointments (cover letters, personal statements, professional school applications, etc.) can only be booked for 25-minute sessions, no exceptions.
What kinds of writing can you help me with?
We work with all kinds of academic writing – labs, essays, dissertations, reports, and more. You are also entitled to one session per academic year to work on a cover letter, personal statement, or other application document. Please note that consultants will not work with take-home exams, including graduate comprehensive exams, no exceptions.
What should I bring to my appointment?
- The assignment instructions. A course syllabus can also be helpful.
- A double-spaced, printed hard copy of your draft, if you have one (it’s okay if you do not yet have a draft). Our consultants do not work on laptops.
- Questions you would like to ask the consultant or issues you would like addressed during the session.
Will you proofread my essay?
We cannot proofread for you. That would make us better editors, but it would not help you become a better writer. We can, however, help you become a better proofreader of your own writing.
How many appointments can I have?
Anyone registered at Queen’s is entitled to 6 appointments per academic year (please note that there is a limit of one appointment per week, per student). Appointments may be 25- or 50-minutes long, depending on the particular writing issue, subject to availability. First-year students may also use the 25-minute drop-in sessions offered by our Peer Writing Assistants (these appointments will not count towards your 6 appointment limit). Appeals for additional sessions can be addressed to the Director, Susan Korba (email@example.com).
What if I need to cancel an appointment?
We require at least 12 hours’ notice of cancellation; many students are on our wait list and we can fill your place if we have enough time. Students who do not give us at least 12 hours’ notice of a cancellation may not be entitled to further sessions and will have a $25 charge placed on their Queen’s account. See our Writing Centre Policies page for more information.
When are appointments available?
During the Fall and Winter terms, appointments are available throughout the day, some evenings, and some Saturday mornings (please note that fewer appointments are offered during the first few weeks of the Fall term, during Study Weeks and Reading Week, and throughout the Spring and Summer terms). Evening appointments are also available with Peer Learning Assistants most evenings during the week.
Do only “struggling” writers use the consultation service?
No. Even accomplished writers find writing difficult at times. At the Writing Centre, we see writers of every level of proficiency. Everyone can benefit from having someone read through a draft and offer suggestions for improvement. As Ernest Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
For more important information, please review the Writing Centre Policies page.
How to book a telephone consultation
Telephone consultations are available for writing, learning strategies, and academic English support. Although SASS uses an online appointment booking system, it is not currently possible for students to book appointments for telephone consultations using the online system. Students seeking a telephone appointment should call our front desk at 613-533-6315. Our administrative assistant will book the appointment for you and will enter your information into our appointment booking system; you will receive an automated appointment confirmation and an automated reminder email before your appointment. You will also receive instructions to help you prepare for the appointment (see below).
How to prepare for a telephone consultation
As with in-person appointments, both consultant and student will work from hard copies of the student’s written work, not on a computer, to ensure that the consultation does not become an editing session.
- Email the following materials to the administrative assistant at Student Academic Success Services: the assignment instructions (if available), a draft of your written work, and your goals for the consultation. These materials must be sent at least one hour prior to the consultation. If the appointment is scheduled for the evening, materials should be sent in by 3:00 p.m. that day.
- Telephone 613-533-6000 (ext. 78643) 15 minutes after the beginning of your 50-minute appointment or 10 minutes after your 25-minute appointment so the consultant has some time to review the materials before the interactive part of the session begins.
- Have a hard copy of your written work with you during the session so that you can make notes.
Because telephone appointments lack the face-to-face interaction offered by in-person consultations, the consultant will check in with you throughout the session to ensure that your concerns are being adequately addressed and to find out if you understand the advice that is being offered. Be sure to ask questions and share your ideas–the more collaborative the session, the more you will get out if it!
Learning Strategies Advising:
During the telephone appointment, your advisor will ask you about your goals, what barriers or issues you are experiencing, and strategies you have tried, and discuss resources from the SASS website.
- Consider in advance what is most important to you to discuss in a 40-minute session, and fill out the Study Skills and Habits Questionnaire.
- If you need to be able to show the learning strategist materials for them to help you, consider emailing images (for example, a photo of your current weekly schedule, or of a sample page from a textbook you are working from), short pieces of text from a course syllabus, or links to relevant websites. Please send any such emails at least an hour in advance of your appointment to the administrative assistant.
- Ensure that you are in a quiet place where you can talk freely and without interruption, and that your phone is fully charged. If possible, open your computer to the SASS website (go to our homepage and click on learning resources).
- Have relevant materials with you for the session and be prepared to take notes, share information, etc. as needed.
- Telephone the learning strategies advisor, at the number given to you by email when you booked your appointment, at the beginning of your session time. If you have any difficulty getting through to your learning strategist, please call 613-533-6000 ext. 36315.
Because telephone appointments lack the face-to-face interaction offered by in-person appointments, the advisor will check in with you throughout the session to ensure that your concerns are being adequately addressed and to find out if you understand the advice that is being offered. Be sure to ask questions and share your ideas—the more collaborative the session, the more you will get out if it!
Peer writing appointments
If you are a first- or second-year student and would like some writing assistance, you might like an appointment with a Peer Writing Assistant.
What is a Peer Writing Assistant?
SASs’s Peer Writing Assistants (PWAs) are upper-year and graduate student volunteers who are committed to helping other students develop their writing skills and confidence.
What do PWAs do?
PWAs are trained to work on-on-one with students taking first- and second-year courses; they help with clarifying the terms of the assignment, brainstorming, pre-writing and structuring, providing feedback, and directing students to the resources they need to produce good papers. For many students, this service makes a significant difference in their academic performance and confidence.
Sessions are 25 minutes long and are based on a collaboration between the PWA and the student seeking assistance–i.e., PWAs do not proofread or make writing decisions for the students they help. Instead, they help students develop their own skills in writing, editing, and critical thinking, in the context of working on a particular assignment.
When are PWA appointments available?
PWA sessions take place Monday-Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. from mid-September to the end of November and from mid-January to the end of March. Please book early; these appointments are popular.
If you are booking with a PWA, please note:
- students may sign up for only one appointment per evening and a maximum of two appointments per week
- these appointments are for first- and second-year course assignments only
- please bring your work in hard copy; our PWAs do not work on laptops
- PWAs will not help with take-home exams
At SASS, we want English as an Additional Language (EAL) and international students to be able to communicate fluently and confidently while studying at Queen’s University. Our EAL programs feature one-to-one personalized consultations focusing on writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills. For example, multilingual students can book one of the popular P&P consultations (Pronunciation and Presentation Skills) to get feedback on pronunciation issues and/or practice for an upcoming oral presentation. We also offer workshops, EAL resources, and access to computer software—Inspiration and Kurzweil 3000—through the Academic Skills Lab so that students can work independently on writing and reading skills, which can improve overall fluency.
Book an introductory consultation
Multilingual students who would like language skills support should first book an introductory consultation with the ESL Program Coordinator, Alyssa Foerstner. Students can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will set up a convenient time to meet and talk about concerns and issues students may have related to language and academic communication skills.
Please note: EAL students who want help with writing assignments can book writing consultations in our core writing program.
For more information, please visit the EAL Support Page.
How do I book an appointment?
Students can book an appointment at any time using our online booking system. You must register before you can make an appointment. Once in WCOnline
- Select a date, timeslot, and a consultant. Available appointment timeslots are WHITE. (RED indicates a timeslot is already taken, and BLACK indicates that appointments are not available during that time. A GREY timeslot indicates an appointment that has already occurred.)
- All appointments begin on the hour or on the half-hour. For example, if you want sign up for a 25-minute appointment at 10 a.m., reserve the time between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
- Click on an open (white) appointment time to open the Reservation Window.
- When the Reservation Window opens, you must complete the required information in order to continue. We ask this information to ensure you receive the best possible consultation. This information is considered private and is accessible only to relevant SASS staff.
- After completing the form in the Reservation Window, click “Save” to finish. Your appointment will now appear on the schedule in red, and you will receive a reminder email with the date and time.
We look forward to seeing you here! If you have any questions, you can email email@example.com, call 613-533-6315 or visit the Student Academic Success Services reception desk on the main floor of Stauffer Library between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday (note that our front desk is usually closed for lunch from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m).
Frequently asked questions about WCOnline
How do I cancel an appointment?
- Ensure that you are cancelling 12 hours in advance of the appointment, in accordance with our cancellation policy (this policy does not apply to peer writing appointments).
- Log into the SASS appointment booking system.
- Locate your appointment on the schedule.
- Select your appointment to open the reservation window.
- In the reservation window, scroll to the bottom and locate the checkbox labelled “Cancel this Appointment.”
- Click the “modify” button. Your appointment is now cancelled. You may also call the front desk 12 hours in advance to cancel an appointment (leave a Voicemail message if your call is not answered; phone messages are date and time-stamped, so you will not be charged if you have called 12 hours in advance of the appointment). Failing to provide 12 hours’ notice when cancelling appointments will result in a $25 fine levied against your Queen’s account (this policy does not apply to peer writing appointments). Note that students who “no-show” (fail to cancel appointments with 12 hours’ notice and do not show up for the appointment) are not entitled to further appointments until the fine has been paid.