Pleasing Your ProfessorWriter's Web
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Getting Help Early

Try to start your paper as early as possible to allow for the maximum amount of time to seek guidance and the least amount of stress. As you work through the assignment, mark what confuses you about the prompt and write it down to facilitate a more organized meeting or email to a professor.

You should try to incorporate all the sources that you intend to use in your final draft in first draft as well. This will help you to sort through which sources are actually helpful, and allow your professor to provide feedback about the quality of your sources when you submit your rough draft.

Additionally, a good rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment at the Writing Center for your completed draft. Making an appointment ahead of time not only guarantees a Consultant's availability, but it also allows you to set your own deadline for the draft's completion.

Also see the Writer's Web Guide to Professors' Pet Peeves for common issues and methods of avoiding them

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Submitting a Draft

Do not choose a topic that is too broad (see Forming a Clear Thesis). The critical aims of your draft ought to be clarity, organization, and content. If you can present your information clearly and in a structure that makes sense in your draft, you can get much more out of conferences with your professor or Writing Consultant because they will have more to work with and better understand what you are trying to do with the paper.

While a works cited or bibliography is not required with a draft, submitting one along with your draft can help your professor or Consultant evaluate which sources are strong and which are weak, as well as ensure the technical correctness of your format.

Meetings and Consultations

Dr. McCormick of the philosophy department believes that consultations are the best means for philosophy students to improve their writing. Here are a few tips about meetings and consultations with faculty and tutors:

  • Schedule a meeting with your professor ahead of time for the sake of their schedule and your motivation to finish the paper. Just knowing that you have a meeting with a professor can help motivate you to finish a draft earlier than you might have normally.
  • Make an appointment at the Writing Center with your favorite Writing Consultant to look over what you have so far. Getting feedback from both the professor and a Writing Consultant provides you will a lot of constructive criticism and new ideas for your work.
  • Be prepared for all of your meetings! Regardless of whether you are meeting with a professor or a Writing Consultant, make sure you bring in something they can really sink their teeth into to make the session productive for both of you. Submitting a part of a draft before a meeting gives both the professor and the Consultant time to really dwell on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper, and frees the beginning of the session for further elaboration rather than reading.
  • Be open minded to the advice you're given! Sometimes Consultants and professors many give you unexpected advice or advice you initially disagree with. While you are never under any obligation to accept that advice, it should always be carefully considered before being disregarded.

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