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Students with a Queen’s net ID, student number, and Queen’s email may book appointments for help with academic skills, writing, and English language skills. All appointments are confidential and free for incoming and current Queen’s University students.

All appointments are booked through our online booking system.

Academic skills appointmentsWriting appointmentsEAL appointmentsPeer writing appointmentsOnline appointmentsHow to book appointmentsFAQs about WCOnlineAppointment policies

Academic skills appointments

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?

two people sitting at a table for an appointment

Meeting with an academic skills specialist can help you improve your performance and confidence. We welcome all Queen’s students, regardless of year, program, or academic standing. Our team of academic skills specialists 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 an academic skills appointment may be 1-3 weeks or longer during midterm and final exams.

To maximize your opportunity to meet with an academic skills specialist and allow you time to practice new strategies, we recommend that students book up to one appointment per week and two per month with the same specialist. In exceptional circumstances, the specialist may adjust this policy.

Writing appointments

A writing consultant and a student pour over an essay draft

Undergraduate and graduate students of all faculties and levels of academic achievement and writing proficiency at Queen’s University use SASS’s popular writing 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.  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.

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

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 consultants, 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 that 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 (however, we do not work on resumes). Please note that consultants will not work with take-home exams, no exceptions.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • The assignment instructions. A course syllabus can also be helpful.
  • Questions you would like to ask the consultant or issues you would like addressed during the session.
  • Your notes, outline, draft or any other work you have done in advance. If you haven’t yet started on the assignment, don’t worry–we will help you get started.

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. We will point out patterns of grammatical or stylistic weakness and explain how to identify and fix them; however, we mainly concentrate on structure, strength and clarity of argument, integration of sources, and writing process strategies, leaving it up to you to apply them. The responsibility for making any changes to your work rests with you.

How many appointments can I have?

Anyone registered at Queen’s is entitled to 10 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 10 appointment limit). Appeals for additional sessions can be addressed to the Director, Susan Korba (korbas@queensu.ca).

What if I need to cancel an appointment?

We require at least 6 hours’ notice of cancellation. All fines for missed appointments are currently suspended. However, you are expected to attend any appointments you have booked or to cancel them within the six-hour cancellation window. A student who is more than 10 minutes late for their appointment may forfeit that appointment. Students who miss multiple appointments may have their booking privileges revoked.

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 Weeks, and throughout the Spring and Summer terms). Evening appointments are also available with Peer Writing Assistants most evenings during the week.

Do only struggling writers use this service?

No. Even accomplished writers find writing difficult at times. At SASS, 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 appointment policies tab.

EAL appointments

ESL Poster on Door

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 softwareInspiration 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 begin by booking an introductory consultation with the EAL Program Coordinator.

Request an introductory appointment

Please note that EAL students who want help with writing assignments can book writing appointments in our core writing program.

For more information, please visit the EAL Support Page.

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
  • PWAs will not help with take-home exams

How to book an online appointment

Please use our online booking system to book an online appointment with a writing consultant or academic skills specialist. If you have questions about the online booking system, please see our FAQ tab.

When you book an appointment, please indicate whether you would like to meet in person or online by selecting a choice from the drop-down menu on the booking form. Please note: All appointments are currently offered online only.

If possible, book early—our appointments are popular!

How to prepare for an online appointment

To begin your online session, click on your appointment slot and enter the link “Start or Join Online Consultation.” When you click on that link, you will be redirected to the virtual space that includes a shared whiteboard, a text chat box, and video chat windows. You have access to the virtual space as soon as you make the appointment.

We encourage you to go in before your appointment time to ensure that the connections and functions are all working properly for you. Online consultations are best facilitated through a Chrome browser.

If you have any technical problem, please let us know via email.

How to book appointments

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 to 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 academic.success@queensu.ca or call us at 613-533-6315.

Frequently asked questions about WCOnline

How do I cancel an appointment?

If you must cancel your appointment, here’s what you should do

  • Ensure that you are cancelling 6 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 6 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 6 hours in advance of the appointment).

All fines for missed appointments are currently suspended. However, you are expected to attend any appointments you have booked or to cancel them within the six-hour cancellation window. A student who is more than 10 minutes late for their appointment may forfeit that appointment. Students who miss multiple appointments may have their booking privileges revoked.

I want to make my first appointment but I can't log in.

If you are making an appointment for the first time, you have to register with the system before it allows you to make an actual appointment. Please register using the link to the SASS appointment booking system. After completing the registration form, you will be ready to make appointments. You will not need to register again.

I'm having trouble navigating WCOnline.

The main page of WCOnline is the Main Schedule, and you will automatically be brought to it when you log in. If you navigate away from the Main Schedule, you can select “View Schedule” from the main menu drop-down (hover over your name in the upper left-hand corner). When using WCOnline, it is important to use the menu and pop-up windows. Using the “back” option in your browser does not always help. It can sometimes cause the browser to require a manual refresh (the browser will prompt you to do so if this occurs).

WCOnline uses pop-up windows. If your computer uses a pop-up blocker, please allow WCOnline to use pop-ups. You will not be able to make appointments without them.

Sometimes the pop-up windows can “hide” behind the main window, so if a pop-up window is not showing and you have not disabled pop-ups, try minimizing the main window—the pop-up is probably behind it.

My account won't let me reserve appointments.

If you have missed multiple appointments that you did not cancel with sufficient notice, your account may have been disabled and you will not be able to make online appointments OR you have already met the appointment limit for the day, week or academic year. Please contact the front desk at 613-533-6315 if you want to speak to the Director about securing additional appointments.

The reservation window isn't appearing.

The reservation window is a pop-up. Be sure you have pop-up windows enabled for WCOnline. On a rare occasion, it may open behind your current window. In that case, simply minimize the browser and it should be open behind it.

I want to change my password.

You can change your password through the main menu. On a laptop or computer, hover over “Welcome” with the cursor on the upper left portion of the screen, and a drop-down menu will appear. On a smartphone or tablet, you will need to tap or touch the “Welcome” message. Select “Update Profile and Password” and follow the instructions on that page. Please note that changing your password is only possible if you have filled out all the required information! WCOnline will not save your password if you do not have all required responses (fields marked with * are required).

I forgot my password.

If you don’t remember your password, all you have to do is reset it from the login page. Simply click the prompt towards the bottom of the page and a new password will be emailed to your account. The new password will be case sensitive, so it’s best to copy and paste the new password into the system rather than trying to retype it. Once you are back in the system, follow the steps above for “I want to change my password.”

I need a text-only version.

You can access a text-only version of our online scheduling service from the login page. Below the login information and password reset link, there is a link to the text-only scheduler. Simply click that link, and continue into the WCOnline scheduler.

Appointment policies

How many appointments can I have?

We at SASS want students to succeed and feel supported. We therefore do our best to accommodate as many students as we can in our appointment schedule. Availability of appointments depends on the type of appointment (see below) and, to some extent, on demand; some times of year are much busier than others. (You may book appointments weeks in advance to secure your preferred dates and times.)

  • Students are entitled to 10 writing appointments during the fall/winter school year.  Appeals for additional sessions can be addressed to the Director of SASS. Students may book up to six additional appointments in the spring/summer term. Because of high demand for appointments, students are limited to one writing appointment per week.
  • There is no limit to the number of academic skills appointments students may have. However, generally speaking, students should meet with their academic skills specialist about once every two weeks, to ensure they have time to try out the methods and strategies discussed in appointments. In times of high demand, this frequency may be reduced; under some circumstances, this frequency may be increased.
  • Students may have a maximum of one EAL appointment per week. The frequency of EAL appointments is determined during and after the introductory meeting by the EAL coordinator and the student.
  • Students seeking help with writing assignments in first- or second-year courses may book up to two Peer Writing Assistant appointments per week.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

  • First, be aware that students who have booked writing appointments can benefit from them even if they don’t have a draft to work on. Writing consultants work with students at every stage of the writing process.
  • If you need to cancel your SASS appointment, please do so 6 hours in advance, online or by phone. All fines for missed appointments are currently suspended. However, you are expected to attend any appointments you have booked or to cancel them within the six-hour cancellation window.
  • Any student who arrives more than 10 minutes late may forfeit that appointment.
  • Students who miss multiple appointments without cancelling them may have their booking privileges revoked.
  • A student may not transfer an appointment to another student or send a proxy to attend an appointment on their behalf. Any student who violates this policy will no longer be allowed to use the service.
  • Appeals due to extenuating circumstances should be directed to the director.

Can you help me with take-home exams?

  • Take-home examinations cannot be the subject of any SASS consultation.
  • Students who know they will be writing a take-home exam are encouraged to prepare in advance by booking appointments to work on their general writing and exam prep / taking skills, attending workshops and reviewing our online resources.

Can you help with course content / comment on a mark I got on an assignment?

  • SASS staff do not appraise comments and/or the grade on a marked paper, nor do they advocate on behalf of students. We adhere to a strict policy of non-interference in regard to student-instructor relations.
  • SASS staff cannot fulfill the duties of a teaching assistant. Questions about course content, including questions about citation format, should be directed to your instructor or TA.
  • Although some members of our staff teach or act as TAs or markers for various Queen’s courses, appointments may not be used for students to meet with their instructor or TA.

Appointments with professional writing consultants / Peer Writing Assistants

  • We want to help you as much as possible, but we cannot be very helpful if you visit us the day your assignment is due. Leave enough time (several days) to revise your work after your appointment.
  • You are welcome to book appointments weeks in advance, to help you plan your writing. The earlier you start on your writing, the better quality it will be.
  • Our writing consultations are not intended to be used for editing or proofreading your paper. Although our staff will point out patterns of grammatical or stylistic weakness and explain how to identify and fix them, they mainly concentrate on structure, strength and clarity of argument, integration of sources, and writing process strategies, leaving it up to you to apply them. The responsibility for making any changes to your work rests with you.
  • For in-person appointments, please bring a hard copy of your work. In-person appointments will not be conducted on laptops.
  • Students may use one writing appointment only to seek help with a job search document or other application (personal statement, cover letter, graduate or professional program application, etc.).  These appointments are intended to help the student clarify and reorganize the document and do not involve editing or proofreading.  For that reason, we do not review resumes. The final document is the student’s own responsibility and should reflect the student’s own voice and skill level.

Online appointments

  • Students must have a viable internet connection for online appointments.
  • We encourage students to log in to their appointments several minutes before their appointment time to ensure that connections and functions are all working properly. Online consultations are best facilitated through a Chrome browser.
  • Students are responsible for uploading any document(s) they wish to discuss in their appointments.
  • Generally, online appointments at SASS have few or no technical issues, but in the case of audio or video failure, appointments may rely on text box communications / document markup only.

How do I pay my fine?

Please note: all fines for missed appointments are currently suspended. However, you are expected to attend any appointments you have booked or to cancel them within the six-hour cancellation window. Although fines are suspended, please note that a student who is more than 10 minutes late for their appointment may forfeit that appointment, and students who miss multiple appointments may have their booking privileges revoked.

Any student with questions or concerns about SASS programing or policies should make an appointment to speak with the Director of SASS, Susan Korba, at 613-533-6000, ext. 77630, or by email at korbas@queensu.ca.