What to Expect When You See a Tutor
The Hume Center's goal is to help you improve and feel empowered as a writer. To this end, writing consultations are based on purposeful conversation between you and a writing tutor. You can expect to do a great deal of talking as you explain your ideas or writing goals. The tutor may suggest and explain strategies to assist you at whatever stage of the writing process you are at (brainstorming, drafting, revising, fine-tuning) or can provide constructive feedback on selected sections of your draft focusing on elements such as organization, argument, or style. Because our goal is to help you improve and develop as a writer, we focus on giving you tools and strategies you can use to edit and proofread your own writing; this is also why we will not edit or proofread your work for you. (If you are in need of an editor, we have a list of editors-for-hire available.)
We are happy to work with you at any stage of the writing process, even before you start writing. We highly recommend meeting with a tutor early in the writing process—for example, during the early brainstorming phase, or when you have a first draft prepared—so that you have time to revise before an assignment deadline. We can work with you on:
- Narrowing down a topic
- Research skills
- Idea integration
Toward the end of the session, you will receive a brief reflection and feedback survey to help you plan for your next steps and to help tutors evaluate how they can work most effectively with students. We encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to think about your learning over time and to note your own growth.
You can sign up for up to two 50-minute appointments per week. Please read our policies and procedures for details about appointment length, scheduling recurring appointments, missed appointment consequences, and cancellations.
Oral Communication Appointments
Oral Communication Tutors (OCTs), a highly-trained group of student consultants, are available to meet with students during regularly-scheduled shifts from Wednesday of Week 2 through Week 10 each quarter. OCTs are also available during Summer Quarter and by request during intersession weeks. Appointments are 45 minutes in duration; if you're rehearsing a talk that's 20 minutes or longer, we recommend scheduling two back-to-back sessions (for 1.5 hours total). Please read our policies and procedures for details about appointment length, scheduling recurring appointments, missed appointment consequences, and cancellations.
During the consultation, you can expect a receptive, encouraging and empathetic listener that is ready to discuss your speaking engagement and, more specifically, to discuss your assignment or interview, your concerns, where you are at the preparatory phase, and what you hope to accomplish. Meet with an OCT to:
- Rehearse your presentation
- Videotape your speech
- Design effective visual aids
- Reduce speech anxiety
- Practice for your job interview
Whether you access the Hume Center's oral communication tutors for a formal presentation or interview, we are here to help you at every step. Public speaking can be stressful, especially for busy Stanford students. We are here to help, and you can expect a comforting, sympathetic ear that is committed to your success.
For Oral Presentations
You do not have to have a presentation ready; we love working with people in the early stages of their preparation. Based on the initial assessment, you can expect your OCT to structure the appointment in a way to help maximize your success. For students who are in the initial process, your OCT will serve as a sounding board to help you brainstorm, narrow down your topic, and/or outline your presentation. For students who already have a presentation, your OCT will record and time your presentation. This footage will be used to give you focused and empowering feedback on your delivery as well as on your presentation design and the structure and focus of your content. If PowerPoint or Keynote is new to you, OCTs can also provide technical support and discuss best practices.
For Mock Interviews
OCTs at the Hume Center have helped many students prepare for academic and professional interviews. For mock interviews, we request that students prepare a set of questions that are generally asked for the position they are applying to, as well as documents submitted for that position. During this consultation, you can expect OCTs to ask you what you hope to accomplish, what concerns you have about your communication skills, and how you want to conduct the mock interview. In general, during the mock interview, OCTs review materials and questions, and then role-play the interview process. You can expect these sessions to be recorded and, after several questions, the footage reviewed for feedback on delivery (how you communicate verbally and non-verbally) and on the content (how clear, concise and structured your responses were).
To request a meeting with a lecturer from the Oral Communication Program, please submit this request form at least 3 business days in advance.