How-to Guidelines for Consultations

As you strive to become a better thinker and writer at the graduate level, GWC can help with the following issues:

  • Understanding and following assignment requirements
  • Improving organization and structure
  • Improving word flow, clarity, and readability
  • Fulfilling APA or other formal style guidelines, including in-text citation and final documentation
  • Identifying and correcting grammar and punctuation errors

Please remember, however, that GWC is not permitted to write or correct a paper for you.

4-Step Process for Consultations

Consultations are by appointment only, but your consultation can happen face-to-face, by e-mail, and even by instant messaging; please choose the method that is easiest for you and that fits your schedule and work style.

Before submitting a paper, note the following guidelines for submission: 

  1. SCHEDULE: As soon as possible—at least 2 GWC working days before your due date—e-mail to schedule a consultation by contacting Susan Blake at  If possible, allow time for at least two consultations: one for a preliminary draft of your assignment and another for your final, revised version of the work.  (See “Please answer the following questions,” below, for necessary information to provide in your initial e-mail; without that information, your paper may not be accepted.)
  2. PREPARE: Before you submit your draft to GWC do check the APA guidelines (see the links provided in the right side panel or use the print or online version of the APA manual) and use them to get your paper as close as possible to the proper format; doing this early on will not only save you time later but also reveal any particular aspects of APA that are causing you trouble or confusion.
  3. SUBMIT: For the actual consultation, submit (a) a typed (double-spaced), spell-checked, and proofread* draft of your paper; (b) your major concern for the paper, as well as any secondary issues you’d like to have checked; and (c) a copy of your assignment instructions if you have concerns about meeting the requirements. If you submit your paper by e-mail, please attach the paper as a Microsoft Word documentIf you have questions about documentation (in-text citations or reference list entries), be sure to provide (d) all pertinent information for each source: e.g., for books, title(s), author(s), and editor(s), publication date, publisher and publisher location, and pages if appropriate; for periodicals, title of journal and article, author(s), volume and issue numbers, date, and pages (from which you are quoting and for the whole article); for online sources, all of the previously listed information that you can obtain, including a sponsoring organization if applicable.
  4. RESPOND: Once your draft has been returned with GWC input, do your best to revise; let GWC know if you have further questions. Consider instant messaging during online office hours for a quick question or two. If you would like to submit your revised draft for further input, begin again at step 1.

*Proofreading: locating and correcting problems such as spelling and minor punctuation errors, missing or repeated words, and careless mistakes

To arrange an appointment, contact GWC Writing Consultant Susan Blake at

Please answer the following questions in your initial e-mail:

  • Which center are you currently attending? (Main campus, Cleveland, etc.)
  • What is your course name and number?
  • Who is your professor?
  • What is the due date for this draft of the paper?
  • What is the final due date for the paper?
  • What special instructions (if any) have you been given for the assignment?
  • What is your main concern for this paper?  (Please choose from the list of "issues" at the top of the page and mention any other concerns that you have for your paper.)

Small-Group Consultations

If you are working as part of a group for a project or paper, you may contact GWC with concerns about your own sections. In addition, if one person in the group has been elected as a group leader who “puts the pieces together,” that person is also welcome to send the entire paper to GWC for an overall review of organization and structure, conformity with the assignment, and continuity in writing style.


A Few Words about Turnaround Time

GWC makes every effort to return student work as quickly as possible, but hours are limited and the service often becomes very busy near the middle and end of a term; therefore, to ensure an appointment, you are advised to schedule as soon as you know of an assignment, preferably at least one full week before the final due date and even well in advance. Some writers even schedule regular appointments throughout a term to ensure a time slot from week to week. Remember, it’s best to submit a draft version before the final version of your paper or project and, if there are questions about organization or structure, to include a rough outline with the draft.


NOTE: Any paper received less than 2 GWC working days before the requested return date may have to be declined. Papers received after Friday at 4:00 p.m. will be considered to have been received the following workday at 9:00 a.m. 


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