Better writing for free
Local middle- and high-school students who would like to improve their writing skills can get free help from Skidmore students.
November 13, 2012.Tutors from Skidmore’s Writing Center are eager to work with anyone in the Saratoga Springs area who needs help with writing, from classroom assignments to those all-important college entrance essays.
The Writing Center, on the fourth floor of the College’s Scribner Library, is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays for middle- and high-school students. Staffed by trained Skidmore students working under the direction of Emma Caruso ’13, an English major from Rhode Island, the center is overseen by Phil Boshoff and Martha Wiseman, English Department faculty members.
For Caruso, the tutoring service fills two important needs: It meets the community service mandate of her Honors Forum membership, and it helps young writers strengthen their skills with guidance from other students. “I don’t think Skidmore College can do too much to get involved in Saratoga Springs. This is our home away from home,” she says.
Caruso declares, “We have an amazing center and tools to help with any type of assignment. Everyone can use help with their writing, and this is a collaborative space for learning in the pursuit of better writing.”
The training of the center’s five writing coaches includes completion of a 300-level honors English course on tutoring skills, which entails tutoring their college peers while being observed by Boshoff and Wiseman. Enrollment in the course is dependent on a recommendation from a Skidmore professor and a personal essay; also required is independent reading about rules of grammar and style.
Caruso explains, “If you come in with a draft, we’ll talk it over with you, but our task is not to fix commas. It’s to help with the process of writing. We think it’s important to talk with writers about their ideas and help them be more persuasive and analytical. We’re here to help writers understand better what to do.”
Her specialty is editing and “figuring out ways to help people be excited about their writing.” The daughter of two teachers, her goal is to have a career in the publishing field. For now, she’d like to see the tutoring center well used by school students in Saratoga Springs. She says, “The doors are open to any student writer, at any level. We’re here to help people understand their strengths and weaknesses and improve their writing.”
COVER CAPTION: Writing tutors Rachel Kim, Hannah Rank, Emma Caruso, and Ariel Fowler, all seniors. Nghia Luu ’14 photo