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Advising sessions give students individualized help

By Wanda Praamsma, Communications Officer

Lori Vos, a program coordinator and writing consultant at the Queen’s Writing Centre, loves that moment when everything crystallizes for a student. His or her thinking becomes clearer, and the student can articulate precisely what he or she wants to say.

Lori Vos, right, works with a student during a one-on-one session in the Writing Centre.

“It’s amazing. You can see everything come together and suddenly the student sees the path forward,” says Ms. Vos, who has worked with students to improve their writing since 2000.

Ms. Vos is one of a dozen consultants at the Writing Centre, which is now part of Student Academic Success Services (SASS), a blended unit that also includes Learning Strategies (LS). SASS is located on the main level of Stauffer Library.

One-on-one sessions with students are a feature of both the Writing Centre and Learning Strategies. LS focuses on helping students to enhance their academic skills and build confidence in their ability to achieve balance in their university lives – everything from learning organization and time management strategies, refining presentation and study skills, and working through struggles with perfectionism, to coping with academic stress.

“It is easy for students to get overwhelmed with everything they have on their plates,” says Linda Williams, Senior Learning Strategies Advisor. “After meeting with us, students feel more hopeful. We offer practical strategies to help them meet their academic goals. Students often feel a sense of relief – they’ve got a plan and that relieves stress and in turn boosts their grades and their confidence.”

At the Writing Centre, the one-on-one sessions give students the opportunity to work through challenges they may encounter at any stage of the writing process. The personal nature of the appointments allows the consultant and student to identify strengths and weaknesses in the writing, whether in areas such as thesis development, grammar, or the structure of an essay or article.

Linda Williams, Senior Learning Strategies Advisor, with a student during a one-on-one session.

“It’s a very supportive environment. There are no grades or evaluations. And when students leave, you can see that their confidence has increased,” Ms. Vos says. “But these are not proofreading sessions. We want to equip students with the tools they need and encourage them to be better writers and editors themselves.”

One-on-one sessions at the Writing Centre and Learning Strategies are available to all students – undergraduate, graduate, and professional.

This article is one in a series profiling Student Academic Success Services (SASS) and the programs and resources it provides.