We are pleased to announce that many students applied to volunteer with the PWA program, and we are now at capacity for volunteers for the 2013-2014 academic year. We will recruit volunteers again in January 2014, and we welcome queries about the program at any time. Please email Claire Hooker with queries; thank you for your interest!
What's a Peer Writing Assistant? Peer writing assistants (PWAs) at the Writing Centre are talented upper-year and graduate student volunteers who enjoy helping others become better writers. They provide a vital component of our program, extending the service the Centre offers to students in developing 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, helping 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 always challenging, and no two are alike. They all, however, take a collaborative approach 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.
What’s the time commitment?
PWA sessions take place Monday-Thursday, 6:30-8:30 pm, in four 25-minute sessions per evening. Currently, each PWA volunteers for two hours per week from mid-September to the end of November and from mid-January to the end of March.
In addition, we have an hour-long team meeting once or twice per term, and occasionally offer useful, hour-long training sessions.
Why become a Peer Writing Assistant?
Knowing that you’re helping others is a good feeling, but that’s not the only reason to become a PWA. You can also strengthen your own writing, editing, and communication skills, belong to a fun team of people from diverse faculties and backgrounds, and receive interesting training in a variety of areas from professional staff. If you intend to pursue an academic or teaching career, this experience is a helpful addition to your CV, and perhaps a way to connect with professional staff who can challenge and support your growth and give you a great reference when you graduate.